Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.2 secs from 200 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 14.4 secs from 181 degrees. Wind north 10-12 kts. Water temperature 70.2 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 2.4 ft @ 6.0 secs from 259 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.5 secs from 201 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.2 ft @ 15.2 secs from 188 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.4 ft @ 15.9 secs with windswell 3.2 ft @ 6.0 secs and southern hemi swell 1.6 ft @ 14.9 secs from 191 degrees. Wind northwest 10-12 kts. Water temp 57.9 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Thursday (7/21) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at knee to thigh high and chopped from northwest wind. At Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was still producing waves at waist high with some chest high peaks on the sets and clean. In Southern California up north windswell was producing waves at thigh high and relatively clean but with a little warble intermixed. Down south southern hemi swell was producing set waves at shoulder high and relatively clean but with some texture intermixed. Further south top spots had sets at head high and textured from southwest wind. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high and pretty textured from northeast winds. The South Shore was head high on sets at top spots and heavily textured from east winds. The East Shore was getting Darby swell with waves shoulder high and chopped from south wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A weak and fragmented gale developed Tues (7/12) in the Central Pacific with 28-30 ft seas aimed northeast for 18 hours. Small swell is fading in California. A gale formed in the Tasman Sea on Wed-Thurs (7/14) with 34 ft seas aimed northeast. Small swell for Hawaii is possible by Thurs (7/20). Otherwise the South Pacific has been quiet. A gale is forecast pushing under New Zealand on Wed (7/20) with 32-34 ft seas aimed east, but making little headway east of New Zealand. Possible small swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast. A weak gale is forecast trying to develop in the Southeast Pacific on Sun (7/24) with 28+ ft seas aimed northeast over a modest sized area. In the tropics Tropical Storm Darby was 550 nmiles east of the Big Island tracking west and forecast to move very close to the Big Island before turning northwest. And Tropical Storm Estelle was positioned 900 nmiles southwest of Southern CA tracking west and expected to fade. The Tropical East Pacific is being fueled by a fading Active Phase of the MJO passing over that region, but that is nearing it's end. Otherwise the transition to La Nina continues.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (7/21) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
The California coastal pressure gradient was not in effect on Thursday (7/21) offering no windswell production potential. A weak northwesterly flow was in effect below 15 kts everywhere but Pt Conception. Over the next 72 hours the gradient is to start building on Fri (7/22) to 15-20 kts and covering all waters of North and Central CA offering low odds for some rideable raw windswell to result by Friday afternoon in Central CA. By Sat (7/23) the gradient is to build with 20-25 kt northwest winds over all of North and Central CA shifting north on Sunday with 25+ kt north winds over all of North CA reaching south to Pt Reyes with 20 kt northwest winds down to outer waters off Pt Conception offering much improved odds for windswell development.
For Hawaii on Thurs (7/21) trades were in effect at 15 kts driven by high pressure 1350 nmiles north of the Islands generating windswell. But of more interest is swell and winds from Darby, approaching from the east (see details in the Tropical Update below). Darby to start affecting the Islands on Fri (7/22) especially for exposed east shores of the Big Island with windswell from it reaching up into most northeast shores of the other islands at least into Sun (7/24).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Darby peaked Sat AM (7/16) 1830 nmiles east of the Big Island with winds 90 kts and heading west at 8 kts. Slow weakening set in thereafter with Darby down to tropical storm status on Tues AM (7/19) with winds at 60 kts positioned 1129 nmiles east of the Big Island. No fetch was aimed well up into California. This system continued east with winds 55 kts and is to hold this strength and heading into Sat AM (7/23) positioned 125 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island. Darby is to turn to the northwest later Saturday into Sun AM (7/24) with winds still 55 kts moving to with in 50 nmiles north of the Big Island. After that darby to track and accelerate to the northwest with winds dropping off, down to minimal tropical storm force (40 kts) on Tues (7/26) 300 nmiles north of Oahu and no longer of interest. There is building odds for swell generation potential into Sun (7/24) targeting exposed east and northeast shores of all Islands. Something to monitor.
Big Island (East Shore): Swell to start building on Fri (7/22) pushing 8 ft @ 12 secs late (9 ft). Swell fading some on Sat (7/23) at 7 ft @ 10-11 secs (7 ft) holding Sun (7/24) at 8 ft @ 10 secs (7-8 ft). Swell all but gone Mon AM (7/25) fading from 4 ft @ 8 secs (3 ft). Swell Direction: 70-80 degrees into Sun (7/24) then turning to 20 degrees.
Oahu (East Shore): Windswell building Fri (7/22) to 6 ft @ 10 secs later (6 ft) then fading Sat (7/23) to 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (7/24) at 3.4 ft @ 10 secs (3.0 ft) and 4 ft @ 10 secs on Mon (7/25). Swell Direction: 70-80 degrees turning to 90 degs on Sat (7/23) and holding.
Tropical Storm Estelle was positioned 1100 nmiles south-southwest of Los Angeles with winds 50 kts tracking west-northwest at 12 kts. Estelle to turn slightly more northwest and weaken steadily down to depression status on Friday evening (7/22). No odds of swell reaching either the Islands or CA.
A weaker tropical pattern to follow.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (7/21) high pressure was well retrograded away from the coast with only a small patch of northwest winds at 15 kts limited to the Point Conception area. On Friday northwest winds to build to 15-20 kts over all waters of North and Central CA building to 20 kts solid later and up to 25 kts over Southern Central CA. By Sat (7/23) the moderate version of the gradient is to be in.cgiay with northwest winds 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA then lifting north to North CA on Sunday at 25+ kts and 20 kts down into Central CA. More of the same to continue on Monday (7/25) with north winds 25+ kts but limited to Pt Arena northward with an eddy flow (south winds) starting to develop along nearshore Central CA coastal waters. That pattern is to only get more entrenched Tues (7/26) with 30 kts north winds over North CA from Pt Arena northward and and eddy flow south of there holding into Thurs (7/28).
On Thursday AM (7/21) the jet was .cgiit over the Central and Eastern South Pacific with the southern branch dragging over Antarctic Ice suppressing support for gale development. But a consolidated jet was in effect south of New Zealand with a pocket of 120 kt winds down at 55S but not further south offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours this wind pocket is to push east through later Friday (7/22) continuing to provide limited support for gale development. But these winds to start falling south on Sat (7/23) forming a bit of a .cgiit and a ridge in the jet, but fortunately moving east fairly fast. By Sunday the consolidated jet is to again be in control over the West Pacific up at 40S with nothing to impede gale production south of there, but nothing to really support it either. Beyond 72 hours a pocket of northeast winds is to move into the area under the Tasman Sea on Wed (7/27) at 150 kts but fading fast while moving east into Thurs (7/28) perhaps developing a trough and offering better odds for gale development. The real issue is all the energy in the Southern Hemi jet is focused under Australia, and is to be fading before pushing cleanly into the Southwest Pacific.
On Thursday (7/21) swell from a small fetch that developed in the Central Pacific on Tues (7/12) was fading fast in California (see Central Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a weak gale is forecast coalescing in the Southeast Pacific on starting Sat PM (7/23) producing a tiny area of 40-45 kt southwest winds with seas 26 ft at 42S 137W. On Sun AM (7/24) pockets of 45 kt southwest winds to continue generating seas of 30 ft at 40S 130W. Fetch is to start fading in the evening with seas peaking at 31 ft at 38S 123W. A quick fade to follow. Small 16 sec period swell is possible for North and South CA from a rather southerly direction with more energy targeting Central America.
Central Pacific Gale
On Tues AM (7/12) a weak gale developed while lifting up into the aforementioned trough in the Central South Pacific producing a small area of 40 kt south winds and seas to 30 ft at 58S 158W. In the evening those winds to continued tracking northeast and holding speed while loosing coverage with seas fading from 28ft over a small sized area at 53S 151W. By Wed AM (7/13) this system is to be gone. Small swell is possible.
Southern CA: Swell fading Thurs AM (7/21) from 2.0 ft @ 14 sec early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 201 degrees
North CA: Swell fading Thurs AM (7/21) from 1.8 ft @ 15 sec early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
New Zealand Gale
On Tues PM (7/19) a gale low was tracking well south of the Tasman Sea with west winds 45 kts generating 35 ft seas at 53.0S 151.5E and barely unshadowed by New Zealand relative to North and South CA (222 degs). On Wed AM (7/20) 40 kt southwest winds tracked under New Zealand generating 34 ft seas at 53S 162E and unshadowed relative to CA (219 degs) and not quite clear of New Zealand relative to Hawaii (203 degs). Fetch was rapidly fading in the evening from 35 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 30 ft at 54S 171E (214 degs CA, 197 degs HI). This system was gone after that. Some small 17-18 sec period swell should result.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed PM (7/28) with swell 1 ft @ 17 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell peaking Thurs AM (7/28) at 1.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees
South CA: Expect swell arrival early Sat AM (7/30) with period 18 secs and size tiny. Swell Direction: 219 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival Sat AM (7/30) with period 18 secs and size tiny. Swell Direction: 218 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours high pressure is to be holding on Mon (7/26) at 1026 mbs just 700 nmiles west of North CA on Sat (7/23) continuing to generate a solid version of the usual coastal pressure gradient with north winds 25 kts over North CA with 20 kt north winds well off the Central Coast down to Pt Conception with perhaps a weak eddy flow nearshore. More of the same is forecast into Tuesday (7/27) but with the eddy flow getting more well defined reaching up to Pt Arena and north winds over North CA building to 30 kts and holding into Thurs (7/28). Windswell on the increase, but a bit raw initially, then cleaning up.
For Hawaii winds and windswell associated with Darby to be fading fast on Monday (7/25) with Darby heading northwest and weak trades eventually building in from the east in the 10 kt range Tues (7/26). Trades to remain light until Thurs (7/28) when high pressure returns, with east-northeast winds building to 15 kts then.
Beyond 72 hours a solid storm system is forecast pushing into the Tasman Sea on Tues-Wed (7/27) with seas building to near 40 ft at 48.5S 153E on Wed AM (7/27). In the evening seas are to pulse again at 38 ft at 48S 153.5E aimed northeast. Solid swell is possible for Fiji with filtered swell possible for Hawaii. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
La Nina Fading Slightly
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading fast. La Nina is developing.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (7/20) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and building over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south of there). Anomalies were modest easterly over the KWGA and modest westerly well east of there (thanks to the Active Phase of the MJO tracking east over the East Pacific).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate easterly anomalies were over the KWGA on 7/21 and are to hold while easing east to the dateline through 7/28 suggestive of a moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 7/20 a modest Inactive MJO signal was over the West Pacific and dateline region. The Statistic model projects it fading over the next week with neutral anomalies in.cgiay 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. Neither of these outcomes is encouraging from a swell production viewpoint.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/21) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak and positioned in the far east Indian Ocean. The forecast projects it fading to nothing while easing east over the next 6 days. The GEFS model depicts basically the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/19) A strong Inactive Phase was over the far West Pacific and expected to move east through 8/15. A modest Active Phase to follow in the west starting on 8/5 easing east through at least 8/30.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal in.cgiay mainly south of California offering fading support for enhancing the tropics in the East Pacific. An Inactive MJO pattern was starting to take hold over the KWGA with weak east anomalies taking root 7/29 and holding into 9/3. An Active MJO signal to follow 9/4 to 10/17 with west anomalies over the far West Pacific to 170E and stationary with east anomalies from 175W and points east to Central America. The low pass filter suggests the remnants of El Nino are shifting east and are now south of Hawaii (rather than in the KWGA) and offering nothing to enhance the jetstream and are to dissipate (gone) south of California by 9/4. At the same time low pass anomalies are over the Indian Ocean and forecast to build into Oct, typical of La Nina.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/21) Actual temperature are building in the West Pacific near the surface at 30+ degs C and the 28 deg isotherm line stable reaching east to only 165W. Warm anomalies at +1 degs rule from the West Pacific to 160W with weak negative anomalies between there and Ecuador. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting between 145W-160W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east down 100 meters to 130W (building east). The Kelvin Wave pipeline is chocked with cold water rushing east through it. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/17 depicts a pocket of +1.0 deg anomalies is building in the West Pacific to 170W. Cool waters 3-4 degs below normal was under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and forming a bubble near 150W and upwelling from 120-150W but also reaching east to Ecuador. La Nina is in control of the ocean.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (7/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water is collapsing along the coast of Peru and Ecuador, at least for the moment. Cool water extends west from the Galapagos tracking solidly out to at least 160W with with peak temps down to -1.75 degs (mostly south of Hawaii). This cool pattern is weakening in the east but solid in the west. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, with remnant El Nino warm water 3 degs north and south of the equator being pushed further north and south away from the equator with cool water now reaching up to 10N in pockets quickly edging out the warmer water. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/20): A neutral trend is over waters of Chile and Peru. Strong cooling that was in control from the Galapagos out to 140W continues backing off some, but the trend is still negative. A modest cooling trend is off Africa. The PDO warm pool was pulsing solidly from Oregon out across the Pacific at 40N to Japan.
Hi-res Overview: (7/20) A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking from Ecuador and building south of Hawaii. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 180W. Cooler water is over the north dateline region in the North Pacific with warm water off the Pacific Northwest streaming over Hawaii looking very much like the classic Active PDO pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/21) Today's temps were rising slightly at +0.594 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (7/21) temps were falling down to -0.971 degs.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/16) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.75 degs Oct 1 and holding through Dec, then slowly rising in Jan 2017 and neutral by March. This is moderate La Nina territory but it's up from the -1.5 and -1.25 degs indicated even a few weeks ago.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-July Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.6 by Nov and holding there to Feb, then rising. This is up from last months peak low temp of -0.7 degs. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (7/21): The daily index was rising at +14.90. The 30 day average was rising at +2.15. It transitioned from negative to positive (first time in 2 years) on 5/27. The 90 day average was now positive at +0.60, transitioning from negative the first time in years on 7/20. El Nino is gone in all dimensions of the SOI Index now.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (7/21) Today's value was steady at -1.18. It peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But it has been falling steadily ever since.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though a little weaker in June (as expected with La NIna setting in). Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-June) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, +1.45 and +0.78. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-May period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35 and +2.03 . The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive since then. Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (7/17): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKYOxvjHBMQ&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.
Titans of Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
- - -
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table