Thursday, August 24, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service. Buoy 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 13.7 secs with southern hemi swell 0.9 ft @ 12.9 secs from 182 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 2-6 kts. Water temperature 68.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 9.8 secs from 211 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.8 ft @ 12.3 secs from 205 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.7 ft @ 13.2 secs from 211 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.2 secs from 198 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 8.3 secs with local north windswell 6.2 ft @ 7.8 secs from 318 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 16-18 kts. Water temp 60.4 degs.
46006, 46059, Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
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.
On Thursday (8/24) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at chest high on the sets and pretty warbled through not chopped from northwest winds early. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and cleaner but still a bit lumpy. At Santa Cruz no real surf was present with waves flat to maybe knee high and clean. In Southern California up north waves were flat to knee high on the sets and clean - basically flat. In North Orange Co background swell was producing minimal surf with waves maybe waist high but mainly less and breaking mostly on the beach and clean. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were waist high and clean but weak and slow. In San Diego surf was knee high on the sets and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets knee to thigh high and clean and slow with some sideshore lump running through it. The East Shore was waist high and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (8/24) modest locally generated north windswell was present along the coast of North and Central California and forecast to build more Fri (8/25) then holding into Sat (8/26) then fading Sunday and beyond. Windswell possibly to return on Tues (8/29). For Hawaii, windswell was peaking modestly along exposed breaks on east shores but is expected to be fading Friday with no return forecast until possibly Thurs (8/31) of next week. No real swell production is forecast for the greater North Pacific for the next 7 days. The remnants of what was Hurricane Kenneth were fading midway between Baja and Hawaii at depression status and not generating any swell. No south swell was hitting our forecast area. Weak background southeast swell might arrive in Southern CA later Sun (8/27) from a gale previously off Southern Chile. Beyond a weak gale is forecast south of Tahiti on Fri (8/25) producing 28 ft seas aimed north. But nothing else is on the charts. Local windswell is to be the main swell source until the North Pacific comes online.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (8/24) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging east and barely reaching the US West Coast and starting to form a pressure gradient with north winds 20 kts over mostly North CA waters producing small raw local north windswell for North and portions of Central CA. The high was also generating a pressure gradient with the depression grade remnants of Hurricane Kenneth positioned 1200 nmiles east-northeast of Hawaii, resulting in a band of east-northeast winds at 15 kts reaching from just north of Kenneth pushing over the Hawaiian Islands. This was generating small easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands.
Over the next 72 hours for California the pressure gradient is to build as high pressure ridges east and weak low pressure builds over Nevada, with north winds building to 20-25 kts nearshore for all of North and Central CA but 25 kt north winds focused on North CA starting to producing raw local north windswell. That fetch is to lift north Sat (8/26) fading from 20-25 kts limited only to Cape Mendocino with windswell over North and Central CA fading slight, then dropping off fast on Sunday as the gradient completely collapses and north winds fade from 15 kts early.
For Hawaii, easterly trades are to fade below the critical 15 kt threshold on Fri (8/25) with windswell generation potential dissipating but windswell from previous fetch still arriving but slowly dropping into Sat (8/26). Nothing is forecast after that.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
The remnants of Hurricane Kenneth were positioned 1200 nmiles east-northeast of Hawaii on Thurs AM (8/24) now at tropical depression status with sustained winds estimated at 30 kts tracking north-northwest at 11 kts producing no seas of interest. Kenneth is to dissipate later Sat (8/26) and still not offering anything of interest.
Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/24) high pressure at 1028 mbs was 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging east barely reaching the CA coast forming a pressure gradient producing north winds 20+ kts over North CA and 15 kts reaching to Pt Conception. Fri (8/25) more of the same is forecast but with the fetch growing in coverage with north winds 25 kts over Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts winds south of there down to Pt Conception. By Sat (8/26) the gradient is to lift north over North CA at 25+ kts and 10 kt north winds elsewhere south of there to Pt Conception. On Sunday (8/27) fetch is to be collapsing from 15 kts just off Cape Mendocino and light wind south of there. Monday north winds to continue at 10-15 kts over all the North and Central CA coast both nearshore and offshore continuing Tuesday but loosing coverage quickly late afternoon only to rebuild coverage Wed AM (8/30). By Thurs AM (8/31) north winds to continue but up to 20 kts over North CA.
On Thursday AM (8/24) the jetstream continued in a zonal pattern with the northern branch running east on the 28S latitude line while the southern branch of the jet was running east on the 65S latitude line in the west and exceedingly weak with winds 90 kts or less over the width of the South Pacific with no troughs present offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours a ridge is to start building in the west Fri (8/26) pushing the jet down over Antarctic Ice and sweeping east through Sun (8/27). Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (8/28) the southern branch of the jet is to continue ridging south sweeping over the entirety of the South Pacific offering no support for gale development. Then on Wed (8/3) another pulse of southward energy is to reinvigorate the ridge holding the southern branch of the jet well south down at 70S through Thurs (8/31) with no troughs forecast. No support for gale development is indicated.
On Thursday (8/24) small swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was tracking north (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was in play over the width of the South Pacific.
Over the next 72 hours a small cutoff gale is forecast developing south of Tahiti Thurs PM (8/24) with 35-40 kt south winds and seas building from 24 ft over a small area at 48S 160W aimed due north. On Fri AM (8/25) fetch is to be building to 40 kts but over a building area with seas 28 ft up at 41S 156W aimed due north. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts with a new area of 28 ft seas at 48S 152W and seas from the original fetch fading from 27 ft at 36S 155W. Fetch fading from 35+ kts Sat AM (8/26) with seas 29 ft at 44S 151W. A quick fade to follow. Possible decent swell pushing north towards Tahiti and Hawaii with less energy from the US West Coast. Something to monitor at least.
Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat PM (8/20) a small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Sat PM into Sun AM (8/20) producing 33 ft seas at 57S 97W in association with a gale low there supported by an upper level trough. But most of this energy was targeting Mexico down into Peru and Chile.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (8/27) building to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building into Mon (8/28) to 2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell continues Tues (8/29) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (8/30) from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (8/31) fading from 2.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 173 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (8/28) building to 2.2 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell building into Tues (8/29) at 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (8/30) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals on Thurs (8/31) fading from 2.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170 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 regarding windswell production for California, by Mon (8/28) high pressure is to be weak at 1024 mbs positioned 700 nmiles off the Oregon coast generating generic north winds at 15 kts off the North and Central CA coast but not nearshore, with low odds of any windswell resulting. That fetch is to move onshore Tues (8/29) and building to 20+ kts over Cape Mendocino and 15 kts down into Central CA with windswell building some but raw. More of the same is forecast on Wed (8/30) and building Thurs (8/31) with north winds near 25 kts over North CA with local windswell incrementally on the increase but still raw.
For Hawaii trades are to be below the 15 kts threshold Mon (8/28) with no windswell production expected holding into Wed (8/30). Then early Thurs (8/31) high pressure at 1022 mbs 700 nmiles northeast of the Islands is to again start fueling the pressure gradient with north winds 15 kts extending from North CA the whole way over the Hawaiian Islands increasing odds for local easterly windswell production.
Otherwise no low pressure systems of interest are to develop tracking east through the North Pacific.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Rock Solid
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 equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing 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 planet, 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 in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration and is holding.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (8/23) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but weak over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were weak east over the East Pacific and weak westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/24) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. On Fri (8/24) moderate strength east anomalies are to start rebuilding over the entirety of the KWGA peaking on 8/28 and holding through the end of the model run on 8/31. It appears an Inactive Phase of the MJO was building and feeding a La Nina pattern.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/23 a weak Dry/Inactive MJO pattern was depicted over the far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Dry pattern to fade 5 days out turning dead neutral and holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the Dry/Inactive Phase building 5 days out, then fading into day 10 and gone 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/24) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO exceedingly weak and effectively nonexistent and is to remain weak and directionless over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but with it a little stronger over the Indian Ocean 5 days out then fading at day 8. This is not promising.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/24) This model depicts a new pulse of the Inactive/Dry Phase building over the West Pacific. It is to track east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through 9/23. A neutral MJO pattern biased Dry is forecast to follow in the West Pacific and holding through the end of the model run on 10/3. So basically some flavor of the Inactive Phase is to hold for the next 40 days with no sign of the Active Phase of the MJO. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/24) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with modest east wind anomalies over the West Pacific and forecast building east over the bulk of the KWGA and holding through 9/17. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 9/22 with west anomalies in control starting 9/25 through 10/23 when the Inactive Phase starts developing the West Pacific and west anomalies dissipate. A neutral wind anomaly pattern is to hold through the end of the model run (11/21). The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal redeveloped 7/25 from the dateline eastward then built a little on 8/15 and is to hold weak till 9/25, then building in coverage but drifting east and showing signs of weakness in it's core. There's some sense the El Nino like core currently in the Indian Ocean is to start shifting east to the West Pacific in early November while the La Nina pattern shifts east too taking root entirely east of the dateline. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/24) A pattern change has set up the past month, with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs depicted at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line retrograded then stabilized at 167W. The 24 deg isotherm has retrograded to 127W and is holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters) but that is expected to fade soon. The warm water layer in the East Pacific is gone suggesting a transition to La Nina. Anomaly wise a clear change is developing with warm water dissipating and turning neutral to weak negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs in the East Pacific while +1.0 degree anomalies build in coverage in the West Pacific at 125 meters deep. Cooler anomalies are in a pocket between at 125W at -1.0 degs, down 125 meters and tracking east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/16 depicts the same thing. It looks like the cool water pocket is poised to erupt to the surface in the equatorial East Pacific while east winds are pushing all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. This might be the start of a pattern to build warm water in the far West Pacific that eventually might be able to feed some sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern, a few years from now. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/16) Negative anomalies are holding coverage at -5 cms from 160-110w with a core at -10 cm at 140W suggesting a building cool pool at depth.
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: (8/23) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern developing with modest upwelling nearshore along Peru and Ecuador while tracking northwest over the Galapagos and then flowing steadily west from there on the equator and well defined out to 160W. There is no breaks in the cool stream over this entire area. This looks very much like a classic La Nina signature. A broad pocket of cooling previously centered at 25S 100W (well off Chile) is dissipating. Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/23): A cool trend that was strong from off Ecuador over the Galapagos and building at 110W out to 150W is fading, now just moderate in strength. An early start of a legit La Nina pattern is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (8/22) A clear legit La Nina cool stream has developed on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador then west to 180W. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. And a building stream of cooler water associated with nearshore upwelling is depicted just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos feeding the larger cool pool further west on the equator. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/24) Today's temps were falling again to -0.761, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (8/22) temps are stable at -0.401, way down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/24) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in Aug to -0.5 in Oct easing down to -0.8 in Dec then stating to rebound to 0.0 in March 2018 and perhaps warming to +0.3 degs in April. This suggests a neutral pattern biased cool setting up for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (8/19) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Dec/Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume updated (8/20) depicts temps forecast to fade 0.0 degs in Aug, and are to hold there solid through Feb 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temps -0.01 degrees below normal through Jan. last month both models depicted temps at +0.3 degs above normal through the Winter. So this is a significant downgrade.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/24): The daily index was positive at +6.25 and has been positive for more than a month. The 30 day average was rising some at 4.66. The 90 day average was stable at +1.04 or just north of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (8/24) Today's value was rising slightly at -0.80 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning or a double dip 2 year La Nina. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July=-0.41. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). 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 strongly suggests that could be a possibility. 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
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table