Saturday, September 16, 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 2.5 ft @ 12.8 secs with south swell 1.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 198 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 10 kts. Water temperature 67.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.7 ft @ 12.6 secs from 162 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 191 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 213 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 10.4 secs from 187 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 7.1 secs with local windswell 4.3 @ 6.8 secs from 313 degrees and southern hemi swell 1.3 ft @ 14.9 secs. Wind at the buoy was northwest 10-12 kts. Water temp 63.3 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 Saturday (9/16) in North and Central CA local north windswell was was hitting exposed breaks producing surf at waist high or so and a but lumpy from southerly eddy flow wind. Protected breaks were waist high and textured from south wind. At Santa Cruz small fading background south angled southern hemi swell was hitting producing waves in the knee to thigh high range on the bigger sets and clean but with underlying lump. In Southern California up north waves were flat and nearly chopped from northwest wind. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was still hitting producing waves at waist to chest high and textured sweeping up the beach from the south. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were chest to maybe shoulder high and a bit textured from northwest wind but not bad. In San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high or so and pretty heavily textured from northeast trades. The South Shore was waist high on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at knee to thigh high and chopped from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (9/16) no swell of interest was in the way or en route to our forecast area. Locally produced north windswell was the best immediate hope for North and Central CA while easterly windswell is to be building some for East Shores of the Hawaiian Islands. Beyond a gale remains forecast for the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Sun (9/17) producing 26-28 ft seas aimed southeast. And maybe a gale is to set up in the far Southeast Pacific on Thurs (9/21) producing 32 ft seas aimed east in the California swell window but mainly targeting Central America and points south of there. But otherwise nothing of interest is on the charts.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (9/16) the jetstream was cohesive and forming a trough just off the Kuril's Islands reaching down to 40N then it running north up to 52N and building to 180 kts over the Eastern Aleutians then weakening off the US West Coast moving onshore weakly over the Oregon-California border. There was limited support for gale development in the trough of the Kuril's. Over the next 72 hours the Kuril trough is to build on Sun (9/17) but also start to get cut off while getting steeper and pinching off Tues AM (9/19) offering only limited support for gale development. At the same time the jet in east is to start building into a trough in the Northeastern Gulf with winds 170 kts diving southeast offering good support for gale development into mid-day Mon (9/18). At that time the trough is to start pushing into British Columbia and becoming landlocked. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to continue pushing off Japan down at 40N at 120 kts by Thurs (9/21) pushing to the dateline then splitting with weak energy pushing over Hawaii and most energy ridging north following the Alaskan Coast merging over North California and more of less holding into Sat (9/23). At that time the jet is to be pushing off Japan on the 38N latitude line and mostly traversing the North Pacific while slowly lifting northeast eventually pushing into British Columbia with winds 90-110 kts with no trough and no real support for gale development indicated.
On Saturday (9/16) no groundswell was hitting either Hawaii or California.
Over the next 72 hours low pressure that tracked east off North Japan on Tues (9/12) tracking fast to the east and pushing over the Eastern Aleutians Fri PM (9/15) starting to build while lifting north into the far East Bering Sea with a very shallow fetch of 30 kt northwest winds trying to get traction in the extreme Northwestern Gulf of Alaska. On Sat AM (9/16) winds are to be 35 kts in the Bering Sea but landlocked. But a shallow fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be reaching south into the Northwestern Gulf with seas trying to build from 22 ft at 53N 162W. By evening fetch is to start growing from the Eastern Aleutians southeastward at 40 kts with seas building to 25 ft up at 54N 158W. On Sun AM (9/17) fetch is to be tracking east through the Northern Gulf at 35-40 kts from the west and seas 28 ft at 53N 152W. Fetch is to ease east at 30-35 kts in the evening with seas 26 ft at 52N 143W. Fetch fading Mon AM (9/18) from 30 kts falling southeast off Vancouver Island and seas fading from 22 ft at 50N 137W and shadowed relative to Central CA.(321 degrees). Maybe some swell to result. Something to monitor.
Secondary fetch from this system is to rebuild off the immediate Washington Coast Tues PM (9/19) at 40-45 kts pushing into North Oregon Wed (9/20) with seas to 30 ft at 46N 124W impacting North Oregon directly. Large raw protoswell possible there.
Also a gale low is forecast developing on the dateline Sun (9/17) producing north winds of 35-40 kts then falling south some through the day with seas 22 ft at 45N 170E. More of the same is expected on Monday with fetch fading from 30 kts and seas 21 ft at 43N 170E but not aimed at our forecast area. This system to be gone on Tues (9/19). No swell to result.
For windswell relative to California: On Saturday (9/16) weak high pressure was ridging into North CA setting up a small area of 15-20 kt north winds over Pt Arena producing minimal local north windswell for North and Central CA. On Sunday (9/17) fetch is to be 20 kts over Pt Arena down to Pt Reyes and 15 kts down into Central CA producing raw local windswell. That fetch is to fade Monday then rebuild Tues (9/19) at 20-25 kts but focused over Pt Conception making windswell there and possibly down into Southern CA.
For windswell relative to Hawaii: Trades are to start building Sat (9/16) east of Hawaii at 10-15 kts driven by high pressure at 1028 mbs positioned 1200 nmiles north of the Islands. By Sun (9/17) fetch is to build to 15 kts over a continuous patch well east of Hawaii with windswell starting to develop. More of the same is forecast Mon-Tues (9/19) with east windswell holding on exposed east facing shores.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were occurring and none were forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/16) a small and weak gradient was over Pt Arena producing north winds at 15-20 kts falling south reaching down to San Francisco. The fetch is to be falling south at 15-20 kts on Sun (9/17) limited mainly from Pt Arena south into Central CA. High pressure is to start building off California on Mon (9/18) but not so strong nearshore with limited north winds 15-20 kts in patches over all of North and Central CA. Fetch is to build over Central CA up to Pt Reyes on Tues (9/19) at 20-25 kts later in the day and holding through Fri (9/22). Sat (9/23) the gradient is to lift north over North CA at 25 kts but light northwest over Central CA.
On Saturday (9/16) limited lingering swell from the far Southeast Pacific was still hitting Southern California bigger than expected. Swell from the Tasman Sea was hitting Hawaii but well filtered (see Tasman Sea Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Tasman Sea Gale
Also a gale developed in the West Tasman Sea just east of Tasmania Thurs AM (9/7) with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds tracked east over a tiny area with seas building to 32 ft at 49S 156E. On Fri AM (9/8) 40-45 kt southwest winds were approaching the south coast of New Zealand with 36 ft seas at 46S 160E. This system moved inland after that with seas fading from 30 ft at 44S 162E in the evening. Moderate swell is pushing towards Fiji with filtered swell possibly radiating past there towards Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/16) building to 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (9/17) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 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 take over the Gulf of Alaska starting Mon (9/18) at 1030 mbs shutting down any hope for gale development.
A local fetch of north winds are to be present over North and Central CA on Wed (9/20) with 20-25 kts north fetch over Central CA generating raw windswell there continuing into Thurs (9/21). Limited windswell production potential focused mainly on Central CA down into Southern CA. Friday the fetch is to lift north some later at 20-25 kts focused over North CA on Sat (9/23) making for better odds of windswell production from San Francisco southward.
For Hawaii trades are to start getting patchy and fading Wed-Thurs (9/21) with winds 15 kts from the east. Good odds for windswell development forecast. After that windswell is to fade.
Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing off the northern edge of Antarctic Ice in the Southeast Pacific with southwest winds 45 kts and seas building from 28 ft at 62S 144W. In the evening fetch is continue from the southwest at 40+ kts with seas 33 ft at 58S 127W. Fetch is to start pushing east and out of the California swell window at 35+ kts from the southwest with 31 ft seas at 55S 118W. Fetch is to fade and move east from there. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
La Nina Cool Pool Building Strongly
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 Fri (9/15) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and very strong over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were modest easterly in pockets over the East Pacific and strong easterly over all the KWGA. This looks like a classic La Nina setup.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/16) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. Strong east anomalies are to hold for and other day or so, then starting to fade through 9/19. A moderate easterly flow is to continue through the end of the model run on 9/23. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is refueling La Nina, either that or La Nina has taken over, completely squashing the MJO. Either way, this is not the pattern we wish for.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 9/14 a neutral MJO pattern (biased slightly towards the Active/West Phase in the West Pacific) was in control of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a the exact same pattern to continue for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but without the tendency towards the Active Phase.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak and incoherent and is forecast to stay that way. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/16) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase was strong over the East Pacific tracking east expected to fade over Central America on 9/27. A weak Active Phase is over the West Pacific tracking east reaching Central America into 10/16. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 10/11 easing east over the Central Pacific into the end of the model run on 10/24. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (9/16) This model depicts a strong version of the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO building over the KWGA with the Active Phase moving east and out of the KWGA with modest east wind anomalies over the far West Pacific. Those anomalies are to fade even as the Inactive Phase tracks east over the West Pacific through 10/5. After that a very weak version of the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 10/8 with a neutral wind pattern in play. . After that no clear MJO signal is depicted with a weak wind pattern in play through the end of the model run on 12/14. The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal is in control of the KWGA and is to hold till 10/2, then building in coverage while drifting east and out of the KWGA by the end of November. There's some sense the pattern is to start shifting east early November 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: (9/16) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps were depicted at 30 degs centered at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has moved west to 170W. The 24 deg isotherm continues retrograding west to 132W today and at 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and turning neutral to weakly negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs at the surface and to -3.0 degs at depth at 135W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +1.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep. The dividing line between cool and warm has moved west to 170W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/10 depicts the same thing, but with more cool water east and less warm water in the west. It looks like the cool water pocket at depth in the East Pacific is poised to erupt to the surface while east winds push all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/10) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms from 165W to Ecuador with a large pocket of -10 cm anomalies now present between 105W-160W suggesting a building cool pool at depth. This is not good.
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: (9/16) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cold pattern has developed on the equator. Upwelling is strong nearshore along Peru and Ecuador tracking solidly northwest then building in density over the Galapagos and 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. Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/15): A neutral temperature trend is along Peru then trending cool off Ecuador and then cold from the Galapagos out to 120W and fragmented cool pockets out to 140W. There are few interspersed warmer pockets from the Galapagos westward. La Nina is pulsing making solid headway.
Hi-res Overview: (9/15) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru then turning northwest off Ecuador building strongly while tracking west from the Galapagos to 140W and moderate out to the dateline. This pattern outlines the South Pacific high pressure system well which is assumed to be stronger than normal. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. Otherwise 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: (9/16) Today's temps were falling some at -0.335, 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 (9/16) temps have bottomed out at -0.799 and have been holding for the past week, down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently in the Spring through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/16) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.5 degs early Sept to -0.9 in early Oct and down from there to -1.5 in Dec. Then the trend is to turn upwards rebounding to -0.5 in April and neutral in June 2018. This suggests a legit La Nina now expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (9/11) continues to suggest a modest La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Jan/Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
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 for Sept average indicates temps -0.75 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (9/16): The daily index was negative at -4.22 the first negative reading in an otherwise unbroken continuous positive streak for months now. The 30 day average was falling at 6.60. The 90 day average was steady at +3.76. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (9/16) The index was rising some -1.09 (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). But we're deeper than that now. 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 for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). 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= -0.50, Aug= -0.68. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO discounting the recent La Nina dip. 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