New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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: 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.
On Tuesday (11/3) North and Central California was getting the last energy from ET Lupit with waves head high or so and clean with clear skies. Southern California had some thigh high surf up north and socked in, and also in the thigh high range down south with fog in control there too. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some northerly windswell from a gale that was north of the Islands starting to build-in at 2-3 ft overhead and a little raw though wind was not bad yet. The East Shore was also getting this northerly swell at head high to maybe 1 ft overhead and lumped with northeast winds. The South Shore had some thigh high sets and clean.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for swell from ET Lupit all but gone by Wednesday with a few chest high leftovers, then going flat on Thursday. Southern California is to see and even smaller version of Tuesdays Lupit swell on Wednesday at knee high fading out entirely on Thursday. The North Shore of Hawaii is to start seeing some semi real swell on Wednesday (11/4) from a gale that pushed from Kamchatka to the dateline over the weekend producing up to 25 ft seas with surf at 3 ft overhead late holding into Thursday, with maybe a few 4 ft overhead sets. The East Shore is to see some of that same dateline energy at head high to 1 ft overhead late Wednesday into Thursday. The South Shore is to start seeing some small background southern hemi swell starting later Thursday continuing in to Friday then slowly heading down over the weekend.
Longterm the MJO is moving into the Inactive Phase with the Active Phase starting to exit out over the Eastern Pacific. A gale tracked from Kamchatka to the dateline Sunday/Monday (11/2) while falling southeast, generating swell expected to hit the Islands (see above). Otherwise a storm is forecast to build in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska Thursday/Friday (11/6) generating up to 55 kt winds and 44 ft seas all aimed well at the Pacific Northwest with energy dropping south into Central CA from a northerly angle. Of course this is all just a forecast, with no winds yet blowing on the oceans surface.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (11/3) the North Pacific jetstream was consolidated into a single flow that was raging at 210 kts forming a powerful ridge pushing hard northeast over the dateline and north of the Aleutians, then dropping down into the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska and almost starting to form a trough there before ridging again and pushing into British Columbia. Limited support for gale development in the Gulf proto-trough. Over the next 72 hrs that trough is to effectively get pinched off on Wednesday with more energy moving in from the dateline on Thursday forming a legitimate trough with 160 kt winds flowing under it and moderating while pushing into Northern CA Friday (11/6). Decent odds for gale development in the Gulf. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to fall apart and split over Japan to the dateline, then consolidating east of there but with winds only 100 kts. A bit of a trough is forecast in the Gulf on Sunday (11/8), but pushing onshore over the Pacific Northwest late Monday. Maybe a weak gale to result. After that the jet is to consolidate over it's width but ridge north fully through the Bering Sea offering nothing in terms of swell producing gale activity for the North Pacific.
At the surface on Tuesday (11/3) strong high pressure at 1036 mbs was centered on the dateline pushing the storm track north of it, over and just barely south of the Aleutians. No swell producing fetch w as occurring. Over the next 72 hours high pressure on the dateline is to start slowly fading on Wednesday (11/4) but still driving the storm track northeast off the Kurils then southeast into the Gulf of Alaska. A primer gale is forecast off British Columbia on Wednesday (11/4) with 35 kts winds not doing too much. But of more interest is a strong storm forecast directly behind. On Wednesday AM 45-50 kt west winds are forecast at 50N 165W aimed right up the 307 degree path to Central CA, building to 55 kts in the evening at 50N 152W aimed right down the 310 degree path to Central CA and better at the Pacific Northwest. Thursday AM (11/5) a broad fetch of 45-50 kt northwest winds is forecast sinking southeast at 46N 150W aimed directly down the 301 degree path to Central CA and very well at Oregon. In the evening 45-50 kts winds to hold but move north to 49N 150W aimed down the 310 degree path to Central CA and right at Oregon and Washington. Friday AM (11/6) 40-45 kt northwest winds are to be fading from 50N 140W targeting British Columbia and Washington well.The wave models are suggesting seas in the 40-44 ft range, in the swell window for the Central CA on up to the Pacific Northwest. Any definitive forecast would be worthless at this early date, though it seems reasonable that some swell could result for the US West Coast.
Kamchatka Gale (Hawaii)
Previously a small gale developed off Kamchatka on Saturday (10/31) producing 35 kt northwest winds and tracking fast to the east-southeast dying 1200 nmiles north of the Hawaiian Islands early Monday AM (11/2). 26 ft seas were projected off Kamchatka Saturday evening at 47N 168E pushing down the 319 degree path to Hawaii over a moderate area fading to 23 ft Sunday AM at 47N 175E (326 degrees) and down to 19 ft in the evening and fading from there. A good portion of this fetch was aimed well at the Hawaiian Islands. Good potential for modest sized 113-14 sec period swell pushing into the Islands on Wed/Thurs (11/5).
Expect swell arrival in Oahu on Wednesday late afternoon reaching 5.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (7.5 ft faces) building some overnight continuing at 6.9 ft @ 13 secs (8.5 ft faces) early Thursday (11/5) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 319-328 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (11/3) a light wind flow was in effect off the entire CA coast, if not an outright offshore flow. By Wednesday (11/4) the beginning of the end is forecast with south winds starting to set up from Big Sur Northward at 10 kts nearshore as a weak front approaches associated with a building gale in the Gulf, and continuing Thursday. Winds to die on Friday (11/6) as the front nudges up to the coast while high pressure builds-in behind. Then Saturday north wind is to take over at 15 kts continuing Sunday, perhaps finally relenting some on Monday (11/9). in all a pretty messy picture for the coming 5+ days. But Southern CA is to be mostly isolated from all of this other than the afternoons of the coming weekend, when northwest winds are to move onshore.
With the MJO moving into the Inactive Phase, net tropical activity is heading down and expected to stay there through 11/27.
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
At the surface on Tuesday (11/3) no swell producing fetch was occurring. The models indicate maybe yet another gale developing under New Zealand on Wednesday (11/4) but pushing southeast with all fetch aimed the same way, resulting swell only for the Ross Ice Shelf (Antarctica).
New Zealand Gale
Previously a weak gale tracked east under New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (10/29) producing a modest sized fetch of 30-35 kt southwest winds aimed well to the northeast generating 27-28 ft sea sat 55S 175E Thurs AM. Limited background swell is possibly for the Hawaiian Islands starting Thursday (10/5) with swell to 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft faces), continuing into Friday at 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) with residuals into Saturday (11/7) at 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees.
Another New Zealand Gale
Another weak gale pushed under New Zealand on Monday AM (11/2) generating 28 ft seas at 55S 170E aimed a bit to the northeast. Fetch faded through the day with 26 ft seas at 55S 174E then dissipating Limited background swell for Hawaii is possible starting roughly Wednesday (11/11).
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 the models suggest another small gale is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Saturday (11/7) with 45 kt northwest winds fading to 40 kts in the evening , then regenerating in the Northeastern Gulf on Sunday (11/8) with northwest winds again to 45 kts but on the very northern edge of the Central CA swell window. Possible 30-32 ft seas to result. But there remains much variability in the models from run to run, so no specific outcome is predictable yet.
A calmer pattern is to follow with high pressure moving into the Gulf mid-next week. .
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (11/3) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving from the Active Phase to the Inactive Phase, signaling the start of a weaker north Pacific Storm pattern for the next 3 weeks starting about a week from today. The ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) index remaining negative with the Daily SOI index at -11.26 (27 days in a row solidly negative and 38 consecutive days nearly negative/not positive). The 30 day average was falling to -16.95 and the 90 average was down to -5.52. This is looking more like what would be considered real a El Nino. This is the deepest the 30 day average has been since April of the 2006 El Nino event, and still heading down.
Wind anomalies at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models indicated light to moderate westerly anomalies over most of the entire equatorial Pacific from just northeast of New Guinea over the dateline and extending east into Central America. Mild to moderate eastern anomalies associated with the Inactive Phase of the MJO continue covering the Northern Indian Ocean and were pushing east reaching the Philippines and a bit east of there. The Active Phase is to continue in the Pacific tracking east through 11/7, with the Inactive Phase reaching to the dateline at the same time then weakening while drifting east reaching into Central America on 11/22. This is stronger than previous forecast, typical of the models. net storm actively is likely to be suppressed at least through this time frame. A weak start to the next Active Phase is forecast percolating in the Indian Ocean on 11/22.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (11/9) indicates warm anomalies have built yet more, extending the length of the equator from Ecuador to the dateline at 1.5 degs C higher than normal or more. This is a significant change from even the last update on 10/29 which in turn was an upgrade from the previous data. This is very good news. In short, the Kelvin wave that hit Central America nearly a month ago has manifest itself at the surface in warmer waters across the length of the tropical Pacific, exactly what is required for a legitimate El Nino to develop. The expanse of the warmer waters continues to build north of the equator, solidifying it's grip up the coast of Mexico and Baja (though still retreated from Southern and Northern CA - the result of a local north wind and high pressure), and extending west almost to Hawaii then southwest to the dateline. A cool trail, the result of upwelling from Super Hurricane Rick, was evident off Central Mainland Mexico to Baja. This overall warmer water signature remains not not anything exceptional, but clearly is a moderate El Nino. In reviewing surface water temp anomalies over the past decade and more, this is in no way similar to the monumental ENSO event of '97/98. But as previously stated, it still surpasses any event since then (over the last 12 years) in terms of water temps and areal coverage and is only building on that position.
Of interest, the water temp anomaly data provided by NOAA/NESDIS (satellite based) versus the TAO/TRITON buoy array, present different depictations of the same event. The TAO array suggests max heating is occurring on the dateline, with temps easing as one tracks east, while the satellite based data from NOAA presents an analysis of continuous warm waters over the length of the equator from Ecuador to the dateline. The difference is in how the data is collected (buoys at fixed points versus a satellite view of the entire playing field). We're siding with the satellite view not because it is more favorable, but because we believe it more accurately represents reality. The buoy arrays strength is in waters temps at depth (i.e. for detecting Kelvin Waves). This is exactly what the array was built to detect. The satellite view cannot do that. Likewise, the satellite has far superior coverage.
Below the surface on the equator things continue to look excellent, and getting better with each passing day. A steady flow of warmer than normal subsurface water continues tracking from the West Pacific (150 m below the surface) under the dateline and breaking the surface near Central America as it has for months now. Surface water temperatures have jumped up off Central America as a result of the last Kelvin wave dispersed there, feeding the developing warm water pool and fueling El Nino. A core of 2 deg warmer than normal water that first appeared under the dateline on 9/17 moved east to 175W by 9/22 and 172W on 9/24, then built to 3 degrees above normal (9/29) and continued growing as of 10/18 at 160W. Data on 10/20 depicted intensification with temps pushing solidly 4 degrees C above normal. And as of 10/22 that anomaly looked to be broaching the 5 degree mark and was holding if not expanding on 10/25. On 10/26 it was confirmed at 5 degrees above normal and racing east, much faster than previous Kelvin Waves and located at 145W , and then 135W on 10/29 and 125W on 10/31 with 4 degree anomalies extending the whole was back to the dateline. On 11/3 the Kelvin Wave built yet more, with temps to 6 degrees above normal at 130W with the leading edge at 125W. This is a very solid Kelvin Wave indeed, and large in areal coverage too extending 3600 nmiles miles long. This wave is the result of a prolonged persistent westerly surface wind flow that had been in-place west of the dateline from 9/8 and was still continuing on 11/3. It is expected to reach the coast of Ecuador possibly late November or earlier. This should have a significant positive impact enhancing the existing warm pool when it hits Central America.
On 10/1 a solid patch of westward winds were depicted in-control of the West Pacific with strong west anomalies extending to almost the dateline. This had been in-play since 9/27 and was associated with tropical systems Parma and Melor. A full on Westerly Wind Burst was in effect. As of 10/3 fully blowing west winds were subsiding, though westerly anomalies continued reaching to the dateline. And by 10/6 just light west winds were in effect west of the dateline. But then again on 10/7 another group of fully blowing west winds were depicted extending all the way to the dateline, with decent force too. Anomalies were in full effect to the dateline and beyond to the east. On 10/11 light west winds were still in effect to the dateline with solid anomalies over the dateline and to a point south of Hawaii. And by 10/13 a light west flow was in effect with full west anomalies still in place to the dateline and east to about Hawaii fading some into 10/20 but still light west winds were west of the dateline and anomalies east of there. Then on 1021 another batch of fully blowing west winds were in-play with solid anomalies to 160W (south of Hawaii) and almost to 140W, making further eastward progress than anything so far this El Nino event. By 10/24 that pattern continued if not intensified with fully blowing west winds to the dateline a solid anomalies to 140W and maybe even more. And on 10/26 the pattern continued, with anomalies pushing even further eastward to near 130W. On 10/29 full blowing west winds and anomalies continued as documented above. This put anomalies over almost the entire equatorial Pacific. Impressive. And on 10/31 the pattern continued with weak west winds in the west and anomalies all the way to 110W, basically covering the entire equatorial Pacific Ocean. finally on 11/2 the westerward blowing winds died on the far West Pacific as the Inactive Phased took control there. But anomalous west winds continued from the dateline almost the whole way into Ecuador. This suggest a significant eastward propagation of warm water is in-play and remains very good news for the development of El Nino. Again, this is classic El Nino symptoms. This is the first such event for this El Nino. For almost 2 months (since 9/8) a continuous moderate westerly anomaly has been in-play from the west up to the dateline. These westerly anomalies started with Typhoon Dujuan and continued with Choi-Wan gently feeding the subsurface warm water flow. And then with Parma, Melor and Nepartak, that flow was enhanced. At this time all these anomalies appear to be consolidating the resulting warm waters into one strong Kelvin Wave, the one currently pushing east from the dateline (see above). This one is expected to reinforce if not deepen the warm anomalies on the surface over the equator.
At this time we are saying this developing El Nino will survive with effects continuing in the atmosphere until at least the late Spring of next year. All data suggests this will not be a strong El Nino, more likely a moderate one. NOAA's last update (10/8) forecasts the same outcome, though hints at a possible intensification (but not likely). A solid accumulation of warm water in the equatorial East Pacific is evidence in-favor of continued development. As long as there continues to be WWB's (as there obviously is), then warm water will be migrating east, and the warm water pattern will hold if not build, and the atmosphere above it will respond in-kind to the change (towards El Nino). At this point there is no evidence to suggest this El Nino will stall or dissipate. The only remaining question is whether it will hold, or grow. And current data indicates that the warm pool will hold if not slowly build. And historically it is already larger and strong than any other in the past 12 years.
The current El Nino is gaining strength, with a 2 degree water temp anomaly in the tropical East Pacific the likely outcome. Coverage is pretty solid for this event, but the lack of really high water temp anomalies will likely limit it's strength. Strong El Ninos bring lot's of bad weather to the US West Coast, along with the potential for storm and swell enhancement. A moderate El Nino provides storm and swell enhancement, a gentle but steady push/momentum in-favor of storm development rather than the manic frenzy of a strong El Nino, but without all the weather associated with a strong event. So in many ways a moderate El Nino is more favorable from a surf perspective. As of right now things remain better than anything the Pacific has seen in the past 12 years regarding anomalous sea surface temperatures, besting anything since the big El Nino of 1997. That is very good news. But the lack of anomalous water temps exceeding 3 degrees and an unremarkable SOI suggests a modest El Nino at best. Still, it should be enough to provide storm enhancement, and a better than average winter surf season for the North Pacific, and still likely better than anything in the past 10 years. Better yet, if it's not too strong (as this event appears to be) perhaps it will not degrade into La Nina the year after (which typically happens after stronger El Ninos), but hold in some mild El Nino like state for several years in a row. This would be an even better outcome.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no swell producing fetch of interest forecast.
Details to follow...
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
Interview With Stormsurf: The crew at SurfScience.com worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing. This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others. See the full thing here: Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf
Mavericks - Everest of the Sea & Longboard Vineyards: Come late October Sonoma County will not only welcome a new crop of world class wines, but the award winning photography of some of Action Sports best lensmen. “ Mavericks – Everest of the Seas” comes alive again just in time to set the stage for another epic Big Wave Season. Mix two of Northern California's finest institutions – big wave surfing and the wine country – and you have what promises to be an amazing weekend at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room in Healdsburg
October 23 – 25.
Relive heroic battles between man and wave as seen through the eyes of the cutting-edge photojournalists who risk life and limb to document the wave's intense man-against-the-sea drama and obsessive lifestyle of Maverick's elite riders. Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be unveiling his latest release, The Peter Mel/Mavericks Cabernet Sauvignon. This signature wine will be blended by not only Shakked but guest vintner, Peter Mel. Mel, one of the most respected names in Big Wave Surfing is known as perhaps the most skillful surfer ever to ride Mavericks. The famed spot off the Half Moon Bay. In October of 1998 he was whipped into to what is now considered the biggest wave ever ridden… Mel along with the featured photographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand for the Friday night reception. The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
Longboard Vineyard has always had a soft spot for surfers. It's a place where you can hangout at a redwood-surfboard bar, or sample one
of its award winning wines while kicking back on a comfortable sofa watching surf movies. For this harvest weekend event Shakked has
enlisted “Mavericks: Everest of the Seas,” the heralded collection of Mavericks surf photography from Frank Quirarte, Doug Acton, Seth
Migdail and Ed Grant.
“Everest of the Seas” first made its debut recently at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, drawing large crowds and an
enthusiastic response. It just finished a one-month highly successful run at San Francisco's world class Museum and Gallery, SFMOMA.“Everyone who sees the exhibit is just blown away,” said Grant, the curator of the Coastal Arts League Gallery. “Both surfers and non-surfers can't help but get caught up in the energy and stoke that surrounds Maverick's, the surfers and photographers who put it on the
line every time they go out there.”
The event also represents a high point in the career of Oded Shakked, who was born in Israel and grew up near a beach just north of Tel
Aviv. Immersed in surfing from the start, he made several trips around Europe's Atlantic coast while discovering, to his delight, that “it
was easier, cheaper and safer to drink good red wine than bottled water.” His twin loves of surfing and wine brought him to California,
where he studied winemaking at UC Davis and became enamored with the people, climate and rich soil of Sonoma County. He founded Longboard Vineyards with the motto “Wine, waves and soul,” making it a highly unique fixture in wine country.
The October 23-25 weekend will also feature the sale of surfboards and memorabilia, along with Acton's acclaimed book, “Inside Maverick's.”
Admission is free. Opening reception sponsored by Maverick Events and Longboard Vineyards
The Kelly Slater Project - A fundraiser is scheduled for Aug 29th at the Cocoa Beach Country Club to help raise funds for both the Kelly Slater Project and the Central Florida Animal Reserve. A Casino night is planned including a silent auction and raffle. Sponsors are also needed. Learn more about these projects at : http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/
Rebuild Jeff Clark: Jeff Clark the first pioneer of Mavericks, recently underwent hip resurfacing surgery due to severe pain from deterioration of his hip. Needless to say the procedure is very expensive and his insurance only covers tiny portion of the bill. If you're interested in learning about the procedure or would like to donate to help Jeff out, please take a look here: http://www.rebuildjeffclark.blogspot.com/
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
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.
Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/
Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table