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.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.1 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 12.7 secs from 343 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 15.7 secs from 277 degrees. Wind east 6-8 kts. Water temperature 65.3 degs. At Santa Barbara no data was available. At Santa Monica swell was 2.7 ft @ 16.5 secs from 280 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 4.1 ft @ 13.5 secs from 269 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 13.9 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 9.4 ft @ 15.7 secs from 281 degrees. Wind northwest at the buoy 6-12 kts. Water temp 60.1 degs.
46006, 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Sunday (11/6) in North and Central CA Swell #3 of the season was hitting producing waves at 15-16 ft at top exposed breaks and reasonably clean but pretty soupy and a light south wind in effect. At Santa Cruz the same swell was producing waves in the 10 ft.cgius range on the face and clean and lined up but a tad raw. Alot of water moving around. In Southern California Swell #2 was hitting producing waves in the head high to 2 ft overhead range and clean and lined up. Down in North Orange Co sets waves were chest to head high clean and lined up and rideable but far from large. Hawaii's North Shore was getting sideband Gulf swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead at top spots and clean and lined up. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting Gulf swell with waves head high or so and chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
Swell from the third in a series of gales in the Gulf of Alaska was hitting mainly North California with significant class swell. Much swell has hit the coast in the past 4 days. And more is to come. A broad system developed on the dateline Sat (11/5) and is to track into the Gulf on Mon (11/7) with 34 ft seas sending swell towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. And another is forecast for the dateline Tues (11/8) limping into the Gulf Thurs (11/10) with up to 34 ft seas aimed like the previous system. after that, things settle down. What an epic run of surf already for Central and North CA, with more to come.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday AM (11/6) the jetstream was slightly .cgiit over Japan but then consolidated just east of there ridging slightly over the dateline with winds 150 kts then falling into building trough over the gulf of Alaska with winds to 190 kts tracking east to a point 600 nmiles off North CA, then weakening substantially while easing northeast and moving over the Pacific Northwest. There was great support for gale development in the Gulf trough. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to steepen into Monday (11/7) with winds 190 falling directly into it still offering great support for gale development while winds start building in the ridge over the dateline at 210 kts and starting to fall southeast, again feeding another cycle of development for the Gulf, with a new trough building there on Wed (11/9) with 180 kts winds falling directly into it. Great support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to weaken on Thurs (11/10) while 140 kts winds continue streaming consolidated off Japan ridging slightly over the dateline. Those winds to consolidate nicely by Fri (11/11) on the dateline at 170 kts looking to start falling into the Gulf, but then not congealing as in the past, with instead a rather flat looking weak trough in.cgiay in the Western Gulf on Sun (11/13) offering only minimal support for low pressure development. By Sun (11/13) the jet is to be consolidated running over the width of the North Pacific roughly on the 40N latitude line, but a little .cgiit over Japan consolidating just a bit east of there with the aforementioned trough still in.cgiay in the Gulf and then tracking northeast pushing into the Pacific Northwest. A good flow but nothing exceptional. Suspect the Active Phase of the MJO might be taking a break then.
On Sunday (11/6) swell from Storm #3 was hitting California (see 3rd Gulf Gale below). Gulf Gale #4 was developing in the Gulf (see Gulf Gale #4 below). And yet a 5th system is forecast for the Gulf (see Possible Gale #5 below). A prolific pattern was continuing for the Gulf of Alaska.
3rd Gulf Gale (Swell #3)
On Thurs AM (11/3) a new fetch of 45 kt northwest winds built in the Central Gulf right where mult.cgie other system have tracked getting good traction on an already roughed up sea state. Sea built from 23 ft at 40N 160W. Fetch in the evening eased east and building to 45 kts with seas building from 28 ft at 41N 152W (291 degs NCal). On Fri AM (11/4) fetch was fading from 45 kts from the west aimed well at California with seas 32 ft at 43N 147W (291 degrees NCal). Fetch is to fell southeast in the evening at 40 kts from the west with seas fading from 34 ft at 41N 145W (290 degrees NCal). A quick fade followed. A solid pulse of west swell is possible for Central CA late in the weekend.
NCal: Swell arrival at 6 PM Sat (11/5) building into the evening pushing 11-12 ft @ 16 secs (17-18 ft). Swell holding into Sunday AM (11/6), then slowly fading through the day, down to 8.5-9.5 ft @ 15 secs (13-14 ft). Swell fading Mon AM (11/7) from 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell direction: 288-292 degrees
Gulf Gale #4
Another gale developed on the dateline Sat AM (11/5) with 45-50 kt west winds over a solid area and seas building from 35 ft at 44.5N 179E. In the evening 45-50 kt west winds were tracking east-southeast in the Western Gulf with seas building to 35 ft over a broad area at 43N 172W. The original fetch faded but a new fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds were building in the Western Gulf on Sun AM (11/6) with seas 33 ft over a large area at 40N 164W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. 40 kt north-northwest winds to track east in the evening with 34 ft seas over a large area in the Western Gulf at 43N 157W still targeting Hawaii but more so at the US West Coast. Fetch fading from 40 kts on Mon AM (11/7) and lifting north into eh North Gulf with seas fading from 32 ft over a large area at 41N 151W. Fetch fading from 30-35 kts in the evening in the Northern Gulf with seas fading from 27 ft over a large area at 35N-47N 149W. Basically a wall of large seas tracking east. Possible solid swell to result for Hawaii and more directly for the US West Coast.
Hawaii: For.cgianning purposes expect swell arrival late on Mon (11/7) building to 10 ft @ 17-18 secs at sunset (17-18 ft Hawaiian). Swell peaking a few hours past sunset. Solid swell in 10 ft @ 15 secs (15 ft Hawaiian) range expected Tues AM (11/8) fading slowly from there. Swell Direction: 340 degrees
Possible Gale #5
And another small gale is to be behind that forming off the North Kuril Islands on Mon AM (11/7) with west winds 45 kts and seas 30 ft at 50N 169E. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds to start falling southeast moving near the dateline with seas 31 ft over a modest area at 47.5N 178E. On Tues AM (11/8) fetch is to hold at 40 kt from the northwest with a mini storm building east of it with 50+ kt winds over a tiny area with seas 33 ft at 47N 178W. Fetch to hold in the evening at 40 kts with the mini-storm still at 50+ kts. Seas 35 ft seas at 44N 172W with the mini storm producing a tiny area of 36 ft seas at 44.5N 155W. On Wed AM (11/9) fetch is to fade from 40-45 kts in both systems with with seas 33 ft at 42N 166W and 36 ft in the mini system at 46N 151W. Fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with seas 32 ft at 40N 158W and the mini system fading from 32 ft at 45N 151W. On Thurs AM (11/10) 30-35 kt northwest winds are to be fading in the Gulf with seas fading from 27 ft over a broad area at 37N-46N 150W. Basically another wall of large seas tracking east. Possible solid swell to result for Hawaii and more directly for the US West Coast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday AM (11/6) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in control of California coastal waters with low pressure building in the Gulf and front moving towards the coast from well out at sea. Monday the front from that gale is to be moving up to extreme North CA with south winds 15 kts from Cape Mendocino and south winds reaching south to maybe Pt Reyes at 5 kts at sunset. On Tuesday (11/8) the front is to weaken and stall off the coast dissipating offshore after sunset. South winds to be isolated to North Ca and only up to 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino. On Wednesday weak high pressure is to try to develop from Monterey Bay southward in patches while another front builds over outer waters. On Thursday the front is to stall 550 nmiles off Central CA with north winds 10 kts for San Francisco southward. Friday the front is to dissipate while moving into Cape Mendocino early with south winds 20 kts there and rain pushing south to Pt Reyes later in the day. Saturday light winds are forecast early everywhere with high pressure again trying to get a toehold in later but weakening on Sunday (11/13) with another weaker front building off the Pacific Northwest.
No swell of interest was in the water and no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
On Fri (11/11) a small gale is to be tracking off the Kuril Islands producing a short lived fetch of 40-45 kt west winds and 30 ft seas targeting Hawaii. But it is to dissipate when it hits the dateline Sat AM (11/12) with seas fading from 22 ft. Modest swell for the Islands is possible.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Active MJO In Control for the Next Week
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 all but gone except for remnants in the upper atmosphere. La Nina is developing but weaker than expected.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Saturday (11/5) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and solid over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but strong easterly over the KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to still be in.cgiay but other indicators suggest the Active Phase is.cgiaying a role.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the eastern KWGA on the dateline 11/6 and are to be steadily fading over the next 3 days, with a near neutral wind pattern expected by the end of the forecast period at 11/13. This is a continuation of the first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina which started on 9/23 and is continuing through today. We are now thinking it will not end anytime soon but rather will just pulse, stronger at times, then weaker, in true La Nina fashion.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 11/5 a modest Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA in the West Pacific. The Statistic model projects that pattern holding and slowly weakening for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific 12 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/6) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the Maritime Continent. It is forecast to build 5 days out in the West Pacific at moderate strength continuing east crashing in strength as it passes south of North America 8 days from now, weakening steadily and holding position there. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening less and making more eastward progress reaching Africa 14 days from now. We suspect that the Active Phase of the MJO is in.cgiay by virtue of the SOI (see below) and is to track east for the next 2 weeks. This is good news.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/6) This model depicts a weak Active pattern easing east from the dateline pushing into Central America on 11/21. A stronger Inactive pulse is forecast over the West Pacific on 11/16 tracking east and reaching Central America 12/11. A modest Active Phase is forecast for the West Pacific 12/6 tracking east.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/2) This model depicts no MJO signal present with neutral wind anomalies in.cgiay. No change is forecast until the Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific starting 11/18 holding through 12/4 but with neutral wind anomalies holding in KWGA. A weak Active Phase is forecast to follow 12/12-1/19 with weak west anomalies for the KWGA. Overall the MJO signal is projected to be very weak and this pattern is to hold as we move deeper into Fall. We suspect La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies in the KWGA but not producing an outright Inactive Phase of the MJO.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/6) No Change - Actual temperatures are stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 157E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 180W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. This is expected with La Nina developing. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 175W with neutral to weak negative anomalies east of there to Ecuador. The cool subsurface flow is weakly negative with one tight pocket that was down to -4 degs now only at -2 degs at 140W down 125 meters but otherwise no cooler than -1 degs below normal at 150m. The Kelvin Wave pipeline is full of neutral to slightly cooler than normal water. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/30 depicts the same thing but a bit cooler. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so.
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: (11/5) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates a small cool pocket of water along the immediate coast of Peru but it appears to be fading compared to days past and no longer reaches the Galapagos. Warmer water is in control along the coast of Ecuador reaching to the Galapagos. Cool water becomes more defined just west of the Galapagos and continues along the equator continuously out to 125W a little stronger than weeks past. Cool water that has had a larger footprint west of there out to at least 160W is looking far weaker now, as if La Nina is moving east. La Nina is in control of surface waters of the Central Pacific, and is now starting to take control of the East Pacific too, but with less energy.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/4): A mostly neutral trend is in control of the entire equatorial Pacific. Pockets of warming and cooling waters are present as they have been for months but balanced towards a neutral pattern.
Hi-res Overview: (11/4) A La Nina cool pool is most present in the Central Equatorial Pacific from 120W to 175E. But a thin continuous cool stream is now present extending from the Galapagos to 120W on the equator. La Nina is building slightly.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/6) Today's temps were falling some at +0.452, down from a slightly warmer peak 2 days ago. We're moving into a cooler pulse here now.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/6) temps were warming at -0.645. We're moving into a warmer pulse here now. Temps are oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.3 to -1.0 degs until the warming spike in late Sept. Temps bottomed out at -1.0 degs near 7/21-7/26.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/6) This model suggests La Nina held from July thru Oct 1 in the -0.55 deg range. The forecast has upgraded some with temps holding at this level into Jan, maybe dipping to -0.6 degs in late dec. Then temps are to start rising steadily from Jan 1 reaching neutral in March 2017 and up to +0.2 degs late April. This is very interesting with the model holding the strength of La Nina at minimal ' La Nina' territory.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume depicts temps have reached their peak minimum at -0.6. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to -0.2 in Jan 2017 and neutral in April, starting to turn weakly positive after that to +0.6 in June. This is up slightly from last months peak low temp of -0.7 degs and barely in La Nina territory. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/6): The daily index was well negative for almost a month, but started turning positive on 11/1 and is at +3.24 degs today. It reached it's peak low at -35.46 on 10/28. The 30 day average was still falling at -5.03, up from -5.10 on 10/31. This strongly suggests the Active Phase of the MJO or some other mode of variability was having the same effect as the Active Phase of the MJO. The 90 day average is up some +5.36. La Nina is evolving, but not strongly (so far).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/6) Today's value was rising slightly at -1.88. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina is getting better established.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Sept) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.87 and -1.06 in Sept.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Sept) are: +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52 and +0.45 in Sept.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive until Aug 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 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
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table