Thursday, December 29, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 10.3 secs from 60 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 12.2 secs from 271 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 4 kts. Water temperature 60.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.9 ft @ 11.8 secs from 265 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 12.3 secs from 254 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.9 ft @ 12.6 secs from 246 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.9 ft @ 12.4 secs from 271 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 10.4 secs from 279 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 12-14 kts. Water temp 57.2 degs.
See 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 Friday (12/29) in North and Central CA East Gulf swell was fading in the the chest high range and clean early but with some lump in the water and pretty soft. Protected breaks were waist high on the sets and clean and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and clean weak and inconsistent. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high with rare near head high set peaks and clean with brisk side-offshore wind. In North Orange Co surf was waist to maybe chest high coming from the north but slow and clean with no wind early. South Orange Country's best breaks were shoulder high or so on the sets and clean with light offshore wind. In San Diego surf was waist high on the sets and lined up with clean conditions but slow. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell at shoulder high and clean at top spots but weak. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was getting the same northeast windswell at chest to shoulder high and chopped from moderate northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Friday (12/29) no real swell was in the water. Beyond a broad but very ill-defined system pushed off the Southern Kuril's Tues-Wed (12/27) with 22-23 ft seas aimed east but not making much easterly headway. Small swell is possible for Hawaii. Another gale is to form from the remnants of this system Sun-Mon (1/1) lifting from west of the Dateline up into the Northern Gulf producing mostly 34 ft seas aimed east. And maybe another to follow further south off Japan moving to the dateline Wed-Fri (1/5) with 30-33 ft seas aimed east. But no solid storms are charted.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Friday AM (12/27) the jetstream was pushing solidly east off Japan with winds 170 kts pushing over the dateline and reaching to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii before splitting and loosing coherency. From there the jet split at 150W with the northern branch pushing east and into Washington with the southern branch falling southeast over Hawaii and then on towards the equator. Over the next 72 hours wind energy is to continue pushing east but also loosing velocity falling to 130 kts Sunday evening (12/31) northwest of Hawaii with no solid troughs forecast offering no real support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (1/1) winds energy is to be fading in the Gulf of Alaska but a trough is supposed to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf lifting northeast into later Tues (1/2) offering some limited support for gale development. A weak trough is to develop in the split flow off California later Tues (1/2) lifting northeast into North CA 24 hrs later offering some hope for precipitation there. At the same time the jet is to start pulsing again off Japan on Wed (1/3) with 200 kt winds falling southeast forming a new trough midway towards the dateline and tracking east Thurs into Fri (1/5) with winds 160-170 kts and consolidated over the entire region from Japan lifting up into the Northwestern Gulf with the trough centered near the dateline and offering good support for gale development. The jet is to split weakly at 150W but with most energy falling south on the 140W longitude line perhaps forming a trough 500 nmiles off Southern CA. This suggests perhaps support for precipitation again into California. So the jet at this time suggest both support for gale development and perhaps a break in the drought in California.
On Friday (12/29) swell from a weak gale gale that developed off Japan was moving towards Hawaii (See Japan Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in association with the broad trough over the dateline Sun AM (12/31) with 45 kt northwest winds over a small area on the dateline and 33 ft seas at 39N 178E aimed east. In the evening winds to build to 60 kts from the west over a small area with seas building to 38 ft at 39N 171W. On Monday AM (1/1) the gale is to be lifting northeast in the Western Gulf with 45 kt west winds generating a moderate area of 35 ft seas at 44N 160W. In the evening winds are to be holding while tracking northeast at 45 kts over a small area in the Northern Gulf aimed east with 35 ft seas holding at 50N 157W. This system is to be fading Tues AM (1/2) in the Northern Gulf with winds fading from 35 kts and seas 30 ft up at 55N 153W. Possible swell is to be radiating east with sideband energy towards Hawaii and more direct but distant energy towards California. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: For planning purposes based purely on forecast data (not confirmed measurements) expect swell arrival on Tues (1/2) building to 6.7 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunset (10 ft). Swell fading overnight dropping Wed AM (1/3) from 5.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees
On Mon AM (12/25) a gale was tracking east from the Kuril Islands with 40-45 kt west winds barely pushing into open waters of the Northwest Pacific with seas 26 ft at 42N 148E aimed east. In the evening fetch built some in coverage at 40 kt from the west and barely clear of the Southern Kuril Islands with seas building from 28 ft at 43N 150E aimed northeast. On Tues AM (12/26) that fetch was fading while a new fetch developed pushing west off North Japan at 35 kts and not jet getting traction on the ocean. In the evening fetch was fading from 35 kts over the same area aimed east with seas 24 ft at 38N 150E. More of the same occurred Wed AM (12/27) with 24 ft seas at 36N 150E. More of the same in the evening with 30 kt west winds and 23 ft seas at 35N 155E. This system continued fading Thurs AM (1/28) with 22 ft seas at 34N 160E then faded from there. Not much is expected to result, maybe background 13 sec period swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/30) building to 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building Sun (1/31) to 3.4 ft @ 14 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell steady Mon (1/1) at 3.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Friday AM (12/29) high pressure at 1022 mbs was centered 200 nmiles off Central California and ridging northeast pushing over North CA with weak low pressure just west of it. The high was producing a weak northerly flow over outer waters of North and Central CA and calm winds nearshore early. A weak front associated with low pressure pushing into Oregon late Friday is to possibly produce light rain for North CA down to Pt Arena Saturday AM then dissipating. A light north flow is forecast for North and Central CA waters Saturday. Sunday AM (12/31) the high is to weakened and low pressure 600 nmiles off the coast is to start developing setting up and offshore to southeast flow for all of North and Central CA. Monday AM (1/1) winds to switch to southeast for all of North and Central CA driven by high pressure inland and a cutoff low 550 nmiles off Southern CA. More of the same is expected Tuesday as the low moves closer to the coast with winds turning east from Monterey Bay northward in the afternoon. Light rain is possible building over Central CA in the morning building up into Southern Cape Mendocino at sunset with snow overnight only for the highest elevations of the Southern Sierra. Wednesday (1/3) the low is to hang off Pt Conception with south winds 10 kts for Santa Barbara and up to 20 kts for Morro Bay and still east from San Francisco northward early but turning progressively southeast. Light rain expected for the whole state. Snow limited to only the highest elevations of Tahoe and the Sierra south of there. Thurs (1/4) the low is to be lifting north 250 nmiles off the coast with south winds 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA with light rain for the entire state focused mainly in the SF Bay Area. Snow possible for the Central Sierra. Fri (1/5) the low is to stall off San Francisco with south winds 15-20 kts from Pt Conception northward to Cape Mendocino and light rain building over the whole state focused on Central CA.
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
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 theoretically a much broader and well defined gale is forecast developing off Japan on Tues AM (1/2) with 40-45 kts northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft aimed southeast at 37N 152E. In the evening 40 kt northwest fetch is to be tracking east with seas building to 32 ft over a small area at 35n 159E aimed east. The gale is to start building in coverage just west of the dateline Wed AM (1/3) with additional 40 kts west winds and seas building to 35 ft at 38N 165E targeting Hawaii well. The gale is to fragment in the evening while lifting northeast with west winds 35-40 kts in pockets and seas fading from 28 ft in pockets at 39N 172E. On Thurs AM (1/4) Fetch is to start consolidating south and mid-way to the dateline at 40-45 kts from the west with seas building from 29 ft over a broad area at 32N 164E. 40-45 kts west winds to be pushing east in the evening with 30 ft seas at 33N 170E targeting Hawaii well. Fri AM (12/5) the gale is to be fading and reorganizing well to the north over the Eastern Aleutians with seas from the original fetch fading from 27 ft at 33N 178E targeting Hawaii. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
ESPI Index Continues to Steadily Rise
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 but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Thurs (12/28) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific but weak from the west in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but light westerly over the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/29) Moderate west anomalies were modeled over the Eastern KWGA and modest westerly anomalies over the far West KWGA. This pattern is to hold into Sun (12/31) then by Mon (1/1) moderate to strong east anomalies are to take over the entirety of the KWGA and hold through the end of the model run on 1/5. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 12/28 a weak Active/Wet signal was fading south of Hawaii with a moderate Inactive/Dry Phase moving into the far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and pushing to the dateline over the 15 day run while weakening. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive Phase building stronger over the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/29) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak in strength over Africa and is to continue weak and pushing east through the Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/29) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Wet MJO pattern over the Dateline and its to slowly ease east into Central America 1/18. A weak Active/Wet pulse is to follow in the west on 1/16 making little headway. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/2 fading while moving east. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (12/29) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry pattern developing over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the dateline with weak west anomalies in the far West KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline holding through 1/14/18 with east anomalies slowly taking over the entire KWGA then starting to retreat 1/15 with west anomalies building into the Western KWGA. On 1/25 the Active Phase is to take control in the West Pacific holding through 2/7 with weak west anomalies strengthening some in the core of the KWGA and pushing east with east anomalies fading in coverage and moving progressively further east and gone by 2/24. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/15 holding through the end of the model run on 3/28 but west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the west KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/23, then start moving east reaching the dateline 3/13 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/1/18. Even so, no significant oceanic change is expected as a result of this until at least May 2018.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/29) The overview pattern is that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 179W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and steady at 125W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 150 meters filling the area between Central America to 170W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +3.0 degrees down 100-150 meters deep with the dividing line between cool temps and warm temps at 180W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/24 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +3 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be discharging to the surface and loosing density and intensity at depth.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/24) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 155W with no breaks and 3 small pockets to -15 cms.
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: (12/28) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains is in control. Upwelling is fading along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru. Stronger cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W with a reasonably well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region, though not as strong as weeks past. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/28): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru, then in some pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was a smaller number of pockets of cooling water interspersed over the same area. A warming trend was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (12/28) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity pushing west over the Galapagos and peaking, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino 3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/29) Today's temps were steady at -1.166 degrees, rebounding some after bottoming out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/29) Today temps were steady at -0.814 degs. On (12/7) temps hit a record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/28) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.80 in early Dec and are to be slowly rising to -0.6 degs in early Feb. The weak upward trend is to continue with temps reaching -0.5 in April and -0.20 degs in July 2018 and holding there. This suggests the peak of La Nina has occurred and it is to be fading into the summer of 2018.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume updated (12/8) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.7 in early Nov and are to hold into Dec then slowly rising, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in July2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Nov average indicates temps -0.9 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (12/29): The daily index was rising at +0.41 today. The 30 day average was falling at -2.14. The 90 day average was falling at +6.18. This suggests La Nina is in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (12/29) The index was rising steadily for 2 weeks now at -1.10 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend suggests La Nina is loosing its grip some. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still 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 is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
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, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60, Nov = -0.52. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. 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, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05 . 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