Saturday, February 24, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down and not updating.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 15.2 secs from 236 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.8 ft @ 9.5 secs from 277 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.1 secs from 244 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.7 secs from 229 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 16.2 secs from 271 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 14.7 secs with Japan swell swell 4.1 ft @ 14.9 secs from 316 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 20-23 kts. Water temp 51.6 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 Saturday (2/24) in North and Central CA local north windswell and Japan swell were intermixing producing waves in the shoulder to head high range and pretty lumpy and uneven but with light local wind early. Protected breaks were chest high and pretty raw and warbled and mushy but not chopped early. At Santa Cruz surf was maybe waist high and weak and slow but clean. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and clean and weak. In North Orange Co surf was flat to thigh high and clean and weak. South Orange Country's best breaks were thigh to waist high and weak but clean. In North San Diego surf was thigh to maybe waist high at best breaks and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting leftover swell from off Japan with waves chest to head high and clean and raining. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at 1 ft overhead and heavily textured from moderate east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (2/24) modest swell was hitting California and fading in Hawaii from a gale that developed on Sun (2/18) off Japan with 39 ft seas aimed east then faded quickly later in the day before ever reaching the dateline. Two weak systems are forecast Sat-Sun (2/25), one off the Kuril ISlands and another in the North Gulf but not producing anything of interest. After that a gale is forecast just off Oregon on Wed-Thurs (3/1) producing 34 ft seas aimed southeast. Maybe a stronger system to develop after that off Japan on Thurs-Sat (3/3) producing up to 39 ft seas aimed east but odds are low. La Nina in combination with a developing Inactive Phase of the MJO is likely to continue suppressing swell development for the next 2 weeks.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (2/24) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan semi-consolidated with winds 130 kts and weakening while tracking east almost reaching the dateline then splitting with the northern branch pushing northeast over the East Aleutian Islands before falling south down the coast of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest before moving inland over Central California while the southern branch continued east over Hawaii and east from there into Baja. A weak trough was off the Kuril Islands offering some support for gale development there. This is the same pattern that has been in play for weeks now. Over the next 72 hours through Tues (2/27) the pattern is to remain unchanged but with a better defined trough pushing off the Kuril Islands on Tuesday offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the split point moving to the dateline on Wed (2/28) as the trough west of there pushes northwest. A trough is to also develop along the immediate coast of the Pacific Northwest on Thurs-Fri (3/2) slowly moving inland offering some support for gale development there while another trough starts building in the Northwestern Gulf. It almost looks like the ridge in the east is to start breaking down or at least weakening allowing a progressive trough pattern to set up north of it. Something to hope for.
On Saturday (2/24) modest swell from a gale that pushed off Japan on Sat-Sun (2/18) was hitting California (see Japan Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a tiny gale is to try and develop off the Kuril Islands Sat AM (2/24) with 40 kt northwest winds over a tiny area and seas building. The gale is to track fast northeast in the evening with winds still 40 kts approaching the North Dateline region with seas to 22 ft at 45N 171E aimed east. On Sun AM (2/25) the gale is to be moving over the North Dateline region and into the Bering Sea with 45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians with 26 ft seas at 50N 175E. By evening this system is to be all but gone moving into the Bering Sea with no seas of interest remaining. This is a significant downgrade from previous forecasts. At best small swell is possible radiating towards the US West Coast and well decayed upon arrival.
Also a small gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Sat PM (2/24) producing 45 kt northwest winds with seas building from 24-26 ft at 54N 143W and outside the NCal swell window. On Sun AM (2/25) the gale is to drift southeast some with a respectable area of 35 kt northwest winds with seas building to 24-26 ft at 51N 140W and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degrees NCal). In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the northwest with 20 ft at 48N 140W and again barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs NCal). Mon AM (2/26) fetch is to be gone with seas fading from 19 ft just off the Oregon and Washington coast at 45N 132W (319 degrees NCal). Possible north angled windswell to result for the Pacific Northwest down ito Central CA.
Another small gale started developing well off Japan on Sat PM (2/17) producing a decent sized area of 45+ kt west winds and positioned further south than previous gales mid-way to the dateline with seas building to 33 ft over a small area at 37N 156E. On Sun AM (2/18) the gale started lifting northeast with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 39 ft over a small area aimed east at 37N 168E. By evening the original fetch was gone lifting hard northeast with seas from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 38N 175E targeting Hawaii. This system dissipated and lifted north after that.
North CA: Swell to continue on Sat (2/24) at 3.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft) and again on Sun (2/25) fading from 3.5 ft @ 15 secs (5.0 ft) and then fading on Mon (2/26) from 2.9 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (2/24) high pressure at 1040 mbs was centered in the Gulf of Alaska ridging to California while a local low pressure system was over the coast of Washington producing a pressure gradient and north winds at 30 kts along the Washington Coast and 15 kts down to Pt Conception forecast building to 20 kts later in the afternoon. Light rain was falling for North CA down to Pt Arena but not expected to venture further south. North winds continuing at 15-20 kts on Sun (2/25) for North and Central CA with light rain for Cape Mendocino from another local low falling south. Monday (2/26) high pressure northeast of Hawaii at 1040 mbs and low pressure inland is to continue driving a north wind flow at 15 kts down the North and Central Coast early building to 30 kts in the afternoon and 20 kts into Southern CA then. Rain is to be tracking south from Pt Reyes early and points north of there falling to Pt Conception at sunset and Southern CA overnight. Snow for Tahoe early peaking late AM then fading late afternoon and overnight. 11 inches of accumulation possible at Squaw and 8 inches for Kirkwood. On Tues AM (2/27) the gradient is to continue with north winds 25-30 kts for North and Central early fading to 15+ kts in the afternoon and 20 kts early for SCal fading some later. Light rain and snow for Southern CA mainly early. Wednesday (2/28) the gradient is to dissipate and fall south with 15 kt north winds for Central CA early fading to light winds and south winds building for Cape Mendocino late as a strong gale builds off Oregon. Rain building over Cape Mendocino down to Monterey Bay later. Thurs (3/1) the gale is to fade stationary over the North Oregon border with a front and south winds 15-20 kts pushing south from San Francisco early to Pt Conception late afternoon and Southern CA overnight. Solid rain is to be from San Francisco northward early and light rain to Pt Conception and all that falling south and holding down to Ventura County. Heavy snow building for the entire Sierra through the day lightening some overnight. Friday (3/2) low pressure is to still be holding just off the Washington coast with northwest winds 20 kts for all of North CA and 15 kts down into Central CA and Southern Ca,, but lightening to 15 kts or less in the afternoon from Morro Bay southward. Snow continuing for the Sierra but fading late afternoon for the southern end. Saturday (3/3) north winds 10 kts forecast for all of California early with another low building well off the coast. Light rain along the coast early and snow for Tahoe fading mid-AM. Significant snowfall is possible but this system has been on and off the models so any details are premature to speculate on.
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 the models suggest a small gale developing rapidly off the Pacific Northwest Wed PM (2/28) with winds to 50 kts from the north and seas building rapidly to 32 ft at 45N 133W. The gale is to be moving inland over the Oregon-Washington border Thurs AM (3/1) with seas 32 ft at 44.5N 126W and east of the NCal swell window but with 24-26 ft seas at 42N 130W and in the swell window. In the evening a broad fetch of 30-35 kt north winds is to set up off BC and the Pacific Northwest generating 23 ft seas at 45N 135W aimed south (310 degrees NCal). On Fri AM (3/2) fetch is to be fading from 30 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 21 ft at 42N 132W. Swell possible if all goes as forecast.
On Fri AM (3/2) a gale is to be developing off Japan on with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 37 ft at 44.5N 156E aimed east. The gale is to lift east-northeast in the evening with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 39 ft at 46N 162E. On Sat (3/3) the gale is to be approaching the Northern Dateline region with winds 35+ kts and seas 36 ft at 48N 169E. Something to monitor.
And another gale is to develop in the Central Gulf on Sat (3/3) with 40 kt northwest winds and 32 ft seas aimed east at 42N 148W.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest some sort of gale developing in the Southwestern Pacific on Sun PM (2/25) producing 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 35 ft over a small area at 53S 170W. Mon AM (2/26) 50 kt southwest winds to be lifting northeast some with seas to 41 ft at 53S 159W. In the evening fetch is to hold at 50 kt from the southwest over a consolidated area with seas to 40 ft at 53S 145W. On Tues AM (2/27) 45 kt southwest winds to continue pushing east with seas holding at 41 ft at 53S 134W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40-45 kts mainly from the west with the gale falling slightly southeast with seas 42 ft at 56S 125W aimed east. The gale is to fade while moving east and beyond the eastern edge of the California swell window Wed AM (2/28). Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
ESPI Up/Cool Pool Fading
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. A double dip La Nina is in control 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 Fri (2/23) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but weakly from the west over the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area east to 175E. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central Pacific and modestly from the west over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/20) This model suggests moderate to strong west anomalies were over the entirety of the KWGA extending east to 150W on the equator. This pattern is to hold through 2/22 then starting to fade with east anomalies building in the KWGA on 2/23 and be in control moderately mainly on the dateline by the end of the model run on 2/27. The Active Phase of the MJO is filling the KWGA but expected to fade with the Inactive Phase taking control by the end of the model run likely causing the jetstream to split even more but possibly allowing high pressure in the east to retrograde west.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (2/23) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was filling the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase holding position and slowly fading but still filling the KWGA through the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts effectively the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/24) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak over the Atlantic. It is to fade more and while tracking east into the Central Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run and incoherent. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/24) This model depicts a solid pulse of the Inactive/Dry Phase in the West and Central Pacific with no sign of the Active Phase anywhere in the Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push east to the East Pacific and into Central America through 3/17. A very weak Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific weakly starting 3/14 and pushing east to the East Pacific and Central America on 4/5. But the Inactive Phase is to be rebuilding in the far West Pacific on 4/3. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/24) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was gone with it's last remnants fading on the dateline. The Inactive Phase was building over the West KWGA with weak east anomalies indicated and it's to build east and take control 2/27 holding through 3/16 with mostly neutral or light east anomalies forecast in the KWGA. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/17 with west anomalies starting to build 3/12 and holding through the end of the model run on 5/24 even though a weak MJO signal is forecast through that period. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA at 165E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/4 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to steadily move east and out of the KWGA on 3/23. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 3 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/24) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is sequestered to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but loosing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is easing east today at 176E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was shallow but has made significant eastward progress migrating across the Pacific to Ecuador now and 25 meters deep or more the whole way east and 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures have reestablished over a small area at -2 degs at 130W and 75 meters deep and smaller than days past. Warm anomalies were building in the West at +3.5 degs at 180W down 150 meters and appear to be building east with the dividing line between that and cool waters moving east to 150W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/17 depicts warm water in the west at +4.5 degs reaching east to 155W. Cool water at -1.5 degs was filling the subsurface East Pacific and has significantly lost density and intensity from 160W and points east of there. Those cool anomalies continue erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/17) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific out to 155W and were diffuse.
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: (2/23) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pattern in the deep Southeast Pacific. Warm anomalies are holding off the coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador and into Central America while a cool upwelling pattern is indicated along the immediate coast of Peru. Weak warm anomalies are developing along the equator from the Galapagos out to 120W. Cool pockets were generally weak and diffuse from there west to 160W and with a smaller footprint than months past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/23): A warming trend is building solidly off South Chile pushing west to the Central Pacific. A weaker warming trend continues weakly off Chile and Peru and up to Central America with stronger warming advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 125W. There were no significant pockets of cooling water over the same area. A weak but steady warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/23) A significant erosion of La Nina is underway with warming building in the entire Nino1.2 region. A broad weak cool pocket is still present well off Chile and Peru but more so on the equator from 105W to the dateline, starting to look like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point south of Hawaii. Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/24) Today's temps were rising steadily at +0.035 degrees. Over all the trend is upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed 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: (2/24) Today temps were steady at -0.849. A dramatic rise occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. Since then temps have eased off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous 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 perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/24) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding since, up to -0.55 in early Feb. The model indicates temps rising slowly to -0.35 in early April, then falling slowly to -0.5 in July then holding, only to rise slightly into the Fall to -0.3 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but a hangover from it is to possibly hold weakly through Summer before fading more in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August and +0.5 in October. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/24): The daily index was positive today at 23.34. The 30 day average was rising some at -6.73 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was starting to develop. The 90 day average was rising at +-0.10 suggesting La Nina is dead.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (2/24) This index has recovered significantly up to -0.33, up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is gone. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
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 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.46, Dec= -0.18, Jan=0.24. 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 solid 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, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50. 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