Thursday, January 19, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.9 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 9.3 ft @ 15.0 secs from 312 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.4 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 12.8 secs from 266 degrees. Wind west 16-18 kts. Water temperature 59.0 degs. At Ventura swell was 3.4 ft @ 12.5 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.6 ft @ 12.5 secs from 268 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.3 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 3.1 ft @ 13.1 secs from 281 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 13.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 9.2 ft @ 12.2 secs from 270 degrees. Wind west 10-16 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.0 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Thursday (1/19) in North and Central CA a mix if Gulf swell and local windswell was producing waves in the 10 ft range at top spots and lumpy and raw with much local windswell intermixed. It was cleaner at protected breaks. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead and jumbled even though wind was somewhat offshore. It was not real rideable. In Southern California up north surf was shoulder high but pretty raw and jumbled with an onshore flow adding some lump. In North Orange Co surf was shoulder to head high and chopped with stiff north winds in effect. In San Diego surf was head high and fairly lined up but completely chopped with whitecaps and wind in effect. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid energy from the Second Japan-Dateline swell with waves 10 ft and clean and lined up but a little wonky. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around dateline swell at head high and lightly chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A gale developed off Japan Sat (1/14) with seas building to 29 ft on Sunday, then redeveloped while tracking to the dateline Mon-Tues (1/17) with seas to 37 ft. From there it tracked towards California Wed-Thurs (1/19) with seas fading from 3o ft range. Swell is peaking in Hawaii and is slated to build in CA later in the day but raw. And a new strong system was developing in the Gulf on Wed-Thurs (1/19) peaking just 600 nmiles off North CA on Fri PM (1/20) with seas to 42 ft. Large raw local swell to impact North and Central CA. Property owners take precautions now. And another system is forecast building off Japan Sat (1/21) building while lifting east-northeast and expanding in coverage with seas to 43 ft on the dateline Mon (1/23) then tracking into the Western Gulf later Tuesday and fading with seas dropping from 30 ft. And yet another storm is forecast behind that tracking from the far Northwest Pacific to the Dateline Tues-Thurs (1/26) with 32 ft seas aimed east. The North Pacific is alive!
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (1/19) the jetstream was well consolidated tracking east off Japan with winds to 180 kts, weakening some s it approached the dateline, then rebuilt to 200 kts north of Hawaii before starting to fall southeast with a trough building directly over Central CA. There was good support for gale development over the length of the jet and specifically along the CA coast. Over the next 72 hours this pattern is to hold with the area of weakest winds moving over the dateline Sat (1/21) and the jet almost splitting, but not quite. 170 kts winds to continue streaming off Japan and the trough over California is to move inland over Central CA being fed by 180 kts winds. A weather event is likely there. By Sun (1/22) a new trough is to be building in the Eastern Gulf being fed by the leading edge of the split with 140 kt winds falling hard south into it. And winds are to be building to 180 kts off Japan with another trough developing off the back end of the split over the dateline. Both are to be very supportive of gale if not storm development. Beyond 72 hours on Mon (1/23) the California trough is to be moving inland generating more weather for California while the dateline trough moves to the Gulf and fades some. But 200 kt winds are to pushing off Japan on Tues (1/24) day reaching over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii and stationary into Thurs (1/26) offering great support for gale development through no clearly defined troughs are forecast. A very productive pattern is developing.
On Thursday (1/19) swell from another gale that traversed the North Pacific was hitting Hawaii and poised for California (see Japan-Dateline Gale #2 below). Also a small but potentially potent storm was developing in the Central Gulf tracking east towards California (see Storm #9 below).
Japan-Dateline Gale #2
Another gale started developing just off Japan Sat AM (1/14) with winds 35 kt from the west and seas building from 20 ft at 32N 153E. Fetch expanded in coverage in the evening from the west at 35-40 kts with seas building to 27 ft at 31N 153E aimed east but of no real interest yet. On Sun AM (1/15) 35-40 kt west winds were covering a moderate area west of the dateline with seas 28 ft at 32N 161E tracking east. More of the same occurred in the evening with 35-40 kt winds and 30 ft seas over a small area at 32N 165E. On Monday AM (1/16) the gale started fading with west winds in the original fetch but a new fetch of 40 kt west winds building just north of it approaching the dateline with seas in the original fetch at 28 ft at 32N 173E and 35 ft seas in the new fetch up at 38N 173E. The new fetch took over in the evening while crossing the dateline with winds 45 kts from the west and seas to 36 ft at 37N 180W. On Tues AM (1/17) west fetch was still at 40 kts tracking east with 34 ft seas at 36N 172W targeting Hawaii well but also taking aim on the US West Coast. The gale lifted northeast in the evening and rebuilt with winds 45 kt from the northwest in the Central Gulf with seas 33 ft at 39N 163W targeting mainly the US West Coast. The gale tracked east in the Eastern Gulf on Wed AM (1/18) with 40-45 kt northwest over a solid area and 31 ft seas at 41N 152W. In the evening residual 40 kt northwest fetch was just 600 nmiles off Central CA with seas 29-30 ft at 40N 140W. The gale is to move inland over Central CA Thurs AM (1/19) with nearly 20 ft seas impacting the coast there. Some swell for Hawaii likely with raw swell possible for California. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs AM (1/19) from 7.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (10.5 ft). Residuals on Fri AM (1/20) fading from 4.0 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 312 degrees
North CA: Swell arrival on Thurs (1/19) building to 9 ft @ 17-18 secs (15 ft) and buried in locally generated lesser period energy. Swell holding on Fri (1/20) at 12 ft @ 14-15 secs (17 ft) and starting to get overrun by new local swell with local swell also intermixed. Swell Direction: 285 degrees
Storm #9 (Property Alert)
A strong local storm started developing in the Western Gulf Wed PM (1/18) with 40 kt west winds developing and getting traction on an already agitated ocean surface with seas building to 34 ft at 37N 168W. On Thurs AM (1/19) it moved into the Central Gulf with 50 kt northwest winds building while falling southeast with seas 39 ft over a modest sized area at 42N 158W. In the evening fetch is to fade to 45 kts from the northwest and getting good traction on the oceans surface with seas on the increase to 40 ft at 42N 149W. On Fri AM (1/19) 45 kt northwest winds to be building in coverage just off North CA with 41 ft seas in the Eastern Gulf off Cape Mendocino at 40N 141W building to 42 ft at 10 AM at 40N 138W (700 nmiles from San Francisco). The storm is to hold off the North CA-Oregon border in the evening while fading with winds down to 45 kts over a small area just off Cape Mendocino and seas holding at 42 ft over a solid area at 40N 135W aimed directly at North and Central CA. The gale is to fade just off the Pacific Northwest Sat AM (1/21) with 39 ft seas 400 nmiles from San Francisco directly on the 292 degree path there and 30 ft seas just off the coast from Pt Conception up to Central Oregon. Large raw swell is possible. Ocean front land owners should take immediate action to secure property now.
North CA: Expect swell building Fri PM at sunset to 15 ft @ 15-16 secs and continuing up overnight. Swell to peak near 8 AM Sat(1/21) at 20.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (36 ft) from 292 degrees. Swell starting to fade some late. Residuals on Sun (1/22) holding at 11.7 ft @ 15 secs (17 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees
Southern CA: Swell building through the day Sat (1/21) to 9.2 ft @ 16 secs late (14 ft). Swell peaking overnight near 1 AM Sun (1/22) 10 ft @ 17-18 secs (17-18 ft) then fading and dropping at sunrise from 9.3 ft @ 17 secs 15-16 ft. Swell Direction: 290-300 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (1/19) the first of three storm systems had pushed through North CA. Winds were southwest to west at 15 kts along the North and Central coasts and west at 15 into Southern CA. Basically it was a chopped mess everywhere. Scattered rain was falling and sometimes heavy in showers in NCal. 14-21 inches of snow had fallen in the past 24 hours at Tahoe but was starting to break up by noon. Still 4-5 inches of additional accumulation are possible through the day. A stronger front impacts the coast Fri AM with 25-30 kt south winds and reaching San Diego late morning. Heavy rain expected through the day down into San Diego. Solid snow for all the Sierra starting at Tahoe at 10 PM Thurs with up to 10 inches of accumulation till 7 AM Friday then an additional 17 inches through the day and evening. Saturday AM (1/21) brisk northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts early fading for North and Central CA late afternoon and starting to turn south and up to 30+ kts by sunset reaching to Pt Conception after midnight. A light flow for Southern CA. Light rain fading early for all of CA. 10 inches of snow for the Sierra during the day. Another strong system is forecast impacting North California Sat PM with south winds 35+ kts reaching to Pt Conception Sunday sunrise at 25 kts and pushing down past San Diego mid-morning. Solid rain for North and Central CA by 8 PM Sat to sunrise Sunday and San Diego by sunrise Sunday. 10-12 inches of snow for Tahoe Saturday evening, then snow building in Tahoe at sunrise Sunday getting very heavy midday holding into early evening pushing into Mammoth. Low snow levels Sun AM with snow down to just east of Auburn (I-80), well east of Placerville (I-50) and on Jackson. 16-18 inches of additional accumulation. Total accumulation for Tahoe from Thurs AM to Sun PM (1/22) 64-72 inches and 48 inches for Mammoth. Monday (1/24) remnants of the gale linger just off South Oregon with northwest winds 15-20 kts for the entire state. Rain continuing even down to San Diego but getting progressively more scattered through the day. Snow backing off for Tahoe but continuing through the night and less snow for Mammoth. Tuesday the low falls south and fades by afternoon off Pt Conception. A light offshore flow sets up from Monterey Bay northward later in the day. Snow fading out early Tues AM for the Sierra. Total accumulations for the three storms at Tahoe to reach up to 84-90 inches. Wed and Thurs (1/26) high pressure and light winds take over. No precip forecast.
No swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Another storm is forecast developing off Japan on Fri PM (1/20) with 50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 26 ft. On Sat AM (1/21) 50 kt west winds to be easing east with 36 ft seas at 33N 153E. In the evening fetch is to be building in coverage at 45 kts while moving east with seas building to 37 ft at 34N 165E. The gale is to track east to the dateline on Sun AM (1/22) a grow in coverage significantly with 45 kt northwest winds on the dateline over a large area and 37 ft seas at 37N 174E. The gale is to lift northeast some in the evening with winds still 45 kts from the west and 41 ft seas over a solid area at roughly 41N 179W. 45 kt northwest winds to continue east on Mon AM (1/23) into the Western Gulf with 45 ft seas at 43N 171W. More of the same is forecast in the evening with winds 45-50 kt from the west and 44 ft seas over a broad area at 44N 169W. Fetch is to be fading Tues AM (1/24) from 40 kts in the Northern Gulf with seas dropping from 41 ft at 43N 161W. The gale is to dissipate after that. Something to monitor.
And yet another gale is forecast developing off North Japan on Mon PM with 40 kt west winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (1/24) 40 kt west winds to be holding in place with 28 ft seas building at 44N 158E targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. This fetch is to track east in the evening at 40 kts with seas 27 ft at 42N 160E. Yet more of the same to continue with the gale fading on the dateline on Thurs (1/26). More swell is likely.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina is Over in the Ocean - Waiting for Atmosphere to Respond
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 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 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. 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 early 2017, it appears to be fading.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wednesday (1/18) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but lighter 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 and light easterly near 160E, then fading to calm into the western KWGA. East anomalies over the KWGA when they exist are attributable to La Nina being modulated by the MJO (amplified during the Inactive Phase, weakened during the Active Phase).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Modest east anomalies were modeled over the western KWGA (West Pacific east to 160E) with weak west anomalies on the dateline. The forecast suggests east anomalies weakening some but holding over the far West Pacific with west anomalies holding on the dateline. This appears to be a mixed pattern no indicating either the Inactive or Active Phase of the MJO. The first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina started on 9/23 and continued into 12/13, then started oscillating beyond. Easterly anomalies have been consistent, pulsing stronger at times, then weaker, attributable to La Nina and modulated by the MJO. But even that may be coming to an end.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 1/18 a weak Active Phase was present over the dateline. The statistic model projects it fading and all but gone 5 days from now with the Inactive Phase of the MJO migrating from the Maritime Continent east reaching the dateline 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase fading as it hits the dateline 10 days out and the Active Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific. This model suggests a stronger MJO signal in the weeks ahead, much more so than what has been in play for the past year.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/19) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is strong over North Africa and forecast to move east over the Indian Ocean 1 week out then fading away while moving east 1 week beyond. The GEFS model depicts about the same thing but with the Active Phase holding together better and moving into the West Pacific 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/19) This model depicts a moderate Inactive signal is over the dateline. The Inactive Phase is to track east reaching Central America 2/8. A weak Active Phase is to be building over the West Pacific 2/8 tracking east to the dateline on 2/28. All the above data suggests the Inactive Phase is getting ready to take control. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/19) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was past it's prime over the dateline today with neutral anomalies in play. The Inactive Phase is to take control for a short window 1/25-2/12 with neutral anomalies continuing, then the Active Phase returning 2/11-3/6 with weak west anomalies in the West Pacific. A neutral pattern is to follow with west anomalies slowly getting more traction over the dateline region from mid-March on. The MJO is very weak and having little influence on winds in the KWGA, which are dictated more by La Nina. But with it fading, a more normal MJO/wind pattern should take hold in Spring. La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies over the dateline but not producing an outright bias towards the Inactive Phase of the MJO. Likewise the MJO is serving to dampen the effects of La Nina when in the Active Phase.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/19) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 165E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 177W 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 in play. Anomaly wise there's no signs of La Nina. Warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 180W. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador with a pocket of less than -1.0 deg anomalies over a shallow area at 140W to the dateline. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/13 depicts 2 pocket of of cooler water to -1.0 degs in the East Pacific with neutral water around them. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with remaining negative anomalies weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/13) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cms control portions of the equatorial Pacific mainly from 110W to 140W and 5 degs north and south. Slowly sea levels are rising with La Nina loosing it's grip at depth.
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: (1/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Panama and then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 120W with neutral temps biased warm out to 155W. A pocket of cool water extends southeast off Costa Rica and Southern Mexico reaching west to 105W but dissipates 2 degs north of the equator. La Nina is gone. It almost looks like El Nino is returning, but that is not possible.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/18): A significant warming trend continue occurring along Chile, Peru Ecuador out to the Galapagos. A small pocket of cooling is just west of the Galapagos but then a warming trend continue west of there to 160W. In any other year one would wonder if El nino was developing. Most interesting.
Hi-res Overview: (1/18) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 130E. The only real remnants are from 140W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse. La Nina is loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/19) Today's temps were steady at +0.506.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (1/19) temps were steady at -0.063 or effectively neutral. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/19) This model suggests La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started fading with temps rising to -0.5 on Nov 1 up to -0.2 degs on Dec 1 and neutral on Jan 5. La Nina is dead by this measure too. The forecast has temps gently rising to to +0.35 degs in March building to +0.5 degs in May and holding if not rising into Sept at +0.6 degs, bordering on minimal El Nino. This indicates that La Nina is over and a return to normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Jan Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.2 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to neutral 0.0 in March 2017 warming to +0.2 degs in May and holding into the Fall. This is no different than the Dec forecast and suggests La Nina is over. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/19): The daily index was falling hard at -33.54 and has been negative for 8 readings now. The 30 day average was falling hard at +3.09 and has been falling for 8 days. The 90 day average was at 0.07 falling for 6 days. All this suggests the Active Phase of the MJO was trying to get a foot in the door, and that La Nina was weak.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (1/19) Today's value was falling at -0.95. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina was getting better established. But that has backed off, with it trending generally upwards (a better direction) and suggesting La Nina is fading.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.87, -1.06 and -0.70 in Oct. But in Nov, it was up to +0.80 and +0.45 in Dec. This looks much like the warm phase of the PDO.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec) are: +1.53, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52, +0.45, +0.56, +1.88 and +1.17 in Dec.
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive 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