Tuesday, August 22, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service. Buoy 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 12.8 secs with southern hemi swell 1.4 ft @ 11.6 secs from 198 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 70.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.8 ft @ 12.4 secs from 186 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.5 secs from 195 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 10.4 secs from 216 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 12.3 secs from 199 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.4 ft @ 10.0 secs with local north windswell 3.4 ft @ 10.1 secs from 310 degrees and southern hemi swell 1.9 ft @ 13.0 secs from 200 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 4-6 kts. Water temp 61.7 degs.
46006, 46059, 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 Tuesday (8/22) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at waist high on the sets and nearly clean with just some limited west texture. Protected breaks were near flat and swamped by tide with clean conditions. At Santa Cruz residual southern hemi swell was still producing waves at waist high and clean. In Southern California up north waves were thigh high on the sets and clean but warbled from wind further off the coast. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was still producing some surf with waves waist high or so breaking mostly on the beach and clean but slow. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were chest high and clean but weak and slow. In San Diego surf was thigh high on the bigger sets and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets thigh high and clean and slow. The East Shore was thigh high and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (8/22) small locally generated north windswell was present along the coast of North and Central California and forecast to fade more with no return till Fri (8/25) building some into the weekend. A gale was in the North Gulf on Tues (8/22) forecast to generate 25-30 kt west winds and 16 ft seas, but not enough to result in any swell. Hurricane Kenneth was midway between Baja and Hawaii tracking northwest but too far east of Hawaii to have any significant impact in swell production and too far west of California to be of interest. Windswell was building some along east shores of the Hawaiian Islands and is expected to continue that trend modestly Wed-Thurs (8/24) as the remnants of Kenneth interact with high pressure north of it. South swell was all but gone in California. Weak background southeast swell might arrive in Southern CA later Sun (8/27) from a gale previously off Southern Chile. Beyond a weak gale is forecast south of Tahiti on Fri (8/25) producing 28 ft seas aimed north. And maybe another is to track east under New Zealand over the weekend. but over all things are quiet and expected to stay that way other than local windswell until the North Pacific comes online.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (8/22) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 1100 nmiles northeast of Hawaii not reaching the US West Coast but starting to form a pressure gradient with Hurricane Kenneth positioned 1300 nmiles east of Hawaii, resulting in a band of east-northeast winds at 15 kts reaching from just north of Kenneth pushing over the Hawaiian Islands. This has the potential to start generating small easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands.
Also low pressure was centered over the Northern Gulf of Alaska at 1000 mbs generating a small area of 30 kt northwest winds but that is to fade by the evening. Seas to build to 16 ft but not high enough long enough to produce meaningful swell along the US West Coast.
Over the next 72 hours for California a weak pressure and wind pattern is to remain in play until Thurs (8/24) when the high north of Hawaii start ridging east forming the usual pressure gradient along the California coast with north winds building to 20-25 kts nearshore for all of North and Central CA starting to produce raw local north windswell later. That fetch is to hold if not build in coverage on Fri (8/25) continuing to offer raw local windswell production.
For Hawaii, easterly trades are to continue at 15+ kts driven by the interaction of what was Hurricane Kenneth and high pressure to it's north extending from 1200 nmiles east to Hawaii and up to the Big Island, resulting in building east windswell into Wed (8/23) and early Thurs (8/24) then fading from there.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Kenneth was positioned 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii on Tues AM (8/22) with 70 kt winds tracking north-northwest at 10 kts with seas 27 ft. Kenneth is forecast to continue on it's current heading in the evening but falling below hurricane status with winds down to 55 kts and fading from there and of interest only to commercial fishing vessels. But Kenneth is to generate a pressure gradient and enhance windswell relative to Hawaii (see Short and Long Term forecasts). Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (8/22) high pressure at 1024 mbs was 1200 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging east but not yet reaching the coast with a light windflow pattern in control. No change is forecast until Wed PM when the high is to just start reaching NOrth Ca with winds there building to barely 20 kts. Thurs AM (8/24) the high pressure system at 1028 mbs is to be ridging east from a point north of Hawaii with the usual pressure gradient redeveloping over California with north winds building to 20-25 kts along the entire coast of North and Central CA. Fri (8/25) more of the same is forecast but with the fetch growing in coverage with north winds 25 kts over Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts winds south of there down to Pt Conception reaching down to the Channel Islands. By Sat (8/26) the gradient is to have lifted north over North CA at 25+ kts and 10 kt north winds elsewhere south of there to Pt Conception. On Sunday (8/27) fetch is to start fading from 20 kts over Cape Mendocino and light south of there. A light north windflow is to follow through Tues (8/29).
On Tuesday AM (8/22) the jetstream continued in a zonal pattern with the northern branch running east on the 30S latitude line while the southern branch of the jet was running east on the 65S latitude line in the west with a ridge pushing it further south and into Antarctic Ice over the Southeast Pacific and winds very weak, only 70 kts over the entire South Pacific. No troughs were present and there was no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast until Fri AM (8/25) when a ridge starts building in the west pushing the jet down into Antarctica and sweeping east. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (8/26) the southern branch of the jet is to continue ridging south sweeping over the entirety of the South Pacific offering no support for gale development. But by Tues (8/29) the ridge is to dissipate with the southern branch tracking under New Zealand up at 60S with winds 130 kts offering some weak support for gale development. No trough is to result, but at least it's to be north of Antarctic Ice.
On Tuesday (8/22) small swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was tracking north (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was in play over the width of the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast.
Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat PM (8/20) a small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Sat PM into Sun AM (8/20) producing 33 ft seas at 57S 97W in association with a gale low there supported by an upper level trough. But most of this energy was targeting Mexico down into Peru and Chile.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (8/27) building to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building into Mon (8/28) to 2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell continues Tues (8/29) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 173 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (8/28) building to 2.2 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell building into Tues (8/29) at 2.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 170 degrees
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 regarding windswell production for California, high pressure at 1024 mbs is to still be ridging into the Oregon Coast producing 25 kt north winds but now focused over only North CA but with 20 kt north winds pushing south off the Central Coast and opening up more later in the day. North windswell continuing for North and Central CA but cleaner in Central CA compared to days past. More of the same is forecast on Sun (8/27) but with the fetch pulling further off the Central Coast. Monday (8/28) that fetch is to be fading from 20 kts and lifting north and moving out of California waters with windswell from it steadily fading and gone by Tues (8/29).
For Hawaii trades are to fall below 15 kts on Fri (8/25) with windswell production dissipating and not returning.
But starting Mon (8/28) another gale is to start building in the Gulf of Alaska producing a small area of 20 kt northwest winds 900 nmiles north of Hawaii falling south into Tues AM (8/29) moving to within 600 nmiles of Hawaii. Northerly windswell is possible.
Otherwise no low pressure systems of interest are to develop tracking east through the North Pacific.
Beyond 72 hours a small gale is forecast developing south of Tahiti Thurs PM (8/24) with 40 kt south winds and seas building from 27 ft over a small area at 48S 160W aimed due north. On Fri AM (8/25) fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts but over a building area with seas 30 ft at 42S 157W aimed due north. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35+ kts with with 29 ft seas at 40S 153W. Fetch fading from 35 kts Sat AM (8/26) with seas 26-28 ft at 38S 147W. Possible decent swell pushing north towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.
More details to follow...
La Nina in Control - But ESPI is Rising
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 and is holding.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (8/21) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but weakening over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the entire equatorial Pacific holding over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/22) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. But starting 8/23 moderate plus strength east anomalies are to start rebuilding over the entirety of the KWGA and holding if not building more through the end of the model run on 8/28. It appears an Inactive Phase of the MJO was building and feeding a La Nina pattern.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/21 a neutral MJO pattern was depicted over the entire equatorial Pacific. The statistical model depicts this pattern to hold at dead neutral for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with some signs of the Inactive Phase developing in days 5-10 in the far West Pacific, then fading.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/22) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO exceedingly weak and effectively nonexistent and is to remain weak and directionless over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but with it a little stronger over the Indian Ocean a week out. This is not promising.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/22) This model depicts a very weak Inactive/Dry pulse over the West Pacific. It is to track east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through 10/1. A neutral MJO pattern biased Dry is forecast to follow in the West Pacific and holding through the end of the model run on 10/1. So basically some flavor of the Inactive Phase is to hold for the next 40 days with no sign of the Active Phase of the MJO. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/22) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with weak east wind anomalies over the West Pacific and forecast building east over the bulk of the KWGA over the next few days, and this pattern is expected to hold but with east anomalies building in the far West Pacific 8/27-9/17. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 9/23 with west anomalies in control starting 9/25 through 10/23 when the Inactive Phase starts developing the West Pacific and west anomalies dissipate. A neutral wind anomaly pattern is to hold through the end of the model run (11/19). The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal redeveloped 7/25 from the dateline eastward then built a little on 8/15 and is to hold weak till 9/25, then building in coverage but drifting east. There's some sense the El Nino like core is to start shifting east from the Indian Ocean to the West Pacific in early November while the La Nina pattern shifts east too taking root entirely east of the dateline. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/22) A pattern change has set up the past month, with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs depicted at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line retrograded then stabilized at 167W. The 24 deg isotherm retrograded to 125W and is holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters) but that is expected to fade soon. The warm water layer in the East Pacific is getting shallower suggesting a transition to La Nina. Anomaly wise a clear change is developing with warm water dissipating and turning neutral +0.0 degs in the East Pacific but +1.0 degree anomalies building in coverage in the West Pacific at 125 meters deep. Cooler anomalies are in a pocket between at 125W at -2.0 degs, down 125 meters and tracking east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/16 depicts the same thing. It looks like the cool water pocket is poised to erupt to the surface in the equatorial East Pacific while east winds are pushing all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. This might be the start of a pattern to build warm water in the far West Pacific that eventually might be able to feed some sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern, a few years from now. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/16) Negative anomalies are holding coverage at -5 cms from 160-110w with a core at -10 cm at 140W suggesting a building cool pool 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: (8/21) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern developing with modest upwelling nearshore along Peru and Ecuador building while tracking northwest over the Galapagos and then flowing steadily west from there on the equator and well defined out to 160W. There is no breaks in the cool stream over this entire area. This looks very much like a classic La Nina signature. A broad pocket of cooling is also holding centered at 25S 100W (well off Chile). Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/20): A cool trend was strong from off Ecuador over the Galapagos and building at 110W out to 150W with a few lingering pockets of warm water intermixed, but strongly favoring the cooler water. An early start of a legit La Nina pattern is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (8/21) A clear legit La Nina cool stream has developed on the equator from Ecuador to 180W. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. And a building stream of cooler water associated with nearshore upwelling is depicted just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos feeding the larger cool pool further west on the equator. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/22) Today's temps were stable at -0.510, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (8/22) temps are stable inching upwards at -0.379, way down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/22) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in Aug to -0.5 in Oct easing down to -0.75 in Dec then stating to rebound to 0.0 in March 2018 and perhaps warming to +0.3 degs in April. This suggests a neutral pattern biased cool setting up for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (8/19) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Dec/Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume updated (8/20) depicts temps forecast to fade 0.0 degs in Aug, and are to hold there solid through Feb 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temps -0.01 degrees below normal through Jan. last month both models depicted temps at +0.3 degs above normal through the Winter. So this is a significant downgrade.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/22): The daily index was solid positive at +9.16 and has been generally positive for the past month or more. The 30 day average was rising some at 4.19. The 90 day average was rising at +1.02 or just north of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (8/22) Today's value was rising at -0.75 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning or a double dip 2 year La Nina. 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 continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
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=-0.41. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. 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. 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