Tuesday, January 3, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 8.6 secs from 59 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.5 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 12.5 secs from 193 degrees. Wind west 8-10 kts. Water temperature 58.1 degs. At Ventura swell was 0.8 ft @ 12.7 secs from 268 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 255 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.0 ft @ 13.6 secs from 237 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 270 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 11.9 secs from 319 degrees. Wind southeast 22-27 kts at the buoy. Water temp 53.2 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 Tuesday (1/3) in North and Central CA local north swell/windswell was producing waves in the head high to 1 ft overhead range and reasonably clean, with a little south lump running through it. It was chest to head high at protected breaks and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and heavily chopped from south winds. In Southern California up north surf was flat to thigh high and clean. Down in North Orange Co surf was flat and clean. In San Diego surf was knee to thigh high and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell at chest to shoulder high at top breaks and clean but weak. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves waist high and textured from light northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
The North Pacific continues in a funk with no real organized weather systems recently occurring and none forecast for the immediate future. But a week out things are to improve. In the mean time a cutoff low is generating a tiny area of 20 ft seas north of Hawaii today (1/3) somewhat targeting the Islands. And copious rain and snow is occurring and forecast to continue for the Sierras. Beyond an ill defined but broad low pressure system is to develop off the Kuril Islands Wed-Fri (1/6) but not resulting in seas of interest. But that is to be the primer, with a more organized system developing on the dateline on Sat (1/7) producing moderate area of 28-30 ft seas aimed east while another system develops in the Gulf generating 23 ft seas aimed south. And two new systems are to develop on the dateline and off Japan Mon-Tues (1/10) each with 38 ft seas. So it's snow for now and surf for later.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (1/31) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds to 160 kts forming a weak trough just east of the Kuril Islands offering minimal support for gale development there. But the jet .cgiit just west of the dateline much as it has been doing for a week now with the northern branch pushing north through the Bering Sea up into the Arctic Circle and then moving east over Alaska and into interior Canada with a cutoff low circulating in the Gulf of Alaska. The southern branch tracked southeast over Hawaii and down to the equator offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the .cgiit in the north is to only get more energized west of the dateline sucking much wind energy from it up into the Bering Sea then tracking east inland over Alaska and Canada. A huge hole is to be covering the entire Northeastern Pacific offering no support for gale development until Fri (1/6) when a small backdoor trough is to start pushing south off Central Canada. To the west a weak trough is to remain in.cgiay just off the Kuril's offering some support for low pressure development there. But overall the pattern looks anemic. Beyond 72 hours on Sat (1/8) the backdoor trough in the Gulf is to fall well south eventually pushing into Oregon on Mon (1/9) offering some support for local swell and weather production on down into California. But more importantly the .cgiit on the dateline is to dissipate some while winds build pushing off Japan at 180 kts reaching to the dateline on Tues (1/10) with weaker winds tracking into North CA rebuilding there to 140 kts still receiving backdoor energy falling south from Alaska. Maybe the .cgiit will finally start fading, but not likely until a legit Active Phase of the MJO appears.
On Tuesday (1/3) no swell of interest was in the water over the North Pacific. But a cutoff low was developing north of Hawaii. That cutoff low developed Mon AM (1/2) producing a small area of 35 kt northwest winds 900 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii with seas building to 19 ft at 37N 163W targeting a point a little east of the Islands. Fetch fell southeast in the late afternoon still at 35 kts with seas to 21 ft at 36N 160W. Fetch fell south Tues AM (1/3) at 30 kts 700 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii with seas fading from 20 ft over a tiny area at 34N 156W. Fetch is to fade thereafter. Small windswell is possible for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Windswell arrival is forecast on Wed (1/4) peaking mid-morning at 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.5 ft). Residuals fading fast on Thurs (1/5) from 3.6 ft @ 9-10 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345-350 degrees
Also on Tues (1/3) low pressure is to start developing off Japan half way to the dateline while lifting north. On Wed (1/4) the low is to reach gale status with 45 kt east winds in it's north quadrant impacting Kamchatka with no fetch aimed at our forecast area (Hawaii - California-Pacific Northwest). Additional secondary low pressure is to develop off Japan Fri (1/6) lifting northeast and starting to develop offering hope long term (see Long Term forecast).
Also on Friday (1/6) a fetch of 30-35 kt north winds is to start developing over the extreme north Gulf of Alaska driven by a cutoff low over the North Canada coast and high pressure over the Eastern Aleutians. In the evening seas to build to 20 ft over a small area at 52N 147W. On Sat AM (1/7) the low is to grow in size with 35 kt north fetch building coverage in the Gulf with 23 ft seas at 52N 146W. Fetch to hold in the evening with 23 ft seas falling south to 49N 144W. On Sun AM (1/8) the low is to hold just off British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest still generating 30-35 kt north winds and seas 20 ft at 47N 145W. In the evening a secondary low is to develop in the original fetch producing 40 kt north winds and seas to 26 ft over a tiny area at 48N 144W. On Mon AM (1/8) the low is to race southeast with 35 kt west winds just off Oregon producing 23 ft seas at 44N 139W moving towards the coast. In the evening west winds to be fading from 30 kt off and impacting Oregon with 20 ft seas at 42N 132W. possible 13-14 sec period swell to result targeting the Pacific Northwest down into North CA.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (1/3) winds were south along the Central and North CA coasts at 10-15 kts. Precip from a previous low that moved inland was still over the same area with heavy clouds on the coast and snow falling in Tahoe, with 10 inches at parking lot level at Sugar Bowl early and 16 inches towards the peak. (11 inches at Squaw). And another local low was developing off Central CA forecast to push inland over Cape Mendocino in the evening with south winds building to 30 kts at sunset from Monterrey Bay northward with rain building south to Pismo Beach. Solid snow building for the entire Sierra later in the evening with 26-30 inches of accumulation possible in the Tahoe region. Wednesday the low is to be moving inland with south winds fading from 15 kts for the North and Central Coast. Rain continuing through the day along the coast. Heavy snow continues for the Sierra into the evening with an additional 40 inches of accumulation possible. Light east winds are forecast Thursday and Friday. Precip fading in the AM Thursday along the coast but snow continues in the Sierra fading into the evening with 10 more inches of accumulation possible. A new backdoor low is to be building off the Central Coast by Sat (1/7) with south winds 20+ kts early from Pt Conception northward. Rain starting late Friday evening for the North and Central coasts wit snow developing Sat AM for the Sierra getting heavy mid-day. More of the same is forecast on Sunday with south winds 20+ kts all day with heavy snow possible at higher elevations. More of the same on Monday and more queues up behind that on Tues (1/10).
Amazingly a gale developed under New Zealand on Tues AM (12/27) resulting in a small area of 50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 33 ft at 52S 177E. In the evening a small fetch continued producing 45-50 kt southwest wind with seas building 38 ft at 52S 177W tracking due east with some sideband energy aimed northeast. The gale started fading Wed AM (12/28) with west winds fading from 40 kts and seas dropping from 34 ft at 52S 171W. The gale dissipated from there.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival later on Tues (1/3) building to 1.2 ft @ 17 secs (2.0 ft). Swell to continue upwards overnight peaking Wed AM (1/4) at sunrise at 1.2 ft @ 16 secs (2.0 ft). The buoys are showing something better though, pushing 2.5 ft @ 15.9 secs (4.0 ft) at 13Z. Swell to hold decently through the day. Residuals fading out on Thurs (1/5) from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Expect bigger sets. Swell Direction: 198 degrees
Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Fetch associated with a gale developing in the West Pacific is to be getting traction on the oceans surface on Sat AM (1/7) at 40 kts from the northwest with seas 23 ft at 41N 169E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale is to be lifting north with northwest winds 40-45 kt over a solid area aimed southeast and targeting Hawaii well with seas 30 ft at 42N 173E. On Sun AM (1/8) fetch is to continue lifting north at 40-45 kts over a solid area with 28-30 ft seas at 46N 174E targeting both the US West Coast and Hawaii. In the evening fetch is to be retreating just off the Northern Kurils at 40-45 kts from the northwest with 32 ft seas confined to 47N 163E targeting mainly Hawaii. Fetch is to fade from there. A decent pulse of swell for Hawaii is possible.
A tiny secondary fetch from the original gale is to develop well south of it on the dateline Sun PM (1/8) at 50 kts with seas building from 20 ft at 35N 172E while tracking east. On Mon AM (1/9) winds to build to 55 kt from the northwest over a tiny area with seas 35 ft at 35N 180W. 45 kt northwest fetch is to be falling southeast in the evening with 36 ft seas at 37N 174W targeting Hawaii. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts Tues AM (1/10) 950 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with seas fading from 30 ft at 35N 169W.
And another storm is to be developing off Central Japan on Mon PM (1/9) with 50-55 kt west winds lifting northeast with seas 35 ft at 38N 157E. On Tues AM (1/10) 45 kt west fetch is to be lifting hard north with 39 ft seas at 43N 160E pushing east. Fetch and seas to start pushing north after that.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Holding On Weakly In the Ocean - Stronger in the Atmosphere
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward di.cgiaced 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 Tuesday (1/3) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but calm over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were weak over the equatorial East Pacific and neutral over the KWGA. East anomalies over the KWGA when they exist are attributable to La Nina being modulated by the MJO (a.cgiified during the Inactive Phase, weakened during the Active Phase).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak west anomalies were modeled over the western KWGA (far West Pacific near 135E) with east anomalies over the eastern KWGA (dateline). The forecast suggests this pattern is to hold but with east anomalies over the dateline building in strength a week out (1/10). 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.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 1/3 a modest Inactive Phase was present over the dateline. The statistic model projects it fading in 5 days with a neutral signal taking over from there and holding 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially, but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO holding weakly over the dateline 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/3) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is weak and barely discernible in the Indian Ocean and slow moving and building into the West Pacific 2 weeks out but still very weak. The GEFS model depicts it remaining weak and contained in the Indian Ocean.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/3) This model depicts a neutral to weak Active MJO in.cgiay over the West Pacific. It is to move to the dateline 1/15 and dissipate from there. A weak Inactive signal is to follow in the West Pacific 1/23 moving to the dateline 2/2 and to Central America on 2/12 with a weak Active Phase building over the West Pacific at that time. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/3) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal was building from the west to the dateline with modest east anomalies from La Nina holding on the dateline but not west of there. The Active Phase is to hold on the dateline through 1/24 with weak east anomalies continuing over the dateline but west anomalies building in the west KWGA and easing east. The Active Phase is to pulse again 2/1 over the dateline with east anomalies dissipating and west anomalies taking hold over the entire KWGA through 2/28. Then a strong Inactive Phase is to set up in the west starting 2/20 pushing east over the dateline through 3/24. We suspect La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies in the KWGA but not producing an outright 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: (1/3) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 168E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 175W 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.cgiay. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 180W. Neutral to weak negative anomalies are east of there to Ecuador at no more than -1.0 degs and only over a very shallow area, with neutral to warmer anomalies in control from 150 meters down and pushing east daily. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 depicts this pocket of of cooler water at -1.0 degs below normal in the East Pacific getting weaker and breaking up faster. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so and weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/29) Negative anomalies at -5.0 cm with a few small pockets to -10 cm control portions of the equatorial Pacific mainly from 100W to 135W and 5 degs north and south. Slowly sea levels are rising as La Nina looses 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: (1/2) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a very thin cool pool of water along the immediate coast of Peru but locked from migrating anywhere. Very warm water is again building off Ecuador and migrating to the Galapagos. Very warm water also has solid coverage just off the coast of Peru reaching up to a point just over the southern Galapagos Islands. A cool bubble previously between Costa Rica to the Galapagos is gone. Cool water was between the Galapagos out to 100W, but warm temps were taking control. A broad area of cool temperatures remains from 145W westward to 160W but appears to be fading. La Nina is fading in the East Pacific and holding in the Central Pacific suggesting the a westward di.cgiaced La Nina is remains in control.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/2): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru. A warming trend has also developed between ecuador and the Galapagos out to 110W. It's neutral west of there with pockets of warming and cooling waters present much like it has been all Fall. The cool pattern in the Central Pacific is not as prominent as weeks and months previous and is weakening in the East.
Hi-res Overview: (1/2) A La Nina cool pool is present over the equator from the Galapagos west to 170E and broadest south of Hawaii. La Nina is holding coverage in the west and loosing coverage in the east.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/3) Today's temps were rising +0.909.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (1/3) temps were falling slightly at -0.241 coming off a recent low at -0.75 on 12/24. Temps are oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.3 to -1.0 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/30) This model suggests La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started rising to -0.5 on Nov 1 and up to -0.2 degs on Dec 1. The forecast has temps gently rising to neutral on Jan 1, then slowly rising from there to +0.5 degs in April and steady out till Sept. This indicates that La Nina is effectively over and a return to normal temps is expected in Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.3 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 warmer than last months forecast and suggests La Nina is over. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/3): The daily index was rising hard today at 29.54. The 30 day average was rising at +4.20. The 90 day average was rising at -0.57. All this suggests a neutral pattern was in.cgiay and that La Nina was dead. .
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (1/3) Today's value was steady at -1.22. 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-Oct) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.90, -1.09 and -0.88 in Oct. But in Nov, it was up to +0.53
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Oct) are: +1.53, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52, +0.45, +0.56 and up to +1.88 in Nov.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive until Aug 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina. Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table