Sunday, January 5, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 2.5 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 9.9 secs from 277 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 8.8 secs from 19 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 257 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 60.1 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 298 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 12.9 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.0 secs from 249 degrees. Southward at Torry Pines Outer (100) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 254 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.1 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 12.2 secs from 300 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was north at 18-23 kts. Water temp 54.0 degs (013), 55.4 degs (012) and 56.3 degs (042).
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 Sunday (1/5) in North and Central CA windswell was hitting producing waves at 3-4 ft overhead and ragged and whitecapped with moderate northwest winds blowing again. Protected breaks were 1-2 ft overhead and ragged and disorganized and chopped. At Santa Cruz surf was maybe head high on the sets and soft and lined up and much cleaner, but still a little warbled. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest to shoulder high and reasonably lined up and clean but a little warbled in the water. In North Orange Co surf was maybe waist high and clean and weak. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were thigh high and clean and lightly textured. North San Diego's best breaks had waves at chest high and clean and inconsistent and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell with waves chest high at top spots and clean but soft and a bit warbled. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves head high if not 1 ft more and chopped with moderate east-northeast trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (1/5) in California only windswell was hitting from a cutoff low that formed off Oregon on Fri (1/3) producing 22 ft seas aimed at the US West Coast. ONly east windswell was hitting Hawaii. Some sort of a broad gale is forecast developing off the Kuril Islands Mon-Wed (1/8) producing 36 ft seas aimed east, but not making it even over the dateline. Another small gael to follow Thurs-Fri (1/10) producing 28 ft seas targeting Hawaii and again not even making it east to the dateline. We're starting the New Year out in a slump.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (1/2) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds to 150 kts reaching just over the dateline to 170W forming a weak trough off the Kurils perhaps offering some support for gale development there. But east of there the jet got far weaker and split with the northern branch lifting through the Northern Gulf then falling southeast and pushing inland over North CA offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough off the Kurils is to build while easing east into early Wed (1/8) offering some support for gale development there while the split builds in the east with the northern branch of the jet lifting up to nearly the Alaskan Coast late Wed only supporting high pressure off the CA coast but supporting low pressure inland over British Columbia. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast starting Fri (1/10) with a persistent trough off the Kuril Islands and a significant split on the dateline with the northern branch of the jet tracking either over the Northern Aleutians or through the Northern Gulf offering no real support for gale development through Sun (1/12). The MJO is not to be feeding energy into the jet for the next week resulting in the split in the east.
On Sunday (1/5) windswell from a Cutoff Gale previously off the Pacific Northwest was hitting California (see Cutoff Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours starting Mon AM (1/6) a broad complex gale is to form off North Japan and the Kuril Islands producing pockets of 35- 45 kt northwest winds producing a small area of developing seas at 34 ft up at 46N 168E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to build producing 35-45 kt northwest winds and seas to 26 ft back west at 37N 157E aimed east. 45 kt northwest winds to hold into Tues AM (1/7) resulting in up to 35 ft seas at 44N 160E aimed south to southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 40-40 kts with seas fading from 36 ft at 41.5N 165.5E aimed southeast. Fetch is to fade from 30-40 kts on Wed AM (1/8) with 33 ft seas fading at 42N 174.5E aimed east. The gael to fade out from there . Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii.
Cutoff Gulf Gale
On Wed PM (1/1) a cutoff low developed 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii racing northeast producing a small area of north winds to 35 kts generating 18 ft seas at 40N 160W aimed south. The gale moved northeast on Thurs AM (1/2) with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas barely 20 ft at 40N 155W aimed south. The gale is to race east in the evening producing 30 kt northwest winds with seas 19 ft at 40N 150W aimed southeast. On Fri AM (1/3) the gale pushed up to the Pacific Northwest Coast producing 30-35 kt northwest winds with 21 ft seas at 43N 141W aimed east. Then gale moved up to the Washington Coast in the evening with 35+ kt northwest winds and seas 22-23 ft in the NCal swell window at 47N 135W aimed southeast. Windswell to possibly push southeast into North and Central CA. Something to monitor.
NCal: Swell fading on Sun (1/5) from 7.0 ft @ 12 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction : 310+ degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday AM (1/5) north winds were blowing at 20-25 kts along the Central CA coast with north winds 10 kts or so for North CA driven by high pressure off the coast. Light rain for Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena mainly early. Mon (1/6) north-northeast winds are forecast at 20 kts nearshore for all of Central CA fading to 10 kts later and 5-10 kts for North CA. Tues (1/7) a light north to northeast flow is forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 15 kts later. Light rain for North CA in the afternoon to the evening. Wed (1/8) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for all of North and Central CA and up to 15 kts near Pt Conception building to 15+ kts everywhere later. Light precip for Cape Mendocino later. Thurs (1/9) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts all day for Central CA and 10-15 kts for North CA. Light rain for North CA through the day. Fri (1/10) north winds are forecast at 10-15 kts all day for North and Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendo in the evening. On Sat (1/11) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early building to 20 kts later for all of North and Central CA. Light rain for North CA early. Light snow for Tahoe early. Sun (1/12) northwest winds are forecast at 20+ kts all day for North and Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 3.5, 3.0, 1.3 and 0 inches respectively.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
No swell producing fetch is occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is 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 starting Wed PM (1/8) a new gale is forecast developing off Japan with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 35.5N 153E aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast on Thurs AM (1/9) with 40-45 kt west winds and 31 ft seas at 3N 163E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be racing northeast just west of the dateline with 40 kt west winds barely getting any traction with seas 26 ft mainly from previous fetch at 37N 172.5E aimed east. the gale is to be pushing into the Bering Sea from there. Something to monitor.
A small gale is to developing in the extreme Northern Gulf on Fri AM (1/10) with 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building to 30 ft at 53N 150.5W aimed southeast. The gale is to fall southeast fast in the evening with 40 kt northwest winds with 28 ft seas at 48N 142W aimed southeast. The gale is to be gone on Sat AM (1/11) with seas from previous fetch 23 ft at 47N 135W aimed southeast. Maybe some swell to result for the US West Coast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Inactive MJO Developing
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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)
Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/4) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing to the dateline and over the North KWGA but turning from the west over the Southern KWGA. Anomalies were light westerly over the far East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and dateline and weakly westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/5) light to modest east anomalies were over the KWGA dateline today. The forecast calls for east anomalies building in strength over the dateline and solid by 1/8 holding through the end of the model run on 1/12. But weak west anomalies are to start building in the west KWGA on 1/8 filling 60% of the KWGA at the end of the model run.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/4) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a solid Inactive MJO developing on the dateline at day 5 and building while moving slowly east positioned south of Hawaii at day 15 with a strong Active Phase building over the Maritime Continent at day 10 easing into the Western KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase moving a bit further west at day 15 while the Inactive Phase fades and moves further east. The 2 models are pretty much in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/5) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Indian Ocean today and is to ease slowly east moving to the Maritime Continent and very weak at day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to start building strong over the Maritime Continent at day 6 pushing towards the far West Pacific at day 11 while weakening some to moderate status at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (1/5) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the West Pacific today and somewhat filling the North Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push east and over Central America on 1/22 while a modest Active MJO signal eases cleanly over the West Pacific on 1/20 pushing to the East Pacific and Central America on 2/9. A modest Inactive Phase is to start setting up over the far west KWGA at the end of the model run on 2/14.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/4) This model depicts the Inactive Phase over the KWGA today with weak east anomalies mostly filling the KWGA today. The Inactive Phase is to push east and out of the KWGA on 1/20 but with west anomalies developing strongly in the core of the KWGA 1/11 and the Active Phase setting up 2 days later with a solid Active Phase in the KWGA 1/18 through the end of the model run on 2/1.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/5) This model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with modest east anomalies over the KWGA. East anomalies are to ease east through 1/16. Starting 1/13 the Active Phase is to develop tracking east through the KWGA through 2/14 with strong west anomalies on the dateline 1/17-2/3. After that a weak Inactive MJO pattern is forecast 2/2-3/9 with moderate east anomalies holding through the pattern. The Active Phase is to follow 2/22 through the end of the model run on 4/3 with weak west anomalies in control. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 3 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. The third contour lined is to fade on 1/7 while the second contour line holds till 3/9, then collapses with only 1 contour line following. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22 and is to hold through the end of the model run. A strong area of east anomalies in the Indian Ocean is forecast to dissipate and track through the KWGA via the Inactive Phase of the MJO and gone by 2/14.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/5) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was rebuilding east to 180W while the 29 deg isotherm was building east to 170W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 160W today. The 24 deg isotherm retrograded to 110W after previously pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at +3 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent moving east with it's leading edge at 120W pushing east. Kelvin Wave #5 has fully pushed into Ecuador. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 120E under the Dateline east to 125W at +2-3 degrees with lesser warm water pushing east from there then rebuilding to +2-4 degrees and impacting Ecuador. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/29) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is tracking east between 165E-100W. Very weak positive anomalies were in a pocket along Ecuador.
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: (1/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate weak warm anomalies were holding from Chile along Peru up to Ecuador then streaming west on the equator over the Galapagos out to the dateline from 10S northward. Weak cool anomalies were south of the equator off Peru reaching no further north than 10S reaching west to 110W. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/4): Today a building area of warming was filling the entire area from Chile and Peru steaming west out to 120W and also off Ecuador on the equator out to 140W and stronger in pockets. The short term trend is now towards warming in the Southeast Pacific. This is a step in the right direction.
Hi-res Overview: (1/4) A weak fading area of cool anomalies is trying to hold on south of the equator off Peru reaching out to 120W but further south than weeks past. Otherwise gentle warming was along Chile up to Peru lifting north up to Ecuador then pushing west on the equator, out to the dateline. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator reaching north to 20N. Water temps appear to be stable mildly favoring El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/5) Today's temps were falling some at -0.094 after bottoming out down at -0.900 on 12/12. Temps peaked prior at +1.55 degrees on 12/2 after a long runup from negative anomalies in October. It now appears we are in a falling trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/5) Temps were rising steadily today at +0.362. Temps peaked on 11/14 at +0.509 degs, fell some to -0.018 on 11/28, and are now trying to rebuild. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept when they bottomed out at -0.6 degs (9/14).
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/5) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then the trend started rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct holding to Dec 1. The forecast has temps rising to +0.7 degrees on Jan 1 holding till Feb 1 then slowly falling from there to 0.0 in early June then diving negative appearing to be moving to La Nina down at -0.6 in early Sept. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the Winter and Spring, then possibly turning towards La Nina in the Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.25 degs, and are to hold in the +0.25 deg range into May 2020, then fading slightly to +0.15 in June 2020. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/5): The daily index was positive today at +18.52 but had been negative the previous 23 days. The 30 day average was negative and rising at -7.40. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -6.28, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Nov +1.03, Oct +0.33 Sept +1.13, August +0.64, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real 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
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (1/5):
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131
Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table