Wednesday, January 31, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 10.4 secs from 352 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 207 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 60.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.5 ft @ 12.4 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 14.9 secs from 228 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 16.0 secs from 216 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.8 secs from 216 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.8 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 13.6 secs from 310 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north-northwest at 12-16 kts. Water temp 55.2 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Wednesday (1/31) in North and Central CA swell from a gale previously off the Pacific Northwest was starting to show on the buoys and kind of showing on the coast with waves head high but pretty jumbled with northwest lump in the water. Protected breaks were chest high or so and cleaner but slow. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to maybe chest high with set waves to head high and clean but pretty swamped by tide. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean and unrideable. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high and clean coming out of the north and breaking a bit off the beach. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high on the sets and clean and well formed. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean and lined up but soft on the sets. Hawaii's North Shore was weak and small but clean and well formed with set waves waist to chest high with some head high peaks and lined up at top breaks. The South Shore was flat and blown out with south winds. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at head high and clean early with light south winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Wednesday (1/31) swell from a gale that is developing off the Pacific Northwest on Sun-Mon (1/29) with 26 ft seas aimed east was starting to hit North California and expected to build and push south through the day. Of more interest is a gale forecast to develop on the dateline Thurs-Fri (2/2) with 32-35 ft seas aimed southeast at Hawaii and in close proximity to the Islands. A smaller system is to form over the dateline on Tues (2/6) tracking east into Wednesday and producing 27 ft seas aimed east. Theoretically an improving storm pattern is expected with the Active Phase of the MJO moving into the West Pacific.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday AM (1/31) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds building to 180 kts half way to the dateline and holding consolidated to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii before splitting with a trough developing at the split point. From there the northern branch tracked back northwest pushing over Kamchatka while some energy tracked northeast pushing into Washington State and rebuilding to 150 kts while the southern branch tracked southeast moving towards the equator. In short, the jet was a fragmented mess east of the split point. Over the next 72 hours an improving pattern is forecast on Fri (2/2) with wind energy continuing off Japan building to 170 kts over the dateline and falling into a broad trough 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii offering good support for gale development. East of there a simple split pattern is forecast with the northern branch pushing into the Washington-British Columbia border while the southern branch pushed southeast to the equator. This pattern to hold through Sat (2/3) but with wind energy in the trough dropping to 150 kts and still supporting gale development. Beyond 72 hours winds to build to 200 kts off Japan on Mon (2/5) with 140 kt winds still falling into the trough repositioned 600 nmiles north of Hawaii offering good support for gale development and holding into Wed (2/7). The building jetstream pattern is attributable to the building Active Phase of the MJO. The storm track should theoretically improve as the MJO pushes east.
On Wednesday (1/31) swell from a gale that previously developed in the Eastern Gulf was starting to hit the US West Coast (see East Gulf Gale below). And a new broad gale was starting to develop northwest of Hawaii (See Broad Hawaiian Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours the Broad Hawaiian Gale is to be the only system of interest.
East Gulf Gale
An ill formed low started developing off the Pacific Northwest on Sun AM (1/26) generating 25-30 kt northwest to west winds and building seas. In the evening northwest fetch built to 40-45 kts in the gale west quadrant with 20 ft seas at developing at 45N 145W. On Mon AM (1/29) the gale tracked east 40 kts winds in it's south quadrant with seas building to 26 ft at 47N 142W aimed mainly at the Pacific Northwest and points north of there but with sideband energy targeting North and Central CA (310 degs NCal). In the evening the gale is to continue tracking east with 35-40 kt west winds just off British Columbia and Washington with 29-30 ft seas at 50N 138W barely in the NCal swell window at 319 degrees. This system is to fade and move inland from there. Small swell is possible for California.
North CA: Swell to peak Wed AM (1/31) at 7.1 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft) and still shadowed in SF. Swell fading Thurs (2/1) from 5.4 ft @ 11 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 308-319 degrees
Broad Hawaiian Gale
A small gale started building on the dateline Mon PM (1/29) with 40 kt northwest winds over a pinpoint sized area falling southeast. More of the same occurred Tues AM (1/30) with 27 ft seas at 37N 177E falling southeast targeting Hawaii. Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kts positioned 1000 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 26 ft seas at 32N 178W. The gale faded more while approaching Hawaii Wed AM (1/31) with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 23 ft at 28N 171W. All this was primer activity. In the evening the real event is to start with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds building on the dateline with 30 ft seas building at 35N 178E targeting Hawaii directly. On Thurs AM (2/1) 45 kt northwest winds are to be 1000 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 36 ft seas at 33N 176W. In the evening a broad but less defined fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be 600 nmiles west-northwest of Hawaii with 33 ft seas over a broad area at 32N 175EW with 28 ft seas to 30N 171W targeting the Islands directly. Fri AM (2/2) 35 kt northwest fetch is to be fading in the same location with 31 ft seas at 29N 176W. In the evening 30 kt northwest winds to be over a broad area with 27 ft seas at 27N 170W or 500 nmiles northwest of Hawaii. Sat AM (3/3) the gale is to be fading with 30 kt northwest winds still on the dateline with 20-21 ft seas northwest of the Islands at 30N 165W. This system is to dissipate from there. A long run of larger raw swell is possible for Hawaii starting Fri (2/2).
Hawaii: Based on mainly on forecast data expect swell arrival late Friday (2/2) pushing 5.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (8.5 ft) and heading up from there. On Sat AM (2/3) swell to be 9.4 ft @ 16 secs early (15 ft) and slowly fading. On Sun AM (2/4) swell to continue at 7.1 ft @ 15 secs (10.5 ft) and slowly fading. Swell fading on Mon (2/5) from 5.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.0 ft). Residuals on Tues (2/6) fading from 4.9 ft @ 12 secs (5.5 ft). dribbles on Wed (2/7) fading from 4.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.0-5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 308-313 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday AM (1/31) modest high pressure at 1024 mbs was just off the South Oregon coast ridging inland over the Pacific Northwest producing a light north flow at 10-15 kts down the North and Central CA coast and forming a bubble of storm protection from Washington southward. Thursday (2/1) the high holds with north winds 10-15 kts from Pt Arena south to a point off Pt Conception. Friday the high is to surge while lifting north off Southern Oregon with north winds 120-25 kts for the bulk of North CA and a bit lighter into Central CA. Saturday (3/3) the high lifts north off Oregon with a summer like gradient producing north winds 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but light winds south of there for the rest of North and Central CA. A light pressure and wind regime to hold into Wed (2/8) other than north winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino Sat-Tues (2/7). No hope for rain or snow.
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a small gale is to develop while pushing east off Japan on Mon PM (1/5) with 40 kts west winds over a modest sized area and seas building to 28 ft at 42N 163E tracking east. On Tues AM (2/6) the gale is to be pushing east near the dateline with 40 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 41N 171E. In the evening the gale is to push over the dateline with a building fetch of 40 kt west winds and seas building to 31 ft at 42N 177E. Fetch is to be fading Wed AM (2/7) from 35-40 kts from the west with 31 ft seas at 40N 176W. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the west with 26 ft seas at 39N 173W. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Active MJO is Building Strong
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tues (1/30) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light easterly over the East Pacific building over the Central Pacific and modestly easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/31) Modest east anomalies were all but gone over the dateline with west anomalies moderately strong over the core of the KWGA. This pattern is to start building through the week with westerly anomalies building in strong over the entire KWGA by 2/5. The Active Phase of the MJO is building in the from the west and is to fill the KWGA by the end of the model run offering great support for a consolidated jetstream flow.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/30) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is gone with the Active/Wet Phase solidly entrenched over the Western Pacific and filling the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Active Phase moving east to the dateline 8 days out and holding into day 15 and still strong. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/31) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO very strong over the West Pacific and is to move to the dateline 6 days out, then fading fast. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase holding intensity and only fading slightly 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/31) This model depicts a modestly Active/Wet MJO pattern over the West Pacific pushing east and fading some then moving into Central America on 2/18. Another moderate pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/10 pushing east to the East Pacific and Central America through the end of the model run on 3/12. The Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific at that time. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/31) This model depicts an Active/Wet pattern is building strongly over the KWGA but neutral anomalies today but forecast to turn westerly as the Active Phase gets good positioning in 1-2 days and west anomalies over the the bulk of the KWGA thereafter. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/17 with west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA starting 2/16 building east and taking control 2/20 holding through 3/20 with mostly neutral or light east anomalies forecast in the KWGA. A weak Active Phase to follow starting 3/22 and in control through 4/31 (the end of the model run) with modest west anomalies building the heart of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/18, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/13 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA on 3/28. No significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place meaning no change this winter.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/31) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but losing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is retreating at 175E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak but has migrated east to 105W and 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific it appears modest negative temperatures are quickly fading but broad in coverage from the East Pacific to 165E but with only one pocket to -2 degs C at 125W down 100 meters. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +1.5 degrees down 150 meters and were previously making steady easterly headway, but have now retreated with the leading edge at 140W down 100 meters. A Kelvin Wave previously appeared to be pushing east but that has now dissipated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/23 depicts a shrinking area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-3.5 degs limited to the extreme East Pacific) but overall not as cool and not as broad or deep as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies undercutting it at at +1.5 degs reaching east to 110W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east under it.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/23) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific in pockets out to 165W mainly south of the equator with a shrinking core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 140W all 5 degs south of the equator and 1 small pocket to -15-20 cms at 118W and 5S. This area is steadily loosing coverage while drifting south. This is encouraging.
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: (1/30) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern in the Southeast Pacific. Upwelling is holding nearshore along the immediate coast of Peru and Ecuador with only weak warm anomalies out beyond the coast of Chile and Southern Peru. The nearshore cool water is tracking off Ecuador then turning west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 120W in a continuous stream but with a far smaller footprint than months and even weeks and days past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/30): A warming trend continues solidly just off Chile and Peru and up to Central America advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 140W. There were no significant pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/30) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a La Nina cool stream is still present well off Southern Chile and Peru. But warm anomalies are nearshore from Chile extending north to a point a bit off Peru. The core of cool waters are running on the equator from the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 170E. Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point just west of the Galapagos. But over all the cooling pattern is loosing density. It appears La Nina may have peaked out.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/31) Today's temps were falling hard at -1.370 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/31) Today temps were falling at -1.043 after rising 1/12-1/28, and that after falling hard on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577 setting a peak low temp. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/31) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding up to -0.40 in early Feb. But after that the model indicates temps falling again to -0.75 in May then slowly rising through the summer and fall to -0.5 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/31): The daily index was falling hard at -0.23 today. The 30 day average was falling at +9.00 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was starting to fade. The 90 day average was steady at +5.54 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/31) The index was falling some at -1.04 (down from -1.11 on 1/29). The trend suggests La Nina is stable (was -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.46, Dec= -0.18. 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 negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table