Thursday, February 22, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down and not updating.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 14.0 secs from 249 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-10 kts. Water temperature 59.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 14.4 secs from 258 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.9 ft @ 14.8 secs from 248 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.6 ft @ 16.3 secs from 228 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.5 secs from 264 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.3 ft @ 7.7 secs with windswell 7.1 ft @ 8.0 secs from 318 degrees and West Pacific swell 3.2 ft @ 13.7 secs from 330 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 23-31 kts. Water temp 52.5 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 Thursday (2/22) in North and Central CA local north windswell and Kuril Island swell were hitting making for surf in the head high range but blown out with north wInds producing whitecaps even early and unrideable. Protected breaks were chest to head high and pretty ragged and nearly white capped early. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to maybe waist high and weak but clean. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and clean and weak. In North Orange Co surf was basically flat and nearly chopped early. South Orange Country's best breaks were flat to thigh high and heavily textured. In North San Diego surf was thigh to maybe waist high at best breaks and heavily textured early and closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting small swell from Japan with waves up to 2 ft overhead at best breaks and clean with light winds early and lined up. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest high and pretty bumpy from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (2/22) modest swell was hitting Hawaii from a gale that developed on Sun (2/18) off Japan with 39 ft seas aimed east then faded quickly later in the day before ever reaching the dateline. After that a tiny gale is forecast off the Kuril Islands on Sat-Sun (2/25) producing 26-30 ft seas migrating to the North Dateline region. Also a gale is forecast for the North Gulf of Alaska on Sat-Sun (2/25) producing 27 ft seas. Maybe a strong system to develop after that off Japan on Thurs (3/1) but odds are low at this early date. But La Nina in combination with a developing Inactive Phase of the MJO is likely to be suppressing swell development over the long term.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (2/22) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan consolidated with winds to 150 kts reaching half way to the dateline then weaker to the dateline then splitting there with the northern branch pushing northeast over the East Aleutian Islands then falling south down the coast of British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest before moving inland over Central California while the southern branch continued east over Hawaii and east from there into Mainland Mexico. A weak trough was off the Kuril Islands offering some support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the pattern is to remain mostly unchanged but with winds weakening off Japan to 140 kts and the split point moving west to 165E while the split pattern holds over the entirety of the East Pacific with the jet pushing down over the BC, Pacific Northwest and California coast through Sun (2/25). No clear troughs are forecast offering no real support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with no real change expected. The jet is to be pushing off Japan but less energetic continuing to reach to about 165E then splitting with a large ridge in control of the East Pacific through Thurs (3/1). The flow previously pushing down the US West Coast is to retrograde some, now pushing just off the coast down the 130W latitude line. This could open the door more to backdoor fronts and low pressure pushing down coastal waters possibly incrementally improving odds for local windswell development and precipitation relative to the US West Coast. Either way, it appears a very Spring-like pattern appears to be taking hold relative to California (i.e. high pressure, north wind, and upwelling).
On Thursday (2/22) modest swell from a gale previously off the Kuril Islands was hitting California but mostly buried in local windswell (see Kuril Island Gale below). Also swell from a gale that pushed off Japan on Sat-Sun (2/18) was hitting Hawaii (see Japan Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a tiny storm is to develop off the Kuril Islands Sat AM (2/24) with 55 kt northwest winds over a tiny area and seas building from 34 ft at 42N 162E aimed east. The gale is to track northeast in the evening with winds still 45 to nearly 50 kts with seas to 37 ft at 44N 169E aimed east. On Sun AM (2/25) the gale is to be moving over the North Dateline region and into the Bering Sea with 45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians with 36 ft seas at 48N 175E. By evening this system is to be all but gone moving into the Bering Sea with no seas of interest remaining. Small swell is possible radiating towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.
Also a small gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Sat PM (2/24) producing 40 kt northwest winds with seas building from 24 ft at 53N 145W. On Sun AM (2/25) the gale is to drift south some with a respectable area of 35-40 kt northwest winds with seas building to 27 ft at 52N 145W and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degrees NCal). In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the northwest with 24 ft at 50N 140W and again barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs NCal). Mon AM (2/26) fetch is to be gone with seas fading from 19 ft just off the Oregon and Washington coast at 45N 132W (319 degrees NCal). Possible north angled swell to result for the Pacific Northwest down ito Central CA.
Kuril Island Gale
On Thurs AM (2/15) a small gale developed off North Japan producing 50 kt west winds and 30 ft seas at 42N 159E aimed east. In the evening winds held at 50 kt from the west while the gale lifted northeast towards the Northern Dateline producing seas to 37 ft over a small area at 47N 166E. By Fri AM (2/16) the gale was fading with winds down to 40 kts and seas fading from 33 ft at 50N 171E starting to impact the Central Aleutian Islands. This system faded after that. Small swell is likely for Hawaii.
North CA: Small inconsistent swell to arrive early Wed (2/21) pushing 3.2 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (2/22) fading from 3.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0) and buried in local windswell. Swell Direction: 300 degrees
Another small gale started developing well off Japan on Sat PM (2/17) producing a decent sized area of 45+ kt west winds and positioned further south than previous gales mid-way to the dateline with seas building to 33 ft over a small area at 37N 156E. On Sun AM (2/18) the gale started lifting northeast with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 39 ft over a small area aimed east at 37N 168E. By evening the original fetch was gone lifting hard northeast with seas from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 38N 175E targeting Hawaii. This system dissipated and lifted north after that.
Hawaii: Swell is to be fading on Thurs AM (2/22) fading from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.0 ft). Residual swell fading Fri AM (2/23) from 3.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.0 ft) and gone after that. Swell Direction: 305-307 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (2/23) pushing 3.6 ft @ 16-17 secs later (6.0 ft). Swell to continue on Sat (2/24) at 3.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft) and again on Sun (2/25) fading from 3.5 ft @ 15 secs (5.0 ft) and then fading on Mon (2/26) from 2.9 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (2/22) high pressure at 1040 mbs was centered in the Gulf of Alaska ridging towards California while a local low pressure system was falling down the coast of Oregon producing a pressure gradient producing north winds at 20 kts early over North CA down to Monterey Bay and forecast up to 25-30 kts by late afternoon and building to 20 kts down to Pt Conception and into Santa Barbara County. Light rain was occurring for the North and Central Coast falling south through the day. Snow was falling over North CA and the Sierra continuing till 10 PM with 7.0 inches of accumulation possible at Tahoe but only 3 inches for Mammoth. Friday (2/23) the gradient and north winds are to continue at 25+ kt for the entire coast including Southern CA early but fading to 15-20 kts in the afternoon everywhere. No precip expected. Sat (2/24) high pressure and north winds continue at 15-20 kts for North and Central CA. Light rain for North CA down to Pt Arena possible. North winds continuing at 15-20 kts on Sun (2/25) for North and Central CA. Monday (2/26) high pressure northeast of Hawaii at 1040 mbs and low pressure inland is to continue driving a north wind flow at 15 kts down the North and Central Coast building to 20+ kts in the afternoon pushing 20-25 kts on Tues AM (2/27) continuing in the afternoon. Low pressure is to be falling south inland Monday setting up light rain for the North coast early reaching south to Morro Bay later and snow for Tahoe starting late morning continuing through the evening and continuing into Tuesday afternoon. Total accumulation at Tahoe possibly another 3.5 inches. Wednesday (2/28) the gradient is to loosen with northwest winds 15 kts early for North and Central CA fading to 10 kts later. Light rain for the North Coast down to Pt Arena. Thurs (3/1) a local low is to build over the North CA coast early with south winds 25 kts and the low rapidly pushing inland with a front pushing south to Pt Conception late. Rain pushing south to Morro Bay and possible solid snow for Tahoe.
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 the models hint at a storm developing off Japan on Thurs AM (3/1) with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building to 46 ft at 38N 151E aimed east. This is at 180 hours out and not believable at this early date.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest some sort of gale developing in the Southwestern Pacific on Sun PM (2/25) producing 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 35 ft over a small area at 54S 173W. Mon AM (2/26) 45 kt southwest winds to be lifting northeast some with seas to 34 ft at 50S 160W. In the evening fetch is to rebuild to 45 kt from the southwest over a consolidated area with seas to 34 ft at 50S 143W. On Tues AM (2/27) 45 kt southwest winds to continue pushing east with seas building to 37 ft at 53S 134W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40 kts mainly from the west with seas 38 ft at 53S 122W aimed east. The gale is to move east and beyond the eastern edge of the California swell window Wed AM (2/28). Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
ESPI Rises Significantly/Cool Pool Fading
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. A double dip La Nina is in control 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 Wed (2/21) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but strongly from the west over the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area east to 165E. Anomalies were lightly from the east over the East and Central Pacific and moderately from the west over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/20) This model suggests moderate to strong west anomalies were over the entirety of the KWGA extending east to 150W on the equator. This pattern is to hold through 2/22 then starting to fade with east anomalies building in the KWGA on 2/23 and be in control moderately mainly on the dateline by the end of the model run on 2/27. The Active Phase of the MJO is filling the KWGA but expected to fade with the Inactive Phase taking control by the end of the model run likely causing the jetstream to split even more but possibly allowing high pressure in the east to retrograde west.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (2/21) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO is all but gone from the East KWGA. The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was building in the far West Pacific reaching to 165E. The statistical model depicts the Active Phase moving east and out of the KWGA 10 days out with the Inactive Phase fully filling the KWGA 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts effectively the same thing but with the Inactive Phase moving east faster filling the KWGA 5 days out then fading and far weaker in the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/22) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak moving into the Atlantic. The ECMF model depicts it to fade more and while tracking east across the Atlantic and over Africa reaching the Central Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run and incoherent. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/22) This model depicts a modest pulse of the Inactive/Dry Phase in the West and Central Pacific with no sign of the Active Phase anywhere in the Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push east to the East Pacific and into Central America through 3/17. The Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific weakly starting 3/14 and pushing east to the dateline on 4/3. But the Inactive Phase is to be rebuilding in the far West Pacific on 4/3 at the same time. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/22) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was all but gone on the dateline with west anomalies fading too. The Inactive Phase was building over the West KWGA and is to build east and take control 2/25 holding through 3/16 with mostly neutral or light west anomalies forecast in the KWGA. No east anomalies are forecast. Beyond an incoherent MJO pattern is to set up starting 4/19 and hold through the end of the model run on 5/22. But west anomalies are to start building on the dateline 3/26 and continuing non-stop through 5/22 even in the absence of the Active Phase. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA at 165E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/3 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to steadily move east and out of the KWGA on 3/18. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 2-3 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/22) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is sequestered to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but loosing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is easing east today at 175E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was shallow but has made significant eastward progress migrating across the Pacific to Ecuador now and 25 meters deep or more the whole way east and 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures reestablished over a small area at 130W 100 meters deep and smaller than days past. Warm anomalies were building in the West at +3.5 degs at 180W down 150 meters and appear to be building east with the dividing line between that and cool waters to the east at 155W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/17 depicts warm water in the west at +4.5 degs reaching east to 160W. Cool water at -1.5 degs was filling the subsurface East Pacific and has significantly lost density and intensity from 160W and points east of there. Those cool anomalies continue erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/17) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific out to 155W and were diffuse.
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: (2/21) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pattern in the deep Southeast Pacific. Warm anomalies are holding off the coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador and into Central America while a cool upwelling pattern is indicated along the immediate coast of Peru. Weak warm anomalies are developing along the equator from the Galapagos out to 115W. Cool pockets were generally weak and diffuse from there west to 160W and with a smaller footprint than months past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/21): A warming trend is building solidly off South Chile pushing west to the Central Pacific. A weaker warming trend continues weakly off Chile and Peru and up to Central America with stronger warming advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 125W. There were no significant pockets of cooling water over the same area. A weak but steady warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/21) A significant demise of La Nina is underway with warming building in the entire Nino1.2 region. A cool pocket is still present well off Chile and Peru but more so on the equator from 100W to the dateline, starting to look like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point south of Hawaii. Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/22) Today's temps are falling slightly at -0.509 degrees. Over all the trend is upwards since late December. 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: (2/22) Today temps were steady at -0.868. A dramatic rise occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. Since then temps have eased off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. 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 (2/22) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding up to -0.50 in early Feb. The model indicates temps rising slowly to -0.25 in early April, then falling slowly to -0.5 in July then holding, only to rise slightly into the Fall to -0.4 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but it is to possibly hold weakly through Summer then fading more in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August and +0.5 in October. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. 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 (2/22): The daily index has turned positive at 14.65 today. The 30 day average was falling to -6.85 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO having a significant effect. The 90 day average was falling at -0.40 suggesting La Nina is dead.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (2/22) This data is fixed! Values have recovered significantly up to -0.32, up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is gone. 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 through Jan 2018. 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, Jan=0.24. 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 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