Wednesday, March 29, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.5 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 11.9 secs from 314 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 17.2 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 16.6 secs from 256 degrees. Wind northwest 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.5 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.1 ft @ 16.3 secs from 259 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.5 ft @ 16.9 secs from 262 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.5 ft @ 17.1 secs from 235 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 4.4 ft @ 17.2 secs from 272 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.0 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 16.7 secs from 287 degrees. Wind northwest 16-21 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.8 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 Wednesday (3/29) in North and Central CA dateline swell was hitting with waves 3-4 ft overhead and reasonably clean but with much lurp and lump in the water. Protected breaks were 1-2 ft overhead and also lurpy. At Santa Cruz surf was 1-2 ft overhead on the sets and clean and energetic. In Southern California up north dateline swell was producing surf at chest to shoulder high and lined up and clean with some power. In North Orange Co surf was head high to maybe a little overhead and clean and lined up but with light texture on the surface. In San Diego surf was 1-2 ft overhead on the sets and clean but a little raw looking. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting Dateline swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up but a little slow. The South Shore was thigh to waist high or so and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at waist high and chopped from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Wednesday (3/29) solid swell from a storm that tracked off Japan Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 43 ft seas aimed east then reached the dateline Fri (3/24) with 38 ft seas before stalling and fading on the dateline through Sun (3/26) with seas 32 ft was hitting California and fading out in Hawaii. Another smaller but solid storm is forecast to follow a similar track off Japan to the dateline Tues-Wed (3/29) with up to 40 ft seas aimed east then fade in the Western Gulf on Fri (3/31) with seas dropping from 30 ft. A weaker but still decent gale pattern to follow focused on the Gulf with one gale on Mon (4/3) producing 32 ft seas over a small area and a broader one behind it Mon-Wed (4/5) producing up to 35 ft seas. So an improved swell pattern is looking likely to take hold.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday AM (3/29) the jetstream was consolidated pushing strongly east off Japan with winds 190 kts reaching to the dateline with a broad trough in place there offering good support for gale development. East of the dateline the jet pushed to a point 750 nmiles north of Hawaii then split, with the main flow continuing east pushing over Vancouver Island while the southern branch tracked south over Hawaii then turned east and eventually pushed into Mexico a bit south of Baja. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to push east to a point northwest of Hawaii on Fri (3/31) and weakening with winds down to 140 kts but still offering some support for gale development. The split point is to move east to a point 600 nmiles northeast of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to start rebuilding off Japan on Sat (4/1) pushing 180 kts later Sunday migrating towards the dateline with a trough developing north of Hawaii on Tues (4/4) and again off Japan. That pocket of wind energy is to move to the dateline on Wed (3/5) building to 190 kts and holding consolidated to a point north of Hawaii with the eastern trough now just off California and the western trough approaching the dateline and both supportive of gale development. The jet is to be split a bit over and off Japan but consolidating at 160E. Another weak split is projected north of Hawaii but weak, with most energy pushing east and poised to move over Central CA. Weather looks possible there.
On Wednesday (3/29) swell from the first Dateline Storm was hitting California and fading out in Hawaii (see Dateline Storm below).
Over the next 72 hours another storm is to be tracking over the Dateline (See Dateline Storm #2 below).
A storm developed off Japan on Tues PM (3/21) with west winds building from 50 kts and seas building from 31 ft at 34N 149E. By Wed AM (3/22) northwest winds were 50 kts with seas building from 41 ft at 34N 156E. In the evening the storm held with winds 50 kts but increasing in coverage with seas building to 43 ft at 34N 162E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch faded some Thurs AM (3/23) at 45 kts with seas fading from 42 ft at 34N 169E. The gale is to be lifting north some in the evening with winds 40-45 kts from the west over a broad area and seas fading from 38 ft at 37N 176E. Fetch to hold as it approaches the dateline Fri AM (3/24) with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 38 ft over a solid area at 39N 180E. fetch to build to 45 kts in the evening over the dateline with seas fading some at 36 ft at 40N 179W. Fetch is to be reorganizing at 35 kts Sat AM (3/25) from the west with seas from previous fetch fading from 32 ft at 43N 177W. In the evening secondary fetch is to rebuild at 40 kts from the west just west of the dateline with 24-25 ft seas at 42N 172W. Fetch building to 45 kt over a small area on the dateline Sun AM (3/26) with seas 32 ft over a small area at 42N 179E. This system is to fade in the evening with winds down to 30-35 kts from the west and seas 28 ft at 44N 174W. This system to fade out from there. Certainly something to monitor.
Hawaii: Swell continues Wed (3/29) at 4.9 ft @ 13 (6.0-6.5 ft) secs. Swell fading Thurs (3/30) from 3.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 310-315 degrees
North CA: Swell continue on Wed (3/29) at 6.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (10.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (3/30) from 6.7 ft @ 14 secs (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 286-292 degrees
Dateline Storm #2
Another gale started developing off Japan on Mon PM (2/27) with 50 kt west winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 38 ft at 32N 153E over a tiny area. By Tues AM (3/28) winds were 45 kt from the west and seas 38 ft over a tiny area at 33N 161E. In the evening west winds continued at 40-45 kts approaching the dateline with 33 ft seas at 33N 170E. Fetch was rebuilding some at 45 kts on the dateline Wed AM (3/29) with seas 33 ft at 36N 179E. Fetch is to hold at 45 kt in the evening with seas building to 40 kts at 38N 175W targeting Hawaii well but also the US West Coast. Fetch is to move east Thurs AM (3/30) at 35-40 kts over a broad area with seas fading from 37 ft at 38N 166W aimed east targeting mainly California. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 35 kts in the Western Gulf still over a broad area aimed east with seas 33 ft at 42N 163W. The gale is to fade out from there Fri AM with winds fading from 35 kts and seas 31 ft at 44N 157W aimed a the Pacific Northwest. Remnant energy is to continue northeast into Sat PM (4/1) with seas fading from 24 ft at 53N 147W. Possible solid energy to target Hawaii with solid energy from the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: For planning purposed expect swell arrival on Fri (3/31) building to 8.4 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (13.5 ft Hawaiian) and holding. Swell fading Sat (4/1) from 6.2 ft @ 15 secs (9.0 ft Hawaiian). Residuals on Sun (4/2) fading from 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 316 degrees
North California: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Sun (4/2) building to 8.4 ft @ 17 secs later (13.5 ft). Swell Direction: 288 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday AM (3/29) high pressure was 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception driving northwest winds 15-20 kts along the Central CA coast but 10 kts up into Cape Mendocino and light for Southern CA. Light rain is to be building southward for North CA reaching Pt Arena late evening. Thursday high pressure is to be lifting north with northwest winds 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA with light scattered rain for North CA down to San Francisco early. Northwest winds building into Southern CA late afternoon at 20 kts. Potential for snow for Tahoe starting just before sunrise holding till noon. 3-4 inches of accumulation possible on the crest. Friday high pressure is to be in control with northwest winds 25-30 kts early for north and Central CA and over the Channel Islands. Saturday high pressure and the usual CA gradient is to move north some with northwest winds 25 kts over North CA from Bodega Bay northward and 15 kts down to Monterey Bay. More high pressure builds in Sunday with north winds 20-25 kts for all of North CA down to Monterey Bay and building to 30 kts from the Golden Gate northward later afternoon. Monday northwest winds and high pressure taking firmer control at 20-25 kts from Pt Conception northward. Tuesday (4/4) northwest winds fading from 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA with a front moving towards the Pacific Northwest. Light rain for Cape Mendocino. Wednesday the high is to fade as low pressure tries to push into the area with northwest winds 20 kts limited to the area between Big Sur and Pt Conception. Light rain for Cape Mendocino.
No swell producing fetch has occurred and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
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 secondary gale is forecast forming in the Western Gulf on Sun AM (4/2) with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 42N 165W. In the evening winds to build to 45 kts over a small area with 30 ft seas building at 45N 161W. The gale is to fade and track east Mon AM (4/3) with winds 35 kts from the west over a small area with seas 28 ft at 45N 154W. Small swell possible mainly for Central CA up into the Pacific Northwest.
Another gale is to be right on it's tail forming in the Western Gulf Mon AM (4/3) with near 50 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 28 ft at 40N 175W. In the evening 50 kt west winds to continue tracking east with seas building to 38 ft over a small area at 40N 166W. The gale to build in coverage Tues AM (4/4) tracking east with 45 kt west winds and seas 36 ft at 40N 157W targeting the US West Coast well. In the evening the gale is to lift northeast and fade with winds down to 40 kts and seas 29 ft over a solid area at 42N 150W. Wednesday AM (4/5) winds to be 35 kts over a broad area in the Eastern Gulf with 29-30 ft seas at 46N 146W. Fetch to fade in the evening with seas fading from 26 ft at 46N 139W.
theoretically one last small gael is to be behind these on the dateline Tues PM (4/4) with 45 kts northwest winds over a small area with seas 22 ft at 35N 177E. By Wed AM (4/5) 45 kt northwest winds to continue with seas 28 ft at 37N 174W targeting Hawaii well. In the evening winds to be fading from 40 kts from the northwest with seas 27 ft at 37N 167W.
A gale is projected forming in the Central South Pacific on Fri AM (3/31) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 34 ft over a tiny area at 60S 167W. In the evening 40 kt southwest winds to be lifting northeast with seas 33 ft at 57S 159W. Sat AM (4/1) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the south with seas fading from 29 ft at 53S 154W. In the evening 35-40 kt south winds to continue with 26 ft seas at 50S 149W aimed north. South fetch fading Sun AM (4/2) from 35 kt and seas 25 ft at 50S 143W. Something to monitor.
Another gael is to be right behind on Tues (4/4) with 40-45 kt southwest winds and seas building to 36 ft in the evening lifting northeast at 52S 147W. More swell possible if the model are correct.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Holding but A Change Appears Imminent
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 fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. Still, the atmosphere is in a La Nina configuration.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tues (3/28) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light westerly over the equatorial East Pacific with modest east anomalies over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up just yet.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area attributable to mainly La Nina. The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies to fade to very light on 3/30, and hold that way over the KWGA through 4/4, then die to neutral. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO and La Nina might finally start loosing control of the KWGA 6 days out.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 3/28 a very weak Inactive MJO was indicated over the West Pacific. The statistic model projects it weakening but holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing only with it fading out 11 days out. There are finally hints that the Inactive Phase of the MJO constructively integrating with the remains of La Nina might finally be fading out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/29) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. Both models show some members straying into the West Pacific long term, but weakly. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/29) This model depicts a mixed pattern with no clear MJO signal present or forecast through 4/18. A weak Active Phase is projected over the West Pacific 4/23 drifting east to the dateline 5/8. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/29) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA today but with moderate east anomalies still in control. The core of the Active Phase was still centered over the Maritime continent reaching east to the dateline. Beyond the Active Phase is to stall on the dateline through 4/6 with east anomalies still in control of the KWGA (attributable to La Nina) then finally giving way to a neutral wind trend. West anomalies are to be developing by 4/14 and building solid from there as the Active Phase of the MJO builds and moves east centered over the dateline 4/18 and not fading for the foreseeable future with nary a hint of east anomalies. 3/28 was the anchor date for the final demise of east anomalies (but the previous update suggested 4/4 and now today's suggests 4/8, so there is still slippage occurring). La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 5/2 (previously 5/6) and 4/28 before that) with El Nino taking hold 5/16, (previously 5/22 and before that 5/8). Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has been continuously slipping. Confidence low on this forecast. We'll see what happens.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/29) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 175E and steep still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 40 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific from 100 meters upward other that neutral anomalies from 160W to 160E. A pocket of -2 degs anomalies is building while easing west at depth between 120-175W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/24 depicts that warm water has built in the east at +4 degs and trying to east west to about 130W. Otherwise warm water is confined to the West Pacific reaching east to 170W. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/24) A previous pool of positive anomalies at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream broke up some, but is now trying to rebuild, extending west to 115W with 10 cm anomalies off Ecuador. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific with a neutral to warm trend building in.
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: (3/28) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching west to 105W at 2+ degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W. Of note, cool waters have begun to materialize along the immediate coast of South Peru and north Chile. The warm pool continues to show signs of weakness, but is still solid in coverage. Most warming is in the southern hemi limited to Nino1.2 and trying to build into the Nino3.4 region. Temps are +2-4 degs above normal in pockets along the immediate coast of Peru and advecting west along the equator. Impressive but not as much so as a week or more ago. These waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/28): One small pocket of cooling is between Ecuador and the Galapagos. A neutral trend was along Peru. A warming trend extends west from the Galapagos out to the dateline. A warming trend is also present in the Northern Hemi off California (though weaker than days past) and out over Hawaii and reaching to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview: (3/28) There is no sign of La Nina east of 160W. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and building but less energetic out to 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/29) Today's temps were stabilizing at +1.350, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/29) temps were stable at +0.147 degs, not remarkable like Nino1.2 was.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/29) The forecast is unchanged with temps at +0.35 degs mid-March building to +0.55 degs April 1 and +0.9 degs later in April holding at 0.8 degs in July then building through the summer rising to +1.2 degs in Sept and +1.35 degs in Oct to 1.54 degs in Nov suggesting a return of El Nino. La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source for greater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume just updated today (3/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/29): The daily index was positive at +6.41 and has been running positive the last 14 days. The 30 day average was rising at +4.47. The 90 day average was rising at 1.05 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/29) Today's value was falling slightly at -0.92, still pretty negative given the other oceanic signals. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral. That seems like a reach.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, Feb = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70. 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