Thursday, May 18, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 7.9 secs from 256 degrees. Wind east 6-10 kts. Water temperature 62.2 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.4 ft @ 8.6 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.9 ft @ 6.5 secs from 265 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 2.6 ft @ 8.0 secs from 263 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 3.4 ft @ 9.8 secs from 279 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.6 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 7.5 ft @ 8.6 secs from 303 degrees. Wind northwest 12-16 kts at the buoy. Water temp 51.6 degs.
46006, 46059, 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 (5/18) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at head high and clean but pretty uneven and mushed. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and marginally better. At Santa Cruz windswell was trying to wrap in at thigh high and clean early. In Southern California up north local windswell was producing waves in the knee to thigh high range and clean early. In North Orange Co surf was waist high on the sets and soft coming from the northwest and clean early. In South Orange Co surf was thigh to maybe waist high and clean early. In San Diego northwest windswell was producing surf at waist high and clean but mushy early. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some small swell with waves waist to chest high and clean. The South Shore was thigh high or so with a few waist high plus peaks and clean. The East Shore was getting local east windswell at chest high and chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (5/18) local windswell was hitting California and the east shores of the Hawaiian Islands but generally unremarkable. Tiny swell from a gale that developed in the Southeast Pacific on Thurs-Fri (5/12) with 27 ft seas was tracking north into the California swell window. Little to result from it. Another gale developed in the same place on Sat (5/13) with 33 ft seas aimed east with another small pulse of swell expected. But on Fri (5/19) a somewhat better gale is to develop south of New Zealand with up to 36 ft seas aimed northeast. Something to monitor. Nothing else to follow.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (5/18) high pressure at 1028 mbs was 800 nmiles off the Central CA coast generating northwest winds at 20 kts pushing down the North and Central CA coast resulting in short period local north windswell.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to be lifting northeast with the usual summer time pressure gradient remaining in control but lifting north and by Friday its to be over North CA only with north winds 20-25 kts generating better north windswell down into Central CA. Winds to build Sat (5/20) to 25 kts limited to Cape Mendocino then lifting further north on Sunday (5/21) and fading to 20 kts late and mostly north of California. Limited windswell is to be the result (see QuikCASTs for details).
Also the models suggest low pressure developing in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Thurs PM (5/18) producing 30 kt west winds over a small area northwest of Hawaii and seas to 17 ft at 42N 180W. The gale is to move east Fri AM (5/19) with west winds still 30 kts and seas 18 ft at 43N 176W. In the evening a decent sized fetch of 30 kt northwest winds is to set up aimed well at Hawaii with seas 18 ft at 40N 173W targeting the Islands well. On Sat AM (5/20) the gale is to be in the Central Gulf with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 18 ft at 39N 168W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Fetch is to start fading in the evening from 25 kts with 15 ft seas at 37N 162W. On Sun AM (5/21) the gale is to be gone. Possible windswell for Hawaii and the US West Coast with arrival in Hawaii on Mon (5/22). Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Mon (5/22) pushing 4.6 ft @ 12-13 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 3.8 ft @ 11 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325-330 degrees
Also low pressure developed off the Kuril Islands Sat-Sun (5/14) with 30-35 kt northwest winds producing up to 18 ft seas at 40N 167E at 06z Sun (5/14) somewhat targeting Hawaii. It faded from there. This system was a long ways away with low odds of any swell resulting.
Hawaii: Maybe swell 2.4 ft @ 11-12 secs on Thurs (5/18). 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 Thursday (5/18) high pressure was locked 800 nmiles west of Central CA generating the usual pressure gradient and northwest winds at 20 kts for North and Central CA with light winds for Southern CA. The gradient is to lift north and fade on Fri (5/19) with north winds 20 kts focused only on North CA with 10 kt north winds from San Francisco southward. The gradient is to build some on Saturday (5/20) with north winds 25+ kts but confined to Cape Mendocino with northwest winds 10 kts or less from Pt Arena southward. On Sun (5/21) more of the same is forecast with north winds near 30 kts for Cape Mendocino early but light elsewhere and the gradient lifting north. Monday (5/22) the gradient collapses with light winds for the entire state. More of the same on Tuesday. Wednesday a modest northwest flow sets up at 10-15 kts mainly for North and Central CA and getting marginally better footing on Thursday. Weak low pressure is to be in the Gulf limiting the effects of high pressure relative to California.
On Thursday AM (5/18) a decent trough was pushing north under New Zealand being fed by 120 kts winds and offering good support for gale development. But east of there the jetstream was split with the northern branch falling hard south down to 60S and the southern branch running east on the 30S latitude line. A ridge was in the northern branch over the Southeast Pacific causing it to merge with the southern branch from 120W and points east of there offering nothing of interest from a gale production standpoint. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the west is to develop more into Fri (5/19) pushing up to and over Southern New Zealand still being fed by 120 kt winds and pushing due north offering good support for gale development until Sat (5/20) as it moves east of New Zealand and the trough starts to become cut off. At that time support for gale development is to fade. Beyond 72 hours the same old split zonal jetstream flow is to again take shape but with a ridge developing in the southern branch over the Southeast Pacific driving the storm track southeast and suppressing gale development. A split flow is to persist with no troughs forecast through Thurs (5/25) offering no support for gale development.
On Thursday (5/18) tiny swell from a gale previous in the Southeast Pacific was pushing northeast towards the US mainland (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). And another swell was right behind it coming from the same general area (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another gale is to develop Thurs AM (5/17) south of New Zealand with winds 40 kts from the south-southwest and seas building from 29 ft at 54S 157E. The gale is to build some in the evening with a broad fetch of 35 kt south winds with 45 kt embedded south winds taking shape south of New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 49S 164E almost impacting Southern New Zealand and shadowed by New Zealand not offering swell potential for Hawaii or California. By Friday AM (5/19) the gale is to ease east some with 40-45 kts south winds forecast a bit southeast of New Zealand with 35 ft seas building at 56S 171E targeting New Zealand, Hawaii and California. The fetch is to lift northeast in the evening fading from 35-40 kts with a modest sized area of 34 ft seas at 51S 175E. Fetch fading Sat AM (5/20) from 30-35 kts from the south with 29 ft seas fading at 48S 175E. This system is to dissipate thereafter. Something to monitor. Possible swell to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and California.
Small Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Thurs PM (5/11) producing 40 kt southwest winds and 26 ft seas at 53S 129W targeting California southward. The gale raced northeast into Fri AM (5/12) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 27 ft moving out of the California swell window at 46S 115W. Small swell is possible.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/18) building to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs mid- AM (2.5 ft) and holding. Swell is to build some Fri (5/19) at 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (5/20) from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction 190-200 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/18) building to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft) and holding. Swell is to build some Fri (5/19) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (5/20) from 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction 190-200 degrees
Another Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale started to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific on Fri PM (5/12) with 40 kt west winds over a broad area aimed east and seas building. On Sat AM (5/13) winds built to 45 kts from the south with seas building to 33 ft at 57S 130W. In the evening winds held at 45 kts but coming from the southwest aimed more at Chile with seas 32 ft at 63S 120W and 30 ft seas reaching north to 53S 119W and barely in the California swell window. By Sun AM (5/14) fetch was fading from 35 kts moving east and out of the CA swell window targeting only Chile with seas 29 ft 63W 114W. Possible small south angled swell for Southern CA.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/21) building to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell is to hold on Mon (5/22) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction 185-195 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/21) building to 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell is to hold on Mon (5/22) at 2.1 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction 185-190 degrees
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 North Pacific is to go to sleep.
A storm is to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (5/20) with 50 kt northwest winds and 37 ft seas at 64S 146W targeting only Antarctica. The storm is to fall southeast Sun AM (5/21) with winds fading from 37 ft at 67S 135W then dissipating. No swell to result for our forecast area since all energy is to be pushing southeast.
Another strong gale is to form in the far Southeast Pacific on Mon-Tues (5/23) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building to 39 ft at 64S 97W, well outside even the California swell window. Energy is to target mainly chile and Peru. No swell to result for our forecast area.
More details to follow...
Weak Oceanic Kelvin Wave Continues East
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.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wednesday (5/17) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral everywhere but modest easterly over the KWGA. La Nina appears to be gone in the atmosphere but the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): East anomalies were just past their peak over the core of the KWGA at moderate strength. The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies holding over the KWGA through 5/23, then backing off steadily and retrograding west but still in control of the Central KWGA. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 5/17 a weak version of the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase fading on the dateline over the next week and then gone in week 2 while the Active Phase moves from the Maritime Continent into the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the KWGA 2 weeks out. regardless of the details it appears a more balanced/normal MJO Pattern is taking hold.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/18) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the east Indian Ocean and is to move to the Maritime Continent 2 weeks out and modest in strength. The GEFS depicts the Active Phase holding in the far East Indian Ocean. These models runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/18) This model depicts a strong Inactive Pattern exiting over the East Pacific with a weak Active Phase over the Dateline region. The Active Phase is to track east over Central America through 6/2. A very weak Inactive pattern to follow in the West Pacific 6/2 tracking east to the East Pacific through 7/7. . In short, the MJO is to be very weak and almost indiscernible. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/18) This model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the Central KWGA with modest east anomalies in play in the KWGA. Beyond the Inactive Phase is to fade out on 6/2 but with weak westerly anomalies developing in the Central KWGA by 5/26 and holding. The MJO is to be nonexistent through 6/27 but with weak west anomalies in control. After that the Active Phase is to move into the KWGA on 6/29 with building west anomalies, getting solid 7/13 and holding decently through 8/14 (the end of the run). This is likely overstated a the model has been teasing of west anomalies for months and yet they never develop. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to hold on in the KWGA till 6/3 (previously 5/6-5/8). The model now hints at La Nina weakly redeveloping 7/24. Best Guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 5 years or more for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/18) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs C steady at 156E. The 28 deg isotherm line continues is steady at 149W. The 26 deg isotherm continued easing to the east reaching to the Galapagos with the 24 degs isotherm over a modest pool down 25 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Warm anomalies at +2 degs are in the East Pacific and +2 degs anomalies are in the West Pacific down at 125m. A thin stream of +1 degs anomalies that previously stretched from the west to the east connecting the two warm pools has separated at 160W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 depicts that warm water is in the East Pac at 3.0 degs in a small pocket. And a warm pocket at +4 degs is at 180W and trying to move east. A tiny cool pocket at -1 degs is all that separates them at 115W. 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. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/13) +5 cm anomalies are along the coast of Peru and Ecuador but small in coverage. In the west 0-5 cm anomalies are over the entire KWGA and pushing east now reaching to 120W, suggestive of a weak Kelvin Wave tracking east. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific with a neutral to weak warm trend trying to hold on.
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: (5/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern is building along the coasts of Northern Chile and Peru north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos and out to sea out to 160W. Warming to +2 degs is in multiple pockets embedded in this region, though down slightly from 2 days ago. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Peru and North Chile is all but gone. Looking at the large picture, warming in the southern hemi extends east thousands of miles off the coast of South America as far south as 20S or more. But it is not well defined. 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 (5/16): A weak warming trend is along immediate Chile and Peru. A thin stream of more concentrated warming extends from Ecuador to the Galapagos and then out to 110W. A marked warming trend is present in the Northern Hemi from a point just north of Hawaii reaching west to the Philippines. Overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview: (5/14) A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 140W and less energetic out to the dateline. It looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal. Suspect climatology needs to be updated to reflect this new reality, or the recent Super El Nino has significantly redistributed heat across the oceans.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/18) Today's temps are falling to +0.268, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (5/18) temps were holding, hovering at +0.351 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/18) The forecast has temps steady at +0.5 degs today into July then falling to +0.4 in Aug holding to Oct, then falling to +0.1 degs in Jan 2018. This suggests a weakly cooler but still normal pattern developing for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data suggests a Modoki style warming pattern over the dateline this Fall and Winter. La Nina is over and a return to normal temps appears to have occurred in the ocean. There is no source for greater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak. Much recharging and heat buildup is required for a real El Nino to develop. We're at least 5 years out from that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume updated (4/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.4 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July and up to +0.9 degs through the Fall into Winter. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and +0.1 degs since the March forecast suggesting 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 (5/18): The daily index was rising some at 10.74. It has been positive for 6 days. The 30 day average was rising at -4.92. The 90 day average was rising at -3.17 or just south of 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): (5/16) Today's value was rising to -0.35 or basically normal. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94, the deepest of the past La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic.
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 = +0.10, Feb = +0.03, March = +0.09, April=+0.52 . 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, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12. 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