Tuesday, August 8, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service. Buoy 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 6.7 secs with southern hemi swell 1.1 ft @ 14.2 secs from 180 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 68.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.0 ft @ 5.8 secs from 265 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.3 ft @ 6.0 secs from 261 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.0 ft @ 14.3 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.7 secs from 189 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 14.7 secs with southern hemi swell 1.4 ft @ 13.9 secs from 216 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temp 59.4 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 Tuesday (8/8) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at knee to thigh high and warbled from northwest wind. Overcast skies were the rule. Protected breaks were flat to knee high and clean. At Santa Cruz southern hemi residual swell was producing surf in the knee to thigh high range on the sets and clean but slow. In Southern California up north waves were flat and heavily textured early. In North Orange Co background residual southern hemi swell was producing set waves at waist high nearshore and clean. In South Orange Co surf no report was available. In San Diego surf was knee to thigh high and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets thigh to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was flat and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (8/8) no windswell was present along the coast of North and Central California and none is forecast till maybe Fri (8/11) and then only weakly not getting solid till Mon (8/14). Windswell is not being generated in Hawaii and not expected to return till Fri (8/11) but fading Saturday and thereafter. A gale developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Wed (8/2) with 34 ft seas aimed northeast. Possible small sideband swell for California starting Thurs (8/10). Another gale is developing in the far Southeast Pacific lifting north Tues-Wed (8/9) but well east of the Southern CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. A tiny cutoff gale is forecast in the mid-South Pacific Fri (8/11) producing a small area of 36 ft seas aimed north. No tropical activity of interest is projected. Things are typically pretty quiet when we start the transition to Fall, and this year will be no different.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (8/8) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in control of the North Pacific affecting both Hawaii and California with no solid high pressure systems were indicated capable of generating wind and windswell. If anything, low pressure was building in the West Pacific suggestive of the first hints of Fall there.
Over the next 72 hours through Fri (8/9) high pressure is to build some starting Fri AM at 1024 mbs 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging south and east resulting in 15 kt north winds along the North and Central CA coast and 15 kt east winds pushing into Hawaii resulting in small short period windswell in both locations.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
On Tuesday (8/8):
Tropical Depression Noru was positioned 150 nmiles North of Tokyo Japan in the Sea of Japan at tropical depression status with winds 25 kts tracking northeast at 8 kts producing 7 ft seas. Noru is forecast to continue on it's northeasterly track moving over Central Japan later today pushing into the far West Pacific on Wed (9/12) and dissipating. No swell production is expected relative to our forecast area.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (8/8) high pressure at 1026 mbs was in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska ridging south some generating a weak gradient and north winds at 15 kts over nearshore North Ca waters and building over Pt Conception. That high is to hold on Wed (8/9) with 15 kt north winds over North CA early and building in pockets down to Pt Conception. On Thurs (8/10) a more continuous flow of 15 kts north winds is forecast over all of North and Central CA. Then on Fri (8/11) north winds to build through the day at 15+ kts over all of North and Central CA waters pushing near 20 kts in pockets on Sat (8/12) then starting to fade some Sun (8/13) but still 15-20 kts being held at bay by low pressure moving into the Pacific Northwest. Then on Mon (8/14) high pressure is to build anew centered in the Gulf of Alaska at 1028 mbs ridging east with north winds 25+ kts over north Ca and 20 kts down to Pt Conception. Tues (8/15) the gradient is to hold with 25+ kt north winds over North CA with an eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward.
On Tuesday AM (8/8) the jetstream continued in a zonal pattern with the northern branch running east on the 27S latitude line slow falling southeast while the southern branch of the jet was running east on the 65S latitude line and weak with a trough over the Central Pacific being fed by only 80 kt winds offering no real support for gale development and the jet also falling southeast over Antarctica under the Southeast Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to continue pushing east into Wed (8/9) while migrating into the Southeast Pacific being fed by only 70 kt winds lifting well northeast up to 50S possibly offering a little support for gale development. The trough is to almost start pinching off into Thurs (8/10) and then fully pinching off Fri (8/11) no longer offering any support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a return of a strict zonal flow is to set up in the southern branch of the jet by later Fri (8/11) with one pocket of winds at 150 kts over the Central South Pacific down at 68S but doing nothing and the pattern holding through Tues (8/15). No support for gale development is forecast.
On Tuesday (8/8) no swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii originating from the southern hemisphere. But another small swell was tracking northeast from a small gale previously in the Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).
Otherwise a gale low started developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (8/6) with 40 kt south winds trying to get traction on the oceans surface. In the evening winds built to 45 kts from the south with winds 24 ft at 56S 116W mostly out of the SCal swell window. On Mon AM (8/7) fetch faded some from 40 kts from the south but starting to fall south with barely 30 ft seas at 58S 111W and outside the CA swell window. In the evening the gale started building but well north and east with 55 kt southwest winds off South Chile with a tiny area of 36 kts seas at 50S 95W. No swell production is forecast relative to CA. On Tues AM (8/8) fetch held at 45 kts form the southwest with seas building to 36 ft at 50S 96W. On Tues PM (8/8) fetch is to build while lifting north at up to 50 kts with seas to 40 ft at 48S 99W and way too far east to be of interest to California targeting only Chile and Peru. This system is to lift northeast on Wed AM (8/9) with winds fading from 45 kts and seas 40 ft at 44S 93W just off Southern Chile with swell pushing north towards Chile and Peru up into Mexico. Something to monitor. Low odds of sideband swell reaching up into California.
Southeast Pacific Gale
Tuesday PM (8/1) a gale developed building in the far Southeast Pacific with southwest winds 45 kts and seas to 33 ft over a small area at 60S 127W. The gale raced east and out of the Southern CA swell window Wed AM (8/2) with winds 45 kts at 58S 110W and seas 33 ft at 58S 111W. Low odds for any swell to push up into the Southern CA swell window.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (8/10) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (8/11) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fades out on Sat (8/12) fading from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (8/10) pushing 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (8/11) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fades out on Sat (8/12) fading from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 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 weak high pressure is to start tracking east from a point north of Hawaii starting Sat (8/12) ridging better into the California coast and lessening the gradient and continuity of east winds pushing over Hawaii with windswell generation potential fading some there there. North winds to continue over North and Central CA Sat at 15 to maybe 20 kts offering some weak windswell generation potential. By Sunday (8/13) trades to mostly fall below 15 kt east of Hawaii while continuing to hold relative to California at 15-20 kts. Monday the gradient to build in earnest relative to California with east winds 20-25 kts over North CA and 20 kts down to Pt Conception and windswell on the increase. More of the same on Tues (8/15). And patchy east winds at 15 kts to continue relative to Hawaii through Tues (8/15) offering weak potential for easterly windswell along exposed easterly shores.
Also a series of weak low pressure systems are to line up from Japan tracking east-northeast up into the Gulf of Alaska starting Fri (8/11) migrating towards the Gulf of Alaska but making no southward progress blocked by high pressure (noted above) aligned from a point just north of Hawaii and tracking east, with the lows not generating anything more than 25 kt southwest winds aimed towards the gulf of Alaska.
Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs PM (8/10) a tiny cutoff low is to generating an area of 40 kts south winds in the Central Pacific with seas building. The gale is to build while holding it's position Fri AM (8/11) with winds 50 kts from the south with 32 ft seas at 40S 135W. In the evening the gale is to lift north with 45 kt south winds and seas 34 ft at 38N 135W aimed north. Fetch is to fade Sat AM (8/12) from 35-40 kts with 26 ft seas fading at 34S 133W aimed north. The gael to dissipate from there. Perhaps something to monitor.
More details to follow...
La Nina Clearly Developing
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: 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 and is holding.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (8/7) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Equatorial Pacific and also over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/8) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to start building through the week with moderate plus east anomalies forecast over the core of the KWGA by 8/12 and holding through the end of the 7 day model run (8/15). It appears an Inactive Phase of the MJO was building and feeding a La Nina 'like' longer term pattern. This is a downgrade from previous forecasts.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/7 a dead neutral MJO pattern was depicted over the West Pacific with neither the Wet/Active or the Dry/Inactive Phase indicated in play. The statistical model depicts no change over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. We had been thinking perhaps a real Active Pattern would set up rather than being dominated by the Inactive Phase of the MJO as has been the case the past 6 months, but that is not to be.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/8) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO exceedingly weak and effectively nonexistent and is to remain weak and directionless over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. This is not promising.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/8) This model depicts a solid Inactive/Dry pattern over the Maritime Continent. It is to move east over the West Pacific 8/13 then tracking east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through the end of the model run on 9/17. So basically the Inactive Phase is to take over and hold for the next 40 days. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/6) This model depicts a very weak Active MJO signal fading over the Central KWGA with neutral anomalies indicated there. Over the coming days the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop 8/12 with neutral wind anomalies forecast as it passes over the KWGA, then fading 9/6. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 9/15 with west anomalies in control through 10/15 when the Inactive Phase starts developing the West Pacific and west anomalies start fading. Of note: East anomalies are to develop from the dateline and points east of there 8/24 and are to hold into early-Oct. The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal redeveloped 7/25 from the dateline eastward and is to hold very weak till 9/17, then building and holding for the foreseeable future. There's some sense the El Nino like core is to start shifting east some in later October. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 5 years 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: (8/8) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs over a shallow area at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line continues retrograding west and currently is at 166W. The 24 deg isotherm has retrograded again to 118W but holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters). The warm water layer in the East Pacific is getting shallower suggesting a transition to La Nina. Anomaly wise a generic pattern of 0.0 anomalies stretches from the East to West Pacific from 90 meters upward and is getting shallower. A pocket of +1.0 degs anomalies is in the far West Pacific with a smaller one in the east at 120W. Pockets of cooler anomalies are depicted at the surface at 105W and 150W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/1 depicts fragmented pockets of warm water from the west to the east but shrinking on coverage while a building pattern of cooler water takes root at depth from the dateline eastward down at 100m. There is no real 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: (8/1) A neutral high pattern has been in control for the past month but now negative anomalies have developed at -5 cm between 180W to 120W suggesting cooler water at depth.
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: (8/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a weak warm pattern trying to hold tracking west off Peru. But a steady modest upwelling pattern is indicated nearshore along Chile, Peru and Ecuador almost reaching to the Galapagos. And pockets of cooling continue on the equator from the Galapagos westward and getting better defined and continuous west of there between 105-160W. A broad pocket of cooling is also holding centered at 25S 100W (well off Chile). Cooling previously south of mainland Mexico to the equator has faded with warm anomalies rebuilding solidly. Overall cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is developing and undeniable. The La Nina that developed Spring 2016 faded and was replaced by an El Nino like pattern that tried to build March-May 2017, but that too has dissipated and is being replaced by a new La Nina surge (starting July 2017).
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/7): A neutral to cool trend was along the coast of Chile and Peru. A solid cool trend was pushing west off Ecuador over the Galapagos and building at 110W out to 150W with a few lingering pockets of warm water intermixed, but strongly favoring the cooler water. An early start of a legit La Nina pattern appears to be developing. A strong warming trend continues in the Northern Hemi from California pushing north of Hawaii and reaching west to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview: (8/7) A clear legit but thin La Nina cool stream has developed on the equator from 110W to 170W. A weak warm regime is barely holding off Chile and Peru while a thin stream of cooler water is depicted running through it just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos then turning west along the equator tracking west to the dateline. 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: (8/8) Today's temps are falling hard down to -0.847, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (8/8) temps continued falling to -0.016, way down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/8) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in early Aug to -0.2 in Oct, holding there to Nov, easing down to -0.35 late Dec then stating to rebound to 0.0 in early March 2018 and perhaps warming to +0.4 degs in April. This suggests a neutral pattern biased cool setting up for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data (7/26) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos starting weakly in August and building steadily looking very La Nina like in Nov through Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-July Plume updated (7/25) depicts temps warmed to +0.5 degs in June. Temps are forecast to fade some to +0.3 degs in July, and are to hold there solid through March 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temp +0.3 degrees above normal through March.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/6): The daily index was falling at -26.95 and has been negative for the past 3 days but was positive for 24 days prior. The 30 day average was falling at 4.68. The 90 day average was steady at +0.30 or just north of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (8/8) Today's value continued rising some to -1.11 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning but weakening. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
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 = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.31, June=+0.17. 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, May=+0.88. 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