Sunday, August 20, 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 2.4 ft @ 13.7 secs with southern hemi swell 1.8ft @ 13.9 secs from 184 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 71.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.7 secs from 190 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.9 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.9 secs from 216 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.5 ft @ 13.6 secs from 190 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.5 ft @ 10.0 secs with local north windswell 6.9 ft @ 9.6 secs from 3110 degrees and southern hemi swell 3.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 185 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 12-14 kts. Water temp 61.9 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 Sunday (8/20) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at head high on the sets and warbled if not chopped from south wind. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and clean and lined up. At Santa Cruz south swell was still hitting producing waves at waist to chest high and clean. In Southern California up north waves were thigh to waist high on the sets and clean with no wind nearshore. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was still producing some surf with waves waist to chest high and clean but pretty slow. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were chest to head high and clean but slow. In San Diego surf was thigh to waist high with maybe a few bigger peaks and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets thigh high and clean and slow. The East Shore was near flat and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (8/20) moderate plus sized locally generated north windswell was present along the coast of North and Central California and forecast to start fading Mon (8/21) and gone after that till late in the work week. A gale in the North Gulf on Tues (8/22) is to generate 25 kt west winds and 16 ft seas, but not enough to result in any swell. tropical Storm Kenneth is to build Sun evening (8/20) to hurricane status but too far east of Hawaii to have any significant impact in swell production. No windswell was present along east shores of the Hawaiian Islands but that could upgrade some by Wed-Thurs (8/24) as the remnants of Kenneth interact with high pressure north of there. South swell was hitting California at exposed breaks but down from days previous and expected to be gone later Monday (8/21). Beyond nothing is projected. Things are quiet and expected to stay that way other than local windswell until the North Pacific comes online.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (8/20) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 700 nmiles west of North CA ridging east into Washington generating a pressure gradient over North CA producing 30-35 kt north winds resulting in moderate plus sized north windswell at exposed breaks down into Central CA. This high was positioned too far east to be enhancing trades relative to the Hawaiian Islands with no windswell of interest present.
Over the next 72 hours for California the high is to rapidly fade on Monday (8/21) with the local pressure gradient fading and north winds off North California fading rapidly from 25 kts early to barely 20 kts later with windswell in rapid decline. And eddy flow is to hold nearshore though. By Tues (8/22) north winds to be fading from 15 kts and below that threshold in the evening with no windswell being generated. More of the same is forecast on Wed (8/23) with no meaningful local north windswell expected for North and Central CA.
Also a small low pressure system is to develop in the North Gulf of Alaska on Mon PM-Tues AM (8/22) generating a fetch of northwest winds at 25 to almost 30 kts generating 16 kts seas targeting the Pacific Northwest up into British Columbia. Doubtful any rideable windswell is to result.
For Hawaii, easterly trades are to remain weak and below the 15 kt threshold to produce meaningful windswell through mid-Tues (8/22). But further east of the Islands Hurricane Kenneth is to be organizing on Mon (8/21) and turning slowly northwest, then falling below hurricane strength on Tuesday but starting to form a pressure gradient with high pressure at 1026 mbs positioned 1000 nmiles northeast of Hawaii generating a broad fetch of east winds at 15 kts extending from 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii and up to the Big Island, resulting in building east windswell Tuesday (8/22) afternoon and building some Wed (8/23) and holding thereafter for a while.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Tropical Storm Kenneth was developing 1800 nmiles east-southeast of Hawaii on Sun AM (8/20) with 70 kt winds tracking west-northwest at 13 kts with seas 23 ft. Kenneth is forecast to build to Hurricane status Sun PM (8/20) holding into Mon AM (8/21) with winds to 75 kts while turning to the northwest. By Tues AM (8/22) Kenneth is to be rapidly fading with winds at 40 kts (Tropical Storm status) and tracking northwest positioned 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii and of interest only to commercial fishing vessels and fading fast from there. But Kenneth is to generate a pressure gradient and enhance windswell relative to Hawaii (see Short and Long Term forecasts). Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (8/20) high pressure at 1028 mbs was 800 nmiles west of North CA ridging east forming a pressure gradient producing 30-35 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino with a eddy flow (south winds) from Pt Arena southward. Mon (8/21) the gradient is to be in retreat with light winds everywhere if not an eddy flow other than north winds 25 kts limited to a small area mostly west of Cape Mendocino and retreating to 20 kts there through the day. Tuesday light winds to be in control over all CA nearshore waters except 15 kts from the north over Cape Mendocino. Thurs AM (8/24) new high pressure start building north of Hawaii ridging east with the usual pressure gradient redeveloping over California with north winds building to 20-25 kts along the entire coast of North and Central CA. Fri (8/25) the gradient is to lift north winds 25 kts north winds over Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts winds south of there down to Pt Conception. By Sat (8/26) the gradient is to hold over North CA with winds 10 kts from the north elsewhere south of there to Pt Conception and holding Sunday (8/27).
On Sunday AM (8/20) the jetstream continued in a zonal pattern with the northern branch running east on the 30S latitude line while the southern branch of the jet was running east on the 55S latitude line in the west with a ridge pushing it further south and into Antarctic Ice over the Central Pacific. But a trough was present in the Southeast Pacific with the jet lifting due north on the 120W longitude line being fed by 120 kt winds pushing north to 50S offering some support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours starting Mon AM (8/21) the trough in the east is to dissipate ad be gone no longer offering any support for gale development. Otherwise the southern branch is to be very weak with winds less than 100 kts and displaced south offering no support for gale development through Wed (8/23). Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs (8/24) the southern branch of the jet is to be very weak until Fri (8/25) when a new ridge starts building over the West Pacific being fed by 130 kts winds pushing almost due south into the Ross Ice Shelf and sweeping east from there into Sun (8/27) offering no support for trough development and therefore no support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere.
On Sunday (8/20) small remnant swell from a gale that formed in the Central Pacific was still hitting California, but on it's way down (see Central Pacific Gale below).
Otherwise no swell producing fetch is forecast. Seas were 33 ft in the extreme Southeast Pacific Sat PM into Sun AM (8/20) at 57S 97W in association with a gale low there supported by an upper level trough. But this energy was only targeting Mexico down into Peru and Chile. No meaningful swell is expected to reach California.
Central Pacific Gale
Thursday PM (8/10) a tiny cutoff low developed generating an area of 40 kts south winds aimed north in the upper reaches of the Central Pacific with seas building. The gale held with south winds 40 kts while holding it's position Fri AM (8/11) with a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 40S 139W. In the evening the gale was lifting north with 40 kt south winds and seas 29 ft at 38N 141W aimed north. Fetch was fading Sat AM (8/12) from 30-35 kts with 22 ft seas fading at 34S 140W aimed north. The gale to dissipate from there.
Southern California: Swell continues on Sun (8/20) at 2.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft) fading out on Mon (8/21) from 2 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
North California: Swell fades on Sun (8/20) from 2.0 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) fading out on Mon (8/21) from 1.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 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 regarding windswell production for California, high pressure at 1028 mbs is to start surging east from a position 1200 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii on Thurs (8/24) and starting to ridge into the North CA coast with the local pressure gradient redeveloping producing a fetch of 20-25 kt north winds over all of North and Central CA with raw local north windswell on the increase. By Fri (8/25) the gradient is to be focused over North CA producing north winds at 25 kts with 20 kt north winds reaching south to Pt Conception with north local windswell on the increase. Sat (8/26) the gradient is to remain isolated to North CA at 25 kts early fading to 20 kts later with perhaps a weak wind pattern developing from just south of Pt Arena to Pt Conception. And this pattern is to hold on Sunday (8/27). LOcal north windswell is to be in the modest range for the weekend for all of North and Central CA.
For Hawaii trades are to continue at 15 kts from the east Thurs AM (8/24) and being enhanced by the remnants of Hurricane Kenneth 1400 nmiles east-northeast of Hawaii resulting in continued east windswell for exposed east shores of the Hawaiian Islands. Swell to linger into Fri (8/25) then start dropping off with no additional fetch forecast through Sun (8/27).
Otherwise no low pressure systems of interest are to develop tracking east through the North Pacific.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina in Control
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 Sat (8/19) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and solid over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were moderate easterly over the far East Pacific turning neutral further west and holding over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/20) Weak east anomalies were modeled over the bulk of the KWGA. but starting 8/22 moderate plus strength east anomalies are to start rebuilding over the entirety of the KWGA and holding if not building more through the end of the model run on 8/26. It appears an Inactive Phase of the MJO was building and feeding a La Nina pattern.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/19 a neutral MJO pattern was depicted over the entire equatorial Pacific. The statistical model depicts this pattern to hold at dead neutral for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with some signs of the Inactive Phase developing in days 5-10 in the far West Pacific, then fading. The ECMWF model suggests the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is in control over the West Pacific and is to hold for the next 2 weeks.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/20) 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 but with it a little stronger over the Indian Ocean a week out. This is not promising.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/20) This model depicts a modest Inactive/Dry pulse over the Central Pacific. It is to track east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through 9/10. A neutral MJO pattern biased Dry is forecast to follow in the West Pacific and holding through the end of the model run on 9/29. So basically some flavor of the Inactive Phase is to hold for the next 40 days with no sign of the Active Phase of the MJO. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/20) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with weak east wind anomalies over the West Pacific and forecast building east over the bulk of the KWGA over the next few days, and this pattern is expected to hold but with east anomalies building in the far West Pacific 8/28-9/15. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 9/18 with west anomalies in control starting 9/28 through 10/23 when the Inactive Phase starts developing the West Pacific and west anomalies dissipate. A neutral wind anomaly pattern is to hold through the end of the model run (11/17). 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 9/25, then building in coverage but drifting east. There's some sense the El Nino like core is to start shifting east from the Indian Ocean to the West Pacific in early November while the La nina pattern shifts east too taking root entirely east of the dateline. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather 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: (8/20) A pattern change is starting to show, with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs depicted at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has stabilized at 167W. The 24 deg isotherm is retrograding to 125W and holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters) but that is expected to fade soon. The warm water layer in the East Pacific is getting shallower suggesting a transition to La Nina. Anomaly wise a clear change is developing with warm water at +1.0 degrees above normal in the East Pacific quickly loosing ground but +1.0 degree anomalies building in coverage in the West Pacific at 125 meters deep. Cooler anomalies are in a pocket between 110-160W at -2.0 degs down 125 meters and tracking east some. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/16 depicts the same thing. It looks like the cool water pocket is poised to erupt to the surface in the equatorial East Pacific while east winds are pushing all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. This might be the start of a pattern to build warm water in the far West Pacific that eventually might be able to feed some sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern, a few years from now. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/16) Negative anomalies are holding coverage at -5 cms from 160-110w with a core at -10 cm at 145W suggesting a building cool pool 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: (8/19) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern developing with modest upwelling nearshore along Peru and Ecuador reaching northwest to the Galapagos and then flowing steadily west from there on the equator getting better defined out to 160W. there is now no breaks in the cool stream over this area. This looks very much like a typical La Nina signature. A broad pocket of cooling is also holding centered at 25S 100W (well off Chile). Cool anomalies are also starting to build south of Mexico. Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/18): A cool trend was strong from 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 is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (8/18) A clear legit La Nina cool stream has developed on the equator from Ecuador to 170W. there is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. And a building stream of cooler water associated with nearshore upwelling is depicted just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos feeding the larger cool pool further west on the equator. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/20) Today's temps were inching upwards at -0.618, 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 (8/20) temps are stable at -0.458, way down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/20) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in Aug to -0.5 in Oct easing down to -0.7 in Dec then stating to rebound to 0.0 in 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. The CFS SST images (8/19) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Dec/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-Aug Plume updated (8/20) depicts temps forecast to fade 0.0 degs in Aug, and are to hold there solid through Feb 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temps -0.01 degrees below normal through Jan. last month both models depicted temps at +0.3 degs above normal through the Winter. So this is a significant downgrade.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/20): The daily index was rock solid positive at +4.61 and has been generally positive for the past month or more. The 30 day average was falling some at 4.24. The 90 day average was steady at +0.71 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): (8/20) Today's value was rising at -1.06 (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 or a double dip 2 year La Nina. 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=+0.30, June=+0.19, July=-0.41. 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, June=+0.79, July=+0.10. 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