Abalone Cove Swell Statistics, May: All Swell – Any Wind
This picture describes the variation of swells directed at Abalone Cove through an average May, based on 2200 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Abalone Cove. In this particular case the best grid node is 29 km away (18 miles).
The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These happened only 4% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red represents highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell occurs.
The diagram implies that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SW, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the WSW. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Abalone Cove and away from the coast. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Abalone Cove, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. In a typical May, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Abalone Cove run for about 2.0% of the time.
IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.