Arica Swell Statistics, February: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds
This image shows only the swells directed at Arica that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions through a typical February. It is based on 2102 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell occurs.
The diagram indicates that the dominant swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the S. The chart at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. For example, swells larger than 1.5 feet (0.5m) coincided with good wind conditions 24% of the time, equivalent to 7 days. Open sea swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) are unlikely to happen in a normal February but 17% of the time you can expect swell in the range 1.3-2m (4-6.5ft) 17%, equivalent to (5 days). Taking into account the proportion of these swells that coincided with forecast offshore winds, and given the fact that Arica is exposed to open water swells, we calculate that clean surf can be found at Arica about 24% of the time and that surf is blown out by onshore wind 76% of the time. This is means that we expect 28 days with waves in a typical February, of which 7 days should be clean enough to surf.
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.