Arica Swell Statistics, January: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph shows the range of swells directed at Arica through a typical January and is based upon 2372 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Arica, and at Arica the best grid node is 27 km away (17 miles).
The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These occurred only 3% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red shows the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell was forecast.
The diagram suggests that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the S. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Arica and away from the coast. We combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose graph. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Arica, you can load a different image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average January, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Arica run for about 97% 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.