Arica Swell Statistics, May: All Swell – Any Wind
This image illustrates the range of swells directed at Arica through a typical May. It is based on 2200 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the shore so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Arica. In this particular case the best grid node is 27 km away (17 miles).
The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing without direction information. Five colours show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These occurred only 0% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red represents the largest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.
The diagram implies that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SSW, whereas the the most common 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 avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Arica, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average May, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at Arica run for about 100% 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.