Atacames Swell Statistics, April: All Swell – Any Wind
This image illustrates the combination of swells directed at Atacames through a typical April and is based upon 2160 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Atacames. In the case of Atacames, the best grid node is 23 km away (14 miles).
The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing 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 68% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red shows largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell was forecast.
The diagram suggests that the dominant swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was WNW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the SW. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Atacames and away from the coast. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Atacames, you can load a different image that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average April, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at Atacames run for about 32% 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.