Cliff Beach Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The rose diagram describes the range of swells directed at Cliff Beach through a typical February. It is based on 1584 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coast so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Cliff Beach. In this particular case the best grid node is 25 km away (16 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 show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These were forecast only 16% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell occurs.
The diagram suggests that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WNW, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the SW. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Cliff Beach and offshore. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Cliff Beach, 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 February, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Cliff Beach run for about 84% 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.