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Dover Beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind

This picture describes the variation of swells directed at Dover Beach through an average September. It is based on 2880 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the shore so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Dover Beach. In this particular case the best grid node is 10 km away (6 miles).

The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These happened only 100% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.

The diagram implies that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was N, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the ESE. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Dover Beach and out to sea. 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 clean enough to surf at Dover Beach, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. In a typical September, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Dover Beach run for about 0% 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.