La Paz Swell Statistics, January: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph shows the range of swells directed at La Paz through a typical January. It is based on 2372 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 most applicable grid node based on what we know about La Paz. In this particular case the best grid node is 57 km away (35 miles).
The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, 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 4% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates biggest 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 prevailing swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SSW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the NE. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from La Paz and out to sea. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at La Paz, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were forecast to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average January, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at La Paz run for about 96% 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.