La Paz Swell Statistics, January: All Swell – Any Wind
This image illustrates the range of swells directed at La Paz through a typical January. It is based on 1728 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 shows the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, 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 5% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell happens.
The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was SSW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the NE. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from La Paz and offshore. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple 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 load a different image that shows only the swells that were expected 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 95% 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.