Papagayo Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The figure illustrates the variation of swells directed at Papagayo through a typical February. It is based on 2102 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coastline so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Papagayo. In this particular case the best grid node is 33 km away (21 miles).
The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks 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 15% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.
The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was WSW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the SW. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Papagayo and out to sea. 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 Papagayo, 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 Papagayo run for about 85% 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.