Papagayo Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
This picture describes the range of swells directed at Papagayo over a normal February. It is based on 2032 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum 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 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 happened only 15% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red represents the highest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.
The diagram implies that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WSW, 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 Papagayo and offshore. We lump these in 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 surfable at Papagayo, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical February, swells large enough to cause good for surfing 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.