Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
This picture shows the combination of swells directed at Pensacola beach through a typical September, based on 1917 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coast so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Pensacola beach. In this particular case the best grid node is 49 km away (30 miles).
The rose diagram shows the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, 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 occurred 53% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell was forecast.
The diagram implies that the dominant swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the ESE. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Pensacola beach and offshore. We lump these in with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose graph. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Pensacola beach, 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 September, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at Pensacola beach run for about 47% 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.