Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph shows the combination of swells directed at Pensacola beach through a typical September and is based upon 2291 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Pensacola beach. In the case of Pensacola beach, the best grid node is 49 km away (30 miles).
The rose diagram shows the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, 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 happened 54% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red shows the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). 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 longest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the ESE. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Pensacola beach and out to sea. We group these 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 46% 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.