Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
This chart illustrates the variation of swells directed at Pensacola beach through a typical September and is based upon 2157 NWW3 model predictions since 2006 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Pensacola beach, and at Pensacola beach the best grid node is 49 km away (30 miles).
The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These were forecast 53% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red represents largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell was forecast.
The diagram implies that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the most common wind blows from the ESE. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Pensacola beach and away from the coast. 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 expected 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.