Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph describes the range of swells directed at Pensacola beach over a normal September. It is based on 2397 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 most applicable 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 describes the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, 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 54% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell happens.
The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the dominant 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 group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose graph. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf 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. During a typical September, swells large enough to cause surfable 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.