Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
This picture shows the variation of swells directed at Pensacola beach through an average 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 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 describes the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. These occurred 53% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell was forecast.
The diagram suggests that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the prevailing 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 combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Pensacola beach, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. In a typical 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.