Pensacola beach Swell Statistics, September: All Swell – Any Wind
This chart describes 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 coast so we have chosen the most applicable 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 shows the distribution of swell sizes and directions, 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 were forecast 53% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red shows the highest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.
The diagram implies that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SSE, whereas the the dominant 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 combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose diagram. 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 expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average September, swells large enough to cause surfable 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.