Punta Descanso Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The figure illustrates the combination of swells directed at Punta Descanso over a normal February. It is based on 1584 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coast so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Punta Descanso. In this particular case the best grid node is 16 km away (10 miles).
The rose diagram describes the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, 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 occurred only 1.7% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red shows largest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell occurs.
The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SW, whereas the the most common wind blows from the NNW. Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Punta Descanso and offshore. We combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are surfable at Punta Descanso, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical February, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Punta Descanso run for about 98% 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.