Punta Descanso Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The rose diagram describes the range of swells directed at Punta Descanso through a typical February. It is based on 2032 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 optimum 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 illustrates the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks 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 only 1.3% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red illustrates highest 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 dominant swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SW, whereas the the dominant 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 simplify things we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are surfable at Punta Descanso, you can load a different image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average February, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Punta Descanso run for about 99% 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.