Punta Descanso Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
This picture shows the combination of swells directed at Punta Descanso through an average February, based on 1808 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the shore so we have chosen the best 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 directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing 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 happened only 1.5% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell happens.
The diagram implies that the dominant swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was SW, whereas the the prevailing 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 group 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 Punta Descanso, 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 February, swells large enough to cause surfable 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.