Punta Descanso Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph shows the variation of swells directed at Punta Descanso through an average February, based on 2102 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 describes the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These happened only 1.3% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red represents biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.
The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was SW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the NNW. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Punta Descanso 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 plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Punta Descanso, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were forecast 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 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.