Punta Descanso Swell Statistics, February: All Swell – Any Wind
The figure describes the combination of swells directed at Punta Descanso over a normal February, based on 1584 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Punta Descanso. In the case of Punta Descanso, 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 occurred only 1.7% of the time. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red shows highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how commonly that size swell occurs.
The diagram implies that the most common swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was SW, whereas the the dominant 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 keep it simple we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at Punta Descanso, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical February, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf 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.