Forecaster Blog: Season Opener Looming for southern Queensland and northern NSW

11 Oct 2017 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | FORECASTER BLOG

Issued Wednesday, 11 October 2017

There’s a definitive shift in the synoptic pattern occurring over the Tasman Sea and broader Southwest Pacific this week – and with it comes the first easterly tradewind swell of the 2017/18 tropical-swell season. For now there’s still some uncertainty surrounding precise timing and surf-height potential associated with this event, but it’s clear that the swell is coming; commencing this weekend and probably coming to a head early to mid next week.

Queensland's points are set to reawaken as the first tradewind swell of the 2017 to 2018 tropical swell season kicks in early to mid next week. Uploaded to CW by CurrumbinAli.

Queensland's points are set to reawaken as the first tradewind swell of the 2017 to 2018 tropical swell season kicks in early to mid next week. Uploaded to CW by CurrumbinAli.

Its onset follows the passage of a couple of surface troughs across the Queensland coast over the next few days, leading in the development of a firming subtropical ridge elongating across the northern Tasman Sea this weekend. The subsequent development of a broad, albeit relatively low-strength ESE fetch across the region triggers a steady building trend in conjunction with the second, aforementioned coastal trough developing on Friday; triggering a building trend in short-range SE/ ESE windswell over the weekend.

A strong, quasi-stationary high developing over the Tasman Sea early next week is projected to support 20 to 25kt ESE trades for several days. Source: BOM

A strong, quasi-stationary high developing over the Tasman Sea early next week is projected to support 20 to 25kt ESE trades for several days. Source: BOM

Wave Tracker displaying signficant wave height for Wednesday 18 October, showing scope for a solid peak in ESE tradewind swell in the 4 to 5ft range on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, this will become clearer as the week progresses.

Wave Tracker displaying signficant wave height for Wednesday 18 October, showing scope for a solid peak in ESE tradewind swell in the 4 to 5ft range on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, this will become clearer as the week progresses.

As a large high pressure system builds over the Tasman Sea early next week a more expansive ESE fetch will emerge as the primary driver of ESE swell; potentially setting up a far more substantial building trend in ESE tradewind swell on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. For now there’s loose consensus between GFS and ECMWF model runs indicating peak size could reach a chunky 4 to 5ft plus over this time frame – but I’m inclined to think this will be scaled down at least a foot by the end of the week. Either way, the quasi-stationary high looks likely to support the tradewind belt for several days – and it’s the longevity of the fetch – as opposed to core wind-speeds – that should supply the region with consecutive days of solid surf; potentially for the entirety of next week before tapering off over the weekend of Saturday 21st of October. Again, there’s likely to be plenty of fine-tuning to the specifics on this event, so stay tuned for updates as the week progresses.

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