December's Swell Outlook For Australia

24 Nov 2016 0 Share

Photo from November by Jack Staniford / @hummingbird_cinema

Photo from November by Jack Staniford / @hummingbird_cinema

MONTHLY SWELL OUTLOOK | COASTALWATCH PLUS EXCLUSIVE

Issued 24 November 2016 

To view this exclusive outlook, swell alerts and extended forecasts, sign up to Coastalwatch Plus for just $1 for 4 weeks!

NSW

The onset of summer brings a further poleward shift in the high-pressure belt and a subsequent, further suppression of the Southern Ocean storm-track. Prima Facie, this suggests a lower frequency of S swell events, with more prominent blocking patterns leading to a higher frequency in smaller-scale NE windswells.

At the same time, the evolution of the monsoon trough is more than likely over the Coral Sea and there’s high chances for the first tropical cyclone of the season to drop over the region during December. Whether or not this turns into a swell-producer for the NSW coast is yet to be seen. At the same time, there’s always potential for a freakishly large S or SE swell event taking place over the Tasman Sea in the lead up to Christmas, so don’t pack away your step-up board just yet.

Queensland

Although Queensland’s easterly swell window is set to fall quiet again into the end of November, the arrival onset of summer brings a higher chances for new easterly tradewind swells for the region.

The La-Nina like, ENSO characteristics prevalent inside eastern Australian longitudes suggest the monsoon trough will form during December – and once it does, it will be game on. As mentioned in the Tropical Cyclone Outlook, we should see tropical cyclogenesis focused over the Coral Sea this season and there’s better than average chances we’ll see the first tropical cyclone of the season forming inside our swell window before the year is out.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA & VICTORIA

A continues poleward shift of the high pressure belt into early summer continues to lend the focus to the more exposed breaks across the southern states throughout December. The further suppression of the Southern Ocean storm track should offer up a higher incidence of small and mid-sized SW swells; mostly ranging anywhere from 2 to 6ft.At the same time, each eastward-migrating high will see the usual anticlockwise shifts in local winds; starting out SW before going S to SE and so on, making for plenty of onshore days. This is usually interspersed with a day or two of favourable N to NE winds and there’s always scope for a week or two of dominant west to south-westerlies.

Having said all that, the Southern Ocean never sleeps and will always have the final say. The possibility of a large or even humungous swell-event in the 6 to 10ft range is ever-present across southern Australian coasts, so be sure to stay tuned to the detailed forecasts in the lead-up to Christmas.

Western Australia

Here come the southerlies. The onset of summer invariably brings the Fremantle Doctor; the seasonal SSE to SSW wind-regime that, by-and-large, make for predominant onshore conditions state-wide. The usual pattern has lighter ESE to SE inshore winds preceding the southerly shift, thereby making early sessions the only sensible option. Of course, there are variations to this pattern – but straight offshore days can be few and far between.

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