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View Full Version : Predicting Calm vs. Rough Seas


HeyHomie
01-05-2006, 01:03 PM
Is there any pattern to how calm/rough the Atlantic Ocean is off the coast of Florida (specifically, off Daytona Beach), by season? For example, can someone say "The seas off Daytona Beach are generally calmer in [insert month here] than they are in [insert another month here]"? Or are the waves as likely to be the same size, and same frequency, 365 days per year? Let's exclude extreme conditions, such as tropical storms stirring up the sea.

Furthermore, does this vary by day? Do the waves get bigger or smaller, and more frequent or less frequent, as the tide goes in or out?

Squink
01-05-2006, 01:24 PM
I don't think it answers all your questions, but the Florida East Coast Surf Report (http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/links/flatlasrprt.shtml) includes a pair of beautiful hemispheric maps titled "Current 00hr NOAA Wave Model" and also "NOAA Wavewatch III Wave Model" maps for just the Atlantic.

wevets
01-05-2006, 01:58 PM
I can't say specifically for Florida, but there should be a pattern by season. Here in Northern California, we get our largest swells in the stormy season Dec. - Feb. and calmest Aug. - Sept. when swells come in gently out of the southwest. That's in general, and the Atlantic has seasonal patterns as well, which I'm sure can be translated into wave size and direction in general for the Florida coast.

Furthermore, does this vary by day? Do the waves get bigger or smaller, and more frequent or less frequent, as the tide goes in or out?

It will vary daily depending on what's going on offshore - you won't always have bigger waves at night, for example. Those will depend on the timing of storms out to sea, which don't change on a daily basis.

Unless you're in a semi-enclosed system like a bay or narrow channel, the wave height and frequency should be minimally affected by the tide, if affected at all. My bet would be on not at all. It's extremely rare for tides to have a powerful effect on wave size or frequency on an open coast.

bouv
01-05-2006, 02:29 PM
So am I the only one who say the OP as "Predicting Calm vs. Rough Sex?


I am? Thought so.

Scruloose
01-05-2006, 02:33 PM
I've been stationed aboard two Coast Guard patrol boats out of Miami, and as a result I've spent a great deal of time sailing the waters off the coast of Florida. In my experience, the seas are generally much calmer in the summer time. The winter time will bring many more days of 'snotty' seas, and a few days of down right nasty seas.

I did note, however, that my last two years there (97-99) had worse overall seas throughout the year compared to my first two years (91-93). But both times I saw worse seas in the winter.

As far as the size of waves goes, that all depends on winds, times, fetch, age, bottom type and a few other variables thrown in. Basically, waves get bigger with greater wind speeds, longer periods of wind and greater distances where the wind can blow unaffected by obstructions (fetch).

Scruloose
01-05-2006, 02:41 PM
Unless you're in a semi-enclosed system like a bay or narrow channel, the wave height and frequency should be minimally affected by the tide, if affected at all. My bet would be on not at all. It's extremely rare for tides to have a powerful effect on wave size or frequency on an open coast.

But if you are near a river entrance with an onshore wind and an ebbing tide, such as what you'd find at the Columbia River bar, look out! (http://seriesdrogue.com/cg2.jpg)