Live Wind

James
James
  • Updated

Important notes

  • A red dot next to wind means the data is live and coming from a weather station
  • A grey dot means the weather station is not currently reporting

Glossary

Observed wind: a live wind reading from one of our weather stations feeding us realtime data.

Forecasted wind: a wind reading driven by the GFS global wind model.

Predicted wind: a corrected/updated wind forecast based on the history of observed wind readings and the GFS forecasted wind. 

 

What is Live Wind?

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Wind forecasts on Surfline are driven by the GFS global wind model (and NAM in North America and Hawaii). If we don't have a live wind station for the spot, the data comes from the global forecast model.

Global models take large-scale factors (such as the ocean and the dynamics of the atmosphere) into consideration.

Small-scale phenomena such as thermal sea breezes, air interacting with topography, or localized temperature differences near the coast can have a significant impact on surf quality.

Small-scale phenomena are potentially missed by the GFS global wind forecast. This is where Surfline’s Live Wind readings come in handy.

 

How do I know if I'm looking at Live or modelled wind?

We've recently expanded the live wind network on Surfline! Previous only 35-40% of spots had live wind data available. We now have about 70% of the spots on Surfline covered with live wind data!

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Look for the red dot! A red dot indicate the wind is live, as does the propellor symbol. Click the Live Wind > button under Current Surf Conditions to dive in.

 

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The Live Wind > button

If you click the Live Wind > button, you'll be taken to a page with 2 different graph options to compare live wind with modelled wind.

Graph options: switch between the Bar Graph and Line Graph.

 

"Onshore vs offshore" bar chart

How to read: bars reaching downwards into the onshore half are bad for surf quality. Bars reaching upwards into the offshore half are good for surf quality. Look for windows with bars reaching into the offshore half (or for smaller bars in the onshore half).

Bar size is a measure of impact meaning it accounts for strength AND direction. Cross-shore wind appears as a point on the axis (neither onshore nor offshore).

E.g. Direct onshore 10-knot wind will appear as a taller bar than wind blowing at the same strength but at an angle to onshore.

 

Graph guide

  • Arrows represent wind direction/strength
  • The black number is average windspeed, and the grey number is the gusting windspeed
  • The colored line represents the rating we have assigned for the hour of the day
  • Grey numbers at the bottom (12, 3, 6 etc) are timestamps

 

"Live vs modelled" line graph

How to read: compare the wind observed by our weather station with the modelled wind. If you look back in time, you'll compare observed wind with forecasted wind. If you look into the future, you'll compare what was forecasted with "predicted" (a new forecast based on recorded observations.

Graph guide

  • Black dot represents now
  • Colored line is recorded wind observation, dotted colored line is a predicted wind forecast informed by previous observations.
  • Arrows represent wind direction/strength
  • The black number is average windspeed, and the grey number is the gusting windspeed
  • The colored line represents the rating we have assigned for the hour of the day
  • Grey numbers at the bottom (12, 3, 6 etc) are timestamps

 

Frequently asked questions

If you don't find the answer you're looking for, submit your question through our Support center! 

Where is the weather station providing the data mounted? From a spot with live wind; hit the Live Wind button to open the graph page. Just below the Live Wind title, we note the station's location and distance from the surf spot.

Why is the dotted line showing in the past? This means the station has probably dropped offline, and is no longer providing observations

How do I know if I'm reading Live Wind, GFS modelled wind, or our prediction based on the live data we're recording?

  • Live wind is noted as "Observed".
  • We call GFS wind (that drives spot/regional pages) "Forecasted".
  • We call the GFS forecasted wind corrected by our live wind observations "Predicted".

As you slide your finger through any day, you'll see the GFS modelled wind remains "Forecasted". Our Live Wind will show "Observed" for any readings recorded in the past, and "Predicted" for any moment in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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