Spring In Review
Spring has come and gone, and with it the memories of a mixed season - your fortunes largely depending upon where you live.
For Victoria's Surf Coast, a dynamic winter showed signs of continuing into spring only to have many promising swells cruelled by wind. So instead of corduroy, a less organised, more wind affected season unfolded.
The East Coast was the opposite. A dreadful winter across most of southern NSW - the worst in recent memory for some locations - improved considerably with the arrival of swells from a more eastern direction along with favourable winds.
After almost a year of heavy sand build up, beaches again started to develop gutters and semi-stable banks which lit up under a couple of memorable east-northeast groundswells. Not forgetting a couple of larger, long-period southerly groundswells as well.
Further north, the southerly swells didn't make as much of an impact in northern NSW, but back to back easterly swell events provided some of the best surf of the year, while south-east Queensland provided smaller, weaker swells mostly under the influence of northerly winds.
Still, it hardly went flat, unlike many springs seasons.
Western Australia was very slow and hot. A semi-stationary heat-trough sitting along the coast, with high pressure to the south put a block on Southern Ocean frontal activity while drawing in record-breaking heat from inland.
Victoria/South Australia fell somewhere in between the East Coast's active spring and the benign conditions to the west. The only issues were persistent winds from the south, owing to a stubborn high pressure sitting under Western Australia and through the Bight. This limited options to more protected breaks.
The general spring summary can be see in the Mean Sea Level Pressure anomaly charts (difference from long term climate average) below.
The high pressure anomaly extending from the south-west of Western Australian, through the Bight and to Tasmania shows the blocking mechanism well. The low pressure heat-trough on the Western Australian coast is also clear along with the inland trough through Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, which fed moisture to locations west of the divide.
High pressure was notable in the Tasman Sea, but small depressions to the north of New Zealand and kinking in towards Tasmania point to the sources of east and south swell.
October was the most active month of surf for the East Coast and the MSLP anomaly charts for this month alone show the sources of swell in more detail below. That being the low pressure depression just east of Tasmania, low off New Zealand and stronger anomaly to the south, feeding cooler southerly winds and swell.
The final chart is the mean wind anomaly for the past three months, with the onshore southerly flow evident for Victoria and South Australia, the heat-bearing easterly winds across Western Australia, and in the far upper left corner, stronger than normal south-east trade winds linked to the strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole event.
Moving into summer, waters surrounding Australia are warmer than during any other strong El Niño, so it'll be an interesting few months ahead weather and swell wise.