sábado, 22 de Maio de 2010

El Niño vs Azores High

It's already known by surfer communities’ worldwide. This winter (northern hemisphere) or summer (southern hemisphere) depending where you have been, has been dominated by the El Niño climate pattern phenomena. To make it short, in what surfing wise matters, this means that Hawaii had the best season in the last 10 years, California was pumping, and Western Sahara had classic weeks after weeks. The other side of this coin is that many locations around the world had an unusual poor season.

The case of the Western Portugal coastline was one of the latter. This winter indeed brought our way countless storms and swells; the problem is that part of the El Niño influence in the North Atlantic the normally mid north Atlantic position of the Azores High pressure system went south! By making so the Azores High pressure system cleared the path for the storms that are generated in the Caribbean region.

So, instead of their normal path towards the north Atlantic, they just crossed the same ocean straight into our exposed western coastline, threw the swell north and south (we’ve hear western Africa was on fire) but by landing straight on our backyards, many time, stormy conditions did not provided the right wind direction to make the best of the plentiful swell offer.

Not a drama, especially in Peniche where we could still surf regularly, as usual. But when Spring arrived and conditions finally allowed for Supertubos to show a little of what it can do, some of us have wondered what winter season we could have had, had El Niño have not shown its power once again.


Supertubos spring 2010. Photo by Sandra Stubenvoll, Baleal Surf Camp

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