Atypical genesis and death of Golden Gate eddy partially spoils forecast.

by Mike Godsey, mike@iwindsurf.com
Golden GateEddyANIM

8 years ago I did not know the Golden Gate eddy existed and and it was never mentioned in the NWS discussions or in the literature. (So I took the liberty of naming it the Golden Gate eddy, if I was more conceited I would have called it Godsey’s eddy :))

I first “discovered ” the Golden Gate eddy while on one of my USAfishing.com charter boats out of Bodega. Our course took us to the outer waters near the Bodega ocean buoys and when it got too rough out there we headed towards the Golden Gate in heavy fog. I was surprised to find the wind veer from NW to W to SW to South as we traversed these waters. The old skippers were well aware of this sometimes happening but they never had an explanation. So I rather than just checking the satellite imagery a fixed points in time I got in the habit of running satellite animations of the daytime hours every day while watching the movies of the  Bay Area wind maps. I gradually learned to discern the eddy you can see in the video to the right. Over the next few years I learned that it was this eddy that sometimes would totally wreck the forecast we derived from the models. The eddy would spin up without our knowledge and despite the strong NW wind west of the ocean buoys the Bay Area would see southerly flow that 1. enhanced East Bay  and north tower winds while 2. either partially blocking or at least really delaying the Peninsula and Waddell winds.

But today I missed the hints of a Golden Gate eddy at 7AM hence the downgrades in the forecast at 11:30. But this eddy was atypical it along with the Bodega Eddy did kill the Bodega, Tomales and Waddell winds.  Died to early to block the Peninsula winds. And even after the eddy died the East Bay winds were stronger than forecast. Why?…. I don’t have a clue…..YET!