Daily visual surf observations on Oahu, Hawaii, USA of the Goddard-Caldwell collection starting 1968 (NCEI Accession 0001754)

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Surf reports are typically made several times per day at select locations around Oahu, primarily by Honolulu City and County lifeguards and the Surf News Network, Inc. Wave heights are reported in Hawaii scale, Hs, which systematically underestimates breaker size by as much as one-half. Although exactly when and why this tendency originated is highly disputed, it became the primary means of communicating surf size by the late 1960s. From publicly available surf reports and other notes from reputable surfers, Mr. Larry Goddard logged heights from 1968 through September 1987 and Mr. Patrick Caldwell has done similarly from September 1987 to 2020. The caretakers of the dataset typically cross-check observations among the various reporters for quality control. The daily value in the GC set represents the upper end of the reported height range, which is roughly equivalent to H1/10, for the observing time and location with the highest breakers along a given coast facing a similar direction. For the north shore, most observations are taken at Sunset Point, which is usually one of the areas of highest surf under the dominant northwest swells. For days of extreme surf with heights greater than 15 Hs, visual observations are reported from Waimea Bay, where breakers are closer to shore. For the south shores, Ala Moana is usually the reporting site. Observations from the west and east side of Oahu have also been recorded although these reports are of lower quality. Comparisons of the Goddard-Caldwell collection to 1981-2002 data from NOAA buoy 51001, which is located roughly 400 km west-northwest of Oahu, show the north shore surf observations are temporally consistent with the shoaling-only, buoy-estimated breaker heights and have an uncertainty of 10 to 15% of the surf height. Files are in ASCII text by year.
  • Cite as: Caldwell, Patrick; US National Oceanographic Data Center (2011). Daily visual surf observations on Oahu, Hawaii, USA of the Goddard-Caldwell collection starting 1968 (NCEI Accession 0001754). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/archive/accession/0001754. Accessed [date].
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DistributorNOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
ncei.info@noaa.gov
Time Period1968-08-01 to 2020-12-10
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 21.69
S: 21.25
E: -157.66
W: -158.22
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Associated Resources
  • Caldwell, P. C., 2005. Validity of North Shore, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands Surf Observations. Journal of Coastal Research, 21(6), pp. 1127-1138. https://doi.org/10.2112/03-0092.1
  • Caldwell, P. C. and J. P. Aucan, 2007. An Empirical Method for Estimating Surf Heights from Deepwater Significant Wave Heights and Peak Periods in Coastal Zones with Narrow Shelves, Steep Bottom Slopes, and High Refraction. Journal of Coastal Research, 23(6), pp. 1237-1244. https://doi.org/10.2112/04-0397R.1
  • Caldwell, P. C, Aucan, J. P., and Vitousek, S., 2009. Frequency and Duration of Coinciding High Surf and Tides along the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, 1981–2007. Journal of Coastal Research, 25(3), pp. 734-743. https://doi.org/10.2112/08-1004.1
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2011-01-04
  • revision: 2020-12-15
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress StatusComplete - production of the data has been completed
Historical archive - data has been stored in an offline storage facility
Data Update Frequency As needed
Supplemental Information
In this accession, NCEI has archived multiple versions of these data. The latest (and best) version of these data has the largest version number.
PurposeThis dataset is available to the public for a wide variety of uses including scientific research and analysis.
Use Limitations
  • accessLevel: Public
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Dataset Citation
  • Cite as: Caldwell, Patrick; US National Oceanographic Data Center (2011). Daily visual surf observations on Oahu, Hawaii, USA of the Goddard-Caldwell collection starting 1968 (NCEI Accession 0001754). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/archive/accession/0001754. Accessed [date].
Cited Authors
Contributors
Resource Providers
Publishers
Theme keywordsNODC DATA TYPES THESAURUS NODC OBSERVATION TYPES THESAURUS WMO_CategoryCode
  • oceanography
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Data Center keywordsGlobal Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords NODC COLLECTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS NODC SUBMITTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS
Platform keywordsNODC PLATFORM NAMES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
Instrument keywordsNODC INSTRUMENT TYPES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
Place keywordsNODC SEA AREA NAMES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
KeywordsNCEI ACCESSION NUMBER
Use Constraints
  • Cite as: Caldwell, Patrick; US National Oceanographic Data Center (2011). Daily visual surf observations on Oahu, Hawaii, USA of the Goddard-Caldwell collection starting 1968 (NCEI Accession 0001754). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/archive/accession/0001754. Accessed [date].
Access Constraints
  • Use liability: NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
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Lineage information for: dataset
Processing Steps
  • 2011-01-04T15:51:42Z - NCEI Accession 0001754 v1.1 was published.
  • 2020-12-15T05:56:06Z - NCEI Accession 0001754 was revised and v2.2 was published.
    Rationale: Updates were received for this data set. These updates were copied into the data/0-data/ directory of this accession. These updates may provide additional files or replace obsolete files. This version contains the most complete and up-to-date representation of this archival information package. All of the files received prior to this update are available in the preceding version of this accession.
Output Datasets
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Acquisition Information (collection)
Instrument
  • visual estimate
Platform
  • FIXED STATIONS
Last Modified: 2021-03-01T22:08:02Z
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