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Date Posted: 03/19/10

RE: Rough Seas at Davao Gulf

By: Arturo Valdez

Here is the explanation of our Everest weatherman and team member Dr. Voltaire Velasco on the sea condition entering Davao Gulf at this time of the year.

Sorry to hear about the rough seas and the damages you incurred. I think you are experiencing a strong Mindanao current, flowing into the Celebes Sea. And you are right, waters from the south china sea are flowing against it, creating some "shearing stress" south of the Davao gulf. This could be an explanation to those high and rough waves.

(Attached: latest ocean surface current analysis from satellite, for Mar2010)

It also appears that near the Davao Gulf, the surface water currents are perpendicular to the winds (Amihan from the north east). This doesn't look fun for sailing.

I have attached some figures showing this, zoom in to see more. According to last year's data, this swirling was strongest around February to March. It slows down around April-May (with almost no swirling) and then the currents move on a steady north to south flow around July. However, the Habagat already starts in May, bringing rains to the area. Plus, this means that the surface currents and the winds will be almost in opposite directions (maybe leading to rough choppy waves).

Based on last year's data, April showed very little swirling and the Amihan was still persistent (north-easterly winds). So the currents and the winds were almost going in the same direction. This might be more favorable for sailing??

The scenario changed in May 2009, with the onset of the Habagat and the monsoon season started. But currents were still flowing north-east to south-west into the Celebes sea.

I hope this information helps a bit.

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