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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 4:16 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
5.1 - California & 5.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 1/7 thru Sun 1/13

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #5 Hitting CA
Strong Storm #6 Building West of Dateline

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Wednesday, January 9, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 11.7 secs from 285 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 16.1 secs from 19 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 16.2 secs from 251 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 6.9 ft @ 13.2 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.4 ft @ 17.9 secs from 268 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 19.5 secs from 268 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 19.0 secs from 283 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 18.0 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 13.0 ft @ 13.5 secs from 267 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was south at 16-21 kts. Water temp 55.9 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Wednesday (1/9) in North and Central CA surf was 2-3 times overhead and a warbled sloppy unruly mess with south winds in control. Protected breaks were 2-3 ft overhead and clean and lined up and mostly closed out being overpowered by swell period. At Santa Cruz surf was breaking out to sea with 12 ft sets and and ugly mess of south wind chop and long period large swell. In Southern California/Ventura surf was huge with 10 ft sets lined up and racing down the beach with clean conditions. Swell was just starting to hit here. In North Orange Co surf was starting to get double overhead sets and clean coming hard out of the north and current racing south down the beach. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and super clean. North San Diego surf was 1-2 ft overhead and clean with the swell just starting to show. Hawaii's North Shore was 2 ft overhead and lined up and clean and fun but not real consistent. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northeasterly swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and near clean with light southeast winds blowing.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (1/9) new swell from a strong storm just off the California coast was hitting all of California making for well rideable waves mainly down south protected from weather. This storm developed 1100 nmiles off North CA on Mon (1/8) with seas building to 46 ft early Tues (1/8) aimed southeast then faded while tracking east into early Wed (1/9) targeting Central and South CA well. And a stronger storm is forming off North Japan Wed-Thurs (1/10) expected to produce up to 58 ft seas aimed east then fading while pushing into the Northwestern Gulf on Fri (1/11) with copious 20-30 ft seas backfilling the entire North Pacific at that time. The storm track is to fade some directly thereafter. A solid storm cycle is occurring driven by the Active Phase of the MJO.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Wednesday AM (1/9) the jetstream was well consolidated pushing east off Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds building to 180 kts just west of the dateline with a trough starting to build in that wind pocket offering support for gale development. East of the dateline the jet continued consolidated falling southeast into another trough off the California coast but with winds only 140 kts still offering support for gale development with the jet weakening and ridging northeast once it pushed onshore over Central CA. A very solid NPac jetstream flow continues. Over the next 72 hours the trough off California is to push inland Thurs (1/10) while the trough west of the dateline starts building still being fed by 170 kts winds offering good support for gale if not storm development. And another trough is to start building in the Central Gulf on Thurs (1/10) offering support for gale development pushing inland over Central CA on Sat (1/12) while the dateline trough washes out. Still winds to be 170 kts solid over the dateline carving out a gentle trough there offering support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun (1/13) the jet is to start splitting in the Eastern Gulf with the northern branch pushing north up into Alaska while the dateline trough holds, the start weakening. By Tues (1/15) wind energy is to start building again over Japan at 180 kts reaching east half way to the dateline while the split in the east dissipates and the jet starts forming another trough just off California and trying to push inland over Central CA later Wed (1/16). At that time winds to be 190 kts pushing off Japan. So maybe another cycle of storms might develop.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (1/9) Swell from Gulf Storm #5 was hitting California (See Gulf Storm #5 below).

Over the next 72 hours more gale development is forecast. A strong storm is forecast building west of the dateline (see Dateline Storm #6 below).

And starting Thurs AM (1/10) another weaker local gale is to start building in the Central Gulf of Alaska with a small area of 40 kt northwest winds falling southeast with seas 28 ft at 42N 154W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kt northwest winds are to be falling southeast with seas 25 ft at 38N 148W targeting Central and Southern CA. The gale is to try and wind up off North CA on Fri AM (1/11) with 30-35 kt west winds just off the coast with 22 ft seas from previous fetch off the CA coast at 37N 142W aimed southeast. An agitated but not significant sea state is to continue off CA into early Sat (1/12) from this system.

 

Gulf Storm #5
On Monday AM (1/7) a broad storm was starting to build in the upper level trough off the US West Coast with 55 kt northwest winds building in it's western quadrant and seas 30 ft at 40N 149W aimed south and 29 ft seas at 34N 147W aimed southeast. In the evening the storm is to build with 55 kt northwest winds expanding coverage just off the California coast with seas building to 44 ft at 37.5N 144W aimed southeast or 900 nmiles west of San Francisco. On Tues AM (1/8) the gale is to be easing slowly east with 45+ kt northeast winds and 43 ft seas at 35.5N 139W targeting Monterey Bay down to the Channel Islands. In the evening the gale is to be easing east with 40 kt northwest winds and 33 ft seas at 36N 137W or 600 nmiles off Monterey Bay. On Wed AM (1/9) the gale is to be dissipating with 30 kt west winds off all of North CA and seas fading from 27 ft at 38N 133W aimed southeast. Large raw swell possible for CA. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell 14.3 ft @ 17 secs (24 ft) holding till about sunrise Wed (1/9). Swell down to 13.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (21 ft) mid-day and slowly fading. Swell still present on Thurs (1/10) AM fading from 10.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (14 ft) and raw. Residuals on Fri (1/11) fading from 4.6 ft @ 10-11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 265-270 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Wed (1/9) near sunrise with period 21 sec and building fast as period hits 20 secs at 10 AM. Swell peaking from then till sunset at 6.2-6.8 ft at 18-19 secs (11.2-12.5 ft). Swell still present on Thurs (1/10) AM fading from 5.6 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri AM (1/11) from 3.0 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 283-288 degrees

 

Dateline Storm #6
On Wed AM (1/9) a broad gale started building off Japan pushing east with 40-45 kt west winds building with the system pushing towards the dateline. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status growing in size with northwest winds 60-65 kts from the northwest and seas building from 41 ft over a small area at 41.5N 168E. On Thurs AM (1/10) the storm is to be approaching the dateline with 55-60 kt west winds and seas building to 60 ft at 41.5N 176E aimed east. In the evening the storm is to stall just west of the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 55 ft at 43N 179W aimed east. The gale is to fade Fri AM (1/11) with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west on the dateline with seas fading from 47 ft at 45.5N 177W.

Hawaii: Expect sideband swell arrival starting Sat AM (1/12) building through the day to 11.2 ft @ 19 secs later (21 ft). Swell holding over night then starting to fade Sun AM (1/13) from 10.4 ft @ 17 secs early (18 ft). Residuals on Mon AM (1/14) fading from 7.6 ft @ 15-16 secs early (11.5 ft). Swell Direction: 318-330 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggest swell arrival on Mon (1/14) building to 7.8 ft @ 19 secs (14.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-296 degrees

A secondary fetch is to be building in from the west on Fri PM (1/11) with a core of west winds at 45-50 kt building just west of the dateline with seas building from 28-30 ft over a broad area centered at 40N 172E with seas from previous fetch 20-30 ft filling a huge area from the Western Gulf to a point just off the Kuril Islands pushing east (over about 2000 nmiles aimed east). On Sat AM (1/12) fetch is to consolidate at 35-40 kts from the northwest positioned mid-way between North Japan and the dateline with seas 28-32 ft near 39N 175E aimed east. Fetch is to fall southeast in the evening at 35 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 28-30 ft at 37N 172E aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/13) fetch is to move east at 35 kts with seas 29 ft at 37N 178E aimed east. fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35 kts with 27-29 ft seas at 40N 178W aimed east at the US West Coast. The gale to fade from there.

 

  North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday (1/9) a front associated with low pressure off Oregon was lifting north and fading with southwest winds 15 kts from Pt Conception northward early and 30 kts for Cape Mendocino fading to near calm late afternoon south of the Golden Gate and from the south 20 kts for Cape Mendocino. Moderate rain for all of North and Central CA down to Pt Conception early starting to fade late afternoon. Moderate snow for the entire Sierra (Tahoe) early AM then getting progressively lighter through the day gone by late evening. Thurs (1/10) a light south flow is forecast at 5 kts from Pt Conception northward but up to 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino later. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early then fading. Friday (1/11) the leading edge of a new low is to start impacting the coast with south winds 15-20 kts for all of North CA and 15 kts down to Pt Conception early building to 20-30 kts for all of North and Central CA mid-day and building into Santa Barbara and the LA County at sunset into the evening at 15 kts stalling there. Rain building for all off North and Central CA at sunset getting solid overnight for Central CA. no snow forecast and no precip for the Sierra. Sat (1/12) the original low is to dissipate while another system starts queuing up off the coast with south winds 10-15 kts for North and Central CA through the day. Rain for the entire state early reaching east to the Central Valley then fading quickly. Light snow focused on the Southern Sierra and fading late-morning. Sun AM (1/13) the low is to be falling southeast off Central CA with south winds 20+ kts from Pt Conception northward building to 30 kts mid-day then fading some late afternoon but building to 10 kts into Southern CA. Rain for the entire state starting mid-AM holding through the day. Light snow developing for the entire Sierra at sunset holding through the evening. Mon (1/14) the low is to still be off Pt Conception with south winds 25 kts for all of Central CA and lighter into North CA early building to 30-35 kts for Central CA at sunset. Rain for all of Central CA up into North CA all day. No snow yet with the precip limited to the Central Valley. Tuesday (1/15) the low is to be just off San Francisco early with south winds 25 kts there and 15+ kts from all of Southern CA up to Pt Arena holding most of the day. Rain for all of the state early fading some later but still raining. Snow for the Sierra starting a sunrise continuing through the day. Wednesday (1/16) south winds to continue for the entire state including Southern CA at 15+ kts with a new low off Southern CA. Rain for the entire state through the day. Steady snow for the Sierra through the day.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe (thru 1/15): 12 inches and 2-3 inches for Mammoth then possibly building solid beyond.

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another local gale is to form off North CA on Sun AM (1/13) with 40 kt northwest winds and 28 ft seas building at 37N 138W aimed southeast. In the evening 35-40 kt northwest winds to fall southeast with 29 ft seas falling southeast at 33N 134W targeting Southern CA and Baja. On Mon AM (1/14) 35 kt west winds to be just southwest of Pt Conception with 26 ft seas at 33N 130W targeting Southern CA. The gale to fade from there. Raw swell possible for Southern CA on Tues (1/15). Something to monitor.

Clearly an active gale cycle is forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Active MJO Fading - Sea Surface Temps Slowly Fading

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough yet to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/23) No update due to partial government shutdown. 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately easterly near the dateline and continuing into the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/9) moderate west anomalies were over the dateline with weaker west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast is for moderate west anomalies holding centered in the core of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 1/16. Support for storm development appears to be fading some in the West Pacific but not out.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/8) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was centered over the eastern KWGA just east of the dateline. The statistical model indicates the Active Phase is to ease east and and almost out of the KWGA at day 5 of the model run with a strong Inactive Phase moving into the West Pacific. By day 10 the Inactive Phase is to take over the KWGA holding through day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially with the Active Phase gone at day 10 but the Inactive Phase dissipating too and a neutral MJO pattern over the KWGA days 10-15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/9) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the Atlantic. It is to start collapsing over the next 4 days then retrograding fast west and reappearing weakly in the far West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/9) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO exiting over Central America today if not centered in the Atlantic with a modest Inactive signal starting to push into the far West Pacific tracking east and move over the East Pacific and into Central America on 1/29. A modest Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 1/30 tracking east to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 2/18.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/8) This model depicts strong west anomalies were over the Central KWGA and dateline. West anomalies are to hold strong over the dateline through 1/12 but fading east into California today through 1/11, fading a day or two, then returning. Beyond west anomalies are to hold in the Central KWGA through the end of the model run on 2/5 at modest strength fading some the last week but still extending over the entire Eastern Pacific into California.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/9) This model depicts a strong Active Phase of the MJO starting to fade over the core of the KWGA with modest west anomalies filling the KWGA and reaching into California. The Active MJO pattern is to build east still filling the KWGA with west anomalies through 1/16 but fading east to California on 1/12. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to fade. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow starting 1/17 in the far West Pacific nit making much east headway and gone 1/25 but with modest west anomalies continuing through 2/25, then fading some as the Inactive phase returns 2/12-3/14. Then the Active Phase is to rebuild in the KWGA 3/16 through the end of the model run on 4/8 but west anomalies are to be weak if not gone. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through the end of the model run. A third contour line faded 12/17 and to remain suppressed from until 2/10, rebuilding and holding through 3/14, then gone. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino is in control and is to continue. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean are trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence of it occurring or any suggestion that it will. Still this pattern is to slowly become more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/24) Not updated due to partial government shutdown. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is steady today back at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific with temps rebuilding in the Central Pacific at +3 degs at 140W (Possible Kelvin Wave #3). Temps are stable at 3 degs east of there the whole way into Ecuador. It appears Kelvin Wave #2 is gone and fully erupted off Ecuador. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 2-3 months with the development and merging of Kelvin Wave #3 with Kelvin Wave #2. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/3 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 fading in the East Pacific with pockets of +3 degs from 135W into Ecuador with +3 deg anomalies starting to build in the west near New Guinea (possible Kelvin Wave #3 attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst occurring there now). Basically a river of warm water is traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/3) Positive anomalies were building from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east at mostly +5 cms over the equator north of New Guinea then 0 to +5 cms over the dateline and extending steady into Ecuador, but with one +5 cm pocket embedded near 120W. But also 2 neutral pockets (0 cms) were at 150W and 100W. Perhaps a new Kelvin Wave is building north of New Guinea while the warm pattern fades over the east equatorial Pacific.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/8) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were very weakly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, and still fading compared to days and weeks past. Warm water that was previously fading along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador has built a little today. Weak generic warming was off Central America and Mexico and steady. There is no indications that an El Nino is building and if anything the warming pattern is fading. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has gained ground, especially off Chile. Overall the pattern looks more like El Nino than La Nina, but nothing more than weakly like El Nino. In all this supposed El Nino is weak and becoming more fragile by the day.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/8): A broad area of weak warm water was off Peru extending west along the equator. Otherwise no clear indications of warming or cooling was on the equator or in any Nino region.
Hi-res Overview: (1/8) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime. And one could maybe think we are moving towards an El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely not every moving to an official minimal El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/9) Today's temps were steady after inching up some after previously falling hard, now at +0.215, after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/9) Today temps were falling steadily today at +0.251 after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/9) The model indicates temps are to be +0.95 degs on Jan 1 (which wasn't even close to reality - they were actually about +0.50) and forecast building to +1.0 on Feb1, then falling back to +0.95 through March, then falling some to +0.90 degs by April 1 fading to +0.70 in later June and +0.6 later in August 2019. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/9): The daily index was rising at -2.40. The 30 day average was steady at +4..94 suggesting a fading Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was steady at +3.94, rising the past month and no longer negative and the highest its been in months. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/9) The index has fallen slightly from +0.28 on 12/15 down today to -0.24 (but this value has not changed since 1/1 making us beleive it is broken and will not be repaired until the government shutdown situation is resolved). and not positive or anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

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External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (1/6):
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Powerline Productions New Movie Preimer - Next Level - Friday (11/9) at 7 PM. Details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/NextLevel.html

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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