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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, January 14, 2018 4:52 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
4.0 - California & 4.0 - 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 1/15 thru Sun 1/21

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 #2 Hitting Hawaii & Bound for CA
Another Gulf Storm Charted

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 17.1 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 10.9 ft @ 18.0 secs from 322 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 14.2 secs from 286 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 60.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.5 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.9 ft @ 14.7 secs from 267 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.7 secs from 227 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.6 ft @ 14.8 secs from 275 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.2 ft @ 13.8 secs from 284 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 10-12 kts. Water temp 56.7 degs.

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 Sunday (1/14) in North and Central CA Dateline swell continued to hit with waves 2-3 ft overhead with steady offshore winds and groomed long lined coming through. Protected breaks were shoulder to head high on the sets and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high on the sets and clean but a little soft. In Southern California up north surf was thigh to waist high on the sets and soft and inconsistent with no wind but light texture on the oceans surface. In North Orange Co surf was chest high on the sets and clean but slow and soft. South Orange Country's best breaks had thigh to waist high sets and clean. In San Diego surf was waist high on the sets and lightly textured and lined up but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new large Dateline swell with waves in the 18 ft range Hawaiian and a bit lumpy and raw but lined up. The South Shore was waist to maybe chest high and clean on rare sets. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap around swell at 2 ft overhead and ruffled from light north wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (1/14) residuals swell from a storm previously over the North Dateline region Sun-Mon (1/8) with up to 49 ft seas aimed east was still hitting California. But of more interest was another storm that developed while pushing off the Southern Kuril's tracking east over the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/11) with 46-48 ft seas then fell southeast Fri-Sat (1/13) with 36 ft seas aimed east fading in the Eastern Gulf early Sun AM (1/14) off California. That swell is hitting Hawaii today and bound for CA. Secondary energy to redevelop in the Central Gulf Sun (1/14) weakly producing 31 ft seas aimed east and lifting northeast then fading fast Mon (1/5). Another smaller system is forecast forming 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii in the Central Gulf Tues (1/16) tracking east with seas building to 49 ft early Wed (1/7) aimed east. Perhaps another gale is to form in the same area Fri-Sat (1/20) producing 43 ft seas aimed east. A solid storm pattern is projected focused in the Gulf. Make the most of it while it's here.

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Sunday AM (1/14) the jetstream was pushing firmly east off Japan with winds building to 190 kts just west of the dateline into the Central Gulf of Alaska while falling into a solid trough northeast of Hawaii offering solid support for gale formation. From there the jet ridged hard north pushing up into Alaska with the ridge holding control over the entire US and Canadian west coast. Over the next 72 hours
the trough is to continue to push east impacting Oregon on Tues (1/16) offering weather there. But back to the west the jet is to be loosing energy with a pocket of 140 kts winds over the Western Gulf and another over Japan. The West Gulf pocket is to build to 180 kts on Wed (1/17) generating a gentle trough in the Gulf pushing east offering some support for gale development while over the dateline the jet is to show some signs of starting to split. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to move directly over Central CA on Fri (1/19) likely offering hope for weather there while a secondary trough starts to develop in the Western Gulf pushing east into Sun (1/21) being fed by 140 kt winds but slowly fading as it moves up to the North CA coast then. Back to the west the jet is to split on Thurs (1/18) with that split building in amplitude as it moves east into Sunday repositioned north of Hawaii then. But, on Sunday with are to be 160 over Japan with the jet trying to reconsolidate with a bit of a trough develop east of the Northern Kuril Islands perhaps offering some support for gale development there.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (1/14) swell from a storm that pushed east to the dateline then stalled and lifted north was still hitting California decently (see North Dateline Storm below). But the focus now was on swell that was starting to hit Hawaii from a far stronger and longer lasting storm that produced sizable swell while traversing the North Pacific (see Strong Dateline Storm #2 below). Also secondary swell energy is developing from a gale in the Eastern Gulf (see Secondary Gulf Gale below) and expected to push east into California.

Over the next 72 hours yet another small storm is forecast developing Tues AM (1/16) in the Western Gulf 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii with 45-50 kt west winds over a small area getting traction on an already roughed up ocean surface. By evening west winds are to be 50-55 kts in the Central Gulf with seas building from 28 ft at 39N 147W aimed east. The storm is to be lifting northeast Wed AM (1/17) with a decent fetch of 45-50 kt northwest winds off Oregon with 40 ft seas at 42.5N 138.5W targeting North CA well. Wed PM the gale is to be off Washington with 45 kt west winds and seas 45 ft at 46.5N 135.5 W targeting the Pacific Northwest and very close to the coast. On Thurs AM (1/18) winds to fade from 40 kts off British Columbia with seas fading from 38 ft at 49.5N 132W targeting only Washington and point northward. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

Strong Dateline Storm #2
Another gale developed off the North Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) producing a developing fetch of 45 kt west winds aimed east with seas building from 32 ft just off North Japan. On Wed AM (1/10) 45-50 kt west winds were getting traction part-way to the dateline with 43 ft seas developing over a moderate area at 44N 157.5E. By Wed PM (1/10) 45+ kt west winds were building over a broadish area a bit west of the dateline with a moderate area of up to 46 ft seas at 44.5N 165E aimed east (315 degs HI, 303 degs NCal). Thurs AM (1/11) 45 kt northwest winds were straddling the dateline with 45 ft seas at 41N 175E falling southeast targeting Hawaii pretty well (317 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). In the evening 40-45 kt northwest winds to be holding over a solid area in the Western Gulf 1000 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii aimed east-southeast with 43 ft seas at 40N 175W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast directly and unshadowed (325 degs HI, 291 degs NCal). Fri AM (1/12) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts over a broad area filling the Western Gulf with 40 ft seas at 38N 172W aimed east-southeast (287 degs NCal,327 degs HI). Fetch to fade in the evening 900 nmiles north of Hawaii at 40 kts from the northwest with 39 ft seas at 35N 167W (335 degs HI, 280 degs NCal, 290 degs SCal). Sat AM (1/13) 40 kts west winds to push east past Hawaii with 31 ft seas fading at 32N 152W aimed east targeting Southern CA (276 degs SCal). The gale is to be gone from there but secondary energy is to be building right behind (see Secondary Gulf Gale below).

Hawaii: The swell arrived on Sat (1/13) building hard through the afternoon pushing to 9.7 ft @ 19-20 secs (19 ft Hawaiian) with seas to 15.2 ft @ 20 secs. Swell continued Sun AM (1/14) at 10.5 ft @ 17 secs (18 ft Hawaiian) with seas 17 ft @ 16.7 secs. Swell to slowly fade through the day at 10 ft @ 16 secs late (16 ft Hawaiian). Swell slowly dropping on Mon (1/15) from 9.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (13 ft Hawaiian). Swell continues down on Tues (1/16) fading from 7 ft @ 13 secs (9 ft). Residuals on Wed (1/17) fading from 5.5 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (1/18) fading from 3.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (1/14) evening with period 22 secs and size slowly building but mostly not noticeable. Swell to start peaking Mon AM (1/15) pushing 9.4 ft @ 18 secs (17 ft) with biggest sets to 10.9 ft @ 18 secs (19.5 ft). Size and period holding well through the day. Primary swell fading Tues AM (1/16) from 8.5 ft @ 16 secs (13.5 ft) but with secondary swell arriving and intermixed (see Secondary Gulf Gale below). Swell to continue slowly fading Wed (1/17) 9.0 ft @ 14 secs (12.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290-295 (longest period energy) with lesser period energy Tues (1/16) onward from 278-285 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/15) at 1 AM with period 22 secs and size tiny and not noticeable. Swell building into the morning with period pushing 20 secs by 10 AM and size starting to be noticeable. Swell peaking as period hits 18 secs near 6 PM at 4.3 ft @ 18 secs (7.5 ft faces) at exposed breaks. Most energy shadowed coming from 296-300 degrees. Swell becoming unshadowed Tues 4 AM (1/16) at 4.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (7.0 ft) at exposed breaks holding through noon but still well rideable till dark. Secondary swell energy arrives after dark. Swell still solid on Wed AM (1/17) 4.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.0 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading Thurs (1/18) from 3.8 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction:281-291 degrees

 

Secondary Gulf Gale
A secondary fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds were developing in Central Gulf 800 nmiles north of Hawaii Sat PM (1/13) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state aimed east. On Sun AM (1/14) fetch wa fading from 35 kts from the west pushing through the Central Gulf with 30 ft seas at 35N 149W aimed east directly at Central and South CA. Sun PM fetch is to be fading from 30 kts from the west pushing east with seas 27 ft at 38N 143W. This system is to be fading Mon AM (1/15) with 30-35 kt west fetch just west of the Oregon-CA border with 25 ft seas at 40N 135W. More but generally raw swell generation possible targeting California.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/16) near 5 AM with period 17 secs and size minimal and lost under the stronger swell from the dateline. Swell building through the day pushing 8.0 ft @ 15 secs around noontime (12 ft) and just under the size from the primary swell (above). Swell fading in conjunction with the primary swell. Swell Direction: 274 degrees.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/16) near 2 PM with period 17 secs and size tiny and not real noticeable. Swell building as period hits 15 secs at 1 AM Wed (1/17) with pure swell 3.6 ft @ 15 secs (5.5 ft). Swell fading through mid-day Wed as period drops to 13-14 secs. Swell Direction: 282-284 degrees

 

North Dateline Storm
A more interesting gale formed off Japan Sat AM (1/6) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and tracking east. On Sat PM the gale built to storm status with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 37 ft at 36N 164E. On Sun AM (1/7) northwest winds were 50-55 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast while the storm lifted northeast with seas 37 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 38N 173E. The storm tracked northeast in the evening with winds rebuilding to 55 kts over a solid area with 42 ft seas at 43N 180W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/8) the storm continued tracking northeast and over the North Dateline region with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 49 ft at 47N 177W aimed east at the US West Coast. In the evening the gale started moving over the Central Aleutians with 40-45 kt west winds over a decent area south of the Central Aleutians with 39 ft seas fading free and clear just south of the Aleutians at 49.5N 172W. Secondary fetch developed from 45 kts from the northwest Tues AM (1/9) with seas 33 ft over a modest area south of the Central Aleutians at 47N 179E aimed east. Fetch was fading from 40 kts in the evening tracking east with seas fading from 30 ft at 45N 175W. This system was gone from there. There's good potential for another long run of swell but aimed mainly east of Hawaii and a bit too far north to be optimal for California.

North CA: Swell fading Sun (1/14) fading from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295+ but mostly 298-301 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday AM (1/14) high pressure and light offshore winds were barely in control over California with the leading edge of a broad weather system 500 nmiles off the North and Central Coasts and south winds building over outer waters. This pattern to hold for daylight hours. Monday (1/15) the front associated with the gale is to start affecting Cape Mendocino with south winds from San Francisco northward and up to 10 kts for Cape Mendocino early but only 5-10 kts in SF but building up north to 25+ kts at sunset. Rain expected for Cape Mendocino mid-AM pushing south to the Golden Gate at 4 PM and to Monterey Bay well after sunset. Light rain for Tahoe overnight. Tuesday AM northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for the North and Central Coasts though high res models suggest south winds. Light rain is forecast early for all of North CA and down to Monterey Bay. Light snow for higher elevations of Tahoe through the day with 2-3 inches of accumulation. Wednesday another local storm develops off Cape Mendocino with a front impacting the extreme North Coast and south winds 30 kts over Cape Mendocino fading late and south winds down to Pt Reyes (5 kts). Rain for Cape Mendocino late afternoon pushing south overnight to Bodega Bay. Thursday high pressure tries to start building impacting the Pacific Northwest but only a 5-10 kt onshore flow forecast for North CA and northwest winds to 10 kts for Central CA through the day. Rain pushing south to Monterrey Bay late afternoon and snow developing for Tahoe and building overnight. On Friday (1/19) high pressure moves in with north winds 20-25 kts for all of California including Southern CA (up to 30 kts there late). Snow continuing through the day for the entire Sierra clearing near 10 PM. Saturday north winds continue at 20 kts from San Francisco southward down to San Diego early fading to 15 kts or less at sunset. A new front is to be impacting Cape Mendocino with southwest winds 20 kts early and holding. Rain there building south to San Francisco near sunset but no farther south. Sunday the front stalls over North CA with southwest winds 20 kts but light from SF southward. Rain from Pt Reyes northward focused on Cape Mendocino. No precip reaching Tahoe or anywhere south of there.

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.

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 a small gale is to form off Japan on Thurs (1/18) producing a small area of 40-45 kt west winds and seas in the evening to 32 ft at 40N 157E targeting Hawaii somewhat. This system is to track northeast and fade on Fri (1/19). Low odds of swell resulting.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...

 

Inactive MJO Building - Strong Easterly Wind Burst Projected

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. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (1/13) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific but lighter over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/14) Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to build with very strong east anomalies expected over the core of the Eastern KWGA starting 1/15 and holding through 1/19, then moderating but still solid through the end of the model run on 1/21. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/13) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is moderately strong and nearly over the dateline with the Active/Wet Phase locked in the East Indian Ocean. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and moving to 165W and almost out of the KWGA at the end of the 15 day run and holding strong. The Active Phase is to be strong too moving over the Maritime Continent and trying to get a toe in the door over the far West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive and Active Phases weaker than the statistical model 5 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/14) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the Indian Ocean and is to track east through the Indian Ocean and over the Maritime Continent almost reaching the West Pacific 15 days out but weakening steadily. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase stronger 15 days out but not making quite as much eastward progress.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/14) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern exiting over the East Pacific and is to slowly ease east into Central America 1/24. A weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/19 pushing east and fading steadily moving into Central America on 2/13. Another strong pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/3 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/23. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/14) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline peaking 1/15-1/19 with strong east anomalies over the entire KWGA then starting to retreat on 1/24. On 1/22 the Active/Wet Phase is to also start building over the far West Pacific but not getting decent positioning until 1/27 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA but not passing 150E. East anomalies to slowly fade even though the Active Phase is to be in control then those east anomalies to finally die on 2/13. The Active Phase is to hold through 3/3 with weak west anomalies building into the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 3/6 holding through the end of the model run on 4/13 but with no real wind anomalies indicated. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/2 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected this winter as there is a 3 month delay for the ocean to respond to whatever occurs in the atmosphere, providing that change is consistent and long lasting (months in duration).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/14) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and retreated to 130W and shallow at 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C but down only 75 meters at 110W with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W, and significantly smaller in coverage today (1/14). Still, this is indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down 150 meters and no longer appear to be making easterly headway with the dividing line between cool and warm temps steady at 135W down 150 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +3.5 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east under it at up to +3.5 at 175E and the leading edge at 135W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/8) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 150W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms. But this are seems to be loosing coverage positioned mainly south of the equator.

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: (1/13) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains in control but has significantly faded the past few days. Upwelling is holding nearshore along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru but weaker than days past. Cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W but with a far smaller footprint than months past. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/13): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru and is building, also warming in pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was almost no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/13) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino 3.4 regions. But the density of the cooler waters is much diminished from 3 weeks ago. La Nina may have peaked out already.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/14) Today's temps were rising at -1.297 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/14) Today temps were rising fast at -0.784 after falling hard on 1/10 to -1.577 setting another low peak. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/14) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -1.00 on Jan 1 and are rebounding forecast up to -0.6 early Feb and holding through April. No change is forecast through the summer and if anything temps are to fall to -0.7 degs in Sept and holding. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but that it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/14): The daily index was steady at +6.04 today. The 30 day average was rising at -4.09 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was falling at +3.40 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control and fading (mainly due to influence from the Active Phase of the MJO).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/14) The index was rising again at -0.79. The trend suggests La Nina is slowly but steadily loosing its grip (up from -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct= -0.60, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. 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 negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05. No 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

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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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