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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2019 8:42 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
3.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 3/10 thru Sun 3/16

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   

North Dateline Swell Hitting HI
Second Swell Developing - Jetstream to Consolidate

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Saturday, March 9, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 4.4 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 16.9 secs from 307 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.6 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 5.2 ft @ 17.2 secs from 311 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 5.3 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 5.9 secs from 247 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 56.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.2 ft @ 5.6 secs from 262 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.8 ft @ 6.2 secs from 266 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.4 ft @ 6.4 secs from 265 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.8 ft @ 7.7 secs from 275 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 11.9 secs from 292 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was south at 12-16 kts. Water temp 54.5 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 Saturday (3/9) in North and Central CA local windswell was producing waves in the thigh to waist high range and clean with light winds but weak and inconsistent. Protected breaks were waist high on the sets and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was knee high and blown out with south wind and chopped. In Southern California/Ventura surf was flat to knee high and clean. In North Orange Co north windswell was producing surf at thigh high and soft and nearly chopped from south wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were thigh to maybe waist high and pretty warbled from south wind. North San Diego had surf at waist high on the sets and clean but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was starting to get real swell from the North Dateline Region with occasional set waves 3 ft overhead and lined up with clean surface conditions but with intermixed lump and warble. The South Shore had some waves at chest high on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves shoulder high or so and chopped from moderate northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (3/9) swell was starting to hit Hawaii originating from a gale previously over the North Dateline Region and extreme Northwestern Gulf Tues-Fri (2/8) producing up to 44 ft seas aimed east-northeast. A weaker one was following on a similar path Fri-Sun (2/10) producing up to 43 ft seas but positioned a shade further south and aimed better to the east. The models suggest the split jetstream pattern is to finally fade a week out associated with the building of the Active Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific possibly setting up development of a small gale just northwest of Hawaii on Sat (3/16) with 28 ft seas aimed southeast. Maybe there's still some hope left.

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 Saturday AM (3/9) the jetstream was somewhat consolidated tracking off Japan then consolidated more half way to the dateline, splitting weakly on the dateline with the northern branch turning northeast with winds building to 160 kts pushing up to the Eastern Aleutians, then falling hard south in the Eastern Gulf with winds building again to 150 kts forming a trough off Oregon before pushing east and inland over Central CA. There was support for low pressure and weather development in the Eastern Gulf. The southern branch tracked east over Hawaii and into Central Baja.This was still a variation on the pattern that has been in play since mid January. Over the next 72 hours through Tues (3/12) the trough in the eastern Gulf is to fall southeast slowly pushing inland over Southern Ca and only supporting weather there. But back to the west wind energy is to start building over Japan on Mon (3/11) reaching 170 kts by Tuesday and reaching almost to the dateline with the jet well consolidated in that area. No clear support for gale development is forecast yet. Beyond 72 hours the same general pattern is to hold with winds building to 180 kts extending from Japan over the dateline down at 37N with the jet consolidated well into the Southwestern Gulf of Alaska looking favorable to support gale development but with no clearly defined troughs yet. But by Fri (3/15) the jet is to be fully consolidated from Japan to 150W (just north of Hawaii) with winds to 170 kts and a trough starting to dig out north of Hawaii and favorable to support gale development. And that trough is to only improve into Sat (3/16) with winds building to 190 kts feeding it offering good support for gale development. the split point is to move to 140W, or just 900 nmiles off the California coast. This finally looks like perhaps a real change in the pattern.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (3/9) swell associated with a gale previously on the North Dateline Region (see North Dateline Gale below) was stating to hit HAwaii and moving towards California and the US West Coast.

Over the next 72 hours the main focus will be the above gale.

 

North Dateline Gale
On Tues AM (3/5) a gale was developing mid-way between North Japan and the Dateline producing 45 kt northwest winds while lifting northeast with seas building from 34 ft at 37.5N 163E aimed east. In the evening winds to built in coverage to 45 kts from the northwest while lifting northeast with seas 35 ft at 42.5N 167E aimed east. On Wed AM (3/6) the gale built to storm status with 50 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians over the North Dateline region with seas building to 40 ft at 47N 172.5E aimed east. In the evening 50 kt west winds are just south of the Central Aleutians with 44 ft seas in the North Dateline region aimed east at 50N 178E. On Thurs AM (3/7) the storms core was in the Bering Sea with 40 kt west winds still over the North Dateline region with 40 ft seas at 50N 179E aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading with west winds dropping from 35-40 kts and seas fading from 33 ft at 45.5N 171.5W aimed east. This system was gone after that with seas from previous fetch fading from 29 ft Fri AM (3/8) at 45N 159W aimed east. Possible swell radiating east mainly towards Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat AM (3/9) building through the day peaking near 5.6 ft @ 17 secs (9.5 ft) late afternoon. Swell fading Sun AM (3/10) from 5.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.0 ft). Residuals on Mon AM (3/11) fading from 2.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun AM (3/10) building slowly through the day to 7.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (12.5 ft) late but well shadowed in the SF Bay area. Swell holding on Mon (3/11) at 7.3 ft @ 16 secs (11.5 ft) but still shadowed in SF. Swell fading on Tues (3/12) from 5.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 306 degs initially moving to 297 degrees

 

Second North Dateline Gale
Another gale started forming approaching the North Dateline region on Fri AM (3/8) with 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 32 ft at 44N 169.5E aimed east. In the evening 50 kt west winds were in the North Dateline Region aimed east with 40 ft seas building at 47N 178E aimed east-northeast. On Sat AM (3/9) the storm was easing east with 45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians moving in the the Northwestern Gulf with seas 42 ft at 49N 173W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be tracking east with winds down to 40 kts from the west and seas 38 ft at 50N 165W moving deeper into the Northwestern Gulf. On Sun AM (3/10) the gale is to be in the Northwestern Gulf with 35-40 kt west-southwest winds over a solid area and 34 ft seas at 51.5N 158.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be in the Northern Gulf with west winds 30 kts and seas fading from 28 ft at 52.5N 153.5W aimed east. The gale is to be fading from there. Swell possibly radiating east and southeast towards Canada and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (3/11) building slowly in the late afternoon peaking at 4.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (6.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues AM (3/12) from 3.6 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals on Wed AM (3/13) fading from 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (3/12) building to 5.6 ft @ 18 secs (10 ft) and buried in local north windswell and shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading on Wed (3/13) from 8.0 ft @ 16 secs (12.5) ft and still buried in windswell and shadowed in SF. Residuals on Thurs (3/14) fading from 7 ft @ 14 (9.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (3/15) fading from 4.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 303 degrees initially turning to 310 degrees

 

  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 Saturday AM (3/9) a local low was building just off the North CA Coast early with south winds 20 kts for North CA and light winds for Central CA turning southwest 15 kts for North CA and west 10 kts for Central CA late afternoon. Light rain for North CA early and building into all of Central CA early afternoon into the evening. Modest snow developing late afternoon focused on Tahoe. Sun (3/10) the low is to fall south off the Central CA coast with east winds 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early turning north for north CA later at 15 kts with light variable winds all day for Southern CA. Light scattered rain for the entire CA coast through the day and into the evening. Modest snow building southward from Tahoe down over the Sierra continuing into the evening. Monday (3/11) the low is forecast pushing south off North Baja with a light north flow is forecast at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early building to 10-15 kts later and east winds for Southern CA early turning north 15 kts later. High pressure is to be lurking while building in the Central Gulf. Light rain for Southern CA focused on San Diego in the afternoon and evening. Light snow for the Sierra at sunrise only. Tuesday (3/12) high pressure is to take over with north winds 20 kts for North and Central California early pushing 30 kts later and building into Southern CA late afternoon at 15 kts. Light precip for San Diego early then clearing. Light snow associated with a backdoor front pushing south for Tahoe down to Mammoth late afternoon into early evening. Wednesday (3/13) high pressure and the wind machine continues with north winds 25 kts for North and Central CA early fading to 20 kts later afternoon. Southern CA to be mostly protected. No precip forecast. Thursday (3/14) light north to northeast winds 10 kts or less forecast. Friday (3/15) a light northeast flow is forecast. More of the same on Sat (3/16) as high pressure holds over the US West Coast focused on Washington.

Total snow accumulation for for the week (thru Sat AM 3/16) per the GFS model: Tahoe = 5.5-6.2 inches and Mammoth = 2.9 inches

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 a tiny gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf on Tues PM (3/12) producing 40 kts west winds over a small area aimed east with seas building from 22 ft at 47N 151W aimed east. On Wed AM (3/13) 40-45 kt west winds area forecast easing north over a small area producing a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 50N 150W aimed east. The gale is to lift north in the evening with 40 kt west winds targeting mainly North Canada with seas 28 ft at 52N 146W aimed east. Low odds of sideband swell down into North and Central CA, with most energy targeting British Columbia.

On Sat (3/16) and improved jetstream pattern is to start having a positive impact with a gale developing northwest of Hawaii with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building to 28 ft at 35N 167W aimed southeast.

And another gale is forecast developing off Japan with winds building to 55 kt from the northwest and seas on the increase.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

SSTs Steady, Daily & Monthly SOI Still Negative - ESPI Steady and Weakly Positive

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 did not stop, 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 to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

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 (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (3/8) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, and also easterly over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest easterly over the far East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central equatorial Pacific and continuing neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (3/9) light east anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast is for light east anomalies to fade out by 3/11, then turning neutral to light westerly 3/13 and holding through the end of the model run on 3/16. Support for storm development is to weak but building slightly a week out.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/8) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was moderate over the dateline with the Active Phase moving east over the Maritime Continent. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the KWGA at day 6 with the Active Phase of the MJO building into the far West Pacific at modest strength then and filling the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to hold in the KWGA but steadily getting weaker through day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/9) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the West Maritime Continent and is to ease east and fading some over the West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to stall at day 1 and retrograde west only to recycle back to it's starting point (over the Western Maritime Continent) at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (3/9) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was over and exiting Central America with the Active Phase over the far West Pacific. A moderate Active Phase is to move east while slowly fading reaching Central America on 4/3. A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be setting up in the West Pacific on 3/29 pushing east to the Central Pacific and nearing Central America at the end of the model run on 4/18.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/8) This model depicts mostly neutral anomalies in the KWGA today with the Inactive Phase there and forecast holding for about 5 days. Modest to moderate west anomalies are to start building in the Western KWGA 3/10 and pushing east filling the KWGA 3/15 and holding through 4/2 then fading some and easing east moving to the dateline and solidifying position there and holding through the end of the model run on 4/5 still filling the KWGA. No east anomalies are forecast in the KWGA. West anomalies are to start pushing into the California on 3/18 continuing through 3/30 (possible weather impacts then).
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/9) This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO signal was peaking now and filling the KWGA and is to hold through 3/18 with weak east anomalies in the core of the KWGA for 3 days through 3/12. But weak west anomalies are to start developing 3/14 and building to 3/18. By 3/19 another modest Active Phase of the MJO is to start building in the KWGA with west anomalies building to WWB status on 3/27 holding to 4/17. After that a very weak MJO pattern is to set up and holding through the end of the model run on 6/6 (a good sign for El Nino development). West anomalies are to be steady just below WWB status from 4/18 to 5/12 then pushing WWB status again from then through the end of the model run associated with a weak Active Phase of the MJO. 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 over California through 3/18, then retracting to the coast and holding there. A third contour line faded 12/17 but has now rebuilt starting 2/12 centered over the dateline and is to hold through the end of the model run. And a 4th control line is to develop 4/5-4/12 building in areal coverage through the end of the model run. This is a positive new development. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during 2018, then faded, and is now trying to rebuild and strongly so starting in mid-April. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean during the summer of 2018, but that faded in the late Fall of 2018 with no objective evidence that coupling every happened. But it seems that tendency is trying to redevelop again (or at least forecast to do it). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere has turned from a La Nina pattern (that had 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. But of more interest, if the low pass filter forecast holds, maybe El Nino to develop next year.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/9) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 deg temps reaching east to 178W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W near Christmas, then retrograded back at 160W in late Feb, but is back east at 156W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater with a pocket of warm water centered at 155W at +4 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) pushing east to 110W. We think the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed 2018-2019 El Nino already occurred associated mainly with Kelvin Wave #2. But Kelvin Wave #3 is the warmest of them all so far and is to add some warmth moving into the 2019-202 El Nino year. And a new Westerly Wind Burst (2/12-2/24) might add yet more fuel (warm water) to the proverbial fire. So there's good sub-surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy for the foreseeable future. Cool anomalies previous off the Central America coast are gone. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/4 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 gone in the East Pacific with cool water associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle occurring there but fading. Kelvin Wave #3 was building at +4-5 degs from New Guinea to the dateline east to 110W (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). There is a river of very warm water 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: (3/4) Positive anomalies were gone from the interior Maritime Continent with weak negative anomalies there now. But positive anomalies were solid tracking east from 150E over the dateline to a point west of the Galapagos (115W) at 0-5 cms with an imbedded pocket of +5 cms anomalies from 165E to 120W and a broad peak at +10 cm from 160W to 120W. -5 cms anomalies were in a small pocket at 95W associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle but they were fading.

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: (3/8) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were modestly warming straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from the Galapagos west to the dateline. these temps were down some from a week ago. Warm water was along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador and Central America but with a persistent pocket of cool water along the immediate coast of Columbia. There is more of an indication of El Nino now than at any point prior in the last 3 years. Overall the pattern looks modestly like El Nino, but nothing more.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/8): A modestly building d area of warming water remained just off Peru out to 160W. Warming was also present from 110W to a point south of Hawaii on the equator. pronounced cooling was on the equator from Columbia west to 105W. It looks like the far equatorial East and Central Pacific are warming weakly, not as strong as weeks past.
Hi-res Overview: (3/7) Modest warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru reaching up to the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past. but a thin finger of cooling is also building from Panama southwest to the equator and then west to 105W. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And it's almost starting to look like an El Nino pattern is developing based on surface temps.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/9) Today's temps were steady at +0.065 after falling to -0.6 degs on 2/28, after rising to +0.5 on 2/25, down to -0.425 degrees on 2/14, and that after rising to +1.2 degs on 2/2. Previously temps fell to -0.15 degs on 2/28. Temps rose to a peak +1.385 on 1/21. Previously they were down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that 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:
(3/9) Today temps were falling at +0.694 after rising to +1.239 on 3/5 and that after falling to +0.050 on 2/11. Temps rose to a peak at +0.738 on 1/21, 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 (3/9) The model indicates temps were at +0.75 degs Jan 1 into Feb1. Temps are forecast building to +1.00 on March 1 and to +1.3 degs in early April and holding there through June, then up to +1.60 degs in July and holding through the summer till at least Nov 1
. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to try and build weakly in the Winter of 18/19, then building in the summer on 2019 and building more into the Winter of 2019/20. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing in the 2018-2019 Winter. But maybe a multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.65 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.6 range into July, then fade to +0.4 in October 2019. 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) (3/9): The daily index was still negative at -6.51 and has been negative the last 31 days (since Feb 4). The 30 day average was falling at -14.67 suggesting an Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at -3.11, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern (for now). There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere per this index.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/9) The index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), but is down to +0.47 today. It was down to -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
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


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Local Interest

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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