Tuesday, March 12, 2019
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 12.8 secs from 266 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 316 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 9.4 secs from 256 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-18 kts. Water temperature 56.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.7 ft @ 9.1 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.8 secs from 225 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.6 ft @ 16.2 secs from 2205 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 15.7 secs from 263 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.9 ft @ 20.0 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 20.0 secs from 300 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 23-29 kts. Water temp 54.7 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.
On Tuesday (3/12) in North and Central CA a second North Dateline swell was hitting along with strong northwest winds producing waves in the 8-10 ft range on the faces and whitecapped and not rideable. Protected breaks were 2-3 ft overhead and closed out and chopped. At Santa Cruz surf was up to head high and lined up and clean but a little bit soft. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high on the rare sets coming from the north but pretty textured with some warble intermixed and not particularly good looking. In North Orange Co north windswell was producing surf at waist high and soft and a little warbled but at least it was clean. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were up to chest high and lined up and clean and actually almost looking fun. North San Diego had surf at chest high on the sets and clean but soft but lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was settling down with waves occasionally chest to maybe head high and fairly clean but weak and a bit on the soft side. The South Shore was flat to maybe thigh high and clean and weak. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves head high or so and chopped from moderate east-northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (3/12) swell from the second of two gales that tracked through the Northern Dateline Region Fri-Sun (2/10) producing up to 43 ft seas was hitting California but buried in chop. The models suggest the split jetstream pattern that has dominated for the last 2 months is to finally fade starting Wed (3/13) associated with the building of the Active Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific possibly setting up development of a primer gale in the Gulf tracking east Wed-Thurs (3/14) and a somewhat stronger one Thurs-Mon (3/18) traversing the width of the North Pacific with seas to 35 ft aimed southeast. And maybe another to follow. There's still some hope left for the winter season.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (3/12) the jetstream was consolidated tracking east-northeast off Japan reaching to the dateline with winds at 170 kts, then splitting with the northern branch tracking east-northeast weakly to the British Columbia coast then falling hard south down the coast to Oregon and pushing inland there. The southern branch tracked east over Hawaii eventually meandering into Central Baja. There was no clear support for gale development anywhere over the Pacific. Over the next 72 hours starting Wed PM (3/13) wind energy off Japan is to build to 180-190 kts pushing east to the Western Gulf and starting to carve out a trough there offering some support for gale development with that trough building and pushing to the Central Gulf on Fri (3/15) offering better support of gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to amplify/deepen on Sat-Sun (3/17) in the Central Gulf being fed by up to 190 kts winds offering great support for gale development. The trough is to track east and slowly pinch off late on Mon (3/18) at 138W of 800 nmiles off the North CA coast with a split jet pattern barely holding over the CA coast offering high pressure there. A weaker secondary trough is to follow developing in the Gulf on Tues (3/19) offering some support for gale development. At that time the jet is to remain consolidated over the width of the North Pacific but with winds down to 150 kts from off Japan to the Central Gulf with the split flow likely moving onshore over California and the storm track coming onshore there. Perhaps a return to a winter-like pattern is to result.
On Tuesday (3/12) swell associated with a second gale previously on the North Dateline Region (see Second North Dateline Gale below) was stating to hit California.
Over the next 72 hours a primer gale is forecast developing the Western Gulf on Wed PM (3/13) producing west winds at 30-35 kts west winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. On Thurs AM (3/14) the gale is to be getting better formed with 35 kts west and northwest winds in the Central Gulf tracking east with 22024 ft seas at 42N 163W targeting mainly the US West Coast with sideband energy at Hawaii. In the evening the gale is to hold together producing 35 kt west and northwest winds tracking east with seas 26 ft at 42N 157W aimed mostly east and now bypassing Hawaii. On Fri AM (3/15) the gale is to be lifting northeast with 30 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 23-24 ft at 42N 151W aimed east. Fetch is to fade in the evening with seas from previous fetch fading from 20 ft at 45N 147W aimed east. Possible small swell mainly for the US West Coast.
And on Thurs AM (3/14) a new gale is to start building off North Japan tracking east with 40+ kt west winds and seas building from 25 ft at 39N 153.5E aimed east. In the evening winds to build some to 45 kts aimed east and approaching the dateline with seas 27 ft at 40N 168E aimed east. On Fri AM (3/15) the gale is to be on the dateline with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 28 ft at 42N 177E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to start falling southeast with winds 35+ kts over a solid area and seas to 30 ft at 42N 176W aimed east-southeast. On Sat AM (1/16) the gale is to build solidly with winds 40 kts from the northwest over a solid area aimed well at Hawaii and nearby with seas 32 ft at 37.5N 173W falling southeast. In the evening the gale is to falter with winds 35-40 kts positioned due north of Hawaii with seas 33 ft at 33N 165W targeting Hawaii well. On Sun AM (3/17) the gale is to be lifting northeast with winds 30-35 kts from the northwest and west and seas 32 ft over a smaller area at 34N 158W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to continue lifting northeast with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas 27 ft at 33N 150W aimed east-southeast. Residual fetch to be fading fast Mon AM (3/18) in the Central Gulf from 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 35N 148W aimed east. Swell possible for Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
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: 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
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (3/12) high pressure at 1030 mbs was taking over with north winds 20 kts for North and Central California early forecast pushing 30 kts later and building into Southern CA late afternoon at 15 kts. Light precip for San Diego early then clearing. Light precip for Cape Mendocino mid-morning. Light snow associated with a backdoor front pushing south from 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 bit stronger northwest flow is forecast at 10-15 kts from Pt Conception northward. Sat (3/16) a light north flow is forecast at 5 kts nearshore as high pressure moves over North CA. Sunday (3/17) a light offshore flow is to set up as low pressure starts building in the Gulf. Monday (3/18) a light south flow to build to 10 kts for North CA and light winds for Central CA. Tuesday (3/19) south winds associated with a weak front are to impact North and Central CA at 10 kts with light rain for the coast in the afternoon down to Pt Conception.
Total snow accumulation for for the week (thru Tues AM 3/19) per the GFS model: Tahoe = 1.0 inch and Mammoth = 1.0 inch
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).
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
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours another storm is forecast developing off Japan on Sat PM (1/16) with 55 kt winds from the west and seas on the increase from 45 ft at 38.5N 151E aimed east. The storm to fade to gael status Sun AM (3/17) with 45 t west winds and seas 42 ft at 39N 160E aimed east. The gale is to be fading while tracking east in the evening with winds 35-40 kts and seas 35 ft at 39N 168E aimed east. On Mon AM (3/18) the gale is to be crossing the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 39N 174.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to rebuild some with 35 kts northwest winds and seas 24 ft at 38N 179W aimed east. On Tues AM (3/19) the gale is to be in the Central Gulf with 35 kt west winds ands seas 22-24 ft at 38N 162 W aimed east. The system is to be holding together and continuing east from there.
And yet another small gale is to start forming on the dateline Tues (3/19) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building. Interesting.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
SSTs Fading, Daily & Monthly SOI Still Well 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 (3/11) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, and also easterly over the KWGA but lighter. Anomalies were moderate 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 (3/12) neutral to light west anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast is for building west anomalies continuing through the end of the model run on 3/18 pushing moderate strength. Support for storm development is weak but is to be building a week out.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (3/11) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was modest 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 5 with the Active Phase of the MJO building into the far West Pacific at modest strength then and filling the KWGA at day 15 and building to moderate strength. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to hold in the KWGA but steadily getting weaker through day 10 then gone at day 15 with a neutral pattern taking control.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/12) 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 stalled and is to slowly ease east but so weak as to be indiscernible at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (3/12) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was over and exiting Central America with the Active Phase over the West Pacific. A moderate Active Phase is to move east while holding together well pushing into 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 over Central America at the end of the model run on 4/21.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/10) This model depicts modest west anomalies in the KWGA today with the Inactive Phase exiting out of it to the east. Modest to moderate west anomalies are to be building in the Western KWGA now and pushing east filling the KWGA 3/13 and holding through the end of the model run on 4/7 filling the KWGA. No east anomalies are forecast in the KWGA. No west anomalies are forecast pushing into California.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/12) This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO signal was just past its peak filling the KWGA and is to hold through 3/20 with weak east anomalies in the core of the KWGA. But weak west anomalies are to start developing 3/15 and building to 3/20. By 3/20 a modest Active Phase of the MJO is to start building in the KWGA with west anomalies building to WWB status on 3/29 holding to 4/25. After that a very weak MJO pattern is to set up with a weak Inactive MJO in place 4/28-5/15 but with west anomalies holding at near WWB status. After that a very weak MJO signal is set up (a good sign for El Nino development) but west anomalies are to be steady just below or at WWB status from 5/15 through the end of the model run at 6/9. 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 4/5-4/25 building in areal coverage through the end of the model run supporting west anomaly development. 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: (3/12) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 deg temps reaching east to 179W. 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 152W 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 150W 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 155W to 125W (shrinking some today). -5 cms anomalies were in a small pocket at 95W associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle and fading steadily.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (3/11) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were modestly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from a point just west of the Galapagos west to the dateline. these temps were continuing to fade from a week and 2 weeks ago. Warm water was along the coast of Chile and Peru. But now cold water was off Ecuador and Central America and along the immediate coast of Columbia and building. There is more of an indication of El Nino now than at any point prior in the last 3 years, but this building cold water pocket is concerning. Overall the pattern looks modestly like El Nino, but nothing more.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/11): Warming water was fading in all locations, mainly from 120W to a point south of Hawaii on the equator. Pronounced cooling was building on the equator from Panama and Columbia west to 105W and stronger than days past. It looks like any previous warming has now either peaked or stalled.
Hi-res Overview: (3/11) Modest warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru but with cold water off Ecuador up to Panama reaching west on the equator over the Galapagos to 100W. After that warm anomalies were on the equator from there out to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past. 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: (3/12) Today's temps were falling hard from +0.065 on 3/8 to -1.109 today. Temps fell 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: (3/12) Today temps were rising some at +0.839 today after falling to +0.694 on 3/9 and that after rising to +1.239 on 3/5 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.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/12) The model indicates temps were at +0.75 degs Jan 1 into Feb1. Temps are forecast building to +1.10 mid-March and to +1.2 degs in early April and building to +1.5 degrees in July and holding through the summer till at least Nov 1, then falling to +1.2 degs in early Dec. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino tried to build weakly in the Winter of 18/19, but didn't really make it, then is to build in the summer on 2019 and building more into the Winter of 2019/20. 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) (3/12): The daily index was still negative at -14.12 and has been negative the last 34 days (since Feb 4). The 30 day average was falling at -15.40 suggesting an Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at -3.79, 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): (3/12) 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 +0.45 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
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table