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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 5:02 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
2.0 - 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 3/20 thru Sun 3/26

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   

Small WPac Swell Pushing To Hawaii
Strong Gale Pattern to Develop

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 11.4 secs from 322 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 15.5 secs from 196 degrees. Wind southeast 14-16 kts. Water temperature 60.8 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.2 ft @ 10.9 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.7 secs from 201 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.5 secs from 217 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.3 secs from 203 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 6.9 secs from 165 degrees. Wind southwest 8 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.2 degs.
    Notes

    46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Tuesday (3/21) in North and Central CA south windswell was producing waves in the waist high range on the sets and lightly chopped and weak. Protected breaks were flat to thigh high and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and chopped and unorganized and not rideable. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and clean with no wind and light fog and weak. In North Orange Co surf was waist to maybe chest high on the bigger sets and heavily textured from south winds. In San Diego surf was knee to maybe thigh high and clean but weak and closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was chest high and clean and fun looking though small. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was knee to thigh high and lightly chopped with modest east winds near 15 kts.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (3/21) no swell of interest was hitting California and small Japan swell was all but gone in Hawaii. But another small swell was in the water pushing east towards Hawaii originating from a small gale that was previously off Japan tracking east towards the dateline Wed-Thurs (3/16) generating up to 33 ft seas and then lifted north producing 24 ft seas Fri-Sat (3/18) before dissipating.On Sun-Mon (3/20) a weak gale tracked through the Eastern Gulf with 16-17 ft seas aimed east at California. And a stronger gale is forecast Wed-Thurs (3/23) on a similar track with 24-26 ft seas aimed east. And of more interest is a storm still forecast for the West Pacific Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 46 ft seas aimed east making it to the dateline and fading late Fri (3/24) with seas 37 ft, then fading while continuing to circulate in the Western Gulf Sat (3/25) with seas fading from 28 ft. In the southern hemisphere a gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri (3/10) producing a small area of seas to 40 ft then quickly faded with seas dropping from 32 ft Sat AM (3/11). Another was in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed (3/15) with 32 ft seas aimed north. Yet another is forecast southeast of New Zealand Thurs-Fri (3/24) producing a tiny area of up to 32 ft seas with more but lesser energy forecast behind that. Theoretically more swell is to be setting up for the days ahead.

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday AM (3/21) the jetstream was consolidated pushing solidly east off Japan with a trough starting to develop there being fed by 170 kt wind over Japan, fading some over the dateline with another weak trough there, then winds building to 150 kts over the Western Gulf feeding yet a third trough in the Eastern Gulf before moving inland over Central California. There was decent support for gale development in all three troughs. Over the next 72 hours the consolidated jet is to continue pushing east with the Japan trough building tracking half way to the dateline on Thurs (3/23) being fed by up to 190 kt winds and offering great support for storm development. The trough previously over the dateline is to be building in the Gulf on Thurs (3/23) being fed by 120 kts winds offering decent support for gale development. And the trough previously off California is to be moving onshore over Pt Conception on Wed PM (3/22) generating weather there. Beyond 72 hours the Dateline/Japan trough is to wash out just east of the dateline late Fri (3/24) no longer offering support for gale development but imparting energy to the jet over it's width helping it to hold together. The Gulf trough is to move onshore over Central CA on Sat (3/25) making weather there. A bit of a lull is forecast then another batch of wind energy is to start developing and pushing off Japan on Tues (3/28) at near 200 kts starting to form a trough there possibly supporting gale development. And another trough is to be developing in the Western Gulf offering some minimal support for gale development while the jet lifts north relative to California pushing inland over Washington.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (3/21) new small swell from a gale that developed off Japan was in the water and pushing east towards mainly Hawaii (see Japan Gale below). And windswell from a low pressure system that tracked through the Gulf was pushing to California (see Gulf Low below).

Over the next 72 hours a far stronger system is forecast. And another smaller system is forecast ahead of it in the Gulf.

A storm is projected off Japan on Tues PM (3/21) with west winds building from 50 kts and seas building from 31 ft at 34N 149E. By Wed AM (3/22) northwest winds to be 55 kts with seas building from 42 ft at 34N 156E. In the evening the storm is to fade with winds 50 kts but increasing in coverage with seas building to 46 ft at 34N 162E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch fading some Thurs AM (3/23) at 45 kts with seas fading from 42 ft at 34N 166E. The gale is to be lifting north some in the evening with winds 40 kts from the west over a broad area and seas fading from 40 ft at 37N 175E. Fetch to rebuild as it approaches the dateline Fri AM (3/24) with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 36 ft over a solid area at 38N 177E. A broad area of 40 kt west winds to continue in the evening over the dateline with seas holding at 37 ft at 36N 179W. Fetch is to be retrograding west at 35 kts Sat AM (3/25) from the west with seas fading from 29 ft at 43N 172W. In the evening secondary fetch at 40-45 kts from the west is forecast near the dateline with 28 ft seas at 43N 175E. Fetch fading from 35 kt over a broad area Sun AM (3/26) with seas 28-30 ft at 44N 178W. This system is to fade from there. Certainly something to monitor.

A gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Tues PM (3/21) with 35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 19 ft at 39N 169W. By Wed AM (3/22) westerly winds to be 40-45 kts with seas building to 27 ft at 40N 163W aimed best at the US West Coast with minimal sideband energy towards Hawaii. In the evening west winds to fade from 35-40 kts with seas 27 ft at 41N 157W. Fetch fading Thurs AM (3/23) from the west at 30-35 kts approaching North and Central CA with seas near 24 ft at 39N 151W. the gale is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 19-20 ft at 37N 147W. Something to monitor for California.

 

Japan Gale
A gale started developing off Japan on Wed AM (3/15) with 45-50 kt northeast winds targeting mainly the southern hemi with 33 seas at 31N 145E. In the evening a new small fetch of 45 kt west winds built east of the original fetch with seas 34 ft at 35N 162 over a tiny area. The gale lifted northeast Thurs AM (3/16) with 35 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 35N 168E over a tiny area. 30-35 kt west winds grew in coverage while lifting slowly north in the evening with 24 ft seas at 39N 174E. On Fri AM (3/17) the gale retrograded west with 30-35 kt west winds off the Southern Kuril's with 21 ft seas from the original fetch fading at 43N 178E. Fetch built some in the evening off the Kuril's at 35-40 kts with 23 ft seas developing at 44N 163E. The gale was stationary Sat AM (3/18) with 35 kt west winds and seas 24 ft at 43N 167E. The gale is to be fading in the evening with fetch dropping from 30 kts and seas 21 ft over a solid footprint at 43N 170E. This system is to fade Sun AM (3/19) with winds dropping from 25-30 kts and seas fading from 19 ft at 40N 170E. This system is nothing remarkable but could produce a nice longer lasting pulse of small swell for the Islands with limited energy reaching the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Wed AM (3/22) at 4.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.5 ft) and holding through the day. Swell fading some on Thurs (3/23) at 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Residuals on Fri (3/24) at 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

 

Gulf Low
A small low pressure system developed in the Gulf on Sun AM (3/19) generating 25 kt northwest winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By the evening winds were up to 30 kts from the northwest with seas to 15 ft at 39N 149W targeting the US West Coast. Fetch built in coverage at 30 kts Mon AM (3/20) moving closer to the US with seas 17 ft at 38N 145W. Fetch was fading from 30 kts in the evening moving closer to the mainland (off Central CA) with 17 ft seas fading at 36N 140W. Fetch was fading from 25 kts Tues AM (3/21) 600 nmiles off Central CA with seas fading out. Westerly windswell possible for the US West Coast by Wed (3/22).

NCal: Expect windswell arriving Wed AM (3/22) with swell building to 6 ft @ 11-12 secs (7 ft). Residuals fading on Thurs AM (3/23) from 5 ft @ 9-10 secs (4.5 ft) Swell Direction: 270 degrees

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (3/21) low pressure was still circulating just off the Pacific Northwest t lifting north with south winds 10-15 kts from Pt Conception northward early fading to 5 kts later but up to 20 kts for Cape Mendocino all day. Rain for all of North and Central CA through the day and pushing south from Santa Barbara to San Diego at sunset while weakening. Snow levels dropping through the day for the entire Sierra then fading out overnight. Total accumulation of 5-6 inches for Tahoe crest resorts except Kirkwood, with 20 inches. A brief break is forecast Wednesday (3/22) with northwest winds 10-15 kts for North and Central CA while another low queues up off the coast. Scattered snow showers late afternoon for the Sierra with 1 inch of accumulation. Thurs (3/23) weak high pressure tries to set up while the next low continues building and pushing towards the state. Northwest winds 15-20 kts early for Central and South CA with south winds for Cape Mendocino later at 20+ kts. Rain developing and pushing south to Bodega Bay late evening. Tahoe stays dry overnight. Friday (3/24) the front from the low pushes south with 25 kt south winds reaching south to Monterey Bay later afternoon and dissipating there with rain expected for all of North and Central CA reaching down to Pt Conception late evening. Snow building through the day for the Sierra with about 7 inches of accumulation into Sat AM. Saturday (3/25) high pressure and northwest winds are expected at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA. Residuals light rain early for Central CA down to Santa Barbara fading some later. No more snow for the Sierra. It pretty funny to see how much the models have change regarding snow. The forecast from Sat AM (3/18) through Sat (3/25) suggested total accumulations of 52-55 inches for the crest in Tahoe. Sunday northwest winds continue at 10-15 kts for the entire coast other than protected breaks in Southern CA. Light rain for the Golden Gate northward. Light snow late for the Sierra. Monday high pressure take control with northwest winds 15-20 kts for North and Central CA building into Southern CA later. No rain and a few snow showers early for Tahoe. Tuesday 93/28) northwest winds take control at 20+ kts for all of North and Central CA.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
Tiny swell from two systems previously in the South Pacific is tracking northeast but expected to have little impact (see details below).

Otherwise a gale previously forecast southeast of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (3/21) did not develop as forecast and nothing of interest resulted.

Another gale is projected southeast of New Zealand on Thurs AM (3/23) with 45 kt southwest winds and 28 ft seas over a small area at 53S 178W. In the evening winds to hold at 45+ kts tracking hard east-northeast with seas building to 34 ft at 49S 164W. On Fri AM (3/24) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts with seas 28 ft at 46S 152W. This gale is to fade ands tart falling southeast from there. Something to monitor.

 

Small New Zealand Storm
A storm developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs PM (3/9) with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building to 32 ft at 57S 174E over a tiny area. On Fri AM (3/10) winds faded some to 50 kts over a somewhat larger area though still small with seas 39 ft over a tiny area aimed east at 57S 174W. The gale tracked east in the evening with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west and seas fading to 38 ft at 56S 163W. Fetch faded Sat AM (3/11) from 40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 56S 153W. The gale faded from there. Maybe small sideband swell for Hawaii up into the US West Coast.

Southern CA: Swell continues on Wed (3/22) at 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (3/23) from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 200 degrees

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues PM (3/14) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52S 117W aimed due north and barely in the Southern CA swell window but mainly targeting mainland Mexico. The gale held while tracking east Wed AM (3/15) with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 33 ft at 53S 113W barely in the SCal swell window but targeting Mexico well. Fetch fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with 33 ft seas at 51S 107W targeting only Mainland Mexico. The gale is to dissipate from there. Small swell for Southern CA but mainly targeting Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Swell arriving on Wed (3/22) building to 1.1 ft @ 19 secs late (2 ft). Swell building some on Thurs (3/23) to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (3/24) from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175 degrees

 

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 there's a suggestion of another gale developing off Japan on Mon PM (2/27) with 40+ kt west winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (3/28) winds to be building from 45 kt from the west and seas building from 28 ft. Something to monitor.

 
South Pacific

A continued unsettled weather pattern is forecast southeast of New Zealand, but no fetch capable of generating seas in excess of 30 ft is forecast.

More details to follow...

 

Inactive MJO Holds - Sea Surface Temps Continue Rising Along Peru

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.cgianet, 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 .cgiit 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 di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (3/20) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light easterly over the equatorial East Pacific but fading over the KWGA from previously strong easterly to now just modest easterly. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up and are being enhanced by the Inactive Phase of the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak east anomalies were modeled over the eastern Kelvin Wave Generation Area centered near the dateline attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO. The forecast suggests east anomalies to build again a bit west of the dateline in the heart of the KWGA starting 3/22 and holding for the next week through 3/28. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO and La Nina is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week. This remains unexpected and very stubborn.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 3/20 a weak Inactive MJO was indicated over the West Pacific. The statistic model projects it holding for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. the good news is the two models are finally in sync. The bad news is they show no signs of the Active Phase of the MJO, contrary to what the CFS model indicates (below).
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/21) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts essentially the same thing. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/21) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase present centered over the dateline tracking east but is to be reinforced with more dry Inactive Phase activity developing and taking over the dateline 4/10 and then pushing into Central America 4/22. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/20. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/21) This model depicts the Inactive Phase fading and all but gone on the dateline loosing control of the KWGA today but with moderate east anomalies still in control. The Active Phase was over the Western KWGA reaching east to the dateline. Beyond the Active Phase is to stall on the dateline through 4/4 but with east anomalies still in control of the KWGA into 3/29 then giving way to a neutral trend. West anomalies are to be developing by 4/5 and building solid by 4/8 as the Active Phase of the MJO builds solid over the dateline and not fading till 4/28, but with west anomalies holding well beyond that for the foreseeable future through 6/17 with nary a hint of east anomalies. So 3/28 is the anchor date for the final demise of east anomalies and that has not changed with today's update. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/26 (holding the past few runs of the model) with El Nino taking hold 5/8 (holding the past few runs). Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has been slipping previously, though it appears to be firming up now.
We'll see what happens.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/21) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 172E and steep still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 40 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific from 100 meters upward. A pocket of -1 degs anomalies is steady at depth between 110-150W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/14 depicts that warm water has built east forming a continuous path from the West Pacific to Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs suggesting a Kelvin Wave has evolved. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/14) The previous upgrade where positive anomalies were depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream has broken up with neutral temps from 110-120W. But that neutral pocket appears to be fading. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (3/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching now west to 105W at 2+ degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W eliminating any hint of a cool pool that previously developed there. This is good news. And better news is warm temps are again building along the South America coast in the past 4-5 day. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 with that warming building into the Nino3.4 region. Temps are +2-4 degs above normal along the immediate South American coast and advecting west along the equator. Impressive. And these waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/20): The warming trend covering waters of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is redeveloping, with warming notable along Peru extending west off Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 140W and south to 7S, with more moderate warming out to the dateline on the equator and north of there up into Mexico. This warming trend is also developing now in the Northern Hemi off Mexico up to California and out over Hawaii and reaching to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview:
(3/20) There is no sign of La Nina east of 160W. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and building but less energetic out to 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/21) Today's temps were heading up at +3.012 degs.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/21) temps were falling slightly at +0.304 degs, but not remarkable like Nino1.2. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend all above the neutral line. A turn to a warmer regime looks like it's developing. But it's way to early to proclaim anything more than that.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies



SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/21) The forecast has temps at +0.35 degs mid-March building to +0.5 degs early April and +0.8 degs later in April building to 1.0 degs in July and building through the summer rising to +1.3 degs in Sept and +1.45 degs in Oct suggesting a return of El Nino. This is a bit of an upgrade from previous runs that had temps to +1.3 degs or more. Regardless, La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source from grater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume just updated today (3/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/21): The daily index was positive at +8.42 but has been around neutral for the past 2 weeks. The 30 day average was rising at +0.73. The 90 day average was falling slightly at -0.02 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/21) Today's value has risen slightly at -1.06. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral. That seems like a reach.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, Feb = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70. 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

****

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

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (3/19): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6ERoQZpfec&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
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Titans of Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

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

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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