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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:18 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
2.5 - California & 1.7 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 5/14 thru Sun 5/20

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   

New Zealand Storm Corridor Continues Productive
North Pacific Likely Done for the Season

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Saturday, May 12, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 12.1 secs from 323 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 9.5 secs from 257 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 4-6 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.2 ft @ 14.3 secs from 258 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.9 secs from 247 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.7 ft @ 8.6 secs from 260 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.1 secs from 260 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.1 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 8.6 ft @ 12.5 secs from 313 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 4-8 kts. Water temp 51.6 degs.

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Saturday (5/12) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and heavily warbled and lumpy from south wind. Protected breaks were head high or so on the sets and cleaner but still a bit warbled but with clean surface conditions. At Santa Cruz north windswell was chest high on the sets and reasonably clean but still a bit wonky. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high on the sets and fairly clean but soft. In North Orange Co north windswell was producing set waves at waist high or so and heavily textured from south wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist high on the best sets and nearly chopped from south wind. In North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and heavily textured from south wind and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting northwest swell with waves at shoulder to head high and clean and lined up but slow. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh high and semi chopped from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (5/12) swell from possibly the last North Pacific gale of the season was hitting Hawaii having produced 23 ft seas on Wed-Thurs (5/10) in the Northwestern Gulf. For California local north windswell was dominant and hitting exposed breaks. And a portion of the Gulf swell that is hitting Hawaii today is to reach California on Sunday (5/13). But after that the North Pacific is to go to sleep. Down south a small gale developed in the upper latitudes of the South Pacific on Sat-Mon (5/7) pushing northeast producing up to 30 ft seas over a small area aimed north. Swell for California starting late Sun (5/13). Also a small system pushed east under New Zealand on Sun-Mon (5/7) producing 37 ft seas aimed east. And a stronger system tracked under New Zealand on Tues (5/8) with up to 57 ft seas aimed east. Another gale is to form south of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/13) producing up to 39 ft seas aimed northeast. And a stronger storm is now back on the charts for the Central Pacific Mon-Thurs (5/17) with up to 48 ft seas aimed northeast but small in coverage. So a nice little early season storm cycle is setting up in the South Pacific.

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Saturday AM (5/12) swell from a gale that developed over the North Dateline was hitting California but buried in local windswell (see North Dateline Gale below). And small swell from possibly the last gale of the season was hitting Hawaii and bound for California (See Last Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell production is forecast.

A series of weak weather system are to track through the Northern Gulf of Alaska but none with fetch exceeding 30 kts and seas not reaching even 20 ft.

 

North Dateline Gale
Another weak gale was forming west of the North Dateline Region Sun AM (5/6) producing 35 kt northwest winds over a small area and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening a modest sized area of 45 kt west winds were on the dateline aimed east with seas building from 26 ft at 45N 176E aimed east. On Mon AM (5/7) the gale lifted north slightly producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 25 ft at 48N 177W. Winds built briefly to 45 kts while lifting northeast in the evening with seas building to 32 ft at 48N 173W. Fetch was fading Tues AM (5/8) from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 25 ft at 49N 168W aimed east. The gale faded in the evening with 30 kts west winds dropping off and seas fading from 19 ft at 50N 165W. The gale dissipated from there. Sideband swell for Hawaii and more direct but more decayed energy for California.

North CA: Swell fades Sat (5/12) from 3.8 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft) and still interacting with local windswell. Swell Direction: 305 degrees

 

Last Gulf Gale
Possibly the last gale of the 2017-2018 season started developing in the Western Gulf on Wed AM (5/9) with up to 40 kt west winds and seas building from 19 ft at 40N 175W. In the evening a broader area of 40 kt southwest winds were pushing east with seas building to 23 ft at 44N 160W aimed east. The gale tracked northeast and faded Thurs AM (5/13) with 35 kt southwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 43N 157W. The gale faded and lifted north in the evening with fetch fading out and seas fading from 20 ft at 47N 150W aimed mainly at Alaska.

Hawaii: Sideband energy to hit Hawaii on Sat (5/12) building to 3.5 ft @ 12 secs (4.0 ft) mid-day. Swell fading on Sun (5/13) from 2.8 ft @ 10-11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting at sunset on Sat (5/12) at 4.0 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell building some overnight and peaking at sunrise Sun (5/13) at 4.7 ft @ 13 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (5/14) from 3.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 298 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (5/12) high pressure at 1030 mbs was off Oregon ridging northeast with a pressure gradient with north winds 30 kts limited to Cape Mendocino and north winds 25 kts down to Pt Arena with an eddy flow (south winds) setting up from Pt Reyes and points south of there. By Sun (5/13) a light south flow is to be in control of the state and the gradient gone. Mon (5/14) a light wind flow is forecast over the entire state with a weak surface low off the San Francisco Bay area turning weakly west to northwest 5-10 kts on Tues (5/15). No change on Wed (5/16) with weak winds for the entire state but 15 kts over the Channel Islands. Thurs (5/17) the low moves inland over Central CA with northwest winds building later at 15 kts for the entire state including Southern CA. Friday (5/18) high pressure at 1028 mbs builds eastward into CA with north winds 15 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 25 kts for North CA later. Saturday (5/19) a new gradient develops over North CA with 30 kts north winds from Pt Arena northward.

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday AM (5/12) the southern branch of the jetstream was running well south under New Zealand at 60S and weak tracking east to 160W then starting to fall gently southeast down over Antarctic Ice over the Southeast Pacific offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours a trough is to start building south of New Zealand on Sun (5/13) with winds building from 150 kts pushing northeast and getting well organized on Monday (5/14) in the Central South Pacific. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to push into the Southeast Pacific with the trough still holding together and 120 kt winds still feeding it with the trough lifting north into later Wed (5/16) then becoming cutoff and fading. Good support for gale development is possible in this trough. But back to the west the jet is to be weak and displaced south running down at 70S and over the Ross Ice Shelf holding that pattern into Fri (5/18). But on Sat (5/19) there's suggestion of another trough developing south of New Zealand with 150 kt winds pushing northeast and starting to carve out a new trough possibly supportive of gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Saturday (5/12) swell from a small gale previously in the Central Pacific was pushing north towards CA (see Central Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a primer gale under New Zealand was pushing northeast (see Primer New Zealand Gale below). And swell from a strong storm that pushed under New Zealand was tracking northeast (see New Zealand Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to start forming south of New Zealand on Sat AM (5/12) with 50 kt southwest winds over a small area and seas building from 37 ft at 59S 163E. In the evening it is to move just southeast of New Zealand with a smaller area of 50 kt southwest winds with seas building to 39 ft at 57.5S 178.5W. On Sun AM (5/13) the storm is to track east with winds 45 kt over a small area aimed northeast with seas 38 ft at 56.5S 166.5W. In the evening the original fetch is to fade from 35-40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 55S 157W. Also a new fetch associated with the gale is to start building west of the original fetch from 40 kts aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/14) fetch in the new area is to build to 45 kts from the southwest and seas building from 35 ft seas at 53.5S 154W. IN the evening this system is to build though over a small area with south winds 55 kts aimed north with seas 39+ ft at 52S 145W. On Tues AM (5/15) south winds to be 50-55 kts aimed north-northeast with seas 48 ft over a tiny area at 50S 136W. In the evening fetch to fade from 40-45 kts from the south with seas fading from 40 ft at 49S 132W. A last pulse of south winds are expected Wed AM (5/16) at 45-50 kts over a tiny area pushing north with seas 36 ft at 48S 131W. Fetch fading in the evening from 35+ kts and seas fading from 34 ft at 42.5S 127.5W. Something to monitor.

 

Central Pacific Gale
A gale started developing in the upper latitudes of the Central South Pacific on Sat AM (5/5) producing 30 kt southwest winds over a small area lifting northeast with seas building. In the evening south winds built in coverage some at 30-35 kts aimed north with seas still building to barely 22 ft but not reaching a critical threshold just yet. On Sun AM fetch built in coverage at 35+ kts aimed north with 25 ft seas over a small area at 41S 142W. In the evening 35-40 kt south winds were pushing northeast with seas building to 25-26 ft at 38S 135W. On Mon AM (5/7) a tiny area of 40-45 kt south winds persisted with seas building to 31 ft at 42S 131W aimed northeast (192 degs SCal, 189 degs NCal). Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kt over a small area aimed north with seas dropping from 29 ft at 38N 129W. Swell has been generated pushing northeast.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/13) building to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs later (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Mon AM (5/14) at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft) and pushing 2.9 ft @ 14-15 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (5/15) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading out on Wed (5/16) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192-195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/13) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-5.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/14) peaking late at 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (5/15) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (5/16) from 2.4 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (5/17) fading from 2.0 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 189-193 degrees

 

New Zealand Primer Gale
A primer gale tracked east under the Tasman Sea approaching New Zealand on Sun AM (5/6) with 40 kt west winds and seas to 36 ft at 53.5S 153E and barely in the SCal swell window (222 degs) but shadowed for NCal and Hawaii. This system was roughing the oceans surface up some. Fetch pushed east in the evening and faded from 40 kts from the west with seas 37 ft at 53S 165E (201 degs HI, 220 degs SCal, 219 degs NCal). On Mon AM (5/7) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 33 ft at 55S 175E (195 degs HI, 219 degs SCal, 217 degs NCal). This gale dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Expect sideband swell arrival on Mon (5/14) building to 1.1 ft @ 20 secs (2.0 ft). Swell to build slightly Tues (5/15) to 1.4 ft @ 17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (5/16) from 1.1 ft @ 15-16 secs early (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 201 degrees

South CA: Expect the first hints of swell energy arriving late on Tues (5/15) and not even 1 ft @ 20 secs late (1.5 ft) and not even noticeable. Swell builds on Wed (5/16) to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) and getting overrun by more powerful New Zealand swell. Swell Direction: 219-221 degrees

North CA: Expect the first hints of swell energy arriving late on Tues (5/15) building to less than 1 ft @ 20 secs late (1.5 ft) and not even noticeable. Swell builds on Wed (5/16) to 1.1 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft) and getting overrun by more powerful New Zealand swell. Swell Direction: 217-219 degrees

 

New Zealand Storm
A strong but small storm developed Mon PM (5/7) on the same track under New Zealand as the Primer Gale (above) producing 65 kt southwest winds and 53 ft seas at 50S 156E aimed east-northeast but shadowed by New Zealand relative to HI and CA. On Tues AM (5/8) a broad area of 50 kt southwest winds were just south of New Zealand with seas building to 53 ft over a modest sized area at 50S5 165E and unshadowed relative to California (221 degs SCal, 220 degs NCal). Fetch pushed east and faded in the evening from 45 kts from the west-southwest with seas 45 ft at 50S 178W aimed east (215 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 213 degs NCal and unshadowed, 192 degs HI). This system faded from there Wed AM (5/9) with southwest winds 35 kts and seas fading from 34 ft at 49S 171W (189 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and 209 degs NCal and both shadowed). This system dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/14) building to 1.2 ft @ 19 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building some on Tues (5/15) to 1.4 ft @ 17 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (5/16) from 1.1 ft @ 15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell gone after that. Swell Direction: 201 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (5/15) building to 1.0 ft @ 23 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Wed (5/16) building steadily through the day to 1.8 ft @ 20 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell building through the day Thurs (5/17) to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/18) from 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (5/19) fading from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 214-221 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (5/15) building to 0.9 ft @ 23 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (5/16) building steadily through the day to 1.5 ft @ 20 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building through the day Thurs (5/17) to 2.1 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/18) from 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (5/19) fading from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 213-220 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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

More details to follow...

 

La Nina Collapsing - Warm SSTs Developing over the Entire Equatorial Pacific

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Friday (5/11) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and light easterly over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/12) Modest east anomalies were over the whole of the KWGA with a few pockets of spotty west anomalies east of the dateline to Ecuador and not in the KWGA. This pattern is to hold for the coming week but east winds dying to neutral in the Western KWGA starting 5/17 and holding through the end of the model run on 5/19 but with west anomalies building south of California to the moderate range.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/11) A developing Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was over the West Pacific building into the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is to track east filling the KWGA for the next 15 days fading some on the dateline at day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but not making as much eastward progress.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/12) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over West Africa. It is to track east steadily while remaining weak over the next 15 days moving into the Indian Ocean then stalling there. The GEFS model depicts effectively the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/12) This model depicts a modest Inactive Phase is over the far West Pacific and is to be moving east to Central America on 6/4 while a new modest Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 5/25 and moving through the East Pacific into Central America at the end of the model run on 6/19. At that time a weak Inactive Phase is to be developing over the West Pacific. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/12) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was all but gone over the KWGA with weak to modest west anomalies continuing in control in the KWGA with the Active Phase gone on 5/13. A neutral pattern biased Inactive is to develop after that starting 5/14 and hold through 6/12 but with neutral to weak west anomalies in control of the KWGA through the period. A weak Active Phase to develop 6/13 holding through 7/27 with modest west anomalies forecast in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that on 7/26 through the end of the model run on 8/9 but with weak west anomalies still be in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates the low pressure bias is now fully filling the KWGA and building with 2 isobars in the heart of the KWGA now. This is good news. The high pressure bias is limited to an area south of California. La Nina bias is gone. By late July 3 isobars of low pressure bias are forecast for the KWGA. The expectation is that the atmosphere and ocean will begin to be coupled starting 8/8 in a more favorable configuration to support storm production in the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/12) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady now having moved eastward from 170W to 167W from 75 meters down to the surface with a finger to 166W. The 24 deg isotherm was steady in thickness at 100 meters deep at 140W and 50 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures are gone as warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies at depth were holding in the West at +3.0 degs from 150E down 150 meters pushing east with +2 deg anomalies to 125W with +1 deg anomalies reaching east to Ecuador and supposedly reaching the surface there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/8 depicts warm water in the west at +3.0 degs at 170W with a river of warm water at +1 degs pushing east to 100W with the leading edge of that mass touching the surface there. The last of the La Nina cool pool was fading steadily in one shallow pocket in the extreme East Pacific along the coast of Ecuador and being squeezed to the surface by the large approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/8) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5-10 cms centered at 180W with continuous +5 cm anomalies reaching east under the equator to 115W continuously with one pocket between there and the Galapagos. Negative anomalies have almost completely dissipated were east of there with one small pocket at -5 cms off Peru. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.

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: (5/11) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a small pocket of cool anomalies weakening along the immediate coast of Peru reaching northwest off Ecuador then dissipating before hitting the Galapagos. Of much interest is a tiny area of warm anomalies holding on the oceans surface on the equator over the Galapagos and building west of there out to 160W on and both north and south of the equator, though more prevalent north of the equator. A broad area of less warm water was also off Peru (90W) down at 15S aligned south of the equator from 100W out to 150W, likely the last of the the La Nina cool pool. There was no clear indication of La Nina anymore in the oceans surface.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/11): A clear warming trend is developing over the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos west to 160W from 20N down to 10S likely indicative of the Kelvin Wave at depth now starting to leach to the surface.
Hi-res Overview: (5/11) A tiny pocket of cool water was collapsing along the immediate coast of Peru and also in a small pocket off Ecuador. Warm water was building from Ecuador west to the Galapagos and west from there on and south of the equator to 3S. Weak warming was also further off the coast of Peru to 100W and reaching north to the equator. Warming was also along Central America filling the area from the equator northward up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking and warming some limited to a broad pocket south of the equator from 105W to barely the dateline and south of 3S looking like a Modoki La Nina (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west and dissipating). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/12) Today's temps were rising steadily to +0.386 continuing a rising trend over since 4/10 indicative of the collapse of La Nina. Previously temps rose to -0.069 on 4/3 but crashed the week after that to -1.9 degs on 4/10. Prior to that temps had fallen hard to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/12) Today temps were holding at -0.427 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were down at -1.2 degs. A weak surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps backed off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/12) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rising since, up to -0.5 in mid-March and -0.35 in early April. Temps are forecast to continue a steady increase from here forward reaching neutral in late May, hovering there then starting to rise July into Fall to +0.25 degs in Oct and +0.5 degs in late Dec. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to continue to fade through the Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the late Fall. This model is known to be biased cold. Most other models are suggesting a possible turn to minimal weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume depicts temps at -0.2 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.4 in August and +0.8 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/12): The daily index was falling some today at -4.88. The 30 day average was falling to -3.45 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was fading some at 3.61 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was holding in the atmosphere biased towards La Nina. This is expected for a few more months.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (5/12) Today the index was falling some today at -0.43, down from -0.36 on Fri (5/11) and -0.38 on Thurs (5/10), down from -0.35 on 4/26, but up from -1.02 on 4/5 and up from -1.13 on 3/27. The trend is upward but still less than the -0.33 reading in late Feb. That was was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but fading steadily. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+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= -0.10, Mar= -0.51. 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 EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool

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

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