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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2019 5:03 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
4.0 - California & 4.0 - Hawaii
Using the '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 5/13 thru Sun 5/19

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   

Larger SPac Swell #1S Hitting HI
Poised for CA Too

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Monday, May 13, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 5.3 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 16.4 secs from 193 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 6.3 secs from 42 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 16.3 secs from 168 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 63.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.9 ft @ 17.2 secs from 188 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.0 secs from 201 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 3.6 ft @ 16.4 secs from 213 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 16.1 secs from 197 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 17.0 secs from 194 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was west at 12-16 kts. Water temp 59.2 degs (042) and 54.5 (013).

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 Monday (5/13) in North and Central CA southern hemi swell was producing waves at maybe waist high and heavily textured from west wind. Protected breaks report was unavailable. At Santa Cruz Central South Pacific residual swell was producing set waves at head high or so with top breaks to 2 ft overhead and lined up and clean early. In Southern California/Ventura surf was chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but slow. In North Orange Co surf was 2 ft overhead and clean on the sets with a strong northward current running down the beach and pretty closed out. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were 2 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up and looking pretty good. North San Diego had surf at head high or so and clean and lined up marching down the beach to the north. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell with waves waist high and clean but generally weak. The South Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and well organized but with a light bit of texture on it early. The East Shore was no swell of interest with waves knee high and heavily textured from northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (5/13) in California southern hemi swell from a decent gale that developed south of New Zealand Fri-Sun (5/5) with seas to 36 ft pushing gently east-northeast was hitting California producing decent surf at exposed breaks. And in Hawaii swell was hitting from a stronger storm that formed behind the first one on Sat-Tues (5/7) producing up to 42 ft seas pushing northeast from a point south of New Zealand. And that swell was starting to show in California on the buoys too. Behind that a series of gales are forecast but all are to be pushing due east or falling southeast offering little in terms of direct swell pushing up into our forecast area until Sat (5/18) when a decent gale is to track northeast just east of New Zealand with up to 40 ft seas.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Monday (5/13) no swell of any interest was in the water or being generated by weather systems in the North Pacific.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (5/13) a weak pressure pattern is in control locally near California but with weak low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska resulting in a weak northwest flow at 5-10 kts early and 15 kts near Pt Conception and holding through the day. No change is forecast on Tuesday (5/14) as weak low pressure approaches from the northwest and a new one forms off Central CA. Light rain building over North Ca down to Pt Arena through the day. Wednesday (5/15) low pressure builds off Central CA with a front approaching the coast. South winds to build to 20 kts for all of Central CA late afternoon. Rain forecast for all of North CA early building down to Pt Conception late afternoon and building overnight and into the Sierra. Thurs (5/16) a full winter low is to be circulating over Cape Mendocino driving west winds at 10-15 kts early nearshore for North and Central CA and 35-40 kts off Cape Mendocino and then 30 kts pushing into San Francisco in the afternoon. Solid rain early for all of North and Central CA early with heavy rain for the Sierra turning to heavy snow fading late afternoon into the evening but not out. Friday (5/17) weak high pressure is to be just off Central CA as the low moves inland with north winds 15 kts for the entire state. Light rain for the Sierra. A broad low is to be building in the Gulf of Alaska with with the front from it nuzzling up to Cape Mendocino late. Saturday (5/18) the front is to push into North CA with south winds 25-30 kts for North CA by late afternoon fading as the front dissipates Sunday AM (5/19). Solid rain is forecast for all of North and Central CA by the afternoon and building into the Sierra. The front is to dissipate over Pt Conception with light northwest winds 5-10 kts all day. Light rain for all of North and Central CA and snow for the Sierra early fading late afternoon. Monday (5/20) another low is to start building off the coast with south winds 1-5 kts early building to 15+ kts from Monterey Bay northward with a front starting to impact the coast. Rain developing for North CA late.

Snow is forecast for Tahoe for the week ending Mon (5/20) PM: 20-34 inches and 14 inches for Mammoth

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Monday (5/13) the southern branch of the jetstream was fairly consolidated ridging hard south just southeast of New Zealand reaching Antarctic Ice down at 150W 65S eliminating support for gale development over the Central South Pacific. East of the ridge the jet was lifting northeast forming a trough in the far Southeast Pacific with it's apex at 120W being fed by 130 kt winds and offering some support for gale development barely in the SCal swell window. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to be sweeping east east into Thurs (5/18) pushing the trough out of the SCal swell window and otherwise shutting down support for gale development over the Central and Eastern South Pacific. But a trough is to start building over the far Southwest Pacific on Wed (5/15) being fed by 140 kts winds starting to offer support for gale development there into Thurs (5/16). Beyond 72 hours the trough is to continue to hold together while easing east offering support for gale development there then and slowly weakening into Fri (5/17) before pinching off on Sat (5/18) with gale support fading out. But another trough is to form right behind it on Sun (5/19) just southeast of New Zealand again being fed by 140 kt winds offering support for gale development. This looks like a nice pattern setting up.

Surface Analysis  
A gale developed while traversing the Central South Pacific generating swell that is just past its peak in California (see Central Pacific Gale below). And yet another stronger storm developed southeast of New Zealand pushing east-northeast and is just past it's peak in Hawaii and starting to show on the buoys in California (see New Zealand Storm below). Much swell is expected to result from the combination of these two systems. And yet another gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific after the above system with small swell in the water pushing north towards CA (see Southeast Pacific Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours another storm started building southeast of New Zealand on Mon AM (5/13) with 45-50 kt south winds and seas building from 27 ft over a tiny area at 50S 174W aimed north. In the evening 55 kt southwest winds are to be falling southeast over a solid area with seas building to 37 ft at 56S 165W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/14) the storm is to be falling south with winds 50-55 kt over a large area aimed east with seas 43 ft at 60S 155W aimed east. The remnants of the storm to hold while easing east with 45-50 kts west winds and seas 47 ft at 62S 142.5W aimed due east. On Wed AM (5/15) the gale is to fade with winds 45 kts over a small area aimed east if not southeast. No additional potential swell production is forecast. We suspect there are some odds of small swell resulting but the big concern is the southward heading of the fetch. Will monitor.

 

Central Pacific Gale
A gale developing just south of New Zealand on Thurs AM (5/2) with 35 kt southwest winds pushing east-northeast with seas building from 23 ft at 58S 178E aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch built to 35-40 kts from the southwest moving towards the Central South Pacific with 29 ft seas over a small area at 54.5S 174W aimed east-northeast. On Fri AM (5/3) a more consolidated fetch of 50 kt south winds started building while tracking northeast with seas 33 ft over a building area aimed northeast at 53.5S 166W (207 degs SCal, 205 degs NCal and shadowed by Tahiti). In the evening 50 kt south winds were lifting northeast with seas 35 ft down at 60.5S 153W over a small area aimed northeast (197 degs SCal, 195 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). On Sat AM (5/4) south-southwest fetch was lifting northeast at 45-50 kts aimed northeast with seas 38 ft at 54.5S 144W aimed northeast (195 degs SCal, 192 degs NCal). In the evening the gale was in the far Southeast Pacific and fading fast with 40 kts southwest winds over a modest area and 36 ft seas at 51S 134.5W aimed northeast (191 degs NCal, 187 degs NCal). On Sun AM (5/5) 45-50 kt south fetch redeveloped on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window with 37 ft seas at 55S 121W aimed northeast (182 degs SCal, 179 degs NCal). By evening this system was out of the California swell window with 45-50 kt southwest winds and 39 ft seas at 52S 111W targeting Chile well.

Southern CA: Swell fading Mon AM (5/13) from 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 182-206 degs focused on 193 degrees

North CA: Swell steady Mon AM (5/13) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 182-206 degs focused on 190 degrees

 

New Zealand Storm (Swell #1S)
Another broad gale started developing under New Zealand on Sat AM (5/4) with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft over a tiny area at 65S 152E aimed east. In the evening 40 kt south west fetch was pushing east aimed east with 35 ft seas building at 57S 170E aimed east (213 degs SCal/212 degs Ncal and unshadowed by Tahiti). On Sun AM (5/5) 45 kt southwest fetch was tracking northeast with seas 39 ft at 58S 174W aimed northeast over a solid area (207 degs SCal/205 degs NCal and shadowed). In the evening southwest fetch held in velocity but lost a little coverage at 45 kts with seas 42 ft at 58S 163W aimed northeast (202 degs SCal and unshadowed/200 degs NCal and shadowed). The gale was fading Mon AM (5/6) with fetch dropping from 35 kts over a large area and seas fading from 38 ft at 56S 154.5W aimed northeast (200 degs SCal/197 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). In the evening this system is to be fading with 35 kt southwest fetch aimed northeast and seas 34 ft at 52S 147W aimed northeast (198 degs SCal/195 degs NCal). The gale to dissipate from there with 30 kt west winds Tues AM (5/7) and seas fading from 31 ft at 50S 140W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell fading on Mon (5/13) from 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (5/14) from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Wed (5/15) from 2.4 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (5/16) from 2.0 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (5/17) fading from 1.6 ft @ 12 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

Southern CA: Expect Swell #1S arrival on Mon (5/13) with period 22 secs early and and size building as period hits 20 secs at noon pushing 3.0 ft @ 20 secs (6.0 ft) late. Swell building Tues (5/14) peaking near noon as period hits 18 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 18 secs (6.0 ft with sets to 7.5). Swell still solid Wed AM (5/15) at 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). On Thurs (5/16) swell is to start fading from 2.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell slowly fading on Fri (5/17) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 194-207 degrees focused on 202 degrees and mostly unshadowed by Tahiti.

North CA: Expect Swell #1S arrival on Mon (5/13) with period 22 secs early and and size building as period hits 20 secs at 6 PM pushing 2.3 ft @ 20 secs (4.5 ft). Swell building Tues (5/14) peaking near 4 PM as period hits 18 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 18 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Swell still solid Wed AM (5/15) at 3.1 ft @ 16- 17 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft) then starting to fade late afternoon. On Thurs (5/16) swell is to start fading from 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (5/17) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190-205 degrees focused on 200 degrees and shadowed by Tahiti.

 

Southeast Pacific Storm
A storm developed Sat PM (511) in the far Southeast Pacific with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 57S 135W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/12) southwest winds were 45-50 kts tracking east with seas 43 ft at 58.5S 125.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was moving out of the Southern CA swell window at 45-50 kts over a diminishing area with 50 ft seas at 57S 115W and outside/east of the SCal swell window targeting only Chile and Peru. There's low odds for maybe some minimal sideband swell from early in this systems lifecycle radiating north into mainly Southern CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/19) building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (5/20) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/19) building to 1.3 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (5/20) at 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 183 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 the models continue teasing concerning a gale developing in the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs (5/16) with 20-22 ft seas aimed east, with a smaller second gale behind it on Sat (5/18) with 19 ft seas aimed east. This is possible becoming closer to becoming a reality.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another small gale is to develop just south of New Zealand on Tues PM (5/14) with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 39-40 ft at 49S 170E aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading Wed AM (5/15) from 40-45 kts with seas 36 ft at 49S 180W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 35-40 kts from the southwest just east of Southern New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 47S 176E aimed northeast. Fetch and seas to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

WWB #4 Continues In KWGA

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
Summer 2019 = 5.5 (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 weak borderline El Nino condition continue , and assuming a weak ocean-atmospheric coupling holds and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 hold in the +0.8 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the South Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere Summer time months. There is 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 Summer 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 (5/12) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific turning light east over the Central Pacific turning solid west in the far West Pacific. Anomalies were light east over the East and light west over Central equatorial Pacific but strong westerly in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/13) moderate west anomalies were filling the KWGA. The forecast is for west anomalies continuing to fill the KWGA through 5/15, then weakening some but still modestly westerly through the end of the model run on 5/19 still filling the KWGA. There is to be an increase in support for storm development now and continuing thereafter.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/12) A modest Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is to be stationary over the KWGA while fading through day 5 then gone on day 10 as the Inactive Phase of the MJO moves into the West Pacific and taking over the KWGA at day 15 at moderate strength. The dynamic model indicates a variation on the same theme with the Active Phase fading at day 10 but the Inactive Phase far weaker and making limited headway into the far West Pacific at day 15. The 2 models are somewhat in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/13) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Central Pacific, and is forecast to push east into the Atlantic through day 15 while turning very weak. The GEFS model suggests the same.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (5/12) This model depicts a weak Active Phase in the Central Pacific today and is forecast tracking east into Central America on 5/27. A strong Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific on 5/18 pushing east into Central America on 6/11. A weak Active MJO signal is to build over the West Pacific 6/4 pushing east to Central America at the end of the model run on 6/21.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/12) This model depicts a solid Active Phase of the MJO just past its peak over the KWGA today with solid west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase tracking east while filling the KWGA through 5/16 with moderate plus west anomalies in the control of the KWGA pushing east. A weak Inactive Phase is to push into the West KWGA on 5/19 and pushing east to 5/26 but not totally filling the KWGA and with west anomalies holding on the dateline non-stop and then retrograding west to 150E 5/29 and holding through the end of the model run on 6/9.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/13) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO building into the KWGA today and is forecast to peak on 5/16 then holding through 5/26 with solid west anomalies holding through 5/15 then weaker but still present after that. A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO sets up 5/21 in the West Pacific building east and filling the KWGA through 6/30) but with very weak west anomalies in the KWGA. A modest Active Phase is to develop 7/2 holding through the end of the model run on 8/10 with weak west anomalies forecast. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California and forecast to hold steady till the end of the model run on 8/5. The second contour line is to fade on 7/7. This model indicates that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during the Fall of 2018, but has been steadily fading since then and is to continue a slow decline for the foreseeable future, but not dissipating nor turning to La Nina. Basically we are moving to a ENSO neutral pattern bias slightly towards El Nino.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/13) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 deg temps creeping east to 160W today. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov into late Feb. But it made a major push east starting 3/16 from 150W and reached Ecuador on 5/5, but started retrograding and today was at 125W. It appears Kelvin Wave #3 was erupting in the East Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 30 meters down. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater from the surface to 125 meters down. Embedded in that flow is a pocket of warmer water centered in the East Pacific at 120W at +2 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) reaching Ecuador and west to 138W. This Kelvin Wave is the warmest of any Kelvin Wave so far since La Nina faded into early 2018 and is to adding warmth moving into 2019. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/8 indicates warm water from Kelvin Wave #3 was filling the equatorial Pacific from 155E eastward, weaker in the West Pacific at +1 degs and weakening steadily there and stronger over the East Pacific reaching up to +2 degs from 130W to Ecuador (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). There was a new developing pocket of warm water building in the far West Pacific at 140E attributable to a WWB currently occurring. 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: (5/8) Positive anomalies were all but gone over the equatorial Pacific except with one 1 small area at 120W. From this data it looks like the Kelvin Wave #3 was dissipating if not 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: (5/12) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were steady from 10S to 20N on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline. Temps on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador and out to the Galapagos are slightly warmer than normal but fading compared to recent days but holding west of there. There is some weak indication of a El Nino but nothing strong.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/12): A weak warming trend was over the equatorial Central Pacific with a thin weak stream of cooling water on the equator from Peru tracking north to the Galapagos then out to 140W and building.
Hi-res Overview: (5/12) Warmer than normal water was from just off Peru up to Central America west over the Galapagos 20 degrees north and south of the equator continuing west of there to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/13) Today's temps were falling some at +0.505. Overall trend is steady.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/10) Today temps were fading at +0.440 today. Temps have been generally steady the last 6 weeks.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/13) The model indicates temps were +0.85 degs in early May and ad to be rising hard to +1.40 degrees in early June then holding in the +1.25 deg range into October, then fading to +0.9 in Dec 1 and fading from +0.75 degs on Jan 1, 2020 and holding into Feb. A weak El Nino like pattern is to hold if not build into early Fall associated with the eruption of Kelvin Wave #3, then slowly fading through the later Fall and Winter of 2019/20 with no more Kelvin Waves forecast. A multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.82 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.75 range into October, then fading to +0.70 through Dec 2019. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (5/13): The daily index was negative today at -14.15, falling over the past week consistent with the Active Phase building there. The 30 day average was steady at -6.35 today suggesting a slightly building Active MJO. The 90 day average was steady at -7.77, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards El Nino (for now).
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (4/23) There has been no update recently. At that time 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), then fell some but started rising again and was up to +1.10 today. It is approaching El Nino territory but still indicted mostly 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 -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

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


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Local Interest

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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