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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 2:39 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
3.7 - California & 2.2 - 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 5/18 thru Sun 5/24

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   

S. Hemi Swell Fading in CA
Another One on the Way - And More Possibly to Follow

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, May 19, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.5 secs from 196 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 2.9 ft @ 6.4 secs from 33 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 14.2 secs from 204 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 16-20 kts. Water temperature 62.6 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.7 ft @ 12.5 secs from 277 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.3 ft @ 15.3 secs from 203 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.2 ft @ 15.9 secs from 200 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.6 ft @ 13.2 secs from 247 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 5.9 ft @ 10.0 secs from 283 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 6-10 kts. Water temp 56.3 degs (013), 57.0 degs (012) and 59.0 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/19) in North and Central CA a mix of mostly Gulf swell was producing waves at 2 ft overhead and lined up but pretty ragged from northwest winds. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead on the bigger sets and clean and lined up but also mostly closed out. All parking lots closed. At Santa Cruz the Gulf swell was wrapping in producing set waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range on the peaks and clean and lined up making for well rideable surf. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to maybe chest high and weak and soft and heavily warbled though local wind was weak. In North Orange Co set waves were waist to chest head high and soft and weak and real warbled from northwest wind and not very good. Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets in the head high range but again pretty warbled from local northwest winds and soft. North San Diego had waves at chest high on the sets and closed out and warbled from northwest winds. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some northeast windswell with waves maybe thigh high and clean and weak. The South Shore was chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up and peeling when it came and still pretty fun looking. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves thigh high and pretty bumpy from modest easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/19) in California northwesterly swell was still hitting from a gale that developed over the North Dateline region falling southeast to the Western Gulf Thurs-Fri (5/15) producing up to 27 ft seas aimed southeast. Also swell was hitting from a gale that pushed under New Zealand on Wed-Fri (5/8) producing up to 39 ft seas aimed east then redeveloped over the Central South Pacific Sat-Sun (5/10) producing 35 ft seas aimed northeast. That swell is also hitting the South Shore of Hawaii. Looking ahead no swell producing weather systems are realistically forecast for the North Pacific though the models suggest a gale forming in the Gulf a week out with 36 ft seas aimed east. Hard to believe. But down south a gale/storm formed southeast of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/17) tracking east with up to 53 ft seas aimed east then faded over the Central South Pacific Mon (5/18) with seas fading from 30 ft. Another gale is to track east under New Zealand on Thurs-Fri (5/22) producing up to 42 ft seas with 36 ft seas aimed east. And some degree of winds energy is to persist southeast of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (5/26) producing 33 ft seas aimed east.

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 Tuesday (5/19) swell from a gale previously over the North Dateline region was fading in California (see North Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast. That said a small gael is forecast developing over the North Dateline region on Tues PM (5/19) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas building to barely 20 ft at 44N 176E aimed east. The gale is to build on Wed AM (5/20) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas to 22 ft over a tiny area at 46.5N 179.5W aimed east. The gale is to fade in the evening with 30 kt winds and 19 ft seas aimed east at 47N 176.5W. The gael is to fade from there. Low odds of any meaningful swell resulting for Hawaii or the US West Coast.

 

North Dateline Gale
Another gale has developed on the North Dateline region Tues AM (5/12) producing 35+ kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 46.5N 173.5E aimed southeast. In the evening the gale fell southeast over the dateline with a solid area of 35 kt northwest winds and seas 27 ft at 46N 177.5E aimed southeast. More of the same occurred on Wed AM (5/13) with 26 ft seas moving over the dateline at 44.5N 179W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale was fading with northwest winds 30-35 kts in the Western Gulf with 25 ft seas at 41N 173W aimed southeast targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. The gale was fading on Thurs AM (5/14) with 30 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 39N 168W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kt west winds to move east with 20 ft seas at 38N 160W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell fading Tues AM (5/19) from 5.6 ft @ 11 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295 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 (5/19) high pressure was starting to build in over the Northeast Pacific with northwest winds 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early building to 15+ kts all locations including Southern CA in the afternoon. Light rain is possible for North and Central CA early with some snow for the Central Sierra in the late afternoon. Wed (5/20) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts over all of North and Central CA all day. No precip forecast with a drying pattern setting up. Thurs (5/21) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts early for North and Central CA building to 20-25 kts later. Fri (5/22) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts for North CA and Central CA building to near 30 kts for North Ca later. Sat (5/23) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA all day. Sun (5/24) northwest winds are to be 20+ kts for North CA early and 15-20 kts for Central CA fading some all location later. Mon (5/25) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA building to 25 kts in North CA in the late afternoon. On Tues (5/26) northwest winds at 30 kts are forecast for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA but fading in Central CA to 10-15 kts later.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 2, 3, 1 and 1 inches respectively and all occurring early on Tues (5/19).

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (5/19) the jetstream was split over the entirety of the South Pacific with the southern branch tracking east under New Zealand on the 55S latitude line with an embedded pocket of 140 kt winds pushing southeast under New Zealand and another pocket over the Southeast Pacific but neither was producing a trough or offering support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that wind pocket under New Zealand is to be falling southeast creating a ridge and suppressing support for gale development through Wed (5/20). But then on Thurs (5/21) a trough is to start building south of the Tasman Sea pushing under New Zealand and being fed by 150 kts winds offering building support for gale development. That trough is to push east and start falling slightly southeast early on Fri (5/22) with 130-140 kts winds pushing east on the 60S latitude line offering some support for gale development and continuing east into Sat (5/23). Beyond 72 hours a ridge is to start pushing south under New Zealand on Mon (5/25) down to 65S and just north of the Antarctic Ice Line likely not offering support for gale development and if anything the ridge is to build into Tues (5/26) suppressing support for gale development under New Zealand. But at the same time a trough is to start building over the Central South Pacific on Tues (5/26) with 140 kts winds starting to flow up into it perhaps offering some support for gale development there.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/19) swell from a gale that built under New Zealand then swept northeast was fading out in Hawaii and buried in North CA under Gulf swell but still showing at protected breaks in Southern CA (see New Zealand - Central Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a gale that tracked under New Zealand was radiating northeast (see Another New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is forecast developing under New Zealand on Thurs AM (5/21) producing a broad area of 40+ kt west winds and seas to 40 ft at 54S 157E aimed east. Fetch is to hold while tracking east in the evening at 40+ kts from the west with seas holding at 40 ft over a decent area at 56S 168.5E aimed east. The gale is to track east and southeast some Fri AM (5/22) with 40-45 kt west winds continuing and seas 43 ft at 59S 178.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to start fading with 35-40 kt west winds and seas fading from 40 ft at 58.5S 169.5W aimed east. Fetch is to be gone Sat AM (5/23) with seas from previous fetch fading from 34 ft at 59S 161.5W. Something to monitor.

 

New Zealand - Central Pacific Gale
A gale started tracking east through the Southern Tasman Sea on Wed AM (5/6) with 40 kt west winds and seas 34 ft at 53.5S 157E aimed east. In the evening the fetch built in coverage with winds to 45 kts from the southwest and seas 37 ft at 57S 159E aimed east. The gale eased east on Thurs AM (5/7) producing 40 kt southwest winds over a solid area and seas to 36 ft at 52.5S 173E aimed northeast. The gale started lifting northeast in the evening with 35-40 kt southwest winds lifting northeast and seas 29-31 ft over a solid area at 50.5S 180W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/8) the gale was covering a large area but weaker with 30-35 kts southwest winds and seas 29-31 ft at 57S 170W but reaching up to 48S aimed northeast. In the evening the gale continued in the large category with 35-40 kt southwest winds with 29-30 ft seas over a large area centered at 52S 168W aimed northeast. Fetch continued easing east on Sat AM (5/9) but growing in coverage at 35-40 kts over a large area from the south with seas 34 ft over a solid area at 47S 160.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was large in coverage with a new building fetch of 40 kt south winds developing south of the previous core and seas 30-34 ft aligned north-south from 41S to 58S 153W aimed north. On Sun AM (5/10) south to southwest fetch was fading at up to 40 kts in pockets embedded in a broad area of 30-35 kt southwest winds lifting north with seas 30-33 ft from 53S 154W up to 41S 141.5W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading in coverage from 30-35 kts tracking north with seas fading from 25 ft at 49S 152W and 34 ft at 44S 133W aimed mostly east. On Mon AM (5/11) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts with seas 32 ft at 45.5S 129W aimed mainly east and no longer of interest. This system was gone after that. Good odds of swell resulting. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Swell fading some on Tues (5/19) from 2.7 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading out on Wed (5/20) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (5/21) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Residuals on Fri (5/22) fading from 2.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206 degrees

Northern CA: Swell holding on Tues (5/19) at 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading out on Wed (5/20) from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (5/21) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Maybe a secondary little pulse possible on Fri (5/22) at 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 204 degrees

 

Another New Zealand Gale
A gale developed under New Zealand on Sat PM (5/16) pushing east with 5055 kt west winds producing 53 ft seas aimed east at 59.5S 164.5E. The storm faded to gale status pushing east on Sun AM (5/17) with 45 kt west winds over a solid area and seas 48 ft at 60S 177E aimed east. In the evening the gale continued tracking east with 35-40 kt west winds and seas fading from 39 ft at 61.5S 170.5W aimed east. Fetch held coverage Mon AM (5/18) at 35-40 kts starting to lift northeast some with seas 29-30 ft over a large area at 58S 164W aimed east-northeast. The gale was fading in the evening with 30-35 kt southwest winds over a small area and 27 ft seas fading at 59S 160W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/19) the gale is to be gone. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/23) with swell building to 1.3 ft @ 20 sec late (2.5 ft). Swell holding on Mon (5/24) at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading after that with most energy aimed well east of the Hawaii swell window. Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sun (5/24) building with luck to 1 ft @ 23-24 secs at sunset (2.0 ft). Swell building Mon (5/25) through the day to 1.9 ft @ 20-21 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell building on Tues (5/26) to 2.4 ft @ 19 secs and holding (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees and mostly shadowed by Tahiti

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sun (5/24) building with luck to 1 ft @ 23-24 secs at sunset (2.0 ft). Swell building Mon (5/25) through the day to 1.6 ft @ 20-21 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building on Tues (5/26) to 2.1 ft @ 19 secs and holding (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees and partially shadowed by Tahiti

 

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 weather systems of interest are forecast. But the models do suggest a gale developing on Mon AM (5/25) in the Western Gulf producing 40-45 kt northwest winds over a small area with seas on the increase. In the evening the the gale is to build with 50 kt northwest winds and seas to 29 ft at 40.5N 163.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (5/26) the gale is to be over the Central Gulf with 45-50 kt west winds and seas building to 37 ft at 43N 157W aimed east. The gale is to fade and track northeast from there. Low odds of this actually occurring.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Mon AM (5/25) a small gale is forecast developing under New Zealand with 40+ kt winds but mostly aimed southeast and of no interest. In the evening the gale is to build with 45 kts southwest winds and seas 32 ft at 60S 176W aimed east-northeast. On Tues AM (5/26) the gale is to be lifting northeast with 35-40 kt southwest winds and 32 ft seas at 57.5S 161W aimed east-northeast. Something to monitor.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Equatorial Cool Pool Building

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: A double dip La Nina was in control 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. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool had collapsed with warm water starting to build on the equator.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. Given all that, for 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the end of 2020 if not longer.

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 (5/18) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and continuing unchanged over the Dateline and KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the far East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific and light easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/19) strong east anomalies were lock solid and filling the KWGA. The forecast calls for a continuation of this pattern but with the east anomalies slowly moving to the east and effectively out of the KWGA at the end of the model run on 5/26. Neutral winds to be building in behind.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/18) A weak Inactive MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the light Inactive MJO phase is to be dissipating on day 5, and then a very weak Active MJO signal is to start building in the far West Pacific at day 10, and then weakly filling the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates essentially the same thing but with the Active signal a bit stronger at day 10 but then fading and modestly weak at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/19) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to slowly ease east to the Maritime Continent and far West Pacific mostly exceedingly weak at day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to track east and fade some and weak over the East Pacific at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/19) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was strong over the West and Central Pacific today. The Inactive Phase is to track steadily east eventually pushing into Central America 6/3. A modest Active Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific on 5/29 moving to the East Pacific and over Central America on 6/18. A modest Inactive MJO is forecast developing over the far West Pacific 6/18 pushing slowly east to the Central and East Pacific at the end of the model run on 6/28.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/18) This model depicts no cohesive MJO signal anywhere today but with solid east anomalies present over the bulk of the KWGA. The forecast indicates a neutral MJO is to continue but with east anomalies continuing in the KWGA strong through 5/25, then fading but still present at moderate strength through the end of the model run on 6/15 filling the KWGA non-stop. The low pass filter indicates high pressure is over the KWGA and holding through 5/28, with a low pressure bias developing over the Indian Ocean today and continuing non-stop through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/19 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase was starting to build over the Western KWGA but with east anomalies in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to push east at times through 6/20 with strong east anomalies today through 5/23 followed by weak west anomalies building 5/24-6/12 then fading. An Active MJO is forecast after that from 6/28-7/12 followed by an Inactive Phase 7/14-7/30 and another Active Phase after that 8/1 through the end of the model run on 8/16 but with mostly east anomalies in the KWGA starting 7/6 and holding over the dateline non-stop through the end of the model run. No decent west anomalies are forecast in the core of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates no low or high pressure bias present in either the Indian Ocean or the Pacific. A high pressure bias is to appear over the East Pacific on 6/4 building in coverage through the end of the model run and reaching west into the eastern KWGA at the end of the model run on 8/16. And at the same time the low pressure bias is to reappear over the Indian Ocean starting 7/17 building through the end of the model run. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean are to start migrating east into the Pacific from now to mid-June and are then to be taking root just east of the dateline and holding there for the foreseeable future. Based on this model it appears a transition to La Nina is starting today and is to become entrenched in late June.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/19) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was redeveloping at 160E. The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 179W. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 163W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador but getting steadily shallower. Anomaly wise, neutral anomalies were between 105W to 160W. Weak warm anomalies were west of there. There was no indication of any Kelvin Waves left. Instead a large pocket of cool water at -3 degs was 150 meters deep between 170W to 100W looking to be pushing up towards the surface and starting to do that between 120W-140W. It is likely poised to continue pushing to the surface over the coming weeks. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 indicates the same thing with warm anomalies now gone in the East Pacific with cool water at depth erupting in the east between 105W-155W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/13) Negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms were over the equatorial Pacific between Ecuador and 170W and building in coverage, suggestive of a cool subsurface pool developing below the equator and growing in coverage. Positive anomalies at +5 cms were isolated in the far West Pacific in a horseshoe pattern indicative of cool water encroaching upon it from the east on the equator.

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: (5/18) The latest images indicate cold water was building solidly over the equator from just west of the Galapagos the whole way west to the dateline, looking like the start of a La Nina pattern. Warm anomalies were modest along the coast of Chile up into Peru continuing up off Ecuador up into Central America reaching west to 100W. And warmer water was steady aligned just north of the equator from Central America out to 165W, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. A broad pocket of cool anomalies was all but gone off California and Baja. Overall the Cool pool on the equator was unmistakable.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/18): A pocket of cooling waters was on the equator from just west of Ecuador out to 160W and building today in intensity. There is warming building in the far West Pacific but otherwise nowhere along the equatorial Pacific. The short term trend is looking like a push towards the development of La Nina.
Hi-res Overview: (5/18) A stream of cool water was holding on the equator from 100W west to the dateline. Warmer than normal temps were along the coast of South and Central America. Warmer than normal temps were stable north of the equator with cooler than normal water building on and south of the equator. Overall the data suggests a fading El Nino and a possible building La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/19) Today's temps were fading some at -0.010, but overall trending down from a warmer range near +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/19) Temps were fading steadily today down to -0.308, appearing to be on a firm downward trajectory. The trend appears to be falling after previously being in the +0.3 degree range in Feb., and up to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/19) Actual's indicate temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range Jan 1 2020 through April 1 then falling to 0.0 mid-May. The forecast depicts temps falling steadily from there, down to -0.50 June 1, holding there then fading more in early Aug into early Oct, down to -0.75 and holding there to Dec, then starting to rebound in early 2021. According to this model sea surface temps should be falling strongly moving towards La Nina as Summer develops.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in August 2020, then holding there through December 2020. 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) (5/19): The daily index was negative today at -8.71. The 30 day average was rising at +2.11. The 90 day average was rising at -1.00, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): April 2020 -0.62, March -0.11, Feb +0.69, Jan +0.42, Dec 2019 +0.46, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: 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 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +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


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (5/17):
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

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.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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