Saturday, May 23, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 0.6 ft @ 21.2 secs from 205 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 6.4 secs from 43 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 202 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 63.7 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.2 ft @ 9.3 secs from 316 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.5 secs from 207 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.6 ft @ 13.4 secs from 196 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.4 ft @ 7.9 secs from 282 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.6 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 9.8 secs from 315 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 16-21 kts. Water temp 49.5 degs (013), 54.0 degs (012) and 53.1 degs (042).
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Saturday (5/23) in North and Central CA locally generated northwest windswell was producing waves at waist to chest high and warbled and soft and formless but with light winds early. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and lined up and fairly clean but soft and crumbled. All parking lots closed. At Santa Cruz minimal background swell was occasionally producing waves at thigh high and clean and weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were up to waist high and weak and soft and clean with minimal background warble with calm local wind. Central Orange County had waves to waist high and clean burt with some surface texture and uneven and weak. South Orange County's best breaks had sets in the waist to maybe shoulder high range and textured and uneven and inconsistent and soft and mushed. North San Diego had waves at waist high and pretty ruffled from north wind and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting sets at maybe waist high and lined up and clean but rare. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high and a little bumpy but not chopped from modest easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (5/23) in California local northwesterly windswell was hitting making for some barely rideable surf at select locations. Hawaii was starting to see the first signals of southern hemi swell swell from 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. And the North Shore is to see tiny swell later in the day from a small gale that formed over the North Dateline region Wed-Thurs (5/21) producing up to 22 ft seas aimed east. Looking ahead no swell producing weather systems are realistically forecast for the North Pacific though the models suggest a gale forming in the Northeastern Gulf on late Tues-Wed (5/27) producing up to 24 ft seas aimed east. Odds low. Down south another gale tracked east under New Zealand on Thurs-Fri (5/22) producing up to 37 ft seas aimed east. A pair of smaller systems to follow with the first over the Southeast Pacific Sun-Mon (5/25) with up to 40 ft seas aimed east, and another over the Central South Pacific on Tues-Thurs (5/27) with up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast. And maybe some more is possible behind that. Nothing huge to result, but not flat either.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (5/23) no swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii. But small swell from a gale previously over the North Dateline region was radiating towards both locations (see North Dateline gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
North Dateline Gale
A small gale developed over the North Dateline region on Tues PM (5/19) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas building to 19 ft at 43N 172.5E aimed east. The gale built on Wed AM (5/20) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas to 22 ft over a tiny area at 46.5N 178.5E aimed east. The gale faded in the evening with 30 kt winds and 20 ft seas aimed east at 47.5N 176.5W. The gale was fading Thurs AM (5/21) with 30 kt west winds over the North Dateline region seas fading from 20 ft at 47.5N 176W aimed east. Low odds of any meaningful swell resulting for Hawaii or the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/23) building to 2.5 ft @ 12-13 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell holding Sun (5/24) at 2.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding Mon (5/25) at 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Tues (5/26) fading from 2.5 ft @ 10-11 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 318 moving to 330 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/25) building to 2.8 ft @ 13 sec later (3.5) ft and buried in local north windswell. Swell buried after that. Swell Direction: 300-305 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (5/23) local northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA all day. Sun (5/24) northwest winds are to be 20-25 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA holding later. Mon (5/25) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA early. On Tues (5/26) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino to Pt Arena but 10 kts south of there all day. Wed (5/27) a weak eddy flow (south winds) is forecast for Central CA but north at 20+ kts north of Pt Arena. Thurs (5/28) a weak northwest flow is forecast for Central CA all day but a new gradient is forecast for the Cape Mendocino area with north winds 25 kts all day. Friday (5/29) northwest winds to hold at 20-25 kts early for Cape Mendocino up to Oregon fading to 15-20 kts later but with a weak eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward all day. On Sat (5/30) an eddy flow is forecast for the whole state at 5 kts.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
On Saturday (5/23) the jetstream was split over the entirety of the South Pacific with the southern branch lifting gently northeast some under New Zealand forming a weak trough being fed by 140 kts winds pushing east offering some minimal support for gale development to the Central Southern Pacific. East of there the jet was falling hard southeast forming a ridge offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough under New Zealand is to ease east into later Sunday (5/24) still offering some support for gale development and lifting progressively further north into Wed (5/27), eventually reaching up to 45S over the Central South Pacific a pretty decent looking from a gale development perspective. Beyond 72 hours the Central Pacific trough is to continue on an eastward track but starting to lose energy and then fading out on Fri PM (5/29) no longer supporting gale development. But on Sat (5/30) southwest winds to start building under New Zealand to 120 kts lifting northeast while pushing east offering yet another window of opportunity to support for gale development. So not so bad a pattern is to be shaping up.
On Saturday (5/23) swell from a gale that tracked under New Zealand was radiating northeast and starting to show on the buoys on Lanai's South Shore (see Another New Zealand Gale below). And swell from another gale that tracked under New Zealand was starting to make it's journey northeastward (see More New Zealand Swell below).
Over the next 72 hours starting Sat PM (5/23) a small gale is to start building under New Zealand with 45 kt west winds and seas building over a tiny area from 37 ft at 61.5S 174E aimed east. On Sun AM (5/24) 45 kt west winds to hold over a tiny area with seas 35 ft over a small area at 59S 175.5W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 30 ft at 57S 155.5W aimed east. Mon AM (5/25) the gale is to build with 55 kt south winds over a tiny area aimed north with 35 ft seas building at 60S 135W aimed northeast. The storm is to push east in the evening with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas 40 ft at 58S 121.5W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade while tracking east and out of the Calfiornia swell window on Tues AM (5/26) with 40 kt west winds and seas 37 ft at 61.5S 112.5W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.
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 2.5 ft @ 18-19 secs and holding (4.5 ft). Swell building some on Wed (5/27) pushing 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Thurs (5/28) from 2.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (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 building some on Wed (5/27) pushing 2.5 ft @ 17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading some on Thurs (5/28) from 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees and partially shadowed by Tahiti
More New Zealand Swell
A gale developed under New Zealand on Thurs AM (5/21) producing a broad area of 40 kt west winds and seas to 37 ft at 55S 155.5E aimed east but partially shadowed by Auckland Island and Macquarie Island. Fetch faded some while tracking east in the evening at 35-40 kts from the west with seas 36 ft over a decent area at 54S 167E aimed east and no longer shadowed. The gale tracked east and southeast some Fri AM (5/22) with 35-40 kt west to southwest winds and seas 33 ft at 55S 177E aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading in coverage with with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas rebuilding to 35 ft at 59.5S 178.5W aimed east. Fetch was fading Sat AM (5/23) from 30-35 kts over a broad area from the southwest with seas fading from 33 ft at 57S 164.5W. 30-35 kt west winds to linger into the evening with 32 ft seas over a modest area at 57S 159W aimed east. the gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival via the Tasman Sea starting Thurs (5/28) building to 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continue on Fri (5/29) at 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading as the fetch became shadowed by New Zealand after that. Swell Direction: 210 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/30) building to 1.4 ft @ 20 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 213 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/30) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 213 degrees
Central South Pacific Gale
A small gale started developing in the Central South Pacific Thurs PM (5/21) producing 40 kt south winds and 25 ft seas lifting north at 48S 141W aimed north. Fetch built Fri AM (5/22) to 40 kts from the south in the northern reaches of the Southeast Pacific with seas 28 ft at 40S 134W aimed north. Fetch was fading in the evening at 35-40 kts over a tiny area aimed north with 30 ft seas at 39S 132W aimed north. Fetch was fading Sat AM (5/23) from 35 kts with seas fading from 28-30 ft over a tiny area at 32S 125W aimed north. The gale is to fade from there. Possible small southern hemi swell to be radiating north towards CA, Mexico and Central America.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/28) building to 1.7 ft @ 19 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell building on Fri (5/29) steadily through the day pushing 3.3 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (5.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (5/30) at 3.6 ft @ 15-16 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/28) building to 1.6 ft @ 20 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (5/29) steadily through the day pushing 3.3 ft @ 17 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (5/30) at 3.4 ft @ 16 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
But a gale is forecast developing lifting northeast over the Eastern Gulf Tuesday evening (5/26) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas building to 18 ft at 43N 145W aimed east. The gale is to slowly track northeast on Wed AM (5/27) producing northwest winds at 35 kts and seas building to 23 ft at 46N 139W aimed east (308 degs NCal). From there the gale is to be just off Central British Columbia on Wed PM (5/27) with 30 kt west winds and seas fading from 21 ft at 48N 135W targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest. This system is to be gone after that. Low odds of this actually occurring.
Beyond 72 hours starting Mon PM (5/26) a small gale is to start building southeast of New Zealand producing 35 kts southwest winds over a solid area with 28-29 ft seas aimed northeast at 57S 171W. On Tues AM (5/26) the gale is to build in coverage with southwest winds at 35-40 kts and seas building to 29-30 ft at 53S 168W aimed northeast. In the evening south to southwest winds are forecast at 35-40 kts with a building secondary area of fetch at 45 kts building southwest of it and seas 33 ft at 55.5S 159.5W aimed northeast with secondary 31 ft seas at 60S 179E aimed northeast. On Wed AM (5/27) the fetch areas are to merge over the Central South Pacific with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 51S 167W aimed northeast. The gale is to track northeast in the evening with fetch fading from 35-40 kts from the south over a broad area with seas 34 ft at 45.5S 156.5W aimed northeast over a solid area. The gale is to hold Thurs AM (5/28) with a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 34 ft at 46.5S 150S pushing solidly northeast. In the evening the gael is to start fading with 30-35 kts southwest winds over a large area and seas fading from 34 ft at 44.5S 141.5W aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading Fri AM (5/29) from 30-35 kts from the southwest filling the Southeast Pacific with seas 29-31 ft at 45S 133W aimed east-northeast. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
And yet another gale is forecast developing in the Central South Pacific on Sat AM (5/30) producing 50 kt southwest wind and seas to 34 ft at 60S 157W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.
La Nina Cool Signature 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 (5/22) 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 neutral over the far East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then turning moderately easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/23) moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA. The forecast calls for easterly anomalies slowly fading while tracking east and mostly east of the KWGA by 5/28. After that neutral to weak west anomalies are to build in the KWGA to the end of the model run on 5/30.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (5/22) A weak Inactive MJO pattern was all but gone over the KWGA today while a building Active MJO signal was building in the West KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active MJO is to be solid over the KWGA at day 5continuing on day 10 the starting to fade on day 15 while a strong Inactive Phase builds in the Indian Ocean moving to the Maritime Continent. The dynamic model indicates essentially the same thing but with the Active signal fading more at day 10 then fading with a strong Inactive signal building over the Maritime Continent and moving into the far West KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/23) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Maritime Continent today and is to slowly ease east and build some 5 days out, then fading while pushing over the West Pacific and weak at day 15 of the model run over the East Pacific. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to track east and hold at weak status while moving to the West Atlantic 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): (5/23) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was strong over the far East Pacific today. The Inactive Phase is to track east pushing into Central America 5/28. A modest Active Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific on 5/28 moving to the East Pacific and over Central America on 6/12. A modest Inactive MJO is forecast developing over the far West Pacific 6/7 pushing slowly east to the East Pacific and into Central America at the end of the model run on 7/2. No coherent MJO signal is forecast over the West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/22) This model depicts no cohesive MJO signal anywhere today with modest east anomalies present over the bulk of the KWGA. The forecast indicates a neutral MJO is to continue but with a mix of west and east anomalies in the KWGA through 6/2. After that a mixed bag of mostly weak westerly anomalies are forecast in the West KWGA and east anomalies over the dateline with no coherent MJO signal forecast through the end of the model run on 6/19.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/23 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase was trying to build over the Western KWGA but with east anomalies in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to retrograde then again try to push east 6/1 through 6/12 with east anomalies fading on 5/27 and then weak west east anomalies building and holding. No real Inactive Phase to follow with weak east and west anomalies holding in the KWGA through strong east anomalies are to set up in the Central and East Pacific 6/12 and beyond. An Active MJO is forecast after that from 6/28-7/28 with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA while east anomalies hold solid from the dateline eastward. The Inactive Phase is forecast starting 7/26 holding through the end of the model run on 8/20 with east anomalies in the KWGA and holding in the KWGA and extending over the whole of the equatorial Pacific 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 for the moment. A high pressure bias is to appear over the East Pacific on 6/9 building in coverage through the end of the model run with a second contour setting up on 8/1 filling the eastern KWGA at the end of the model run on 8/21. And at the same time the low pressure bias is to reappear over the Indian Ocean starting 7/19 building through the end of the model run. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean are migrating east today into the Pacific continuing 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 clear transition to La Nina is starting today and is to become entrenched by mid-June.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/23) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was redeveloped at 157E. The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 178W. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 160W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador but very shallow east of 120W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1 deg C were isolated to the West Pacific reaching east to 155W. There were no warm anomalies east of there. Cool anomalies were upwelling to the surface from a large subsurface pocket of cool water -4 degs 150 meters deep from 150W to 100W. It is likely poised to continue pushing to the surface over the coming weeks. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/18 indicates the same thing with warm anomalies now gone in the East Pacific with cool water at depth erupting in the east between 105W-165W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/18) 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. Negative anomalies were also now building along and down the coast of Peru. Positive anomalies at +5 cms were isolated in the far West Pacific reaching east to 175E 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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (5/22) The latest images indicate cold water was building solidly over the equator from 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. But some pockets of cool anomalies were starting to show along Peru. 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 (5/22): A stream of cooling water was fading some on the equator from just west of Ecuador out to 140W. There is weak 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: (5/22) A stream of cool water was holding on the equator from 85W west to the dateline. Warmer than normal temps were along the coast of South and Central America but fading. 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 building La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/23) Today's temps were fading at -0.259, but definitely trending down from a warmer range near +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/23) Temps were stable or trending down slightly at -0.320, 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.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/23) Actual's indicate temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range Jan 1 2020 through April 1 then started falling hard to 0.0 mid-May. The forecast depicts temps continuing to fall, down to -0.40 June 1, then stabilizing somewhat but continuing on a far slower downward trajectory into early Oct, down to -0.80 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 May 20, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.20 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in July 2020, then holding there through December 2020. The outliers are the dynamic models (NCEP CFS, NASA GMAO and the COLA CCSM4) all suggesting solid La Nina. 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) (5/23): The daily index was negative today at -4.42. The 30 day average was rising at +2.03. The 90 day average was falling slightly to -1.24, 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
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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