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.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
- Buoy 165 (Barbers Point): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 15.8 secs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 15.0 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 16.4 secs. Wind east 2-4 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 0.7 ft @ 17.5 secs from 241 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.7 ft @ 17.9 secs from 209 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.8 ft @ 17.4 secs from 218 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 14.2 secs. Wind northwest 15 kts nearshore. Water temp 57.4 degs.
On Tuesday (6/2) in North and Central CA windswell was producing surf at waist high and chopped with whitecaps starting to develop. Down in Santa Cruz waves were waist to chest high on the sets and pretty bumpy coming from the south with chop outside the kelp early. In Southern California up north combo Andres and southern hemi swell was producing waves waist high and clean. Down south waves were waist high with some chest high peaks and clean with intermixed texture coming from the south. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high and clean with a few rideable waves. The South Shore was getting Swell #2S with waves 2 ft overhead and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting wrap around south swell at waist high and chopped with trades blowing.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
For the North Pacific no swell was in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast for the next week other than swell from Hurricane Andres. Regarding windswell, trades were suppressed relative to Hawaii and are forecast to remain that way for the next week. Relative to California, high pressure generated north winds are expected to develop more on Wed (6/3) when high pressure moves up to the coast and the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient starts developing, becoming productive on Thurs/Fri (6/5) then fading. From the southern hemisphere, swell from a broad but modest strength system that developed southeast of New Zealand on Mon (5/25) generating 40 ft seas aimed north-northeast was heading down in Hawaii and starting to show along the US West Coast. Beyond that, a weak and poorly organized gale tracked through the Southeast Pacific on Mon-Tues (6/2) generating up to 30 ft seas aimed northeast. Small swell might result. And a tiny gale was tracking through the Tasman Sea on Tues (6/2) with 32 ft seas targeting Fiji.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (6/2) high pressure at 1024 mbs was building off Central CA producing northwest winds and chop at exposed breaks. No windswell was in the water yet but it was just a matter of time before production begins. Relative to Hawaii trades were less than 15 kts and no windswell was being produced.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to continue developing while impacting the Central and North Coasts of CA on Wednesday (6/3) and then forming a gradient over Cape Mendocino on Thursday with winds up to 30 kts there holding if not building in coverage on Friday. Modest windswell to result for North and Central CA, then fading some Saturday as the gradient fades. Relative to Hawaii trades to try and develop starting Wed (6/3) reaching the 15 kt threshold but only in patches east of the Islands, then fading Thursday and continuing in a diminished state with no real windswell resulting through Sat (6/6).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Andres was 700 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Thurs AM (5/28) with winds 50 kts tracking northwest. Andres built to hurricane strength Sat PM (6/30) with winds 100 kts at 15N 116W or 1100 nmiles south-southwest of Dana Point on the 175 degree path tracking northwest (163 degs NCal). A turn to the northwest followed Sun AM (5/31) with winds holding at 100 kts at 15.4N 117.8W or 1080 nmiles south of Dana Point on the 180 degree track. Andres unexpectedly built Sunday evening to 120 kts at 15.3N 119.0W and then to 125 kts (145 mph) by 06Z Mon (6/1) at 15.4N 119.5 W. It was tracking west at 5 kts with seas estimated at 42 ft. This position was on the 186 degree track to Dana Point and the 173 degree track to North CA. By Mon AM (6/1) winds were down to 110 kts. A steady fade is forecast while this system tracks west-northwest, falling to tropical depression status Thurs AM (6/4). For Southern CA, swell is to be rebuilding Wed AM (6/3) to 3.1 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft) from 175-180 degrees. Swell for Northern CA to peak late on Wed (6/3) at 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft) from 173 degrees
Tropical Storm Bianca was positioned 600 nmiles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Tues AM (6/2) with winds 55 kts and meandering. It is expected to continue slowly building while not making any headway in any direction through Thurs AM (6/4) with winds building to 115 kts. Bianca is to peak Thurs PM tracking quickly north-northwest with winds to 120 kts (138 mph). Bianca is to hold this track while fading, positioned just off Cabo San Lucas Sun AM (6/70 with winds down to 65 kts (barely hurricane strength). At no time is Bianca expected to move into the Southern CA swell window.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/2) high pressure was getting a toe in the door with north winds building to 15-20 kts for North and Central CA, forecast pushing 20-25 kts Wednesday then pushing north with the core focusing near Cape Mendocino on Thursday at 30 kts. And eddy flow (south winds) to develop for Central CA on Friday with the gradient holding over Cape Mendocino producing more 30-35 kt north winds, slowly giving up ground into Saturday AM with north winds 25 kts and the eddy holding for Central CA, then winds fading into Sunday (6/7) with north winds 20 kts and the eddy collapsing. The gradient is to rebuild on Tues at 25 kts with and eddy redeveloping for Central CA.
On Tuesday AM (6/2) the jet was .cgiit from a point south of Australia under New Zealand with the two branches finally merging over the Southeast Pacific tracking east on the 35S latitude line with winds building to 180 kts over a small pocket at the merge point, then fading significantly before pushing into Southern Chile. There was something that resembled a trough at the merge point where the two streams joined, but only 70 kt winds were pushing up into that trough offering only minimal support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to hold together through Thurs PM (6/4) while tracking east and out of the California swell window, with winds remaining weak offering little support for gale development. To the immediate west a solid ridge is to be pushing down over the Ross Ice Shelf pushing nearly over Antarctica in the Central Pacific and shutting down any potential for gale development. Something that resembles a trough is to start forming south of New Zealand on Wed (6/3) pushing north with winds to 120 kts feeding it, then getting weaker before dissipating early Fri (6/5). Low odds of support for gale development indicated. Beyond 72 hours a well defined ridge is to redevelop and take control over the entire South Pacific by Sun AM (6/7) with the southern branch tracking flat west to east down at 65S offering no support for gale development through Wed (6/10). A trough is forecast forming on Mon (6/8) just south of the Tasman Sea with 130 kt winds flowing up into it, and easing east east with it's apex reaching southern New Zealand by Tues PM (6/9) offering some support for gale development if one is to believe the model.
On Tuesday (6/2) swell from Swell #2S was fading in Hawaii and starting to show at the buoys in California (see Broad New Zealand Gale below). Otherwise residual fetch from that gale had organized in the Southeast Pacific was generating additional seas (see Secondary SE Pacific Fetch below).
Also a small gale formed in the Tasman Sea on Mon PM (6/1) generating 40-45 kt south winds aimed due north with seas on the increase from 24 ft at 37S 162E targeting Fiji directly. Fetch peaked at 45 kts overnight then was fading Tues AM (6/2) from barely 45 kts with seas barely 33 ft at 36.5S 165.5E. This system is to be gone by evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas dropping from 24 ft at 34S 168E targeting Fiji.
Fiji: Swell arrival expected on Thurs AM (6/4) local time building to 7.2 ft @ 14 secs (10 ft) late. Swell to peak Fri AM (6/5) at 8.4 ft @ 15 secs (12.5 ft). Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft) Sat AM (6/6). Swell Direction: 200-210 degrees
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Broad New Zealand Gale - Swell #2S (HI)
A broad fetch started developing under New Zealand on Fri PM (5/22) generating 40 kt southwest winds and starting to get traction resulting in 29 ft seas at 58S 155E. By Sat AM (5/23) that fetch became more defined with a solid area of 40 kt south-southwest winds developing with one patch to 45 kts embedded generating 32 ft seas aimed northeast over a modest sized area at 53S 165E (219 degs CA and barely on the 201 deg track to HI). 45 kt south winds continued in the evening lifting north with seas 31 ft over a tiny area at 52S 166E (219 degs CA, barely in the 201 degs window to HI). By Sun AM (5/24) this system started taking shape with fetch fading from 40-45 kts but now covering a solid if not large area aimed due north with 30 ft seas at 48S 167E tucked right up under the Southeast New Zealand coast and mostly obscured by land. The Jason-2 satellite passed over the fetch and reported a 15 reading average of 34.5 ft with one reading to 38.1 ft where the model suggested 31 ft seas. The model was undercalling it. In the evening a secondary fetch built in the lows south quadrant at 45 kts aimed north with 32 ft seas redeveloping a bit to the east at 54S 177E again aimed north (195 degs HI, 212 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, 213 degs SCal and in the heart of the shadow). This system peaked on Mon AM (5/25) with fetch building over a moderate area aimed north at 45 kts with a a core to 50 kts from the south with seas to 34 ft at 50S 179E (195 degs HI, 213 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and still barely shadowed). Winds were fading from 45 kts in the evening with seas peaking at 41 ft at 50S 177W (193 degs HI, 211 degs NCal and barely shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed). The Jason satellite passed just south of the core of the fetch at 02Z 5/26 reporting a 15 reading ave of 40.4 ft with one reading to 46.8 ft where the model projected 37-38 ft seas. The model was down.cgiaying it. On Tues AM (5/26) winds were dropping from 40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 36 ft at 48S 167W aimed northeast (186 degs HI, 207 degs NCal and shadowed, 210 degs SCal and barely shadowed). Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 45S 162W.
This system has developed pretty decently, especially considering the lack of solid upper level support from the jet. Solid swell is expected tracking towards Tahiti and Hawaii, but less so for CA given shadowing from Tahiti.
Hawaii: Residuals on Wed (6/3) at 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 186-201 degrees focused on 195 degrees
Southern California: Swell to peak Wed (6/3) holding near 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell starting to fade Thurs AM (6/4) from 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210-219 degs focused on 212 degrees
North California: Swell to peak Wed (6/3) holding near 2.6 ft @ 18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell starting to fade Thurs AM (6/4) from 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 207-219 focused on 212 degrees
Secondary SE Pacific Fetch
Fetch from the original system above tracked east and started developing on Sun PM (5/31) producing 35-40 kt southwest winds and 27 ft seas over a small area at 35S 123W. A more defined area of 35-40 kt southwest fetch developed Mon AM (6/1) generating 27 ft seas at 41S 135W aimed well to the northeast continuing into the evening with winds still 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft at 38S 127W but aimed more easterly. More 35 kt southerly fetch continued Tues AM (6/2) generating 30 ft seas at 38S 122W, then dissipating in the evening while pushing out of the CA swell window.
Small 15 sec period swell is expected somewhat targeting California but mainly Central America down into Peru.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (6/8) at 3 ft @ 17 secs early (5.0 ft) building to 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell holding on Tues (6/9) at 3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft) fading from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft) on Wed (6/10). Swell Direction: 185-194 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (6/8) building to 2.5 ft @ 17-18 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft) peaking on Tues (6/9) at 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (6/10) from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 183-192 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 the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient is to fade with winds dying from 25-30 kts early on Sat (6/6) and windswell fading with it. No windswell producing fetch is forecast there Sun-Mon (6/8) then rebuilding slightly Tues to 25 kts, but all fetch limited from Cape Mendo northward limiting upwelling into Central CA.
Relative to Hawaii trades to remain suppressed (not exceeding 15 kts) with no east windswell forecast until maybe Tues (6/9) when high pressure north of the Islands sets up a fetch of 15 kt northeast winds extending from Cape Mendocino down to a point just east of Hawaii with winds 15 kts. Perhaps some windswell to result.
Note: 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet. 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. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).
(1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data. 2nd paragraph where present is analysis data and is updated only as required).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) As of Tues (6/2) the daily SOI was falling from 6.40. The 30 day average was rising from -13.03 and the 90 day average was rising from -9.27. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of steady Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady state Active Phase of the MJO or a building weak El Nino. A falling pressure pattern is expected over Southeast Australia through the week not changing till Mon (6/8) when high pressure is again forecast to develop. A neutral pressure pattern is projected near Tahiti for the coming week. The net result is to be generally neutral SOI numbers for the next week perhaps turning slightly negative by Tues (6/9).
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak easterly anomalies in.cgiay over the Western Maritime Continent with weak westerly anomalies over the Eastern Maritime Continent reaching over the dateline building to the moderate category south of Hawaii and holding to a point south of California, fading to neutral from there to the Galapagos. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated modest west anomalies over the bulk of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area, building to moderate strength on the east edge and holding over the dateline, south of Hawaii and half way to the Galapagos (better than what the 850 mb model suggested). This is good news. A week from now (6/10) a dead neutral pattern is to set up over the Maritime Continent with west anomalies developing in the modest category starting at the dateline and holding to a point south of Hawaii, fading some then redeveloping and building to moderate strength near the Galapagos. This suggests the Active Phase (or at least the area of westerly anomalies) is to be migrating east into the East Pacific. Note that west anomalies must be over the Kelvin Wave generation area (and not east of it) to support Kelvin Wave development. A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May continuing into late May while easing east out of the Kelvin wave Generation Area. There has been zero easterly anomalies so far this year, with good westerly anomalies still in.cgiay as of 6/1 (latest TAO data). Still more westerly anomalies are needed, especially in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area if a legit El Nino is to develop. The good news is that the 850 mb forecast charts appears, at least at this time, to not be reflecting what's really occurring at the surface.
See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.
The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 6/1 suggests a moderate Inactive MJO signal was over the West Pacific almost reaching the dateline. The Statistic model suggests this Inactive Phase is to slowly fade over the next 10 days, gone with a near dead neutral pattern in.cgiay at 15 days out and an Active Phase building in the Indian Ocean. The Dynamic model is more troubling suggesting the Inactive Phase building to moderate.cgius strength 5 days out, then starting to decay and almost gone 15 days out with a weak Active Phase trying to develop in the Indian Ocean. This would not be a good thing and would suggest the atmosphere is not as co.cgied from a ENSO perspective as some might think and could stall the development of El Nino. The truth at the surface will be know in the next week (by 6/10). The ultra long range upper level model run on 6/2 is picking up on this trend depicting a moderate Inactive Phase building over the far West Pacific 6/7 and forecast pushing steadily east peaking just east of the dateline on 6/13 at moderate strength, then fading while tracking east and hitting Central America on 6/25. A very weak Active pattern is to develop over the far West Pacific starting 6/27 taking over the equatorial Pacific on 7/7 with no end in sight. The issue is we have to survive what is looking like development of the Inactive Phase of the MJO over the next 1-2 weeks. This could be a signal for the upwhelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave lifecycle (an atmospheric component of what is typically thought of as purely a oceanic pattern). The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.
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.
As of the most recent low-res imagery (6/1) a modest but defined warm water/El Nino-like regime continues over the entire equatorial Pacific, but not getting any stronger. Warmer water has stalled it's buildup over Ecuador and the Galapagos, suggesting the most current Kelvin Wave impacting the coast peaked out on 5/24. It's development is better than last years strong Kelvin Wave, but still not striking. Warm water is in.cgiace along the Peruvian coast pushing north up to the equator. Warmer water extends west from the Galapagos along the equator but only reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator near dateline, no longer expanding in coverage close to the South America Coast (down to 20S). In comparison to last years massive Kelvin Wave which hit at this time, the warming this year is looking much stronger. Compared to '97 (a super El Nino), it is similar near the Galapagos. TAO data indicates +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years. +1.5 deg anomalies are now depicted advecting west from the Galapagos covering the entire area west of there to the dateline. Hi-res data from today (6/2) indicates peak temps between the Galapagos and Ecuador are rebounding some, back to +4-5 degs above normal, where they had fallen to a peak of +4 degs 2 days previous, though still not at the peak temps of 5/24. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps are +1.05 degs above normal. One would expect this area to continue warming markedly as the big Spring Kelvin Wave starts erupting and advecting west into the Nino3.4 area, starting about 5/28. But the above data suggest that at a minimum some temporary halt to the warming trend occurred 5/25-6/1, though some rebound is trying to take hold now. It's way to early to know with any certainty what the outcome will be.
Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline (160-180W) have warmed, up to +2-3 degs C, the result of a WWB earlier in May. And more warm water is falling down into it from the surface. So the pipe is open. But the big story remains very warm anomalies under the equator in the East Pacific pushing up and east into the Galapagos and Ecuador. As of 6/2 a large pocket of +4-5 deg anomalies were impacting the Galapagos Islands driven by the extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 and additional strong westerly anomalies in March. This Kelvin Wave is expected to start peaking over the Galapagos on 6/10. Peak water temps (anomalies > 4 degs C) have actually expanded their coverage moving from 137W to 153W (not trivial). This suggests there are not weeks but perhaps 2 months of warm water still in the pipe (into 7/28). Also of interest is the apparent downwelling of more warm water on the dateline, the result of non-stop westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area that continue into today. The secondary Kelvin Wave (really merged with the first one) should peak on Aug 1. Satellite data from 5/28 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 165E with a core to +10 cm in 3 broad pockets from 170W to the Galapagos, indicative of an open pipe with an embedded solid Kelvin Wave. This image if anything indicates the Kelvin wave is building compared to previous data. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (5/28) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 172E and the Ecuador coast (holding) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 178E eastward (holding) and +1.5 deg anomalies from 155W eastward (expanding). But no 2+ deg anomalies are indicated. The peak of the Kelvin Wave has impacted the Ecuador Coast and the next wave or warming is building behind. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here.
It is do or die time. Either the ocean temps will warm significantly enough to kick off some degree of real El Nino, or it's more Modoki El Nino. We'll know more as we move into the next week, June 1-10. Peak warming has hit. Westerly anomalies are holding over the dateline at the surface (regardless what the 850 mb charts indicate), complete with previous tropical development north of the equator, suggestive perhaps of developing co.cgiing between the ocean and the atmosphere (in the classic El Nino sense). The bad news is the model suggests perhaps weak east anomalies developing over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area, but at the 850 mb level. The surface might respond differently if El Nino and co.cgiing are already in effect. Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season. And now a early season hurricane (Andres) has formed in the East Pacific with Bianca behind it. But these are symptoms of previous warm water in that area, and not a signal of anything new developing. The focus continues to be the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and the presence of surface westerly anomalies and whether the Kelvin Wave hitting Ecuador actual manifests itself with an expanding area of warming surface waters. The real good news is the Kelvin Wave is expanding, starting to fill the East Pacific subsurface reservoir. The bigger, and warmer the better. This is required for a legit El Nino to develop.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 5/22 continues to improve. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire equatorial Pacific with strongest velocity in the heart of the Kelvin Wave generation Area. Weaker velocities extended from the dateline to 110W, turning neutral near the Galapagos. A very weak easterly current was positioned 2-3 degrees south of the equator, weaker than 2 weeks ago. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific reaching to the dateline, then moving just north of the equator and continuing modestly to 110W. A pocket of easterly anomalies was present just south of the equator from 145W-170W. This continues to look like El Nino is setting up.
Compared to 1997 at this time, the pattern and strength is similar. But in '97 the strongest anomalies were in the East Pacific near the Galapagos rather in the West Pacific. Looking 30 days ahead, if any similarities to '97 are to be maintained, strong to massive west to east velocities and anomalies will need to develop by the end of June.
This data suggests a general west to east bias in the current suggesting warm water transport to the east.
Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model (PDF Corrected) run 6/2 for the Nino 3.4 region remain solid. It suggests water temps are at +1.0 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.4 degs C, and continuing to +1.75 degs by Oct and +1.85 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to perhaps a full blown moderate.cgius El Nino, and solid at that. But it is too early to believe just yet. The same thing happened last year. The model is likely just picking up on the Kelvin Wave in flight, and will settle back down in July after it erupts over the Galapagos. Much more warm water would need to be transported east over the coming 6 months for a legit El Nino to develop (including surface warm water currently locked over the dateline), especially of the magnitude projected by the model. The mid-May consensus Plume suggests development of a modest El Nino with peak temps 1.2-1.5 degs above normal. See the chart based version here - link.
Analysis: Mult.cgie downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts occurring late 2013 though 2014 in the West Pacific. Those Kelvin Waves warmed waters over the Eastern equatorial Pacific, but not sufficiently to declare an official El Nino until Feb 2015, and then very weak at that. Still some degree of teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere was in.cgiay with some greater force dictating the pattern (possibly the PDO). The focus now becomes whether this warming and resulting teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are coming out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). The real teller will be during the month of June. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are warming due to the arrival of a large Kelvin Wave currently in flight (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, then continued westerly anomalies and WWBs should continue through July-Sept and beyond, with a full scale El Nino developing. But if the cool upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle develops in mid-June, then it will likely be another year of the Modoki El Nino cycle. The real interesting thing is westerly anomalies and a certified WWB developed in early to mid May over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area indicating another Kelvin Wave is in development, much different than what occurred last year. But the Inactive Phase of the MJO is now trying to develop over the West Pacific (5/21), which appears to be trying to dampen the development of further westerly anomalies with the west winds anomaly pattern shifting to the equatorial East Pacific. The June to early July timeframe will either make or break development of a legit El Nino. If more WWBs develop, then odds of El Nino development increase. If not, then all the warm water that has moved east will effectively dissipate, much like it did in 2014. All the other signals (recurving early forming tropical systems, warm water along the US West Coast, falling SOI etc) all mean nothing unless there are solid WWBs to continuously build sea surface temp anomalies rover the Galapagos. In other words, the WWB are what drive El Nino, Everything else is symptoms.
We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming East Pacific equatorial waters for the 2015 (meaning enhanced support for the jetstream and storm development in Fall/Winter 2015-2016).
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast. But there's hints of gale formation under New Zealand 7 days out (if that's believable).
Details to follow...
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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