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.
Sunday, June 7, 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 2.6 ft @ 15.0 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.5 secs. Wind west 4-6 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 0.9 ft @ 11.1 secs from 251 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.7 secs from 215 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.6 secs from 199 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 12.6 from the southwest. Wind south 10 kts. Water temp 53.4 degs.
On Saturday (6/6) in North and Central CA windswell was producing surf at chest high and heavily textured if not starting to whitecap early and rideable but nothing more. Down in Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist high with rare chest high peaks at top spots and clean. In Southern California up north southern hemi swell was producing waves at thigh to waist high and clean and lined up but weak. Down south waves were waist high with some bigger sets and clean and gutless coming from the south. Hawaii's North Shore was amazingly rideable with northwest swell head high with.cgius sized sets reeling at tops spots and clean. The South Shore was small with sets waist high or a little more and clean. The East Shore was getting Andres swell with waves head high or better and chopped from trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
For the North Pacific small swell from a gale that tracked off the Kuril Islands was hitting Hawaii's North Shore making much better than expected surf. Otherwise no swell was in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast for the next week. Regarding windswell, trades were suppressed relative to Hawaii and are forecast to remain that way until later Tues (6/9) holding for 2 days, then retreating. Relative to California, high pressure generated north winds were blowing isolated to Cape Mendocino, producing local short period north windswell down into Central CA, but down from days previous. Some variant of that to continue well into the coming week. From the southern hemisphere swell from a weak and poorly organized gale that tracked through the Southeast Pacific on Mon-Tues (6/2) generating up to 30 ft seas aimed northeast is expected into the California coast early next week. Beyond the charts are starting to hint at renewed gale production under New Zealand starting Tues (6/9), a good thing beyond just swell production (hinting at long term atmospheric changes).
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (6/6) high pressure at 1024 mbs had drifted north some and was now located 600 nmiles off North CA producing the usual summertime pressure gradient over extreme North California generating north winds at barely 25 kts there resulting in north angled short period windswell at exposed breaks down into North and Central CA. Relative to Hawaii trades were east at 10 kts offering no real windswell production potential.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to hold it's position off North CA through Tues (6/9) continuing a weak version of the gradient over Cape Mendocino with winds barely 25 kts there producing small north windswell reaching down into exposed breaks of North and Central CA. Relative to Hawaii trades are to remain suppressed until later Tuesday (6/9) when the same high pressure system off California sets up a fetch of broken 15 kt northeast winds extending from North CA to almost the Hawaiian Islands. possible small east-northeast windswell resulting then for exposed breaks on the East Shore of Hawaii.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Bianca was positioned 300 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Sat AM (6/6) with winds unexpectedly up to 115 kts (132 mph) tracking north-northwest from 17.3N 109.2W with seas 32 ft. Bianca is to hold peak wind speeds through the evening while tracking north-northwest then start fading Sun AM (6/7) with winds down to 95 kts 180 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas. A continued fade is expected be fore Bianca make landfall near San Carlos Mon AM (6/8) with winds down to 45 kts. At no time has or is Bianca expected to move into the Southern CA swell window. That said. some sideband energy might reach exposed breaks on the Channel Islands.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (6/6) high pressure was generating the usual summer time pressure gradient and north winds at 25 kts over North CA with an eddy flow (south winds) in control over Central CA. The core of the gradient is to move north isolated to Cape Mendocino on Sunday with winds barely 25 kts while an eddy flow (south winds) continues for Central CA. More of the same is forecast Mon and Tues (6/9), before north winds start to rebuild to near 30 kts over Cape Mendocino late on Wed (6/10) while the eddy flow holds of Central CA.The gradient is to hold at 30 kts isolated to Cape Mendocino into Sat (6/13) with the eddy continuing for Central CA and theoretically helping to rebuild warm surface waters along all the CA coast. Upwelling is to be suppressed. It will be interesting to see how warm waters get and how long the eddy holds.
On Saturday AM (6/6) the jet was well .cgiit south of Australia with the southern branch tracking east down under New Zealand at 55S falling steadily east-southeast eventually crashing into Antarctica in the far Southeast Pacific. There were no troughs present offering no support for gale development. The northern branch was running flat west to east on the 30N latitude line, eventually impacting Southern Chile. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand trough is to weaken and wash out by Sat AM (6/6) no longer offering support for gale development, with the ridge east of it still in control if not building south into Antarctica further shutting down gale potential there. Beyond 72 hours the fully .cgiit jetstream flow is forecast to continue if not building with the southern branch falling southward and impacting the Ross Ice Shelf near the dateline by Mon (6/8) and then continuing over Antarctic Ice if not into Antarctica proper all the way south of South America. The northern branch is to remain up at 28N eventually impacting Chile. No support for gale development is indicated. Beyond 72 hours a decent trough is forecast building just south of New Zealand on Wed (6/10) with winds pushing briefly north at 140 kts, then collapsing Thurs (6/11). But that might be enough to soften up the ridging pattern with another trough forecast developing under New Zealand on Fri (6/12) with 110 kt winds pushing well to the north with the trough easing east into Sat (6/13) while fading. This configuration might open up a little opportunity to support gale formation.
Over the next 72 hours a gale is theoretically forecast to develop under Tasmania on Mon (6/8) falling southeast eventually clearing the New Zealand shadow Tues AM (6/9) producing 45 kt west-northwest winds and 42 ft seas at 54S 167E. The fetch is to continue falling southeast in the evening with only 40 kt west to west-northwest winds remaining and seas from previous fetch fading from 36 ft at 56S 176E. 40 kt west winds to hold into Wed AM (6/10) resulting in 33 ft seas at 59S 176W before crashing into the Ross Ice Shelf in the evening. Low odds of any swell resulting seeing how the fetch in this system is to be all aimed east to southeast and the core of the gale is to falling in that direction too. Minimal odds of sideband swell radiating northeast towards the US West Coast and even less odds for Hawaii.
On Saturday (6/6) swell from a gale that organized in the Southeast Pacific was pushing north towards California (see Secondary SE Pacific Fetch below). And swell from a small gale in the Tasman Sea was hitting Fiji (see Tasman gale below).
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 3.0 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 2.8 ft @ 17-18 secs late (5.0 ft) peaking on Tues (6/9) at 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (6/10) from 3.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 183-192 degrees
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 was gone by evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas dropping from 24 ft at 34S 168E targeting Fiji.
Fiji: Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft) Sat AM (6/6). Swell Direction: 200-210 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 forecast to start rebuilding on Thurs (6/11) isolated to North CA with winds up to 30 kts holding into Saturday perhaps starting to regenerate modest weak northerly windswell for North and Central CA.
Relative to Hawaii trades that regenerated on Tuesday (6/9) (see above) to start fading out Thursday AM (6/11) from 15 kts and whatever windswell results is to be fading at that time.
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 Sat (6/6) the daily SOI was steady at -2.30. The 30 day average was rising from -11.94 and the 90 day average was rising from -8.92. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of fading Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a near steady Active Phase of the MJO or a building weak El Nino. A fading pressure pattern is expected over Southeast Australia through the weekend while a weak low is to try and build while falling south of Tahiti likely resulting in neutral SOI numbers. By Tues (6/9) another high pressure system is to start building over southeast Australia holding into the weekend while another weak low tries to develop south of Tahiti. Neutral to minimally negative SOI numbers expected.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis (per 850 mb charts - really 4,500 ft up) indicated modest easterly anomalies in.cgiay over the Western Maritime Continent with neutral anomalies over the Eastern Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline. Weak westerly anomalies developed on the dateline building to the modest category south of Hawaii, fading some, the rebuilding to moderate strength over and east of the Galapagos Islands. Down at the surface the TOA array (hard sensors reporting with a 24 hr lag) indicated a neutral wind pattern over the Western Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) , but with west anomalies building to moderate strength on the eastern edge over the dateline, continuing south of Hawaii and 1/3rd of the way to the Galapagos before fading to neutral. Clearly in the Inactive Phase of the MJO was starting to have an impact on what was omnipresent westerly anomalies in the western Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Still, the erosion was not troubling (yet). A week from now (6/14) limited weak west anomalies to a dead neutral pattern is to set up over the Maritime Continent with neutral to light east anomalies over the dateline, then with neutral anomalies continuing from a point south of Hawaii to almost the Galapagos with one small patch of westerly anomalies over the Galapagos. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be having a building influence over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The GFS model (surface) suggests a small area of east winds near New Guinea at up to 14 kts Fri-Tues (6/9), then collapsing with a dead calm wind pattern taking over the whole of the KWGA into Sat (6/13). Reviewing idealized MJO Phase Diagrams, this limited east wind window syncs up well with what is expected of a typical Inactive Phase of the MJO, namely some form of easterly anomalies (or at least a tendency towards easterly anomalies in the KWGA) from 6/7-6/16. Based on the models, only a 4 days window of easterly anomalies is expected. A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May with weaker but still solid west anomalies continuing into late May while easing east out of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. West Anomalies have held through 6/5 (Per TAO data) with zero easterly anomalies so far this year. 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 appear, at least at this time, to be projecting something worse than what is 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 6/5 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 8 days, gone with a dead neutral pattern in.cgiay at 15 days out and an Active Phase building in the Indian Ocean easing east. The Dynamic model is more troubling suggesting the Inactive Phase is peaking and is to fade slightly 5 days out, then starting to decay but still hanging on 15 days out with a very weak Active Phase trying to develop in the Indian Ocean but making zero east headway. 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 known in the next week. The ultra long range upper level model run on 6/6 also depicts a moderate Inactive Phase over the far West Pacific and is forecast pushing steadily east fading some on the dateline 6/16 at modest strength, then fading while tracking east and hitting Central America on 6/26. A modest Active pattern is to develop over the far West Pacific starting 6/21 tracking east over the equatorial Pacific through 7/16. 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 (6/7-6/16). This could be a signal for a pending upwelling 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 (6/4) first impressions indicated a moderate and well defined warm water/El Nino-like regime is in.cgiace and building over the entire equatorial Pacific. This area took a step upwards starting 5/25 and is currently holding. Warmer water stalled it's buildup over Ecuador and the Galapagos per the 5/25 image, suggesting the most current Kelvin Wave impacting the coast has peaked out. Today's image depicts a bit broader coverage near the Galapagos compared to the past 5-10 days, but not warmer. Warm water is in.cgiace along the Peruvian coast, then extends west from the Galapagos along the equator reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator near dateline, no longer expanding in coverage close to the South America Coast (down to 20S). Compared to last year at this time when a similar large Kelvin Wave was impacting the Ecuador Coast, water temps are warmer now, both along the Galapagos and advecting west, but not strikingly so. In the latest image, cool water has now started developing along West Africa and advecting west along the equator there. In the past we've used this as a sign of impending Inactive Phase upwelling in the Galapagos area. But that approach works only during normal MJO Phases. Now compared to the '97 Super El Nino, today's image indicates water temps are similar, though slightly weaker and with slightly less coverage near the Galapagos. But the cold water African signature is also present in the '97 image, though markedly stronger. We believe this reverse signal in the Atlantic this year is a good sign, suggesting a global scale atmospheric component to this years event, something not present last year. It is the permanent set up of a Inactive like Phase over Africa and a semi permanent Active State over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area tracking slowly east that we are looking for.
TAO data indicates +1.5 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years, presumably advecting west from the Galapagos covering the entire area west to the dateline. There is an embedded area of nearly +2 deg anomalies south of Hawaii. Even more interesting is that the broad pocket of warm water that have been camped out on the dateline for a year now is starting to migrate east, currently centered at 160W. This is a key component of El Nino, The migration east not only subsurface waters, but also surface waters forced by continued anomalous westerly winds pushing across the dateline.
The most recent hi-res data (6/4) indicates peak temps between the Galapagos and Ecuador are rebounding some, back to +4.4-4.5 degs above normal. They peaked on 5/23 at +4.59 then fell to +4.1 degs near 5/26. All this per one virtual station near the Galapagos. But the hi-res satellite data tells the broader story, specifically the coverage of those waters. See the coverage on May 24 versus June 3. Coverage of the warmest waters are down in the Galapagos. But that is not a bad thing. It presumably means some of that warmth is being transported west by trades. The CDAS Nino 1+2 index reflects this well also, peaking at +2.3 degs on 5/23 bottoming out at +0.55 degs June 1, and now climbing back quickly to +1.8. The Nino 1.2 area is not of prime concern, and is very volatile and noisy. Though it is the source of much warm water (erupting Kelvin Waves), it is the Nino 3.4 region that is the hallmark indicator of El Nino, covering far more area and therefore having a greater impact on the atmosphere. Think of Nino1.2 as an early indicator only. And as warm water from the second Kelvin Wave impacts the Galapagos, temps should spike again. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps are slowly but steadily rising, at +1.2 degs above normal and have been holding relatively steady since 4/19. One would expect this area to start warming markedly as the current big Kelvin Wave starts advecting west into the Nino3.4 area, starting about 5/28. We'll be monitoring for that outcome.
Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline (160-180W) have warmed, up to +2-3 degs C, the result of a WWB in early May. And more warm water is downwelling from the surface, the result of ongoing westerly anomalies. 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 6/6 a significant reorganization appears to be in flight with only +3 anomalies impacting the Galapagos Islands, retreating from +4-5 degs previously. But a large pool of +5 degs anomalies are now centered at 135W. this new pocket is a mixture of warm water driven by an extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 with additional strong westerly anomalies in March and then additional WWB in early May. The first Kelvin Wave was expected to peak over the Galapagos anywhere from 5/28-6/10. We believe that peak occurred on 5/24 (see surface analysis above). Peak subsurface water temps (anomalies > 4 degs C) have actually expanded their coverage to the west (western extent moving from 137W to 155W - not trivial). This suggests there are not weeks but perhaps 2 months of warm water still in the pipe (into 7/28). This expansion of the subsurface warm pool is the result of the second WWB in May now starting to merge with the first Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-March. And more warm water is downwelling on the dateline, the result of westerly anomalies that have been in.cgiay since the May WWB in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area to 6/5. This second Kelvin Wave should peak on Aug 1.
Satellite data from 6/2 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 170E with a core to +10 cm at 135W. All this is indicative of a wide open pipe with two embedded and merging Kelvin Waves. This is the classic El Nino setup. And not just a run-of-the-mill El Nino.
The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (6/2) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 175E and the Ecuador coast (holding) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 178W eastward (loosing a little ground). But +1.5 deg anomalies have expanded westward from 155W now to 170W. +2 deg anomalies are now back on the chart at 125-145W. The peak of the first Kelvin Wave has impacted the Ecuador Coast and the next wave or warming is building behind. This is a good sign. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 6/2 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 100W, turning neutral near the Galapagos. This is an expansion from the last update. A very weak easterly current was positioned 3 degrees south of the equator, an irrelevant. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the far West Pacific, with steady west anomalies pushing over the dateline, then moving just north of the equator near 140W and continuing modestly to 100W (near the Galapagos). A pocket of easterly anomalies was present just south of the equator near 135W. This continues to look like El Nino is setting up but does not compare to west velocities and anomalies that were raging near 170W in the '97 El Nino at this time. 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 start developing in the next 2 weeks (unlikely).
This data suggests a defined west to east bias in the current suggesting warm water transport to the east.
Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model (PDF Corrected) run 6/6 for the Nino 3.4 region remain solid if not inching upwards. It suggests water temps are at +1.2 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.35 degs C, and continuing to +1.8 degs by Oct and +1.95 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to 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 (likely the PDO). The focus now becomes whether this warming and teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are now out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). June will reveal what is to come, be it a weak El Nino or something stronger. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are generally warming and advecting warmer waters west over the entire equatorial Pacific due to the arrival of the first of two Kelvin Wave (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, which we suspect is already the case given cooling temps off Africa, 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. The latest subsurface anomaly charts have pretty much confirmed that too as of 6/2 data. Per the models the Inactive Phase of the MJO is now trying to develop over the West Pacific, but surface data from TAO does not indicate any impact, yet. And the models are suggesting only a minor (4-5 day) presence of trades isolated to New Guinea. Still, there tends to be a delayed reaction between the OLR models and what happens at the surface. So until the OLR forecasts suggest the INactive Phase is in deep decline, we will remain cautious.
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. But as of right now the scales are tipped in favor of El Nino. A si.cgie glance a the SST Anomaly charts can tell that. Peak warming from the first big Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-March has hit. Westerly anomalies are holding over the dateline at the surface (regardless what the 850 mb charts and OLR models suggest), 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). And east anomalies previously forecast at 850 mbs over the coming week is backing off per the models. Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season. And two early season hurricanes formed in the East Pacific with Andres topping out at 125 kts (145 mph) and Bianca at 115 kts (133 mph). But these are symptoms of previous warm water in that area co.cgied with westerly anomalies over the equator in that area, and not a signal of anything new developing. 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 over the Galapagos feeding the Nino3.4 region into November. In other words, the WWB are what drive El Nino. Everything else is symptoms. The focus continues to be the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and the presence of surface westerly anomalies and whether the Kelvin Wave hitting Ecuador and the new one behind it actual manifest themselves by expanding the area and magnitude of warming surface waters in the Nino 3.4 Area. The real good news the second Kelvin Wave is expanding and organizing better than hoped for, starting to fill the East Pacific subsurface reservoir again. The bigger, and warmer the better. This is required for a legit El Nino to develop.
We are out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier and the Nino regions have emerged stronger and with much warm water in the subsurface pipe. We are supposedly moving towards the peak of an Inactive MJO phase in the next week per the models, but so far there is no surface data to suggest a cessation of westerly anomalies, or at least the development of easterly anomalies. It seems we should be able to make a reasonably confident call by June 15 for the coming Fall, assuming the Inactive Phase of the MJO does not come to fruition. But if it does, and the cool water off Africa is really a signal of something more ominous rather than a symptom of atmospheric co.cgiing, then much of the ground gained so far this year will be lost and we'll be back where we were last year, in Modoki territory. The next 2 weeks are critical. But if the forecast charts start depicting the rapid demise of the Inactive Phase, then the answer will be apparent.
We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming of East Pacific equatorial waters for Sept-Dec 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 a gale is forecast falling southeast under New Zealand on Thurs (6/11), then stalling and rebuilding Fri AM (6/120 with 55 kt south winds starting to generate 30 ft seas at 57S 175E. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds to be lifting northeast generating 38 ft seas over a small area at 58S 177W. This system is to be gone by Sat AM (6/13). If all were to develop exactly as forecast some decent swell would result for Hawaii and less so for the US West Coast. Something to hope for.
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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