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.
On Thursday (6/19) in North and Central CA local windswell was producing waves in the waist high range and clean but weak at protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz wrap around windswell was producing waves in the knee to thigh high range on the sets and clean but with whitecaps building outside the kelp. In Southern California up north local north windswell was producing waves at knee to maybe thigh high on the sets with clean conditions. Down south local north windswell was producing waves at waist high on the sets and warbled by southwesterly wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean with no southern hemi swell in the water. Trade wind generated east windswell was holding at waist high and chopped at exposed breaks on the East Shore.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
No swell producing fetch is occurring or forecast for the North Pacific other than local windswell. In the southern hemisphere a gale tracked just off the north edge of the Ross Ice Shelf Sun (6/14) producing a short burst of 38 ft seas over a small area aimed east then faded Mon AM with seas falling below 30 ft. A little swell energy is expected to radiate north towards our forecast area. Another gale is formed directly under New Zealand on Wed (6/18) and was tracking northeast Thurs (6/19) with 34 ft seas aimed well to the north but expected to start fading fast. A better but still small pulse of swell to result. And a third little gale to produce 30 ft seas on Sat (6/21) aimed well to the northeast. Still, none of these systems are to be strong, broad or long lasting so the resulting swell is to be tiny. Take what you can get cause there's nothing else forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Surface Analysis - On Thursday (6/19) trades were below the 15 kt minimum in the direct vicinity east of the Hawaii Islands with windswell falling some along east facing shores there. High pressure that has previously been producing fetch into both Hawaii and California had retrograded west and was positioned in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska. Bare 15 kt north winds were blowing over the North and Central CA coast, with windswell falling to the waist high range there. Weak low pressure was poised to move into Vancouver Island. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to try and make a brief return Sat (6/21) with north winds 20 kts along the North and Central Coasts then starting to wither on Sunday and moving south opening up a channel for tropical low pressure to track from the West Pacific into the Northern Gulf. Building low pressure is to move into the Northern Gulf and up to the North Canadian Coast during the period. North winds are forecast in the 15-20 kt range on Sunday with not much hope for anything but bare minimal windswell production mainly for Central CA for the period. Likewise trades to remain below the 15 kt threshold east of the Islands through Sun (6/22). No easterly windswell expected to be present.
Also weak low pressure was mid-way between Japan and the dateline, offering no swell producing fetch and with no development potential. It is to drift east-northeast and dissipate on Fri (6/20), running into a little too much interference from high pressure barely blocking it's progress into the Western Gulf.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No swell producing tropical systems of interest were occurring. That said, the tropical low pressure system that was positioned mid-way between Japan and the dateline (see above) on Thurs (6/19) is expected to dissipate on Friday before reaching the dateline.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (6/19) high pressure at 1030 mbs had retrograded tot he far Western Gulf of Alaska with only a thin finger reaching the Central CA coast. This has reduced the local pressure gradient with north winds barely 15 kts over waters off the Central and North Coasts. North winds to rebuild to 20 kts over Cape Mendocino to Pt Conception on Friday and holding Saturday almost reaching 25 kts but blowing over nearshore waters, likely generating windswell but also chop. The north fetch is to be fading some in coverage on Sunday at barely 20 kts then fading Monday to 15-20 kts as low pressure moves into the Eastern Gulf. More of the same Tues-Wed (6/25) with north winds 20 kts over all the North and Central CA Coast, then fading to 15 kts or less Thursday focused mainly on Pt Conception.
Jetstream - On Thursday (6/19) the jetstream was .cgiit with the southern branch di.cgiaced south and running flat east along the 67S latitude line, or over Antarctic Ice everywhere but the Southwest Pacific where a trough was pushing north up along the Southeast Coast of New Zealand with one pocket of winds to 100 kts offering limited support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours yet another trough is to develop under New Zealand on Fri (6/20) with 120 kt winds pushing northeast continuing into Saturday, then fading. Yet more support for gale development possible. But after that the jet is to return to a zonal flow tracing flat west to east on the 60S latitude line. At least is north of the Ross Ice Shelf. Beyond 72 hours a zonal flow is to continue Mon (6/23) But then a ridge is to start building in the west on Wed (6/25) pushing southeast into Antarctic Ice and again shutting down any support for gale development for at least 24 hours. There's some suggestion of another large trough building behind it on Thurs (6/26) under New Zealand, offering some hope.
Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (6/17) small swell from a storm that developed under New Zealand was in the water pushing northeast (see 1st New Zealand Storm below). Swell from a weak gale in the Southeast Pacific was pushing north towards Southern CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a second better organized but still small New Zealand gale was pushing northeast (see 2nd New Zealand Gale below). Over the next 72 hours another small gale is to form southwest of New Zealand on Fri AM (6/20) with 40 kt south winds building. By evening a small area of 45 kt south winds are to be in.cgiay with seas building to 29 ft at 51S 165E aimed north-northeast (shadowed relative to HI by NZ, 218 degs CA and unshadowed by Tahiti). This system is to be fading Sat AM (6/21) with winds dropping from 40 kts and seas 30 ft at 49S 174E (198 degs HI, 217 degs CA and unshadowed). This system is to be gone after that with winds barely 35 kts in the evening. This is another small one worth watching.
1st New Zealand Storm
A tiny storm developed southwest of New Zealand on Sat PM (6/14) with 45 kt northwest winds building and tracking east, but with all fetch aimed southeast at Antarctica. By Sun AM (6/15) winds built to 55 kts just barely north of the Ross Ice Shelf and starting to get purchase on ice free waters with seas building from 34 ft over a tiny area at 61S 166E (197 degs HI, 210 degs NCal and clear of Tahiti, 211 degs SCal and shadowed). 50 kt west winds continued into the evening aimed more to the north with ice receded in that area with seas 36 ft at 61S 178W aimed due east (190 degs HI, 205 degs NCal and shadowed, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed). Winds faded from 40 kts on Mon AM (6/16) with seas 30 ft at 60S 163W (183 degs HI, 200 degs NCal and unshadowed, 202 degs SCal and unshadowed) and tracking east in ice free waters. This system faded after that. Some small sideband swell could result for locations northeast of the storm core with luck.
Hawaii: No swell is to reach Hawaii.
California: Expect swell arrival late Wed (6/25) with swell 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (2 ft). Swell peaking later on Thurs (6/26) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (6/27) at 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205-210 degrees
Southeast Pacific Gale
A weak gale developed on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window on Sat PM (6/140 with 40 kt winds aimed due north and tracking north with seas 26 ft at 50S 121W aimed right up the 182 degree path to SCal. By Sun AM (6/15) 40 kt south winds continued pushing north with 25 ft seas at 48S 114W aimed up the 177 degree path to SCal. By evening winds were down to barely 30 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 43S 113W or 4581 nmiles from SCal on the 176 degree path. This system merged with a mid-latitude low well off Chile on Mon AM (6/16) regenerating 30 kt south-southeast winds with seas holding at 21 ft at 38S 112W on the 175 degree path to SCal. By evening winds were fading from barely 30 kts with seas dropping from 20 ft at 35S 11W. By Tues AM (6/17) 30 kt south winds held with seas 22 ft at 30S 111W or 3814 nmiles from SCal on the 173 degree track. This system dissipated after that.
Small short period southern hemi swell is possible for exposed breaks in Southern CA.
SCal: Expect swell arrival starting Sun (6/22) mid-AM at 2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to continue into Mon (6/23) at 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs on (4 ft) and possible more. Swell to continue on Tues (6/24) at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft). Swell fading fast on Wed (6/25) dropping from 2.6 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Decent consistency. Swell Direction: 173-180 degrees
Second New Zealand Gale
A new gale developed due south of New Zealand Wednesday AM (6/18) with a decent sized area of 35-40 kt southwest winds materializing. Seas 30 ft at 52S 160E and on the 221 degree path to NCal and SCal and unshadowed. 45 kt south winds built in areal coverage in the evening with seas building to 34 ft at 57S 165E (200 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and shadowed). Thurs AM (6/19) a small area of 40 kt southwest winds were pushing north with seas 34 ft at 51S 172E (200 degs HI, 215 degs NCal and unshadowed, 218 degs SCal and unshadowed). Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35 kts with seas 30 ft at 48S 179W (196 degs HI, 215 degs NCal and unshadowed, 217 degs SCal and unshadowed). Winds to be fading from 30 kts Fri AM (6/20) aimed almost due east with 27 ft seas fading at 46S 171W (190 degs HI, 211 degs NCal and barely shadowed, 213 degs SCal and shadowed). This system to fade thereafter.
Some small rideable swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast but nothing more.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (6/26) building to 2 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/28) at sunrise with swell 1.5 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) and size building. Swell Direction: 217 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/28) at 8 AM with swell 1.5 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) and size building. Swell Direction: 215 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 high pressure is to remain di.cgiaced south just east of the dateline Mon (6/23) with a sliver of it barely reaching into the North and Central CA coast generating 15-20 kt north winds there Monday building to 20 kts Tues (6/24) offering limited windswell for exposed breaks in Central and maybe Southern CA. This to hold into Wednesday (6/25) then the high starts fading. Trades to start regenerating in the local vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands on Tues (6/24) at 15 kts presenting potential for generation of bare minimal easterly windswell along east facing shores.
Theoretically tropical low pressure continues to be modeled developing and migrating east-northeast off Southern Japan Sun (6/22) and is to move into the Northern Gulf Tues-Wed (6/25) generating 30 kt west winds then fading while moving into the Central Gulf on Thurs (6/26) producing 20-25 kt west winds. This is of no interest swell production wise, but does speak to the tantalizing possibility that El Nino might be starting to have some influence on the jetstream in the North Pacific, if one is to believe the models.
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).
As of Thursday (6/19) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was holding at -7.03. The 30 day average was down some at 8.00 and the 90 day average was up some at 4.12. The near term trend based on the 30 day SOI was indicative of a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO trending Inactive. Interesting but the GFS model depicts weak low pressure near Tahiti (e.cgiaining the current negative SOI) with more weak low pressure holding in the area through the weekend with a much stronger low pressure system forecast in the area mid-next week (6/25). This would send the SOI well into negative territory and is something to watch for. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator running a week behind surface level weather trends.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated neutral to weak west anomalies over the Maritime Continent turning to weak east anomalies south of Hawaii. Neutral to weak east anomalies continued from there into the Galapagos. A week from now (6/27) neutral anomalies are forecast over the equatorial Maritime Continent turning to modest westerly near the dateline extending to a point south of Hawaii. Weak easterly anomalies are forecast continuing midway from Hawaii to almost the Galapagos, then dying to neutral continuing over the Galapagos into Ecuador. In fact, the GFS model is indicating weak west winds (not anomalies) actually blowing on the equator by Wed 6/25). As of 6/13 east anomalies had reached down to the surface per the TOA array confirmed from midway between Hawaii and the dateline extending west. Those anomalies continued building to the moderate.cgius category by 6/16 fading to moderate on 6/18. The expectation is they will die in 24 hours. Still this remains troubling news. If this easterly event lasts only 6 days, then it potentially would not turn off the warm water flow to the east. But if these winds do cut off the warm water flow, and assuming no Westerly Wind Burst develops soon after, then our developing El Nino will be put in jeopardy. Will continue to monitor. But looking at the models, a more favorable wind situation looks to be coming.
A previous WWB created a large Kelvin Wave tracking towards South America in January (starting 1/8, peaking 1/28 then fading the first week of Feb) followed by a second strong WWB in Feb-Mar (as strong as the first one starting 2/15 and peaking 2/20-3/2 then fading 3/10) setting up and offering yet more reinforcing transport warm water east. And then a third weak westerly wind burst developed (starting 3/12 and faded out by 3/28). And a fourth weaker one started 4/7 and held through 4/20, and was strong enough to be considered a minimal Westerly Wind Burst WWB. And weak westerly anomalies continued through the month of May. Of historical note: The big El Nino's of '82/32 and '97/98 both started forming in the February timeframe and progressed non-stop through the Summer and Fall months. Those WWBs served to push massive amounts of warm water east in the form of mult.cgie Kelvin Waves. which started erupting along the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru in early May and has continued unabated since then.
An article presenting a Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and this 2014 WWB event has been posted here.
A second analysis from 5/28 is posted here.
The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 6/18 are initially in sync. They both suggest a modest Active Phase of the MJO was in control of the Maritime Continent and seeping into the far West Pacific with reduced OLR anomalies there. 5 days out a weak to moderate Active Phase of the MJO is to be moving east and further into the West Pacific per the statistic model while the dynamic has it fading in the far West Pacific. The dynamic (GEFS) model has it fading and being r.cgiaced with a building Inactive Phase 15 days out, while the statistic model suggests a full on push of the Active Phase to the dateline and beyond. The ultra long range upper level model suggests a weak but coherent Active Phase of the MJO is developing over the West Pacific and is to push east through 7/14. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific 7/4 pushing east through 7/29. But given this models mercurial nature, we hold little confidence in any single days output. Stepping back from the details, it seems likely a very weak MJO pattern is likely with no signs of strengthening. A very weak MJO pattern is what one would expect if an El Nino were to develop - namely that the MJO would all but disappear. That is the hallmark of El Nino. If that occurs it provides some hope that perhaps the warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some impact on the atmosphere above. For the first 6 months of 2014, there has been only one Inactive Phase. But the second Inactive Phase is occurring now (even though there's no clear reason for it to be occurring). We're at the point where development of weak westerly anomalies in the West Pacific should occur, attributable to warming waters temps over the width of the equatorial Pacific. That is not happening, but there are.cgienty of signs that it is to develop over the next week or so. If a strengthening MJO signal were to develop, especially the Inactive Phase, that would actual provide fuel to the belief that El Nino is decaying. But it's too early to know that with any certainty yet. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.
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 imagery (6/16), a warm water regime continues building from Ecuador west over the Galapagos (even since the last update 3 days ago) and drifting west from there peaking at 3.0 degs C above normal with a more modest warm pool ranging at +1.0 deg C range extending west from there to the dateline with +0.5 deg anomalies reaching 5 degrees north and south of the equator. There are embedded warmer pockets in the +1.5 deg C range. Of notice is markedly warmer water building down into Peru and up into Southern Central America with its core between the Galapagos and Ecuador forming the the signature warm El Nino triangle (it started being obvious on 5/1). This pattern became pronounced as of the 5/19 update and has been building every since. Hi-res SST monitoring site depicts +3.0 deg anomalies embedded in the triangle between the Galapagos and Ecuador and trailing off of Peru in small pockets and recent data suggests a building coherent pocket to +4 degrees off North Peru with a second patch developing off Central Peru on 6/18. So from a water temp perspective things look very encouraging. This is the 'breech point' of a large Kelvin Wave that was built by consecutive Westerly Wind bursts Jan-April and is now erupting on the surface in the East Pacific. The larger equatorial warming pattern started in earnest on 3/29 and has been solidifying it's grasp every since, and is being fed by the Galapagos warm pool. Comparing this years event to the '97 El Nino event, water temps still are not approaching the warmth or coverage of the '97 event. So this will not reach to proportions of that event, regardless of hype produced in early May.
Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water as is the West Pacific (north and south). There is only the weakest signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California, as would be expected for this time of year. This is significant. And the only cool water present is streaming off Southern Chile pushing west almost reaching up to the equator, but getting shunted south by the warm water on the equator. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific is impressive. A sympathetic warm pool that was developing off equatorial West Africa is gone now with a cool pool starting to develop instead. This pattern developed in both the '97 and '09 El Ninos too. So we're not so concerned about it at the moment. Still, previous cool bursts here have been early indicators of cool water developing in the East Pacific. But all eyes remain on the evolving breech of warm water along the western coast of Ecuador as a gauge of what's to come atmospherically.
Subsurface waters temps on the equator remain solid and unchanged. A large area of warm +3-5 deg C above normal water is in.cgiace and tracking east with it's core 100 meters down somewhere near 105W. As best as can be identified this Kelvin Wave covers the area from 150W to Ecuador with the core between 120 and 90W. The leading edge is impacting Ecuador and the Galapagos. The Kelvin Wave has also been confirmed via satellite in the form of increased surface water heights at +10 cm extending from Peru over the Galapagos (6/7), with +0-5 cm anomalies extending west to the dateline. This suggests warm water at depth is di.cgiacing the surface upwards but that most of it is not in the far East Pacific. Also data from the TOA array suggests warm water has been assimilated into the warm pool from a 4th WWB in April. So for now the warm pool has received some more energy. But, with no more westerly anomalies in.cgiay over the the dateline region and west of there, and easterly anomalies in.cgiay, the flow is possibly on the verge of being cut off. Another legit WWB is required, and soon.
Now for the bad news. The Pacific equatorial surface counter-current (from 2N to 2S from the Philippines to the Galapagos) as of 6/17 was tracking strongly anomalously east to west from the Galapagos to the dateline, the exact opposite direction it should be to build warm waters in the East Pacific. In fact, the actual current was starting to track east to west over the same area too. The current is still flowing west to east in the far West Pacific though. The assumption is the change in direction is attributable to development of easterly winds in the same area. A Westerly Wind burst is needed ASAP if this El Nino is to remain viable. On 5/28 the counter current was strongly anomalously tracking west to east, typical of an El Nino configuration. But by June 2 data looked less impressive with the current loosing some velocity and reacting to the previous reduction in westerly anomalies west of the dateline. On (6/7) had a small pocket of strong easterly anomalies building in the current centered at 155W and extending from 120W to 170W, in the heart of the Nino3.4 region. The actual current was still pushing east, but there was one small pocket of westward pushing anomalies. We'll continue to be conservative and suggesting this is not good news, and could be a harbinger of things to come. We've used these data points in the past as early lead indicators and they have been trustworthy, no matter how much we didn't want to accept what they told us. Said another way: We've used a west bound counter current as early indicators for either the demise or start up of El Nino in the past, and Pacific equatorial winds have normally responded in kind with a delay of about two weeks, normally to the demise of whatever warm event was trying to take root. In a worst case scenario, the situation could.cgiay out like this: No WWB class wind events have occurred 5/1 to present. And assuming 3 months of travel time for the tail end of the resulting Kelvin Wave to erupt over the Galapagos and Ecuador, the existing warm pool should start dissipating on 8/1, unless something develops to reinforce it. And even at that, if a WWB were to develop today, it would not reach the Galapagos till 9/12. So there's a 6 week 'hole' where the warm pool will start loosing energy (8/1-9/12) even if reinforcements develop immediately (unless some unknown process is occurring continuing to push warm water eastward). And this 'hole' is growing every day. This is what occurred in the 2012 False-Start El Nino, only this years situation is on a much larger scale. The CFSv2 model likely senses this, and is projecting accordingly. We'll continue monitoring this situation closely.
As of right now were waiting for a feedback loop to develop, reinforcing the warm water flow and buildup off Central America into the Fall. But we're a long ways from that occurring just yet, especially considering the event of the past week. What is needed is another Westerly Wind burst or at least continued westerly anomalies. Anything that reduces or suppresses trades in the equatorial West Pacific will suffice to continue the transport mechanism. So out-and-out west surface winds are not required. Anything that reduced trades in the east (like increasing water temps) will continue to stabilize the warm pool that is evolving there. Conversely anything the puts the continued eastward flow of warm water in jeopardy could trigger a demise of this evolving ENSO event, especially considering that the East Pacific warm pool has not been in.cgiace long enough to develop a co.cgiing with the atmosphere above it. Regardless of the WWBs in early 2014 or the resulting massive Kelvin Waves, only once the ocean and atmosphere are co.cgied on a global level (that is the ocean has imparted enough heat into the atmosphere to start changing the global jetstream pattern) can one begin to have confidence that a feedback loop is developing and a fully matured El Nino is in.cgiay. About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. From a skeptics perspective, that's another 1.5 months before anything is guaranteed.
Projections from the CFSv2 model run 6/19 have upgraded slightly. It suggests water temps building and peaking at +1.0 deg C by mid October and building to +1.1 deg C by Nov holding well into at least March 2015 (down from a peak previously forecast at +1.75 in Nov 2014). We're thinking that a El Nino warning is not in the cards in the next month.
Previously a pattern of mult.cgie strong Westerly Wind Bursts occurred Jan-March 2014, but then moderated in late March, but never gave way to a fully Inactive Phase (with no hint of easterly anomalies west of the dateline). A neutral pattern developed May 5 and held through the end of May. This is great news with westerly anomalies in.cgiay for 4 full months and then only turning neutral in May. Then on June 13 an unexpected Inactive Phase developed generating easterly anomalies on the dateline and east of there at the surface. Longterm the signal of suppressed trades in the far equatorial West Pacific would hold into at least August with warm water building greater than 0.5 deg C over the tropical East and Central Pacific (120W to 170W) for 3 consecutive months before one could declare the development of El Nino. The big issue right now is the apparent collapse of the previous westerly anomaly pattern, putting the future of El Nino in jeopardy. But nothing is certain until we hit August and see some redevelopment of WWBs over the dateline.
Overall the immediate outlook remains unchanged, but potentially trending towards something that would be considered warm by June-July 2014, assuming one is to believe the models and the subsurface water configuration. At a minimum the ocean is well past recharge mode, with cold water from the 2010-2011 La Nina dispersed and temperatures on the rise in fit's-and-starts. Regardless of the WWBs etc, we are in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern at this time with neither any form of El Nino or La Nina present or imminent. But given all current signs, atmospheric transition should begin in June over the equatorial Pacific possibly increasing during the summer, intensifying into Fall. Still there remains 3 months ahead where any number of hazards could derail this event. But this is a better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. And it seems apparent we've recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. In a normal situation one would expect there to be at least one or two years of neutral temperatures ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2015 or 2016). Historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms). We've turned the corner, but we'll remain cautious and not say to much yet, especially in light of what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998).
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13
See a 'Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and the 2014 WWB Event' Here (posted 4/5/2014)
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
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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