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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, June 21, 2014 1:46 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
Swell Potential Rating = 2.5 - California & 3.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 6/23 thru Sun 6/29

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Two Small Southwest Swells in the Water
A Third South Angled Swell Pushes Towards Southern CA Too

 

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.

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Saturday
(6/21) in North and Central CA local windswell was up some producing waves in the chest high range and warbled but clean at protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz it was flat and clean.  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 thigh to maybe waist high on the sets and warbled by southerly wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean with no southern hemi swell in the water other than some stray thigh to waist high sets. Trade wind generated east windswell was fading with waves at thigh 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.

Meteorological Overview
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 formed directly under New Zealand on Wed (6/18) and tracked northeast Thurs (6/19) with 34 ft seas aimed well to the north but fading fast after that. A better but still small pulse of swell to result. A third little gale projected to produce 30 ft seas on Sat (6/21) has vaporized from the charts. None of these systems were strong, broad or long lasting so the resulting swell will be weak and small. Still, it's something to ride. The models are hinting at another tiny gale off New Zealand on Sat (6/28) with 32 ft seas, but that is so far into the future as to not be believable yet. Take what you can get.

Details below...

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview 
Surface Analysis  - On Saturday (6/21) trades were below the 15 kt minimum in the direct vicinity east of the Hawaii Islands with windswell not being produced for east facing shores there. High pressure has retrograded southwest and was positioned nearly on the dateline now with just a finger of it reaching east towards North and Central CA. There was just enough of it to be producing a weak gradient and 20 kt north winds over the North and Central CA coasts generating rideable windswell at exposed breaks. But weak low pressure was poised in the Central Gulf tracking east generating 20-25 kt west fetch and threatening to cut the legs out of the minimal gradient along the CA coast. Over the next 72 hours that low is to turn northeast and move into North Canada on Sunday (6/22) while the high continues to feed the gradient over North and Central CA with north winds forecast holding at 20+ kts through Tues (6/24). Windswell continuing for California. The third in a series of weak tropical low pressure systems is to be tracking east off South Japan on Sun (6/21) reaching the dateline Tuesday and moving into a pre-existing open channel in the Western Gulf of Alaska, the same channel the previous 2 lows used to gain access to the Gulf. And one of those low is the one circulating in the Gulf (see above). So a nice little pattern is in place and assumed to perhaps be related to warming waters in the tropical east Pacific (see ENSO forecast below). Trades to remain below the 15 kt threshold east of the Islands through Tues (6/24).  No easterly windswell expected to be present.    

 

  North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

Tropics
No swell producing tropical systems of interest were occurring. That said, low pressure of tropical origins is circulating weakly in the Gulf of Alaska with another forecast pushing off Japan on Sun (6/22) following the other before it into the Gulf. But no swell producing fetch is expected to develop.  

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (6/21) high pressure had retrograded to the dateline with only a thin finger reaching the Central CA coast. This has reduced the local pressure gradient with north winds 20 kts over waters off the Central and North Coasts. North winds to hold at 20 kts over Cape Mendocino to Pt Conception through Mon (6/23) blowing over nearshore waters, likely generating windswell but also chop. The north fetch is to be fading some in coverage and falling south on Tuesday still at 20 kts as low pressure moves into the Eastern Gulf. By Wed (6/25) north winds are to still be at 20 kts but displaces south to the Morro Bay area and holding there into Sat (6/28). North winds to generally be 15 kts from Cape Mendocino southward to Monterey Bay through that time frame but possibly fading to less than that on Fri (6/27) as low pressure moves into Oregon.      

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream - On Saturday (6/21) the jetstream was split with the southern branch displaced south and running flat east along the 67S latitude line, or over Antarctic Ice everywhere but the Central Pacific where a weak ill formed trough was tracking east. but no real winds of interest were feeding up into this trough not allowing it to fuel gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours two very modest troughs are to develop, one southeast of New Zealand and the second in the far Southeast Pacific tracking east on Sun-Mon (6/23) reaching up to maybe 60S. But again winds to be light not providing much if any fuel to support gale development. Beyond 72 hours a ridge is to start building in the west on Wed (6/25) pushing southeast into Antarctic Ice but arching north ahead of it with 130 kts winds perhaps providing some support for gale development in lower levels into Thurs (6/26) but limited to the far Southeast Pacific (near 120W) providing a little window to support gale development. But by late Thurs it is to collapse with a flat zonal flow again in control running along the 65S latitude and not offering any support for gale development. A small almost cutoff trough is forecast just south of New Zealand on Fri (6/27) with 100 kt winds feeding it offering a glimmer of hope, but that's it.

Surface Analysis  -  On Saturday (6/21) 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). Otherwise no swell producing weather systems were occurring. A gale previously forecast developing today (Sat) just south of New Zealand has faded from the charts. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather system of interest are forecast with any gale activity encased and displaced south over Antarctic Ice.

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 building to 1.5 ft @ 18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) late. Swell Direction: 217 degrees

North CA:
Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/28) at 8 AM building with swell to 1.3 ft @ ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft) late.  Swell Direction: 215 degrees   

 

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure is to remain displaced south but easing east to a more normal position north of Hawaii on Wed (6/25). The usual summer time pressure gradient is to shift south relative to California with 20+ kt winds centered near Morro Bay with 15 kt north winds extending up to Pt Arena. The focus of windswell generation is to become exposed breaks in Southern CA and holding into at least Thursday (6/26). The models also predict that tropical low pressure is to migrate from South of Japan over the dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska Tues-Wed (6/25) and that low is to start developing late Wednesday off the Pacific Northwest with 25 kt northwest winds taking root. The low is to then fall slowly southeast though Thursday (6/26) with south winds building in Northern CA at 15 kts. Perhaps some 9 sec period windswell to result down into Central CA with luck. But on Friday the low is to move inland over Oregon-Washington and that swell source is to be gone. By sat (6/28) the gradient is to still be holding over Morro Bay with north winds there nearly 25 kts producing more windswell relative to Southern CA.

Relative to Hawaii trades to build some east of the Islands to 15 kts later Tues holding into Wed (6/25) perhaps offering s small window for little short period east windswell to develop. But by Thurs (6/26) the trades to falter and windswell fade out.

MJO/ENSO Update
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 planet. 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 split 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 Saturday (6/21) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was rising at 5.27. The 30 day average was down some at 7.54 and the 90 day average was up some at 4.21. 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. The SOI is rising as one weak low pressure systems starts tracking southeast from Tahiti. But the GFS model depicts a stronger low pressure system developing west of Tahiti late Tuesday (6/24) building much stronger south of Tahiti Wed-Thurs and still an influencer into Sat (6/28). The though being the SOI should nosedive during this timeframe. 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 continuing over the dateline and to a point south of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies continued from there into the Galapagos. A week from now (6/29) neutral anomalies are forecast over the equatorial Maritime Continent continuing over the dateline turning weak westerly  south of Hawaii and building to modest strength over the Galapagos. The GFS model is indicating trades are to collapse late Sunday (6/22) in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and then turn weak westerly (4 kts) Tues-Thurs (6/26). Weak trades to return by the weekend though. See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here. So this current Easterly Wind event start 6/13 when east anomalies 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 plus category by 6/16 fading to moderate on 6/18. But on 6/20 they were gone with the TOA array reporting weak west anomalies again in play. So 7 days of east anomalies were experienced, with only 3-4 of them of real concern. Still this remains somewhat concerning. Our best guess is they did not turn off the warm water flow to the east.  But the fact that east anomalies occurred at all is of concern. If this were any sort of a real El Nino, westerly anomalies should dominate with no hint of easterlies. So the need remains that some sort of at least a modest Westerly Wind Burst should develop soon to continue to feed the developing warm pool in the east. The good news is some of the models suggest such an event is forthcoming.

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 multiple 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 6/20 are initially in sync. They both suggest a weak 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 modest 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 replaced with a building Inactive Phase 15 days out, while the statistic model continues to suggest a full push of the Active Phase to the dateline and beyond. The ultra long range upper level model suggests a building coherent MJO signal over the next 40 days, with the Active Phase of the MJO currently over the Central Pacific and is to push east through 7/6. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific 7/6 pushing east through 7/31. We still remain skeptical regarding this model. But the building strength of the MJO signal is concerning. Stepping back from the details, 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 (late May) and it resulted in no Easterly Anomalies. But the second Inactive Phase just occurred (or at least easterly anomalies developed for 4 days). We're at the point where weak westerly anomalies should be standard in the West Pacific, attributable to warming waters temps over the width of the equatorial Pacific. That is not happening. And now the upper level Dynamic model is suggesting almost a month long moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in July. 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. And there even been some discussion that the Dynamic model doesn't respond well in developing El Nino scenarios. So as always, we won't know anything until it actually happens. There are physics based limitations on the ability of the models to deal with certain situations with confidence. 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 have upgraded slightly. A large area of warm +3-5 deg C above normal water is in-place and tracking east with it's core 75 meters down somewhere near 105W. the most recent data as of 6/21 suggests to core is now up to +6 degrees C above normal. As best as can be identified this Kelvin Wave covers the area from 155W to Ecuador with the core between 120 and 90W. The leading edge is impacting Ecuador and the Galapagos. Satellite data as of 6/17 has downgraded the areal coverage of the Kelvin Wave with increased surface water heights 0 to +5 cms limited to 120W into Ecuador with the core only +5 cm limited to the area around the Galapagos. This suggests warm water at depth is displacing the surface upwards but that the peak has already occurred since the displacement heights are fading and limited to only the area around the Galapagos. With no more westerly anomalies in play over the the dateline region and west of there, and easterly anomalies trying to get a nose into the Kelvin Wave Generation Area, the flow remains 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 play out like this: No WWB class wind events have occurred 5/1 to present. And assuming 2-3 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 (6/12), 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, especially considering the easterly winds event of the week of 6/17. 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 place long enough to develop a coupling 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 coupled 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-play. 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 6/21 have upgraded slightly again.  It suggests water temps building to +1.0 deg C by mid October and building to +1.2 deg C by Nov (up +0.1 deg since last report) holding well into at least March 2015. Previous forecast peaked at +1.75 in Nov 2014, so we're well off that mark. We're thinking that a El Nino warning is not in the cards in the next month.  

Previously a pattern of multiple 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 play 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 place 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)  

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure is to build east of New Zealand on Wed (6/25) driving the storm track into Antarctica. But as the high moves east on Friday (6/27) low pressure is to start building along New Zealand with southwest winds 45 kts over a small area with additional fetch moving into the area early Sat (6/28) at 40 kts with seas building to 36 ft at 50S 172W. It's way to early to believe this, but it's something to monitor.  

Details to follow...

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External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Local Interest

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