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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 5:35 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
4.2 - 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 7/16 thru Sun 7/22

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   

First NZ Swell Hitting Hawaii
Multiple Overlapping Swells Behind

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Thursday, July 19, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 17.6 secs from 188 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.4 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 0.7 ft @ 13.6 secs from 185 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 70.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 6.4 secs from 272 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.7 ft @ 16.7 secs from 226 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 16.9 secs from 225 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 0.6 ft @ 17.9 secs from 228 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 8.9 secs from 326 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 6-8 kts. Water temp 60.4 degs.

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (7/19) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the waist to maybe chest high range and nearly chopped from south winds with the eddy flow in full effect. Protected breaks were waist high or so and soft and pretty textured from south wind. At Santa Cruz surf was knee high on the rare sets and clean and weak. In Southern California/Ventura surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co waves were knee to thigh high and clean early. South Orange Country's best breaks had some waist high sets with a stray chest high peak every now and then and modestly textured from west winds early. In North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and lined up and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was starting to get swell with set waves up to head high and lined up and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at shoulder high and chopped from moderate east trades.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (7/19) the first of a run of southern hemi swell was starting to show in Hawaii making for rideable surf. But in California only small local north windswell was occurring. The southern hemi swell was pushing northeast from a gale that previously developed south of New Zealand tracking east and barely moving into the Southwest Pacific on Thurs (7/12) with 40 ft seas aimed east. Of more interest was a stronger system that tracked under New Zealand and started building Sat-Tues (7/17) while lifting well northeast through the Central Pacific with 31 ft seas from the initial pulse and up to 40 ft seas from a stronger second pulse. Otherwise east windswell is expected to start dying later today relative to Hawaii. But local north windswell is to start building for North and Central CA holding through the Saturday (7/21) then dissipating.

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (7/19) no swell of interest was in the water nor being generated in the North Pacific other than local windswell.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast other than windswell.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (7/19) the usual summer time pressure gradient was developing between Pt Arena and Cape Mendocino courtesy of high pressure at 1032 mbs in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska producing north winds forecast building to 30 kts in the afternoon supporting windswell development down into Central CA while a eddy flow continues south of there. More of the same is expected on Fri (7/20) with north winds in the core of the gradient near 35 kts. On Saturday (7/21) the gradient is to continue producing north winds 25-30 kts early limited to Cape Mendocino and slowly fading through the day dropping to barely 25 kts later with windswell producing fading some. Sunday (7/22) the gradient is to be fading limited to extreme North California with north winds 20 kts early with windswell production potential steadily fading and gone by sunset. Low odds for windswell production. See QuikCASTs for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (7/19) east fetch at 15 kts was quickly collapsing east of the Islands limited to an area 250 nmiles east of the Hawaii and expected to be gone later with windswell fading out. Friday (7/20) no east fetch reaching even 15 kts is expected east of the Islands offering no support for windswell production and that pattern is to hold through the weekend. See QuikCASTs for details.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (7/19) an eddy flow was in control south of Pt Arena with north winds 25 kts from Pt Arena northward building to 30 kts later. No change is expected on Friday (7/20) with up to 35 kts over a tiny area on the Oregon-NCal border. On Saturday (7/21) north winds are to be fading from 30 kts to barely 25 kts over Cape Mendocino with a weak eddy flow south of there to Pt Conception. On Sunday (7/22) north winds are to be limited to mainly just off the coast Cape Mendocino at 20 kts early fading to near calm later with a calm to light flow over the vast majority of California. Monday (7/23) light winds (10 kts or less) are expected for the entire CA coast but building to 20 kts over Pt Conception later. No change on Tuesday (7/24) until later when north winds are to build to 15 kts over all of North and Central CA. Wednesday (7/25) north winds to be 15-20 kts over all of North and Central CA. Thursday (7/26) 15-20 kt north winds are again forecast over all of North and Central CA pushing 25 kts over Cape Mendocino later.

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (7/19) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging solidly southeast under New Zealand reaching down to 72S and over the Ross Ice Shelf and sweeping east. A trough was east of it over the far Southeastern Pacific at 110W and out of the California swell window reaching up to 43S and being fed by 110 kt winds offering limited support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the far East Pacific is to track east into Southern Chile and of no interest to our forecast area. back to the west the ridging pattern is to continue with the southern branch of the jet sweeping east down at 63S and with no troughs forecast offering no support for gale development.Beyond 72 hours starting Monday (7/23) another pulse of wind energy is to develop southeast of New Zealand at 140 kts lifting northeast trying to form a trough and reaching the Central Pacific on Tues (7/24) offering decent support for gale development. That trough is to be reinforced by more wind pushing northeastward later Wed (7/25) at 120 kts near 140W (Central Pacific) offering increased support for gale development there and holding while easing east into Thurs (7/26). Something to monitor.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (7/19) small swell was stating to hit Hawaii from a gale previously under New Zealand and was also moving towards California (see Stronger New Zealand Gale below). And of far more interest is swell pushing north from a gale that tracked northeast through the Central Pacific (see Central Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours all focus is to be on the Central Pacific Gale. No other swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

Stronger New Zealand Gale
A gale started to
form while tracking east under New Zealand Wed PM (7/11) with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft over a small area at 58S 161E. On Thurs AM (7/12) fetch was building in coverage but fading in velocity from 45 kts from the west-southwest and seas 40 ft at 56.5S 178E. The gale faded in the evening with fetch dropping from 40 kts but aimed more southwest with seas fading from 34 ft at 56.5S 169.5W aimed east. The gale dissipate from there Fri AM (7/13) with southwest winds fading from 35 kts and seas fading from 28t at 55S 158W. The eastward track of this system likely means most swell energy is to be tracking east, not northeast. Limited sideband swell energy expected for Hawaii and California.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (7/19) 5 AM with swell at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding through the day as period drops to 17 secs later. Residuals on Fri (7/20) fading from 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193-197 degs

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/21) near noon pushing 2.1 ft @ 18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) later. Swell holding Sun AM (7/22) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (7/23) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210-213 degs

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/21) building late afternoon to 1.8 ft @ 18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell holding Sun AM (7/22) at 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (7/23) from 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft) and being overridden by stronger swell. Swell Direction: 210-213 degs

 

Central Pacific Gale (Swell #4S)
Another gale started developing southeast of New Zealand on Sat AM (7/14) tracking northeast with winds from the southwest at 40 kts over a building area and seas building from 29 ft at 57.5S 176W and building while lifting hard northeast. In the evening a moderate sized fetch of 40 kt southwest winds were lifting east-northeast with seas 31 ft at 52.5S 164.5W. On Sun AM (7/15) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the south-southwest with seas 31 ft at 49.5S 152.5W aimed well to the north. Swell was in the water pushing north-northeast but for the most part this was just primer activity. In the evening the fetch is to dissipate from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 29 ft at 44S 145W. But secondary fetch (which is really the main event) is to be developing solidly at 45 kts southwest of it tracking northeast with seas building from 37 ft down at 60S 167.5W tracking northeast. On Mon AM (7/16) only the secondary fetch is to be viable at 45 kts from the south-southwest lifting northeast with seas 39 ft at 53.5S 155.5W. The gale is to fade some in the evening with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 38 ft at 49S 148W aimed north-northeast over a solid area. On Tues AM (7/17) additional 45 kt southwest fetch is to build in the upper reaches of the Central Pacific aimed north-northeast with seas 35 ft at 44S 141W aimed solidly northeast. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40-45 kts over a fragmented area with seas 32 ft fading at 41S 135W. Fetch fading out Wed AM (7/18) from 35-40 kts and seas fading from 31 ft aimed northeast at 43S 127W. A good pulse of swell is possible targeting California down into Mexico, Central America and South America. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival from the first pulse of this swell late on Fri (7/20) pushing 1.2 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.0 ft). On Sat (7/21) swell to be 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (7/22) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) while being overridden by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 190 degrees The second pulse of this swell is to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs midday (3.5 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell holds on Mon (7/23) at 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (7/24) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Nothing left after that. Swell Direction: 180 degrees

South California: Swell from the first pulse of this system to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 2.2 ft @ 19 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (7/23) to 2.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) and starting to be overrun by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 200 degrees. The second pulse of this swell to arrive early Mon (7/23) with period 21 secs and size building steadily pushing 3.3 ft @ 20 secs late (6.6 ft with sets to 8.0 ft). Swell building from there on Tues AM (7/24) reaching 4.4 ft @ 18 secs (8.0 ft with sets to 10 ft). Swell holding. Swell fades some on Wed (7/25) from 3.8 ft @ 16 secs (6.1 ft with sets to 7.7 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/26) from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft).Swell Direction: 191-201 degrees

North California: Swell from the first pulse of this system to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 1.6 ft @ 19-20 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (7/23) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) and starting to be overrun by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 199 degrees. The second pulse of this swell to arrive early Mon (7/23) with period 21 secs and size building steadily pushing 2.6 ft @ 20 secs late (5.2 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell building from there on Tues AM (7/24) reaching 3.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (6.6 ft with sets to 8 ft) mid-day (possibly 4.0 ft @ 18 secs (7.2 ft with sets to 9.0 ft). Swell holding. Swell fades some on Wed (7/25) from 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.9 ft with sets to 7.4 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/26) from 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190-200 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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

Windswell Forecast
California:
Mon-Tues (7/24) no fetch of interest is forecast with no odds for windswell production expected. Wednesday (7/25) high pressure is to again try to get a toehold in the Eastern Gulf producing north winds at 15-20 kts along the entire North and Central Coast offering only minimal odds for short period junky windswell production. By Thurs (7/26) those winds to start becoming more focused over North CA at 20+ kts with 15 kt north winds over Central CA waters again producing junky short period northerly windswell at exposed breaks.

Hawaii: On Monday (7/23) a weakly building fetch of easterly winds is to develop at 15 kts extending up to 500 nmiles east of the Big ISland but not reaching well up into Oahu. Small windswell possible for the Big Island. More of the same on Tuesday and Wednesday (7/25). Then on Thurs (7/26) a tropical wave is to move west to within 600 nmiles east of the Big Islands with high pressure in the Eastern Gulf feeding the gradient some producing east winds at 15 kts targeting all the Hawaiian Islands offering somewhat better odds for short period east windswell at exposed breaks along east facing shores.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a gale is to form in the Central Pacific on Tues AM (7/24) with up to 40 ft seas aimed east-northeast over a tiny area at 52.5S 138.5W. The models are very unstable with this system on and off the models over the past 2 days. Odds of formation low at this time.

Details to follow...

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

Kelvin Wave Eruption Restarting - ESPI Starting to Recover

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and was building over equatorial waters in early June, suggesting the demise of La Nina and possibly turning towards El Nino.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Summer 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 4.0
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (7/18) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then weakening starting on the dateline but still moderately east over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific holding over the northern dateline then fading over then KWGA with weak west anomalies indicated there.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (7/19) weak to modest west anomalies were over the western KWGA to 160E with weak easterly anomalies were east of there in the Eastern KWGA and continuing east over the remainder of the Pacific. The forecast suggests west anomalies are to hold in the West KWGA if not build in continuity while east anomalies fade in the eastern KWGA by 7/21. By the end of the model run on 7/26 weak west anomalies are to be filling the KWGA except with a small pocket of weak east anomalies on the dateline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (7/18) A moderate Active/Wet MJO signal was building over the Western KWGA. The statistical model depicts that Active/Wet MJO signal is to hold steady into day 8 then fading to point of almost being gone at the end of the model run if not turning weakly Inactive/Dry. The dynamic model depicts the same thing except the Active Phase holding more solid through the end of the model run and not turning Inactive. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/19) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the East Maritime Continent/far West Pacific and is to track steadily east reaching the West Pacific in 6 days then stalling and weakening there at the end of the model run. The GEFS model has not updated.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/19) This model depicts the Active/Wet MJO signal was moderate over the Central to East Pacific and is to be easing east over Central America on 8/8. A moderate Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific on 8/4 making slow east headway reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 8/28.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/18) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the Western KWGA with light east anomalies all but gone on the dateline. Those east anomalies are to fade and be gone by 7/21 with west anomalies building solid at 150E from there till 7/28. Even after that west anomalies are to hold moderate in strength from there till at least 8/15 and filling the KWGA if not building to WWB strength starting 8/9-8/15.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/19) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was starting to build over the KWGA with neutral to weak west anomaly wind pattern starting to build over the entirety of the KWGA. A weak Active MJO pattern is to continue developing and holding through 8/10 then fading to a neutral MJO signal. Even at that moderate westerly anomalies are to hold over the KWGA with a Westerly Wind Burst forecast 8/10-8/18 near 170E. Westerly anomalies to continue solid filling the KWGA through 9/17. A weak Active Phase of the MJO is to redevelop on 9/16 holding through the end of the model run on 10/16 with west anomalies holding solid in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and has built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 and forecast to hold if not build for the foreseeable future (through Winter 2019). This means we are in full El Nino mode starting today through the coming Fall-Winter season. The eastern edge of the Low Pressure bias is to ease east to 120W (over California) by 10/6. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking steadily and is to be gone by 9/24. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and should fully reach that state 3 months after the start of the transition or by 8/8 (low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA starting on 5/8). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs reaching east to 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and is now at 156W today due to weakening Kelvin Wave conditions under the West Pacific. The 28 degs line was stationary on the dateline last winter, then started moving east on 5/15 to 165W, then to 160W on 5/22 then to 154W on 6/19 and to 150W on 6/24 from the surface to 75 meters deep. The 24 deg isotherm was stable at 115 meters deep at 140W and 75 meters deep at 120W rising to 15 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are focused in the East Pacific at depth. Warm anomalies at +1.0 deg C were moving east from the far West Pacific and building to +2.0 deg C starting at 150W 125 meters down and pushing east to the Galapagos. +3.0 degs anomalies were centered from 135W to 110W and +2.0 deg anomalies were east of there pushing into Ecuador. These warm waters are breaching the surface from 135W and points east of there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/12 depicts a river of warm water pushing east from the West Pacific with a large Kelvin Wave embedded in it starting at 145W building to +3.5 degs extending unbroken to the east to Ecuador and breaching the surface between 100W-150W. No residual cool water from La Nina are indicated. And more warm water was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline and joining the existing Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/12) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and broad in coverage reaching east to 105W then less broad on into Ecuador with no breaks and anomalies 0-5 cm over that entire area with multiple imbedded pockets at 5+ cms. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (7/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate near neutral anomalies biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile and stable. An area of warm water is erupting on the oceans surface on the equator from the Galapagos west to 160W and though it had lost significant coverage between the Galapagos to 110W the past few days, it now is regaining it's footing with pockets of deep warming at 95W and 105W embedded in a broader area of less defined warming. A broad area of generic warming was also filling the area south of Mexico out to the dateline, gaining a little coherency south of Mexico at 120W and points east of there in the last few days. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool previously south of the equator between 120W-150W and south of 5S were now gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/18): Mixed pockets of mainly warming were scattered along the equator from Ecuador to 140W with strong warning at 90W and 100W suggesting the Kelvin Wave is starting to erupt again. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru but warming off of Central Mexico.
Hi-res Overview: (7/18) An area of weak cool water was all but gone along Chile and Peru and weakening compared to days past. Otherwise warm water was holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N and building in coherence, but still just in the mild warming category. The only cool water was in the fading remnant pocket from La Nina limited to an area south of the equator starting at 5S between 140-180W and all but gone now.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/19) Today's temps were -0.851, down from -0.383 on 7/12, and that up from -0.428 on 6/7, up from -0.819 on 5/22, and that down from a recent peak rising to +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.75 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/19) Today temps were steady at +0.136, down considerably from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Temps were -0.266 on 6/2, -0.427 on 5/12 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were down at -1.2 degs.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/19) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.30 degs and to +1.45 degs in Nov then slowly fading from there but still above the +1.0 range into April 2019. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Summer and Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-June Plume depicts temps at +0.3 degs in late June and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in January holding there. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (7/19): The daily index was rising today at +11.39. The 30 day average was rising today to -1.14 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having some effect. The 90 day average was rising some too at -2.22, turning negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (7/19) Today the index was finally rising some at -1.13 after falling to -1.28 on 7/17). But recently it was the highest it's been in a year on 7/2 at -0.09. This is not good news suggesting La Nina has not completely given up it's grip on equatorial precipitation yet and if anything is surging again. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan 2018=+0.29, Feb= -0.10, Mar= -0.51, April = -0.85, May =-0.61. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar = -0.05. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

 

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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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