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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2018 3:49 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
2.5 - California & 1.4 - 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 8/13 thru Sun 8/19

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   

Swell #5S Starting to Hit CA
North Pacific to Possibly Stir


On Thursday, August 16, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 13.2 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 13.4 secs from 156 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 74.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.2 ft @ 19.1 secs from 191 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 18.6 secs from 206 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 18.5 secs from 210 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 19.3 secs from 185 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 12.5 secs from 277 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6 kts. Water temp 59.4 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Thursday (8/16) in North and Central CA local tiny Gulf background swell was producing waves to shoulder high on the sets and reasonably clean and lined up when they come but soft. Protected breaks were thigh to waist high on the sets and soft but clean with no real form and barely rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high high on the sets and clean and lined up but slow. but it's a start. In Southern California/Ventura surf was chest high on the sets and real lined up and super clean when it came. In North Orange Co waves were head high and lined up for miles and clean with a strong northward drift and mostly closed out. South Orange Country's best breaks were getting sets at head high and real clean and real lined up indicative of a new building swell. In North San Diego surf was shoulder to head high on the sets and clean but real lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was waist to chest high and real lined up and clean. The South Shore was getting fading remnants of southern hemi swell with waves waist high or so on the sets and clean but soft and slow. The East Shore was getting no real east windswell with waves knee high and textured from light east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (8/16) long period southern hemi swell from the Southeast Pacific was starting to show in California but solid in Southern Mexico. This swell was generated by a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed-Thurs (8/9) with up to 32 ft seas briefly aimed north. But beyond no gales have formed with no other swell in the water and none are forecast in the southern hemi for the next week. Up north the models continue to forecast formation of a small gale in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Sat-Sun (8/19) with 22 ft seas aimed south targeting Hawaii. And minimal windswell for North and Central CA is forecast for the weekend and at exposed east facing shores in Hawaii by the weekend too possibly enhanced by a hurricane moving very close to the Big Island beyond.


Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (8/16) no swell of interest was in the water or being generated in the North Pacific, including local windswell.

Over the next 72 hours the models are suggesting some sort of gale low developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Fri PM (8/17) at 992 mbs producing northwest winds 20-25 kts over a small area in it's southwest quadrant aimed towards Hawaii but not getting any real traction on the oceans surface yet. On Sat AM (8/18) the gale is to lift rapidly north just south of the Eastern Aleutians producing 40 kt north winds over a short fetch aimed south with seas building. In the evening fetch is to be holding at 35-40 kts from the north just south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas building to 21 ft at 49N 165W targeting mainly Hawaii. The gale is to fall south some and fade Sun AM with north winds fading from 30 kts and seas pushing south at 21 ft at 46N 165W targeting mainly Hawaii. The gale to dissipate thereafter. Something to monitor.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (8/16) high pressure at 1028 mbs was 700 nmiles west of Southern Oregon moving east through the Eastern Gulf of Alaska but not ridging into California with any magnitude resulting in a generally slack wind pattern along the California coast (north winds 10-15 kts) offering no potential to develop meaningful windswell. By Friday (8/17) a weak gradient is to set up over North Cape Mendocino as the high pushes to within 600 nmiles of the coast at 1030 mbs with north winds building to 20-25 kts offering limited support for windswell development. On Saturday (8/18) high pressure is to hold at 1030 mbs 600 nmiles off Oregon continuing to generate a weak gradient and north winds at 20-25 kts early along the Cape Mendocino coast but light south of Pt Arena offering continued potential for weak north windswell production relative to North and Central CA. More of the same is forecast Sunday (8/19). See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (8/16) high pressure at 1028 mbs was in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska and small in coverage having no effect relative to Hawaii with easterly trades weak at 10-15 kts not generating any windswell. More of the same is forecast Fri (8/17) with trades below 15 kts and no windswell production forecast. By Saturday (8/18) high pressure in the Eastern Gulf is to build to 1030 mbs ridging south with a Hurricane Lane 10000 nmiles southeast of the Big Island producing a gradient and east winds at 15 kts starting to generate east windswell pushing into the Big Island and exposed east facing shores of the other Islands. More of the same is forecast Sunday (8/19) with high pressure induced fetch being enhanced by Lane now moving northwest and positioned 700 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island with a broad area of 15 kt east winds pushing from the tropical system up to but not over the Hawaiian Islands and 20+ kt east winds 600 nmiles out. Improved odds for windswell and tropical swell production at that time. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Lane: On Thursday (8/16) Lane was 1650 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 50 kts tracking west-northwest with seas 14 ft. Over the next few days Lane is to build and continue on this heading with winds building and peaking at 105 kts (120 mph) Sun AM (8/19) positioned 700 nmiles east-southeast of Hilo HI still tracking west-northwest. Current projections have Lane passing 170 nmiles south of the Big Island later on Tues (8/21) with winds 90-95 kts (approx 105 mph) and turning on a pure westerly heading, likely bypassing all the Hawaiian Islands. There's a high likelihood for large easterly swell impacting the East Shore of the Big Island and maybe Maui, but only windswell for the other islands. Something to monitor.

Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems were being monitored.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/16) a light flow (10 kts or less) was in control for all of North and Central CA nearshore waters other than Pt Conception, where winds might build to 15 kts later. On Fri (8/17) north winds are to start building over Cape Mendocino at 20+ kts, but from Pt Arena southward winds to be from the north at 10 kts. More of the same is forecast Sat (8/18) but with north winds 10 kts or less south of Pt Arena and that pattern holding Sun (8/19). On Mon (8/20) north winds to build southward at 20 kts down to Pt Reyes early and 15 kts to Big Sur, then fading to 10-15 kts over the entire region later in the day. Tues (8/21) north winds to be 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA continuing Wednesday and building to 15 kts over the entire region late, then on Thurs (8/23) north winds to build to 20-25 kts over North CA and 10-15 kts from Pt Reyes southward to Pt Conception.

South Pacific

On Thursday AM (8/16) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging south starting south of New Zealand down at 73S and over the Ross Ice Shelf sweeping east while lifting gently northeast reaching up to 65S on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window but still over Antarctic Ice with winds building to 100 kts and offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that flow is to slowly fade in velocity while holding position through Sun (8/19) again offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (8/20) the ridge is to slowly weaken turning to a zonal flow (west to east) on the 65S latitude line and still over Antarctic Ice through Tues (8/21). But another ridge is to build over the Central South Pacific on Wed (8/22) reaching south to 75S and then into Antarctica on Thurs (8/23) actively suppressing gale development. No troughs supportive of gale development are forecast anywhere in the South Pacific therefore offering no support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (8/16) swell from a gale previously in the deep Southeast Pacific was pushing north and with some size (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

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


Southeast Pacific Gale (Swell #5S)
A gale developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Wednesday PM (8/8) with 45 kt south winds pushing well north producing 29 ft seas at 60S 122W. On Thurs AM (8/9) fetch is to fade from barely 40 kts over a tiny area and seas 32 ft at 54.5S 121W. The gale is to fade and move east of the Southern CA swell window and of no interest after that. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (8/16) near sunrise with period 18 secs and size tiny but building to 3.3 ft @ 17 secs later (5.0-5.5 ft). On Fri (8/17) swell building to 4.0 ft @ 16 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (8/18) from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (8/19) from 2.7 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Residuals fading Mon (8/20) from 2.1 ft @ 13 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Nothing after that. Swell Direction: 180-182 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (8/16) mid-day with period 18 secs and size tiny but building to 2.6 ft @ 17 secs later (4.5 ft). On Fri (8/17) swell building to 3.2 ft @ 16 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (8/18) from 3.2 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (8/19) from 2.9 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (8/20) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Nothing after that. Swell Direction: 178-180 degrees


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




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
On Monday (8/20) high pressure is to start fading from 1028 mbs 700 nmiles off Oregon generating a weak gradient and north winds at 20+ kts along the Cape Mendocino coast early but fading fast as the day progresses with light winds south of Pt Arena offering continued potential for weak north windswell production relative to North and Central CA mainly early. By Tuesday (8/21) the high is to dissolve and a return to a light local wind flow is forecast for the entire CA coast offering no potential for windswell development. No change is forecast until Thurs (8/23) when broad high pressure at 1028 mbs is to set up in the Central Gulf trying to ridge east producing a small area of north winds at 15-20 kts over North CA not generating any windswell just yet, but trending in that general direction.

Hawaii: By Monday (8/20) high pressure in the Eastern Gulf is to hold at 1028 mbs ridging south with Hurricane Lane 500 nmiles southeast of the Big Island pushing west-northwest producing a gradient and east winds at 20+ kts generating east windswell pushing into the Big Islands and exposed east facing shores of the other Islands. More of the same is forecast Tues (8/21) with Lane moving to with in 150 nmiles southeast of the Big Island with a broad area of 20+ kt east winds pushing over the Hawaiian Islands. Improved odds for windswell and hurricane swell production at that time. On Wednesday (8/22) Lane is to move to within 120 nmiles of the south shore of the Big Island with a broad fetch of 20-25 kt east winds sweeping over all the Islands. Thursday (8/23) windswell is to be fading as Lane passes south of the Islands on a westerly heading. Lane currently is not forecast to make landfall on the Islands, but alot can change in a few days. Monitor this situation closely.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


ESPI Holds Positive - SOI Continues Negative - Kelvin Wave #2 Building

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 July, suggesting the demise of La Nina and possibly turning towards El Nino.

Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 7.0
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)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (8/15) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then weakening significantly south of Hawaii and turning moderately from the west at 180W and strongly west at 165E and continuing over the rest of Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific then turning modestly westerly starting south of Hawaii and building to strong westerly over the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/16) Moderate west anomalies were filling the western KWGA and forecast to hold for one more day, then start fading and gone by 8/18. After that weak east anomalies are forecast developing over the entirety of the KWGA and holding through the end of the model run on 8/23. In essence, a short lived Westerly Wind Burst (2 week duration) is occurring but is on the verge of fading.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (8/15) A weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the west KWGA. The statistical model depicts that Active/Wet MJO signal is to steadily weaken and gone at day 4 with a neutral MJO signal indicated and holding that way through the end of the model run (on day 15). The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Active/West Phase redeveloping weakly at the end of the model run. The models are mostly in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and stalled over the Western Pacific and collapsing. It is to retrograde west backtracking to the Maritime Continent 5-8 days from now then pushing east again moving to the West Pacific but weak 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variant of the same pattern but with the Active Phase redeveloping stronger over the Maritime Continent but making less eastward progress 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/16) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the Central Pacific and is to be easing east over Central America on 9/20. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific starting 8/21 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 9/25. At that time a weak Active/Wet pattern is to be developing over the West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/15) This model depicts moderate plus west anomalies filling the KWGA today. The forecast indicates those west anomalies to be fading fast over the next 2 days with some weak east anomalies creeping into the KWGA, then west anomalies are to redevelop solidly 5 days out and holding non-stop and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 9/12. Basically non-stop west anomalies are on the charts for the next month. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/16) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO is fading fast over the KWGA with moderate to strong west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA. This weak Active MJO pattern is to fade through 8/20 with a weak Inactive MJO signal taking over 8/17-9/23 but with modest west anomalies holding over the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to develop on 9/24 holding through 10/30 with moderate west anomalies in the KWGA 9/25 if not at WWB status holding through 10/7 then fading but still westerly through the end of the Active Phase. The Inactive Phase is to develop on 11/1 holding through the end of the model run on 11/13 but with west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 then building in coverage 7/24 and is to hold solid through the end of the model run. This means we are biased towards El Nino through the coming Fall 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 9/2. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and were originally thought to reach that state on 8/8 or 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8). Based on current data, we're thinking coupling should occur more like 8/28 now. 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: (8/16) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 170E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and to 163W on 8/10). It is now moving east again at 158W due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was 100 meters deep at 140W but retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 125W on 8/10. Today it is moving east again at 117W. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave are gone with neutral anomalies in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 170W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 138W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/11 is a little more optimistic, with remnants of the first Kelvin Wave still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 140W eastward building to +3.5 degs centered at 110W extending east to 105W but not reaching Ecuador. It was breaching the surface between 110W-145W. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.0 degs reaching east to 130W and building in coherency with broken fragments of warm water joining the existing Kelvin Wave east of there. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/11) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 135W at +5-10 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in pockets east to 110W, but no further east, remnants of Kelvin Wave #1. There were no breaks over that entire area. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino appears to be 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: (8/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile. But solid warm anomalies were building from Ecuador west on the equator to 110W and continuous aided by dissipation of easterly wind anomalies over this area. Moderate warm anomalies continued from 110W west of out to the dateline. A broad area of generic warming was also filling the area north of the equator from Central America and South Mexico out to the dateline and very warm from North Mainland Mexico out to the dateline. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/15): An elongated area with pockets of alternating warming and cooling but bias in favor of warming were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with a fading easterly wind burst over that area supporting cool upwelling. Temps were steady along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Cooling previously solid off Central West Africa presumably due to east winds and upwelling have dissipated and are replaced with a warming pattern. And that warming trend appears to start being mirrored west of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (8/15) An area of weak cool water was present along Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with pockets of strong warming and west from there to the dateline from 10S up to 20N, but with 2 pockets of cooler water at 115W and 130W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E. The remnant pocket of cool water from La Nina was limited to an area south of the equator starting at 4S between 140-160W and steadily loosing coverage.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/16) Today's temps were rising at -0.268 degs. That is up some but still lower than the big peak at +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.60 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/16) Today temps were falling some at +0.140, down 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 (8/15) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.35 degs and to +1.55 degs in Nov then slowly fading through April 2019 down to +1.10 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the 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-July Plume depicts temps at +0.5 degs in July and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in Nov and holding there into Feb 2019. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the high 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) (8/16): The daily index was rising some today but still negative at -3.16 and has been negative for 16 days. The 30 day average was falling today to -4.52 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling at -2.61. The 90 degree average turned 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): (8/16) Today the index was steady at +0.11. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year and beats the previous highest peak (-0.09 on 7/2). This suggest that perhaps El Nino is starting to get better coupled in the atmosphere. 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: June 2017 +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 -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. 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): June 2017 +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, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real 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 



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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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