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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2018 5:11 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
3.3 - California & 2.5 - 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 9/11 thru Sun 9/17

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   

Multiple Small SPac Swells Pushing North
NPac Asleep

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Thursday, September 13, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 17.6 secs from 182 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 10.1 secs from 206 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 71.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.5 ft @ 8.0 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 18.5 secs from 196 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 18.6 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 18.5 secs from 181 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.1 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 8.2 secs from 316 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 16-20 kts. Water temp 55.0 degs (042).

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 (9/13) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves at waist to maybe chest high and lightly chopped with small whitecaps from northwest winds. Protected breaks were waist high and pretty lumpy and soft and unremarkable. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to maybe waist high on the peaks and clean but slow and weak. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to waist high on the peak of the sets and clean and weak looking like windswell. In North Orange Co waves were chest high on the sets coming from the south and clean and lined up. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high on the peak of the sets and clean and reasonably lined up. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high and clean and lined up and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting waist high sets wrapping in from the northeast and clean wit no winds early. The South Shore was near flat with rare thigh to waist high waves on occasion and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves chest to shoulder high and chopped with modest northeast trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/13) new southern hemi swell originating from the far Southeast Pacific was starting to show at exposed breaks in California making for rideable surf at those locations. Otherwise junky windswell was hitting north facing breaks north of Pt Conception. Modest northeasterly windswell was hitting the east shores in Hawaii originating from the leftovers of Olivia. Also small swell originating from a low pressure system over the dateline on Sunday (9/9) with 18-20 ft seas aimed south was hitting HI. South swell hitting California originated from a gale that produced 38 ft seas in the Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/5) targeting California down to Peru. Also on Wed (9/5) a gale produced 39 ft seas in the Southwest Pacific just off the Ross Ice Shelf aimed east. That swell is in the water pushing northeast. And another gale formed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (9/9) on the very edge of the SCal swell window with seas to 38-46 ft, but mostly targeting Chile. And a small gale formed under New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/11) with 38 ft seas aimed east offering some hope for Hawaii. Beyond a small short-lived gale is forecast in the deep Southwest Pacific on Mon 99/17) producing a small area of 40 ft seas aimed east. We're really just waiting for Fall to start to push the North Pacific into action. It might be a few more weeks though.

 

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 (9/13) tiny swell from a low pressure system previously over the dateline was starting to hit Hawaii (see Dateline Low below). Swell from another small gale tracking through the Northwest Pacific was developing too (see Northwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a dead calm weather and sea state is forecast with no swell producing weather systems forecast.

 

Dateline Low
A broad low pressure system formed on the dateline on Sat PM (9/8) producing 35 kts northwest winds over a tiny area starting to get traction on the oceans surface. Winds held while building in coverage Sun AM (9/9) aimed south with seas building from 15 ft over a tiny area. In the evening fetch built in coverage at 30 kts aimed south with seas 18-20 ft over a tiny area at 41N 175E aimed south mostly bypassing Hawaii. More of the same occurred on Mon AM (9/10) with 20 ft seas at 37N 176E aimed south. This system faded from there. Low odds of small sideband windswell radiating southeast towards Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (9/13) building to 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs mid-day (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (9/14) from 1.4 ft @ 10-11 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

 

Northwest Pacific Gale
A tiny gale developed near the dateline tracking east Wed AM (9/12) with 30 kt north winds and seas building from 17 ft. In the evening winds continued at 30 kts but turning from the northwest with seas building from 20 ft at 41N 168E targeting Hawaii decently. On Thurs AM (9/13) northwest winds were holding at 30 kts from the northwest but lifting northeast getting less traction on the oceans surface with seas fading from 19 ft at 42N 171E. In the evening additional 35 kt northwest fetch is to develop briefly aimed at Hawaii with a small area of 20 ft seas developing at 44N 173E. On Fri AM (9/14) fetch is to be fading and lifting northeast with seas fading from 18 ft at 45N 180W. Whatever swell develops, will be minimal.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/17) pushing 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (2,5-3.0 ft) and holding through the day. Residuals left on Tues AM 99/18) fading from 2.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

 

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (9/13) high pressure at 1032 mbs was in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska ridging east but not really making it to California with a generally light northwesterly wind flow along the coast of North and Central CA except up to 20 kts near Pt Conception offering no real support for windswell production. More of the same is expected Fri (9/14) with no windswell resulting. Saturday (9/16) a variation on the same theme is expected but with high pressure fading and falling south just east of the dateline with light winds over North and most of Central CA except up to 20 kts over Pt Conception with no meaningful windswell resulting. No real change on Sunday either (9/16). See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thurs (9/13) easterly fetch was in the 15-20 kt range extending from 1200 nmiles east of the Islands over Hawaii generating short period easterly windswell at exposed east facing breaks driven by high pressure at 1032 mbs in the Western Gulf of Alaska. On Fri (9/14) windswell still present. On Friday (9/14) more of the same is forecast as the high fades to 1028 mbs but falls south, located just 1,000 north of Hawaii and continuing the gradient. More windswell is to be produced. By Saturday (9/15) the width of the gradient is to shrink but still extending 1000 nmiles east of Hawaii with east winds 15 kts resulting in diminished odds for windswell production. Sun (9/16) east winds to be 10-15 kts east of the Islands with only limited windswell production forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
Tropical Depression Olivia: On Thursday AM (9/13) Olivia weakened with winds down to 30 kts positioned 150 nmiles southwest of Kauai tracking west. Olivia is to continue on this track and is no longer of interest.

Oahu (exposed breaks on the East Shore): Swell fading on Thurs AM (9/13) from 5 ft @ 8 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 80 degrees moving to 70 degrees

Super Typhoon Mangkhut: On Thurs AM (9/13) Mangkhut was 450 nmiles east of the North Philippines with winds 145 kts (166 mph) and down from the previously unbelievable strength of 155 kts (178 mph) on Wed AM (9/12) tracking west-northwest and is expected to pass over the north most extreme potions of the north Philippines Island Fri night (9/14) wit winds 140 kts (161 mph) and then push west into North Vietnam on Mon (9/17). No recuravture to the northeast is expected.

 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (9/13) north winds were 10-15 kts mainly later but still at 20 kts down near Pt Conception. Fri (9/14) north winds to be 10 kts over all of North and Central CA but near 20 kts over Pt Conception. Saturday (9/15) north winds to be 10-15 kts over North CA and 15 kts starting at Big Sur and up to 20 kts over Pt Conception. Sunday (9/16) north winds to be 10 kts over North CA and 20 kts for Central CA from Big Sur southward to Pt Conception. Monday (9/17) north winds to be 15 kts over all of North and Central CA and 20 kts for Pt Conception. Tues (9/18) north winds to be 20 kts for all of North and Central CA building towards 25 kts over NCal later. Wed (9/19) a full summer time gradient is to set up with north winds 25 kts early for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA holding all day. More of the same on Thurs (9/20).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (9/13) the southern branch of the jetstream was weakly ridging south under New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf and into deep Antarctica suppressing gale production there then pushing east over interior Antarctica offering no support for gale development over the entirety of the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours a new ridge is to be pushing southeast under New Zealand starting Fri (9/14) with winds 160 kts turning slightly to the east Saturday perhaps offering a little window to support gale development before sweeping southeast on Sunday (9/16) pushing south to 65S and moving over Antarctic Ice and suppressing gale development. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to sweep east and weaken turning into a zonal flow running east on the 66S latitude line and holding solid through Thurs (9/20) actively suppressing gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (9/13) swell from two gales are starting to hit California from the Southeast and Southwest Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale and Southwest Pacific Gale below). And yet another small storm built in the far Southeast Pacific behind them with swell now radiating north (see Southeast Pacific Storm Below). And yet another gale built under New Zealand and is radiating north towards Hawaii (see New Zealand Gale below).

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

 

Another Southeast Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a new gale developed in the Southeast Pacific with a broad area of 45 kt southwest winds building and getting traction on the oceans surface aimed northeast with seas building to 37 ft at 55.5S 137.5W. Fetch faded fast ain the evening at 35-40 kts with seas 35 ft at 52S 121W. Fetch was fading from 40 kts from the west Thurs AM (9/6) with seas 33 ft at 55.5S 121W and pushing mostly east of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. No additional fetch or seas occurred. Small swell is to radiating north towards California but more so at Central America and Peru.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (8/12) building to 1.8 ft @ 20 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell building Thurs (8/13) to 2.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/14) 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft) but being over taken by another swell. Swell Direction: 189 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (8/12) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building Thurs (8/13) to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft) later. Swell fading on Fri (8/14) 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft) but being over taken by another swell. Swell Direction: 187 degrees

 

Southwest Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a solid gale was trying to build under New Zealand on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with west winds 45 kts and seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 62S 175E hugging the ice. In the evening fetch was fading while lifting east-northeast with winds fading from the southwest at 35 kts and seas 36 ft at 60.5S 172.5W. On Thurs AM (9/6) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the southwest lifting northeast with seas 31 ft at 59S 158W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading while racing northeast at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 53.3S 130W. Fetch continued tracking east in the evening at 40 kts with seas 34 ft at 53S 119W and starting to move out of the Southern CA swell window. Additional fetch built in the evening to near 50 kts again on the edge of the SCal swell window generating 30 ft seas at 53S 125W aimed east. On Sat AM (9/8) 35 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast with 29 ft seas at 50S 123W. Small swell is possible pushing up into mainly the US West Coast Central America and Peru. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (8/14) building to 3.3 ft @ 18-19 secs later (6.0 ft). Swell holds on Sat (8/15) at 3.3 ft @ 17 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell fades some on Sun (9/16) from 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (8/14) building to 2.2 ft @ 19 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell holds on Sat (8/15) at 2.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft). swell fades some on Sun (9/16) from 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

 

Southeast Pacific Storm
A small but strong storm developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (9/8) with 45 kt southwest winds aimed northeast and seas building from 27 ft at 58S 131W. This storm built quickly Sun AM (9/9) with south winds 60 kts over a small area aimed north and seas 36-38 ft at 58.5S 119.5W barely in the SCal swell window. The storm tracked east in the evening with winds 50 kts aimed north and seas peaking at 46 ft at 55.5S 110W and outside the SCal swell window targeting Chile well. This system is to fade from there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/16) building to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be peaking at 2.1 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 177-182 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on late on Sun (9/16) building to 1.3 ft @ 20 secs (2.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be building 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175-180 degrees

 

New Zealand Gale
On Monday AM (9/10) a gale started developing southwest of New Zealand producing west to southwest winds at 50-55 kts with seas building to 37 ft at 56S 158E. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds were south of New Zealand with 38 ft seas over a tiny area at 55.5S 168E aimed east. On Tues AM (9/11) winds were down to 40 kts from the southwest with seas at 34 ft at 55S 177.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading while lifting northeast with southwest winds 35 kts and seas 29 ft at 53S 175W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (9/12) southwest winds were fading from 30 kts lifting northeast with seas 26 ft at 48S 170W. Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Tues (9/18) building to 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (9/19) to 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (9/20) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185-195 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. the models suggest that perhaps a small gale might develop southeast of New Zealand on Mon (9/17) tracking east with 35 seas over a small area. Low odds of it forming, and if it does form, low odds of swell radiating north.

Windswell Forecast
California:
On Monday (9/17) high pressure is to mostly dissolve resulting in 10-15 kt northwest winds over North CA and up to 20 kts over Pt Conception with no windswell of interest expected. On Tuesday (9/18) high pressure is to build some at 1024 mbs in the Eastern Gulf resulting in a building fetch of north winds at 15-20 kts over North and Central CA nearshore waters early building to 20-25 kts in the afternoon generating raw north local windswell. That fetch is to build while lifting north on Wed (9/19) with north winds 25-30 kts over NCal and 20 kts down to Pt Conception generating larger raw north windswell for North and Central CA. On Thurs (9/20) the gradient is to pull away from the coast with north winds 30 kts nearshore over Cape Mendocino early but a light wind flow if not an eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward and decent windswell still being produced but fading as the day progresses as the gradient progressively pulls yet further away from the coast. It continues to look like a La Nina pattern rather than El Nino from a local perspective.

Hawaii: On Monday (9/17) a generally weak easterly wind field is forecast at 10-15 kts offering only limited odds for small short period weak windswell production. Then on Tues (9/18) high pressure is to again get established at 1026 mbs in the Eastern Gulf with a building fetch of 15 kt east winds developing extending from California to a point 300 nmiles east of Hawaii offering improving odds for windswell production but that windswell not quite reaching Hawaii yet. On Wednesday (9/19) that fetch is to hold at 15-20 kts extending from California to a point 100 nmiles east of Hawaii generating modest east windswell at exposed east facing breaks. Thurs (9/20) the fetch is to start fading but still at 15 kts extending 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii with modest windswell still hitting the Islands.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Sat PM (9/15) a storm is to form south of New Zealand with 55 kt northwest winds and seas starting to build from 40 ft at 58S 166.5E but falling southeast. On Sun AM (9/16) 550 kt west winds are to blowing east with seas 45 ft at 59.5S 178.5E but with the system falling southeast. The gale is to be falling southeast in the evening with winds fading from 40 kts from the west and seas fading from 41 ft at 61.5S 169.5W and starting to move over the Ross Ice Shelf. No additional swell production is forecast. Given the southeast falling direction of this system, little swell is expected to radiate northeast even if it forms as forecast. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

La Nina Holds in Atmosphere - El Nino Trying to Get A Grip

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 continued trying to build over equatorial waters in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 6.5
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 (9/12) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, then fading to calm west of there filling the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific, then turning to light west at 170W and building to moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/13) modest west anomalies were filling the KWGA. These anomalies are to turn weakly easterly in the KWGA starting 9/14-915 or for one day then returning to westerly anomalies through the end of the model run but with east anomalies developing on the dateline 9/15 and holding through 9/19. Weak west anomalies are forecast taking over the entire KWGA at the end of the model run (9/20).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/12) A very weak Inactive/Dry signal was over the far West KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold and then build some 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/13) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the Atlantic and is collapsing and drifting east fading to near nothing over Maritime Continent 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/13) This model depicts a very weak Inactive/Dry signal is pushing east from the West Pacific tracking east and pushing into Central America on 10/8 while a very weak Active/Wet pattern develops in the West Pacific starting 9/28 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/23. A neutral pattern is to be then be over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/12) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA today. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to quickly fade to weak east anomalies for a day or two on 9/14, then instantly rebuilding to moderate plus west anomalies fin the core of the KWGA 9/16 and building in coverage filling the KWGA by 9/19 and holding through the end of the model run on 10/10. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/13) This model depicts a dead neutral MJO signal over the KWGA with weak to modest west wind anomalies in play. This pattern is to hold but with west anomalies building some to WWB status 9/24-10/15, then fading some but still solidly westerly into 11/16. The Active Phase is to build weakly 11/17 through 12/6 with moderate westerly anomalies continuing. The inactive Phase is to develop 10/9 easing east to the end of the model run on 12/11 but with west anomalies holding. In short, west anomalies are to hold for the foreseeable future with 1 embedded WWB event. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to hold solid through the end of the model run building east to 120W (over California) by 9/19 and to 115W in mid-October. A 4th contour line is expected starting 11/24. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking fast and is to be gone by 9/14. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias though were originally thought to reach that state 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8) or on 8/8. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say not until mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific. The high pressure bias is forecast building near 90E (Central Indian Ocean) reaching 2 contour lines in Oct 12.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/13) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 168E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady to day at 160W. It started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 163W on 8/10. It started moving east again reaching to 158W on 8/16 due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W but had retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 116W, or basically stationary since 8/10. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 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 150W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 105W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/5 is a little more aggressive, with remnants of the first Kelvin Wave still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 140W eastward to 105W at +1.5 degs. It was breaching the surface between 120W-130W. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 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: (9/5) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 130W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in 2 pockets at 120W and again at 105W, but not reaching Ecuador but close. 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: (9/12) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile, but warming directly nearshore. A thin stream of warm anomalies were holding directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 110W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico. A small pocket of persistent cool upwelling was on the equator near 115W. Moderate warm anomalies continued on the equator and north and south of there west from 125W out to the dateline without any upwelling issues. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/12): An elongated area of pockets of alternating warming and cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 140W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with pockets of easterly anomalies supporting cool upwelling, though the balance was towards warming temps. Temps were warming along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (9/12) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with imbedded pockets of stronger warming and continuing west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N, but mainly on the equator and points north of there. A pocket of cooler water was between 110W to 120W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/13) Today's temps are steady if not warming slightly at -0.541 degs. A big peak occurred at +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.50 deg range and slowly rising.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/13) Today temps were falling some at +0.217 degs or just above neutral, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and steadily fading from the +0.25 degs range the past month to +0.15 now.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/13) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +0.85 degs and to +1.25 degs in early Nov holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +1.00 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-Aug Plume depicts temps at +0.45 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.8 in October (unchanged from last months forecast) and +0.9 in Nov and holding there into Jan 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in April. 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) (9/11): The daily index was rising now at +5.53. The 30 day average was rising some today at -4.26 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was rising at -4.04. 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): (9/13) Today the index was falling some at +0.01. It fell below it's all time recent high of +0.24 on 9/8. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. This suggest that La Nina is finally gone, and perhaps El Nino is starting to get better coupled in the atmosphere,(though that is a bit of a reach). In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now. 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 

 

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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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