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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:37 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
2.0 - California & 3.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 3/20 thru Sun 3/26

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   

Solid WPac Storm in Flight
Another Strong System on Charts Behind It

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Thursday, March 23, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 12.8 secs from 318 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 10.1 secs from 267 degrees. Wind northwest 20-24 kts. Water temperature 57.9 degs. At Ventura swell was 3.8 ft @ 11.0 secs from 272 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 6.0 ft @ 7.7 secs from 268 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 5.0 ft @ 7.4 secs from 271 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 8.2 ft @ 8.6 secs from 292 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.6 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 6.8 ft @ 10.0 secs from 287 degrees. Wind northwest 10-12 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.9 degs.
    Notes

    46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 (3/23) in North and Central CA northwest windswell was producing waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and pretty warbled and ill-formed through local winds were light early. Protected breaks were chest high and a little cleaner but still warbled. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to head high and warbled and mushy with intermixed bump. In Southern California up north surf was shoulder to maybe head high and pretty choppy and warbled and unorganized with onshore bump intermixed. In North Orange Co surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty warbled and a mess even though local winds were light. In San Diego surf was 1-2 ft overhead and raw and chopped and a mess. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Japan swell with waves head high to 1-2 ft overhead at top spots and clean and lined up but a bit on the weak side. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was flat and knee to thigh high and chopped from trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/23) windswell was still hitting California while leftover Japan swell was fading in Hawaii. A modest gale tracked east through the Gulf of Alaska Wed-Thurs (3/23) producing 24-26 ft seas aimed east targeting the US West Coast. But of more interest is a storm tracking through the West Pacific Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 43 ft seas aimed east and expected to make it to the dateline Fri (3/24) with 38 ft seas, then stalling and fading while continuing to circulate on the dateline through Sun (3/26) with seas 32 ft. decent swell to result. In the southern hemisphere a gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed (3/15) with 32 ft seas aimed north. That swell is hitting SCal but buried in chop. Yet another is forecast southeast of New Zealand Thurs-Fri (3/24) producing a tiny area of up to 30 ft seas and then redeveloping producing 34 ft seas aimed east. Long term the models are hinting at a stronger storm pushing under New Zealand on Tues (3/28) but most energy is to be aimed southeast. The southern hemi is trying.

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (3/23) the jetstream was consolidated pushing strongly east off Japan with winds 190 kts and a trough embedded positioned half way to the dateline offering good support for gale development. East of the dateline the jet separated some, but then reconsolidated in the Gulf with winds rebuilding to 120 kts forming a weak trough offering some support for gale development before pushing onshore while falling down the Central CA coast. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to wash out while tracking east, but imparting it's energy into the jet with a solid consolidated flow running off Japan over the dateline lifting gently east-northeast up into the Gulf late Friday (3/24) with the trough previously in the Gulf now moving onshore over Central CA. No real support for gale development is forecast but the jet configuration looks promising. Beyond 72 hours new energy is to be building into the jet off Japan on Sun (3/26) with winds building to 170 kts and running well east to the dateline and starting to make headway into the Gulf with a broad trough starting to develop on the dateline. That trough is to move east and fading in the Gulf on Tues (3/28) while winds build more off Japan to 200 kts with a new trough starting to develop there. There's some signs of a split developing in the jet too then just north of Hawaii. By Thurs (3/30) the Japan trough is to migrate east to the dateline supported by 170 kts winds offering good support for gale development. But the split is to get very pronounced north of Hawaii with the northern branch tracking north up into the Gulf then falling down the US West Coast while the southern branch falls south over Hawaii then rebounds northeast pushing into Baja.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/23) small swell from a gale that previously developed off Japan was hitting Hawaii (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours the prime systems of interest are a storm tracking through the West Pacific (see Dateline Storm below) and a weak gale tracking through the Gulf of Alaska (see Gulf Gale below).

 

Dateline Storm
A storm developed off Japan on Tues PM (3/21) with west winds building from 50 kts and seas building from 31 ft at 34N 149E. By Wed AM (3/22) northwest winds were 50 kts with seas building from 41 ft at 34N 156E. In the evening the storm held with winds 50 kts but increasing in coverage with seas building to 43 ft at 34N 162E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch faded some Thurs AM (3/23) at 45 kts with seas fading from 42 ft at 34N 169E. The gale is to be lifting north some in the evening with winds 40-45 kts from the west over a broad area and seas fading from 38 ft at 37N 176E. Fetch to hold as it approaches the dateline Fri AM (3/24) with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 38 ft over a solid area at 39N 180E. fetch to build to 45 kts in the evening over the dateline with seas fading some at 36 ft at 40N 179W. Fetch is to be reorganizing at 35 kts Sat AM (3/25) from the west with seas from previous fetch fading from 32 ft at 43N 177W. In the evening secondary fetch is to rebuild at 40 kts from the west just west of the dateline with 24-25 ft seas at 42N 172W. Fetch building to 45 kt over a small area on the dateline Sun AM (3/26) with seas 32 ft over a small area at 42N 179E. This system is to fade in the evening with winds down to 30-35 kts from the west and seas 28 ft at 44N 174W. This system to fade out from there. Certainly something to monitor.

Hawaii: For planning purposes expect swell arrival late on Sat (3/25) pushing 5.6 ft @ 18 secs at sunset (10 ft). Swell building overnight peaking at sunrise on Sun (3/26) at 6.9 ft @ 16-17 secs 911 ft Hawaiian) and holding through the day. Swell fading Mon (3/27) from 5.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (8.5 ft). Swell continues on Tues (3/28) at 4.5 ft @ 14 secs (6.5 ft). More to follow. Swell DIrection: 310-315 degrees

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Mon (3/27) pushing 4.0 ft @ 20 secs late (8.0 ft) but with much local windswell intermixed. Swell building on Tues (3/28) to 6.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (11 ft) but with much local northwest windswell intermixed. Swell Direction: 186 degrees

 

Gulf Gale
A gale started developing in the Western Gulf on Tues PM (3/21) with 35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 19 ft at 39N 169W. By Wed AM (3/22) westerly winds were 40 kts with seas building to 27 ft at 41N 163W aimed best at the US West Coast with minimal sideband energy towards Hawaii. In the evening west winds faded from 35 kts with seas 25 ft at 41N 157W. Fetch faded Thurs AM (3/23) from the west at 30 kts approaching North and Central CA with seas 22 ft at 40N 152W. The gale is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 19-20 ft at 38N 146W. Something to monitor for California.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (3/25) building to 6.4 ft @ 14-15 secs later (9.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (3/26) from 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7 ft). Swell Direction: 288 degrees

 

Japan Gale
A gale started developing off Japan on Wed AM (3/15) with 45-50 kt northeast winds targeting mainly the southern hemi with 33 seas at 31N 145E. In the evening a new small fetch of 45 kt west winds built east of the original fetch with seas 34 ft at 35N 162 over a tiny area. The gale lifted northeast Thurs AM (3/16) with 35 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 35N 168E over a tiny area. 30-35 kt west winds grew in coverage while lifting slowly north in the evening with 24 ft seas at 39N 174E. On Fri AM (3/17) the gale retrograded west with 30-35 kt west winds off the Southern Kuril's with 21 ft seas from the original fetch fading at 43N 178E. Fetch built some in the evening off the Kuril's at 35-40 kts with 23 ft seas developing at 44N 163E. The gale was stationary Sat AM (3/18) with 35 kt west winds and seas 24 ft at 43N 167E. The gale is to be fading in the evening with fetch dropping from 30 kts and seas 21 ft over a solid footprint at 43N 170E. This system is to fade Sun AM (3/19) with winds dropping from 25-30 kts and seas fading from 19 ft at 40N 170E. This system is nothing remarkable but could produce a nice longer lasting pulse of small swell for the Islands with limited energy reaching the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Swell fading some on Thurs (3/23) at 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Residuals on Fri (3/24) at 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (3/23) weak high pressure was trying to ridge into Southern CA while the next low was building and pushing towards the north end of the state. Northwest winds 15-20 kts were occurring for Central and South CA with south winds building for Cape Mendocino to 20+ kts later. Rain developing and pushing south to Bodega Bay late evening. Tahoe stays dry overnight. Friday (3/24) the front from the low pushes south with 25 kt south winds reaching south to Monterey Bay later AM and dissipating over Big Sur with rain expected for all of North and Central CA reaching down to Pt Conception late evening. Snow building through the day for the Sierra with 13-15 inches of accumulation for Tahoe into Sat AM. Saturday (3/25) high pressure holds back with northwest winds expected at 10 kts for North CA and Central CA but up to 20 kts for Pt Conception late. Maybe some sprinkles on the coast at sunrise but otherwise dry. Maybe 1 inch of snow for Tahoe. Sunday northwest winds continue for Pt Conception at 20 kts but otherwise light winds expected turning south from Bodega Bay northward at sunset at 15 kts as the next front moves in. Light rain for the Big Sur northward starting late afternoon. Light snow late for the Sierra starting mid-afternoon building into the early morning hours of Monday (3/27). Monday high pressure take control with northwest winds 20 kts for North and Central CA building into Southern CA later. Light scattered rain for North and Central CA through the day. Solid snow for Tahoe with 16 inches of accumulation on the crest expected. Tuesday (3/28) northwest winds take control at 30 kts early for the entire state. No precip (liquid or frozen) forecast. Wednesday (3/29) northwest winds forecast at 20 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 30 kts on Thursday. Spring is here and so is the wind machine. it's time to manage our expectations accordingly.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
Tiny swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific is hitting Southern CA but buried in chop (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Another gale was trying to develop southeast of New Zealand on Thurs AM (3/23) with 40 kt southwest winds and 25 ft seas over a small area at 52S 176W. In the evening winds to build to 45 kts over a small area tracking east-northeast with seas building to barely 30 ft at 48S 160W. On Fri AM (3/24) fetch is to rebuild to 55 kt from the southwest with seas 32 ft at 48S 145W. This tiny storm is to track east in the evening with winds still 55 kts over a tiny area aimed east with 35 ft seas at 48S 131W. This system is to fade from the while starting to fall southeast. Low odds for meaningful swell to result except for maybe Tahiti. Something to monitor.

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues PM (3/14) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52S 117W aimed due north and barely in the Southern CA swell window but mainly targeting mainland Mexico. The gale held while tracking east Wed AM (3/15) with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 33 ft at 53S 113W barely in the SCal swell window but targeting Mexico well. Fetch fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with 33 ft seas at 51S 107W targeting only Mainland Mexico. The gale is to dissipate from there. Small swell for Southern CA but mainly targeting Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Swell fading Fri (3/24) from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175 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 there's a suggestion of another gale developing off Japan on Mon PM (2/27) with 50+ kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (3/28) winds to be building from 55 kt from the west and seas building from 41 ft over a tiny area at 35N 162E. In the evening west winds to continue at 50-55 kts approaching the dateline with 45 ft seas at 35N 170E. Fetch is to be fading from 45 kts on the dateline Wed AM (3/29) with seas 45 ft at 36N 178E. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kt in the evening with seas fading from 38 ft at 36N 175W targeting Hawaii well. A quick fade to follow. Something to monitor.

 
South Pacific

A continued unsettled weather pattern is forecast southeast of New Zealand, but no fetch capable of generating seas in excess of 30 ft is forecast until Tues (3/28). At that time a large storm is forecast developing in the South Tasman Sea falling east-southeast with 50 kt winds and 45 ft seas in the US Swell window. By evening winds to be 45 kts from the west-northwest with seas 44 ft at 57S 161E. On Wed AM (3/29) 45 kt west winds to continue east with 43 ft seas at 59S 172E in the US swell window. 40 kt west winds to continue in the evening with 38 ft seas at 60S 174W. Something to monitor.

More details to follow...

 

Inactive MJO Holding - But SSTs Continue Solidly Warm

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 fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. Still, the atmosphere is in a La Nina configuration.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (3/22) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light westerly over the equatorial East Pacific and fading over the KWGA from previously strong easterly to now just light easterly. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up yet.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the eastern Kelvin Wave Generation Area centered near the dateline attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO. The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies to hold over the heart of the KWGA through 3/28, then start fading. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO and La Nina is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for a few more days.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 3/22 a very weak Inactive MJO was indicated over the West Pacific. The statistic model projects it building some over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with it not building, just holding a very weak levels. The good news is the two models are in sync. The bad news is they show no signs of the Active Phase of the MJO, contrary to what the CFS model indicates (below).
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/23) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/23) This model depicts a very weak Active Phase present centered over the West Pacific tracking east and into Central America 4/12. It is to be followed by another moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific 4/7 tracking into Central America 4/27. And the Active Phase to follow in the west on 4/22. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/23) This model depicts the Inactive Phase fading and all but gone on the dateline loosing control of the KWGA today but with moderate east anomalies still in control. The Active Phase was over the Western KWGA reaching east to the dateline. Beyond the Active Phase is to stall on the dateline through 4/6 but with east anomalies still in control of the KWGA into 3/30 then giving way to a neutral trend. West anomalies are to be developing by 4/6 and building solid by 4/10 as the Active Phase of the MJO builds solid over the dateline and not fading till 5/2, but with west anomalies holding well beyond that for the foreseeable future through 6/19 with nary a hint of east anomalies. So 3/28 is the anchor date for the final demise of east anomalies (but today's update suggests 3/30). La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/25 (holding the past few runs of the model) with El Nino taking hold 5/8 (holding the past few runs). Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has been slipping previously, though it appears to be firming up now.
We'll see what happens.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/21) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 174E and steep still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 40 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific from 100 meters upward. A pocket of -1 degs anomalies is steady at depth between 110-150W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/19 depicts that warm water had built east forming a continuous path from the West Pacific to Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs suggesting a Kelvin Wave has in flight, but is showing signs of weakness at 160W now. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/19) The previous upgrade where positive anomalies were depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream had broken up but appears to be rebuilding now. Neutral temps are from 110-120W. But that neutral pocket appears to be fading. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific.

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: (3/22) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching now west to 105W at 2+ degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W. That said, a previous cool pool out at 130-160W appears to be trying to redevelop. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 with that warming trying to build into the Nino3.4 region. Temps are +2-4 degs above normal along the immediate South American coast and advecting west along the equator. Impressive. And these waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/21): A warming trend covers waters of north Chile and Peru, then extending west but 5 degs south of the equator with a small cooling trend setting up off Ecuador to the Galapagos west to 100W. The warming trend rebuilds on the equator at 120W out to 160W. A strong warming trend is also developing now in the Northern Hemi off California and out over Hawaii and reaching to the Philippines. But that will likely be shut down shortly as north winds build there.
Hi-res Overview:
(3/21) There is no sign of La Nina east of 160W. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and building but less energetic out to 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/23) Today's temps were falling some at +2.645 degs.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/23) temps were falling slightly at +0.187 degs, but not remarkable like Nino1.2. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend all above the neutral line. A turn to a warmer regime looks like it's developing. But it's way to early to proclaim anything more than that.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies



SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/23) The forecast has temps at +0.35 degs mid-March building to +0.5 degs early April and +0.8 degs later in April building to 1.0 degs in July and building through the summer rising to +1.3 degs in Sept and +1.5 degs in Oct suggesting a return of El Nino. This is a bit of an upgrade from previous runs that had temps to +1.3 degs or more. Regardless, La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source from grater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume just updated today (3/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/23): The daily index was positive at +6.56 and has been running postiive the last 8 days. The 30 day average was rising at +2.01. The 90 day average was rising at 0.37 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/23) Today's value was steady at -1.06, still pretty negative given the other oceanic signals. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral. That seems like a reach.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, Feb = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70. 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

****

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

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Local Interest

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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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