Saturday, January 9, 2021
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 7.9 secs from 160 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.0 ft @ 14.6 secs from 328 degrees. Water temp 78.4 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 14.1 secs from 248 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 57.4 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 8.7 ft @ 13.6 secs from 293 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 15.8 secs from 267 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 263 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 4.4 ft @ 14.8 secs from 280 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 7.7 ft @ 15.7 ft from 291 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was southwest at 4-6 kts. Water temp 52.0 degs (013), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 54.3 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.
On Friday (1/8) in North and Central CA waves were 8-10 ft and clean but too big for most normally breaks and kinda washing around and real hazy bordering on developing fog. Protected breaks were chest to head high with sets 1 ft overhead and lined up and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead on the sets and lined up and peeling and clean and sunny. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high and lined up and peeling with glassy conditions when the set came with lined to the horizon. Central Orange County had sets at shoulder to head high and clean and lined up with some haze and no wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were waist to chest high on the sets and clean and occasionally breaking decently. North San Diego had sets at head high to maybe 1-2 ft overhead and lined up with decent form and clean and peeling. Hawaii's North Shore had waves at 10-12 ft and clean with brisk offshore winds and lined up. Pretty solid early. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell with waves waist to maybe chest high and almost clean early with light east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Friday (1/8) swell was peaking in Southern CA and fading in North California from a diffuse gale (Swell #5) that tracked east through the West and Central Gulf Mon-Wed (1/6) with 30-35 ft seas aimed east. And Swell #6 was poised for North CA and hitting Hawaii from another moderate storm that developed in the Central Gulf Wed-Thurs (1/7) producing up to 42 ft seas aimed east. And another strong storm (Storm #7) is developing right behind it in the Gulf Fri-Sat (1/9) with 60 ft seas aimed east while another one (Possible Storm #8) tracks from Japan to the North Dateline and then into the Northern Gulf Fri-Sun (1/10) with seas to 45 ft. But a break is forecast after that with only one small gale forecast north of Hawaii on Wed (1/13) with 32 ft seas.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Friday (1/8) the jet was well consolidated pushing northeast off Japan with winds building to 200 kts reaching to the dateline then falling southeast into a developing trough in over the Central Gulf offering good support for gale development. From here the jet ridged gently northeast then was falling into a weak trough pushing over North CA. The jet is still doing amazingly well. Over the next 72 hours winds are to build off Japan at 200 kts pushing over the dateline and into the Gulf trough later Sat (1/9) continuing support for storm development there but with the trough washing on on Sun (1/10). By Mon (1/11) then jet is to moderate some but also flatten out running straight off Japan at 170-180 kts to a point 900 nmiles west of North CA offering plenty of energy but no troughs to support gale development. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to start building in the jet pushing off Japan on Tues (1/12) building again to 200 kts falling into a developing trough just east of the dateline offering support for gale development and that trough getting quite steep on Wed (1/13) with a ridge building over the US West Coast. The trough is to lift north on Thurs (1/14) and weakening offering less support for gale development and gone on Fri (1/15). At that time the jet is to be running flat east off Japan at 150 kts to a point north of Hawaii then riding northeast into British Columbia. Not a bad pattern at that time, but with no troughs supporting gale development.
On Friday (1/8) swell from a diffuse gale (Swell #5) was fading in North CA but hitting Southern CA well (see Storm #5 below). Swell #6 was hitting Hawaii and poised for North CA (Swell Storm #6 below).
Over the next 72 hours strong Storm #7 is to be developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska (see Storm #7 below). And Storm #8 is to be developing while approaching the North Dateline region (see Storm #8 below).
On Mon AM (1/4) another solid gale ( was developing in the far Western Gulf with 35-40 kt west winds over a broad area and seas building from 28 ft at 45N 175E aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to shift east towards the Central Gulf with winds 35-40 kts solid over a broad area aimed east and a core to 45 kts with seas 26 ft over an elongated area pushing 31 ft in it's core at 40N 155W reaching west at 31 ft at 45N 180W. Fetch is to hold Tues AM (1/5) in the Central Gulf at 30-40 if not 45 kts from the west with seas 36 ft in it's leading edge at 42N 143W aimed east but 26 ft seas building to 33 ft in it's trailing edge to the west at 46.5N 172W aimed east and filling the entirety of the Gulf of Alaska. This system moved east in the evening with 30-35 kt west winds and seas fading some at 28-30 ft elongated from 43N 135W to 47N 162W aimed east. Fetch was gone on Wed AM (1/6). A long run of swell is possible from this system.
North CA: Residuals holding on Fri (1/8) at 8.7 ft @ 15 secs (13 ft). Swell Direction: 285-295 degrees
Southern CA: Swell fading Fri AM (1/8) from 4.1 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft) at exposed breaks. Swell Direction: 294-298 degrees
Another system developed in the Western Gulf on Tues PM (1/5) producing 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east with seas building from 33 ft at 38.5N 168W aimed east. On Wed AM (1/6) the storm was tracking east with 50 kts west winds over a moderate area and seas building from 41 ft at 42.5N 157W aimed east. In the evening the gale was lifting northeast with 45 kt west winds and 39 ft seas at 44.5N 147.5W aimed east. The gale was lifting northeast on Thurs AM (1/7) off Washington and fading with 40 kt west winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 49.5N 143W aimed east. Larger raw swell is expected to result with sideband energy from Hawaii and direct energy from the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Swell fading Fri (1/8) from 7.3 ft @ 14 secs early (10 ft). Residuals on Sat (1/9) fading from 5.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.5 ft) Swell Direction: 330 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival later Fri (1/8) building to 12.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (21 ft). Swell fading Sat (1/9) from 10 ft @ 15 secs (15 ft). Swell getting overrun on Sun (1/10). Swell Direction: 292-295 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival at sunset Fri (1/8) building to 4.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (8.0 ft). Swell peaking overnight and fading Sat AM (1/9) from 5.0 ft @ 16 secs (8.0 ft at exposed breaks). Residuals early Sun (1/10) fading from 3.4 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 296-299 degrees
Strong Storm #7
And another small but strong storm was developing while track east in the Central Gulf on Fri AM (1/9) with 55-60 kt northwest winds and seas building from 46 ft at 40N 157W aimed east. In the evening winds to build in coverage at 55-65 kts with seas 59 ft at 40N 150W or 1900 nmiles due west of North CA. On Sat AM (1/9) fetch is to be fading from 45 kts from the west in the Eastern Gulf lifting northeast with seas 51 ft at 40.5N 143W or 1000 nmiles east of North CA aimed east. Fetch is to fade Sat PM from 40-45 kts just of Oregon with 41 ft seas at 44N 134W aimed east. Large raw swell expected for CA.
Hawaii: For planning purposes expected sideband swell arriving late Sat (1/9) at 5.0 ft @ 16 secs near sunset (8.0 ft). Swell on Sun (1/10) to be 6.7 ft @ 13 secs all day (8.5 ft). Swell fading out after that. Swell Direction: 340 degrees
North CA: For planning purposes expect large raw swell arriving on mid-Sun (1/10) building to 15.5 ft @ 19-20 secs (30 ft) and basically untouchable all day. Swell fading Mon (1/11) from 10.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (16 ft). Residuals on Tues (1/12) fading from 7.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (10 ft). Swell Direction: 283-288 degrees
Southern CA: For planning purposes expect swell building through the day Sun (1/10) pushing 4.0 ft @ 20-21 secs late at the most exposed breaks (8.0 ft). Swell peaking overnight and still solid Mon AM (1/11) at 6.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (11.5 ft) at the most exposed breaks. Size fading through the day. Dribbles on Tues AM (1/12) fading from 3.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 287-293 degrees
And yet another system was forming off Japan on Thurs PM (1/7) producing 45-50 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas on the increase. This system pushed east-northeast gaining strength on Fri AM (1/8) with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 34 ft over a tiny area at 43.5N 162E aimed east at Hawaii. In the evening 50 kt west winds are to be approaching the dateline with 40 ft seas at 44.5N 172E aimed east. On Sat AM (1/9) with 50 kt west-northwest winds are to be over the Dateline and seas building to 45 ft at 46.5N 179W aimed east. Fetch to fade some in the evening while holding position in the Northwestern Gulf at 45+ kts solid drifting southeast with 45 ft seas at 46.5N 170.5W aimed east. The gale is to fade while drifting east-southeast in the Western Gulf Sun AM (1/10) with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 43 ft at 47N 163W aimed east-southeast. The gale is to be dissipating in the evening with 35+ kt west winds and seas fading from 38 ft at 47.5M 156.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Mon (1/11) building to 5.9 ft @ 18 secs late (10.5 ft). Swell fading from there. Swell Direction: 325-330 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Friday (1/8) winds were calm to light east in North CA early turning northwest 8-10 kts later. In Central CA winds northwest 1-5 kts all day. Saturday (1/9) light winds are forecast for North CA early turning south for Cape Mendocino 5-10 kts later. Central CA to see northwest winds 10 kts early building to 15 kts from Monterey Bay southward in the afternoon. Sun (1/10) calm wind is forecast at North CA early building to 5-10 kts from the northwest later. Central CA to see northwest winds 5 kts early building to 10 kts later. Rain for Pt Arena northward early but quickly dissipating. Monday (1/11) a front sets up off Oregon but holding there early with north wind 5 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA pretty much holding all day. No precip forecast. Tuesday (1/12) the front sags south to Cape Mendocino with south winds there 15-20 kts all day but light winds south of there to Pt Conception early building for Central CA north at 10 kts later. Rain for North Cape Mendocino all day. Wednesday (1/13) light northwest winds 5 kts early everywhere but maybe 10 kts from Big Sur southward early then building to 10-15 kts from the northwest for all of Central CA later. Thurs (1/14) northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts early for all of North and Central CA early building only for Central CA at 10-15 kts later. Friday (1/15) high pressure sets up with northwest winds 10-15 kts early for North CA and 15+ kts for Central CA early and 20+ kts later. The window of clean conditions possibly closing.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inches.
Freezing level rising to 9,000 ft Jan 9 building steadily up to 12,000 ft on 1/14 and not falling to 1/18, falling to 6,000 ft then.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
No swell was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours another system (Possible Storm #6) is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Tues PM (1/5) producing 50+ kt west winds over a small area aimed southeast with seas building from 35 ft at 39N 169W aimed east. On Wed AM (1/6) the gale is to track east with 50 kts west winds over a moderate area and seas building from 50 ft at 42.5N 158W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be lifting northeast with 45 kt west winds and 49 ft seas at 435N 150W aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast on Thurs AM (1/7) off Washington with 45 kt west winds and seas fading from 42 ft at 46.5N 143W aimed east. Large raw swell is expected to result with sideband energy from Hawaii and direct energy from the US West Coast.
And another small storm (Possible Storm #7) is forecast taking the same track forming in the Central Gulf on Fri PM (1/9) with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 40N 151W aimed east. On Sat AM (1/9) 55 kt northwest winds are to be in the Eastern Gulf with seas building to 42 ft at 42.5N 140W aimed east. Fetch is to fade Sat PM from 40-45 kts just of Oregon with 43 ft seas at 45N 134W aimed east. Something to monitor.
And yet another system (Possible Storm #8) is to be possibly be forming off Japan on Thurs PM (1/7) producing 50 kt west winds and seas on the increase. This system is to pushing east-northeast gaining strength on Fri AM (1/8) with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 43 ft at 42N 158E aimed east at Hawaii. In the evening 50 kt west winds are to be approaching the dateline with 48 ft seas at 45N 167.5E aimed east. On Sat AM (1/9) with 50 kt west-northwest winds are to be over the Dateline and seas building to 50 ft at 45.5N 176,5E aimed east. Fetch to fade some in the evening at 45 kts solid drifting southeast with 49 ft seas at 44.5N 175W aimed east. The gale is to fade while falling southeast in the Western Gulf Sun AM (1/10) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 43 ft at 45M 166W aimed east-southeast. The gale is to dissipate in the evening with seas fading from 36 ft at 43.5M 158.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.
On Mon AM (1/11) yet another solid gale is forecast developing in the Gulf of Alaska with 45 kt west wind and seas building from 35 ft at 38.5N 162.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status while lifting northeast with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 46 ft at 44N 152W.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Equatorial Pacific Waters Continue Slowly Rising - High Pressure Bias Holds Firm
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).
Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control 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 over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
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: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/8) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and stronger still from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning light east over the Central Pacific and exceedingly strong easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/9) exceedingly strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA and reaching east to a point south of Hawaii. The forecast calls for more of the same through the end of the model run on 1/16 with strong east anomalies in control reaching east only to a point south of Hawaii. Weak west anomalies are currently south of California to Ecuador with no change forecast.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/8) a moderate to strong Inactive MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it holding through day 10 of the model run then easing east slightly and out of the KWGA with the Active Phase moving from the Indian Ocean moving into the far West KWGA on day 15. The dynamic model suggests the Inactive Phase building over the KWGA to strong status on day 5 and holding through day 10 and still holding position on day 15 of the model run but weaker.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/9) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to track to the far East Maritime Continent and weak on day 15. The GEFS model suggests a variant of the same with the Active Phase making it only to the Central Maritime Continent at day 15 and very weak.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/8) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase (dry air) over the Central and East Pacific tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 1/18. A modest Active Phase was over the Maritime Continent today and is to push east and into the West Pacific on 1/13 tracking east across the Pacific and into Central America on 2/12. A moderate Inactive Phase is to push into the West Pacific on 2/2 pushing east to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 2/17. .
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/8) This model depicts no MJO signal today with strong east anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold strong through 1/22 then weakening to moderate plus status and holding through the end of the run on 2/5. The low pass filter indicates perhaps some weakening in strength of high pressure over the KWGA at the end of the model run but still solidly present with 2 contour lines. A third contour line is to fade on 1/26.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/9 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO signal over the KWGA today with moderate to strong east anomalies in control focused over the dateline. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to track east and fade through 1/28 while a weak Active Phase starts building in from the west on 1/19 building modestly over the KWGA till 3/6 with weak west anomalies in pockets mainly over the west KWGA with east anomalies holding over the dateline. A weak Inactive MJO is to return 3/5 tracking gently over the KWGA through the end of the model run on 4/8 with a mix of weak east and west anomalies forecast over the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 3 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run. A fourth contour line is to develop on 1/10 with a filth setting up 2/12-3/14 with the fourth fading on 4/3. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage with a second contour line holding through 3/1. No realistic change in the coverage or position of either is forecast though the model suggest a shift in the border between the two to 150E at the end of the model run. East anomalies that were previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and have stabilized there.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/9) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 and 29 deg isotherms were gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 170E today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 120W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +3 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 165W at depth and moving no further east. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies -1 degs C in the far East, weaker than weeks past and over the entire equatorial Pacific at depth. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 indicates the same thing. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were the least negative at any time in months. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/3) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator at -10 cms continuous over that area with 2 small pockets to -15 cms at 140 and 150W and fading. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja and -5 cms into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from Cape Mendocino to the intersection of the dateline and equator then into Southern Chile. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there. But the triangle was not as strong as weeks past but not substantially weakening either.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/8) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. but no markedly cooler imbedded pockets were present in the east and only 2 weak ones in the west at 150W and 170W and losing intensity even there. And the overall cool pool does not look as cold as weeks and months past. Cool anomalies were losing strength along the coasts of Chile and Peru with stray pockets of warming building in coverage. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. But the overall cool intensity of that pool appears to be waning. We are past the peak of this event.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/8): Temps continue warming along Chile and Peru reaching west to 130W. And a marked warming trend is occurring on the equator from Ecuador to the Galapagos and weaker out to 120W. The balance again looks like warming is taking the upper hand.
Hi-res Overview: (1/8) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. But the trail of markedly cool anomalies previously imbedded in that flow is gone. The peak of La Nina has perhaps past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/9) Today's temps were rising markedly from -1.4171 on 12/30 to -0.560 today. A previous peak of -0.595 occurred on 12/11. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/9) Temps were mostly steady after rising to -0.969 on 1/4 to -1.024 today after bottoming out at -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/9) Today the model indicates temps rising slightly to -0.95 degs after bottoming out in early Nov at -1.25 degs. The forecast depicts temps slowly rising moving forward to -0.35 degs in April then starting a slow fade to -0.65 degs in Sept. This is likely becoming a 2 year event in that even if temps were to return to normal in July it would take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind. But we suspect a strong El Nino might be building right behind the current La Nina.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -1.10 degs today, and are to hold into Dec, then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.89 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by June. Most models are suggesting a moderate to La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (1/9): The daily index was falling at +4.25. The 30 day average was rising to +19.34. The 90 day average was rising to 10.60, clearly in La Nina territory. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. 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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