Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 4.2 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 8.7 secs from 163 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.7 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.6 ft @ 10.0 secs from 38 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 14.3 secs from 262 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.9 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.8 ft @ 13.4 secs from 301 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 14.4 secs from 262 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.0 secs from 260 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 8.0 secs from 286 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.6 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 6.9 ft @ 11.5 secs from 312 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 14-18 kts. Water temp 53.2 degs (013), 55.0 degs (012) and 55.2 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 Tuesday (1/14) in North and Central CA Gulf windswell was producing waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty lumpy and warbled and mushed and unfocused but with no wind and clean surface conditions. Protected breaks were head high and soft but lined up and warbled but with clean surface conditions. At Santa Cruz surf was in the waist high range and lined up and clean when the sets came but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high or slightly bigger on the sets and lined up and clean with light offshore winds but weak. In North Orange Co surf was waist high on the bigger sets and clean but weak and inconsequential. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were flat and clean. North San Diego's best breaks had waves at waist to chest high and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting trades winds generated northeast windswell with waves chest high and clean but soft. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and weak but clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves 2 ft overhead and chopped with strong easterly trades still in control.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (1/14) in California windswell was hitting generated by high pressure off the coast and another in a series of weak low pressure systems that was pushing into the Pacific Northwest having previously generated 20 ft seas aimed southeast. In Hawaii only windswell was hitting from the same high pressure system that has been locked over the Southern Gulf of Alaska for some time now. The good news is that this situation is supposedly almost over with a small gale forecast building in the Gulf on Thurs-Fri (1/17) falling southeast producing 27 ft seas aimed southeast. And another is to form on the dateline late Thurs (1/16) pushing into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Fri-Sat (1/18) producing a small area of 33 ft seas pushing southeast into Sun (1/19). And another gael is to form on the southern dateline region on Mon-Tues (1/21) producing 27 ft seas aimed east. The Active Phase of the MJO is starting to build in the far West Pacific hopefully fueling a meaningful pattern change.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (1/14) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan forming a weak trough over and just east of the Kuril Islands as it has for weeks now being fed by 180 kt winds offering some support for gale development mainly over the Kuril Islands. But east of there the jet was very split with the split point roughly on the dateline with the northern branch ridging solidly north pushing up into the Bering Sea then falling southeast over the Eastern Aleutians and down through the Northeastern Gulf pushing into North California offering only weak support for low pressure development mainly just off Canada. The southern branch was fragmented and pushing generally over Hawaii and into Baja offering nothing. In all a very weak jetstream pattern was in effect. Over the next 72 hours a significant change is forecast starting Thurs (1/16) with the jet is to start losing energy in the west but energy previously there pushing hard to the east with the split completely gone by early Fri (1/17) and almost consolidated pushing up to the California coast with a trough starting to develop in the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (1/18) the jet is to be fed by a building pocket of 150 kts winds over Japan and building a second pocket on the dateline with weaker energy pushing cleanly into Southern California with a weak trough in the Eastern Gulf offering support for gale development pushing into North CA on Tues (1/21). At that time winds in the jet are to be consolidated at 140 kts reaching from Japan to a point just north of Hawaii looking to be offering a much improved environment to support gale development in the weeks ahead as the Active Phase of the MJO builds in the West Pacific.
On Tuesday (1/14) no groundswell of interest was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs PM (1/16) a small gael is to start building in the Northwestern Gulf falling southeast producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 24 ft at 47N 158.5W aimed southeast. That fetch is to grown some in coverage on Fri AM (1/17) with seas building to 27 ft at 42N 152W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to start lifting northeast still producing 35 kt northwest winds a bit off Cape Mendocino CA with 25 ft seas at 40N 145W aimed east. On Sat AM (1/18) the gale is to be isolated just off the Central Canadian Coast with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 22 ft there and 18-20 ft well off Oregon and North CA with swell from it radiating towards the CA coast. Something to monitor.
Another low pressure system is to develop off Japan on Wed (1/150 tracking northeast fast then regrouping over the North Dateline region Fri AM (1/17) producing 40 kt northwest winds and seas 28 ft up at 48N 176.5W aimed southeast. the gale is to be reorganizing in the evening producing a solid area of 40 kt northwest winds tracking southeast through the Northwestern Gulf with 29-30 ft seas building at 48N 170W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (1/18) the gael is to tracking southeast with 40-45 kt northwest winds in the Central Gulf generating 33 ft seas at 45N 166W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to fall southeast while fading with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 32 ft at 42N 158W aimed southeast. Remnants energy is to be fading Sun AM (1/19) with 30-35 kts northwest winds losing coverage and seas fading from 31 ft at 42N 151W aimed southeast. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (1/14) northwest winds were forecast at 15 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts south of there early fading for North Ca to 10-15 kts later but up to 15-20 kts for Central CA later. Light rain for North CA mainly early. Modest snow south to Tahoe and fading through the day. Wednesday (1/15) south winds are to be building from Cape Mendocino southward to Pt Reyes late afternoon at 20 kts and up to 30 kts up north. Rain building south to Pt Arena late afternoon and to the Golden Gate in the evening. No snow except for Mt Shasta. Thurs (1/16) the front is to push from San Francisco to Pt Conception with southwest winds 20 kts for SF and 10-15 kts elsewhere turning more westerly through the day holding at 10-15 kts. Steady moderate rain building south over NCal early to San Diego in the evening. Heavy snow building for Tahoe into Southern CA through the day and evening. Fri (1/17) light winds are forecast all day but building from the south for Pt Arena northward to 35 kts during the evening. Light rain for Cape Mendocino. Snow fading for mainly Tahoe early. Sat (1/18) a front is to be hitting North CA early with south winds 30+ kts from Pt Arena northward and light south winds down to Big Sur fading through the day. Rain building south to San Francisco in the evening. No snow for the Sierra. On Sun (1/19) light south winds are forecast for all of Central CA all day and up to 15 kts for North CA. Light rain for North CA early. Mon (1/20) south winds are forecast for North CA at 15-20 kts early main over Cape Mendocino and 5-10 kts for Central CA fading everywhere later. Rain developing through the day from Monterey bay northward. Light snow for higher elevations of the Sierra later. Tues (1/21) south winds are forecast north of Pt Conception 5-10 kts but up to 30 kts for Cape Mendocino. Rain developing for the North CA coast late.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 20, 24, 20 and 7 inches respectively.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
No swell producing fetch is occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is 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 small gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Sun PM (1/19) producing 35-40 kt west winds and 25 ft seas at 42N 169.5W aimed southeast. The gale is to track east on Mon AM (1/20) with 35 kt west winds and seas 23 ft over a modest sized area at 38N 156W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be tracking east off the North CA coast with 30 kt west winds and 21 ft seas at 37N 143W aimed east. The gael is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
Also on Mon AM (1/20) another small gale is to be developing on the dateline with 35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 22 ft at 34N 172E aimed east. The gale is to track east in the evening with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 24 ft at 35.5N 178.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (1/21) the gael is to be moving into the Western Gulf with a building area of 35 kt northwest winds and seas 27 ft at 36.5N 174W aimed east.
And yet another gael is to be behind that developing off the Kuril Islands falling southeast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Strong Active MJO Forecast
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: 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.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.
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 (1/13) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing to the dateline and then pushing over into the Northern KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the far East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific then moderate easterly over the dateline weakening and turning westerly over all the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/14) moderate plus strength west anomalies were filling the KWGA. East anomalies were strong east of the KWGA filling the East and Central Pacific. The forecast calls for moderate plus strength west anomalies holding in the KWGA with weak west anomalies starting to ease east and almost reaching south of California at the end of the model run on 1/21.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/13) A solid Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is forecast slowly easing east but still filling the KWGA at the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening to modest status at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/14) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was strong over the East Maritime Continent today and is to track east to the Central Pacific at day 15, but with 2 of the 3 members fading to weak status while one has it building to off the charts strong status. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is strong over the Maritime Continent today and is to push to the West Pacific at day 6 and strong in strength then stalling and weakening to modest status at day 8 fading to weak status at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/14) This model depicts a strong Active MJO over the Central Pacific today but filling the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The Active Phase is to push east holding strength then into Central America on 2/3 while a modest Inactive MJO signal eases into the West Pacific on 1/29 pushing to the East Pacific and then into Central America at the end of the model run on 2/23. At that time a very weak Active Phase is to be building over the West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/13) This model depicts the Active Phase was filling the KWGA today with moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA. Moderate east anomalies are filling the East Pacific. The Active Phase is to build with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA on 1/14 and holding while easing east into 1/27. Even then west anomalies are to hold though weaker 1/28 through then end of the model run on 2/10. West anomalies are to push into California 1/20-1/27.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/14) This model depicts the Active Phase filling the West KWGA with building west anomalies there while neutral anomalies were over the East KWGA and a fading Inactive Phase existing east there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to build while tracking east through the KWGA 1/16 with strong west anomalies on the dateline 1/14-1/20 . After that the Active Phase is to hold into 3/7 with weak to modest west anomalies in control. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast 2/1-2/19 followed by a weak Active Phase 2/20-4/4 with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA but building in strength 3/18-4/3. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast developing 4/1 through the end of the model run on 4/12. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. The second contour line is to hold for the foreseeable future. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22 and is to hold through the end of the model run. A strong area of east anomalies in the Indian Ocean is forecast to hold to 2/22 then weaken but not gone.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/14) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was stable at 180W while the 29 deg isotherm was holding at 170W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking from 157W to 158W today. The 24 deg isotherm previously retrograded to 110W but today was pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at +3 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent moving east with it's leading edge at 115W pushing east. Kelvin Wave #5 has fully pushed into Ecuador. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 120E under the Dateline east to 105W at +2-3 degrees with lesser warm water pushing east from there then rebuilding to +4 degrees and impacting Ecuador (the remnants of Kelvin Wave #5). The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/8) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is tracking east between 165E-95W. Very weak positive anomalies were in a pocket along Ecuador reaching south to Northern Peru and up into Central America.
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: (1/13) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate modest warm anomalies were building in coverage some along the coast of Chile up into Peru, Ecuador and Central America then streaming west on the equator over the Galapagos but far weaker there than days past out to the dateline from 10S northward. Weak cool anomalies were south of the equator off Peru filling the area from 7S south beyond 20S reaching west to 115W. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/13): Today warming was filling the area from Chile and Peru west out to 100W and building in coverage. Cool anomalies were extending on the equator from Ecuador out to 125W. This was a new development, likely attributable to east anomalies and the Inactive Phase of the MJO moving over that area. The short term trend is towards weak warming in the Southeast Pacific but cooling directly on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (1/13) A weak fading area of cool anomalies is holding south of the equator starting at 5S off Peru reaching out to 120W and building back north compared to weeks past. Otherwise gentle warming was along Chile up to Peru lifting north up to Ecuador then pushing west on the equator, out to the dateline. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator reaching north to 20N. Water temps appear to be stable mildly favoring El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/14) Today's temps were falling some today at +0.062 but previously much lower down at -0.900 on 12/12. Temps peaked prior at +1.55 degrees on 12/2 after a long runup from negative anomalies in October. It now appears we are in a falling trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/14) Temps were falling slightly today at +0.363. Temps peaked on 11/14 at +0.509 degs, fell some to -0.018 on 11/28, and are now trying to rebuild. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept when they bottomed out at -0.6 degs (9/14).
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/11) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then the trend started rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct holding to Dec 1. The forecast has temps rising to +0.7 degrees on Jan 1 holding till Feb 1 then slowly falling from there to 0.0 in early June then diving negative appearing to be moving to La Nina down at -0.65 in early Sept. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the Winter and Spring, then possibly turning towards La Nina in the Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.25 degs, and are to hold in the +0.25 deg range into May 2020, then fading slightly to +0.15 in June 2020. 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) (1/10): The daily index was negative today at -10.64 and has been negative the last 3 days. The 30 day average was negative and rising at -5.35. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -5.43, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Dec +0.45, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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, 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table