Sunday, January 20, 2019
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.2 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 10.0 secs from 276 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.8 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 10.1 secs from 347 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 13.2 secs from 255 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 60.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.8 ft @ 12.4 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.7 ft @ 13.4 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.4 secs from 250 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.9 ft @ 13.4 secs from 275 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.9 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 11.9 secs from 279 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southwest at 12-14 kts. Water temp 56.7 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 Sunday (1/20) in North and Central CA surf was 2 ft overhead and reasonably lined up but pretty hacked by southerly winds and raining. Protected breaks were chest high at top peaks and fairly clean with decent form but slow and soft and raining. At Santa Cruz surf was head high on the rare sets and warbled but rideable and lined up though a bit soft. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high and clean and lined up very soft and slow. In North Orange Co surf was up to waist high reasonably clean and lined up but breaking on the beach coming from the north. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets at thigh to maybe waist high and clean and very inconsistent. North San Diego surf was waist to chest high with some bigger peaks and clean and lined up with light offshore winds and decent form. Hawaii's North Shore was getting minimal swell with waves chest to maybe head high at top breaks and clean and lined up with light offshore winds early. The South Shore was thigh high and clean but very weak. The East Shore was small with southeast windswell waist high or so and lightly chopped with a modest southeast flow in effect.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (1/20) raw local swell was hitting North and Central California sand a rather quiet swell pattern was in effect for the Hawaiian Islands. A small gale is developing in the extreme Northwestern Gulf on Sun (1/20) expecting to produce 37 ft seas over a tiny area aimed east for 12 hours then dissipating. And a broader system was between Japan and the Dateline with 37 ft seas aimed southeast towards Hawaii but is to fade, then redevelop nearer the dateline on Tues (1/22) with 36 ft seas aimed east and targeting the Islands. Maybe another to follow on a similar track on Thurs-Sat (1/26) with up to 43 ft seas aimed east. And more is expected behind that. We're in the Inactive Phase of the MJO for another week or so, waiting for the Active Phase to reappear, and so one should manage their expectations.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday AM (1/20) the jetstream was well consolidated tracking east off Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds 190 kts reaching half way to the dateline then fading to 140 kts on the dateline forming a small trough there offering some support for gale development. East of there the jet was starting to split (at 165W) with most energy in the northern branch and lifting northeast forming a small trough just off the North CA coast supportive of weather then pushing onshore there. The southern branch was falling southeast towards the equator. It's starting to look like high pressure might take root over the Eastern North Pacific as the split builds there. Over the next 72 hours winds to build between Japan and the dateline to 200-210 kts on Tues (1/22) with the trough previously on the dateline fading some but upper low pressure still holding generally on the dateline and getting good support form the jet for surface low pressure development. In the east the split jetstream flow is to get more pronounced with the northern branch pushing northeast and up into Alaska. Beyond 72 hours the same pattern is to hold with 190 kts winds near the dateline and a generic troughing pattern forecast offering some support for gale development there while the split point moves to 155W on Fri (1/25) with high pressure the expected result east of there and over the US West Coast. At the 180 hr point (on Sun (1/27) more of the same is forecast but with a large trough starting to form just east of Japan being fed by 170-190 kts winds with a weak ridge over the dateline then possibly falling into another building trough just north of Hawaii, while the split flow possibly looks to start collapsing east of there. But it's too early to expect that to become a reality.
On Sunday (1/20) no clearly defined and significant swell was in the water other than fading windswell associated with the remnants of Swell #7 in California.
Over the next 72 hours a tiny gale was developing in the extreme Northwestern Gulf of Alaska starting Sun AM (1/20) producing 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east with 37 ft seas at 45.5N 166W. The gale is to lift north some in the evening making no eastward headway with winds fading from 40 kts and seas 31 ft lifting north at 48.5W 165W. The gale is to dissipate after that.
North CA: Small swell is possible for NCal arriving Wed AM (1/23) pushing 3.4 ft @ 17 secs (5.5 ft) but getting overridden by other nondescript swell at 5 ft @ 14 secs (7.0 ft). Combo energy holding Thursday (1/24) at 6.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 292-298 degrees
Also a gale started building off North Japan on Sat PM (1/19) producing 45-50 kt northwest winds over a moderate area with seas 34 ft at 41N 160E targeting Hawaii well. By Sun AM (1/20) the gale was fading fast with 35 northwest winds over a decent sized area and seas fading from 33 ft at 38N 167E. This system is to be gone by evening.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Wed AM (1/23) with period 17 secs at 4.2 ft @ 17 secs (7.0 ft) but getting overridden by new more recent energy 5.6 ft @ 15 secs (8.0 ft). Combo swell fading on Thurs (1/24) from 7.5 ft @ 15 secs (11.0 ft) Swell Direction 307-312 degrees
Another gale is to start building on the southern dateline region on Mon AM (1/21) with 40-45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 28 ft at 37.5N 167E. In the evening fetch is to build from 45 kt moving east over the dateline with 35 ft seas building over a small area at 37N 178E aimed east. On Tues AM (1/22) the gale is to push east into the Western Gulf with 45 kt west winds and 33 ft seas fading at 37.5N 172.5W aimed east. The gale is to race northeast and fade in the evening with residual seas fading from 27 ft at 40N 163W aimed east. Something to monitor mainly for Hawaii.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (1/20) a weak low pressure system was pushing into North CA with high pressure building behind with southwest winds 15 kts down to the Golden Gate and with northwest winds 5 kts for Central CA early and winds turning west-northwest late afternoon 15-20 kts for Pt Arena down to Monterey Bay and 10-15 kts southward into LA County. Modest rain for North CA down to the Golden Gate pushing south to Big Sur early evening and Pt Conception overnight. Solid snow developing for Tahoe pushing south over the entire Sierra overnight then fading by sunrise. Mon (1/21) clearing high pressure and the effects of a split jetstream flow aloft to take control with north winds 20-25 kts for all of North, Central and South CA holding through the day. No snow or rain forecast. Tues (1/22) high pressure starts ridging inland over the OR-CA border with north winds 15 kts early for the entire state fading to 10-15 kts for North and Central CA at sunset and northeast 5 kts for Southern CA. Wednesday (1/23) a light northeast flow is forecast for the state all day other than north winds 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino. No change through Sun (1/27) with high pressure in control. North winds fading to light northeast winds for Cape Mendocino starting Fri PM (1/25).
Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe (thru 1/27): 23-26 inches and 10 inches for Mammoth all from the snow event Sun PM (1/20). After that high pressure takes control.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).
No swell of interest was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest 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 southward displaced gale is to develop off Japan on Thurs PM (1/24) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 33 ft at 35N 158E aimed east. On Fri AM (1/25) 45 kt west winds to build in coverage aimed east with 36 ft seas building at 37N 170E aimed east. In the evening 45-50 kt west winds are to start building on the dateline with seas building to 43 ft at 37N 178E aimed east. The storm is to race north Sat AM (1/26) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas from previous fetch fading from 34 ft at 38N 175W aimed east. This system to dissipate after that.
Another small gale is to start building off Japan on Sun AM (1/27) tracking east.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
Inactive MJO - Sea Surface Temps Rising - ESPI Weakly Positive
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 over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/19) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the north KWGA but from the west over the south KWGA. Anomalies were neutral to light east over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately westerly in the heart of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/20) moderately strong east anomalies were over the dateline with modest west anomalies barely holding on in the core of the KWGA. The forecast is for west anomalies giving up much ground to east anomalies for the next 5 days, then rebuilding and nearly filling the KWGA by 1/25 at very modest strength and holding through the end of the model run on 1/27 but with east anomalies holding in the immediate area of the dateline through the end of the model run. Support for storm development to be fading for the next 5 days, then rebuilding later in the week and limited to the West Pacific.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/19) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was centered over the dateline with the Active Phase over the Maritime Continent. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the KWGA at day 5 of the model run with the Active Phase building in the far West Pacific and taking over the KWGA at day 10 and holding through days 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the building Active Phase not quite as strong at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/20) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Maritime Continent. It is to move east while building to moderate strength moving into the West Pacific 7 days out then weakening and over the West PAcific through day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase not making it as far to the east.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/20) This model depicts a very weak Active Phase over the far West Pacific slowly and weakly pushing east moving in to the East PAcific and over Central America on 2/14. A modest Inactive signal is to set up in the West Pacific on 2/9 moving to the East Pacific on 3/1.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/19) This model depicts moderate west anomalies fading over the West KWGA with east anomalies building over the dateline. West anomalies are to weaken but still in the KWGA on 1/26, then dissipating with east anomalies in the East KWGA and retrograding west through the same period and eventually filling the KWGA into 2/2. After that west anomalies are to rebuild weakly in the KWGA 2/8 and holding through the end of the model run on 1/16.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/20) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO building into the core of the KWGA today through 1/28 with modest east anomalies on the dateline with weak west anomalies on the West KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to fade with a generally neutral MJO signal 1/29-2/14. The Active Phase follows starting 2/15 with west anomalies in the KWGA and the Active Phase fading on 3/10 but with spotty west anomalies forecast through the end of the model run on 4/19. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding over California through 2/14, then retracting some. A third contour line faded 12/17 and is not to return. But the low pressure bias is to hold through the end of the model run on 4/19. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control and is to continue, but far weaker. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were at one time trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence that it every happened. Still this pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is back at 165W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater with a pocket building under the dateline at +3 degs (Possible Kelvin Wave #3) and the remnants of Kevin Wave #2 were pushing east in the far East Pacific from 125W and points east at +2 degs. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 3+ months with the development of Kelvin Wave #3. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/13 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 fading in the East Pacific with pockets of +3 degs from 130W into Ecuador and with +3 deg anomalies building in the west from New Guinea to the dateline (Kelvin Wave #3 attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst occurring there 12/30-1/16). +1-2 degs anomalies connect the 2 Kelvin Waves making a rives of warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/13) Positive anomalies were from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east into Ecuador at mostly 0-5 cms but with a pocket of +1- cms anomalies over the dateline and +5 cm anomalies near 120W. A new weak Kelvin Wave is building north of New Guinea while a previous warm subsurface pattern is fading over the east equatorial 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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/19) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were very weakly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, but building strongly from Ecuador to 110W Warm water that was previously fading along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador has rebuilt a little today. Weak generic warming was off Central America and Mexico and building some today in coverage and intensity. There is no indications that an El Nino is building but it appears a warm pulse is underway. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has gained ground extending west from 120W previously to 137W today. Overall the pattern looks somewhat like El Nino, but nothing more than a very weak El Nino. In all this supposed El Nino is weak and becoming more fragile by the day.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/19): A small area of weak warm water was off Peru and a small pockets of strong warming was extending west along the equator between the Galapagos to 110W. It looks like the far equatorial East Pacific is warming again.
Hi-res Overview: (1/19) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime. And one could maybe think we are moving towards an El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely not every moving to an official minimal El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/20) Today's temps were steady at +0.772 after previously falling hard down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/20) Today temps were rising at +0.733 after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/20) The model indicates temps were at +0.65 degs on Jan 1 and are forecast building to +0.85 on Feb1 and stable for the foreseeable future if not rising to +1.0 degs till Oct 1. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/20): The daily index was rising to +5.28. The 30 day average was falling to -0.69 suggesting a neutral MJO. The 90 day average was rising some at +2.66, rising through Jan1 to +4.67 then fading some after that but not much. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/20) The index has risen to +0.30 from -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. 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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Powerline Productions New Movie Preimer - Next Level - Friday (11/9) at 7 PM. Details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/NextLevel.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table