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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020 4:06 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
4.2 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/20 thru Sun 1/26

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 Swell Hitting Hawaii
One More Forecast Behind

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, January 23, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 8.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 7.6 ft @ 16.1 secs from 303 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 12.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 10.8 ft @ 15.7 secs from 319 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 13.2 secs from 270 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 0-2 kts. Water temperature 59.9 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.9 ft @ 11.7 secs from 291 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.9 ft @ 13.0 secs from 262 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.2 ft @ 14.3 secs from 254 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 13.3 secs from 270 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 5.0 ft @ 11.8 secs from 292 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was east at 4-6 kts. Water temp 53.8 degs (013), 54.0 degs (012) and 55.0 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (1/23) in North and Central CA swell from a gale that redeveloped in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska was still hitting producing waves at up to 2 ft overhead on the peaks and lined up and clean with light offshore winds. Protected breaks were up to chest high on the sets and clean but soft and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and lined up and soft but clean with no wind. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to chest high on the sets and clean with light offshore winds and lined up and peeling on occasion. In North Orange Co surf was head high to 1 ft overhead on the bigger sets and clean and lined up with decent form. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets at chest high and clean and lined up but soft. North San Diego's best breaks had waves at head high to 1 ft overhead on the bigger sets and clean and lined up but inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid new Dateline swell with waves up to 15 ft and clean and lined up but with brisk offshore winds. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean with light winds early. The East Shore was getting northwest wrap around swell with waves shoulder high or more and clean with light south winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/23) in California swell was still hitting from from remnants of a gale previously in the Northwestern Gulf gale that redeveloped off North CA Mon-Tues (1/21) producing up to 32 ft seas targeting North CA well. But of more interest is swell hitting Hawaii from a gale that built off Japan tracking from over the southern dateline region Sun-Tues (1/21) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed east before fading in the Western Gulf on Wed (1/22) with seas dropping from 33 ft. And yet another gale developed right behind on the dateline Wed-Fri (1/24) with 40 ft seas aimed southeast but not making it into the Gulf. Another weaker and far smaller gale is to form in the Western Gulf Fri-Sat (1/25) producing a small area of 36 ft seas aimed east. And a broad but weak system is forecast just west of the dateline Sat-Mon (1/27) producing 26-28 ft seas aimed east. But after that things quiet down. The Active Phase of the MJO is peaking now.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday (1/23) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan on the 33N latitude line with winds building to 150-160 kts on the dateline forming a broad but shallow trough there offering support for gale development then tracking east to the Central Gulf of Alaska forming another trough there also offering support for gale development, then splitting at 140W with the northern branch running northeast up over the US-Canada border. Over the next 72 hours the trough off the Pacific Northwest is to push onshore on Fri (1/24) offering weather there while the broad trough on the dateline moderates and washes out by Sat (1/25). But at that time wind energy is to be building streaming off Japan at 180 kts reaching east to the dateline and possibly starting to produce another broad trough west of the dateline on Sun (1/26). Beyond 72 hours winds in the jet are to build to 200 kts feeding the dateline trough on Mon (1/27) offering good support for gale development then moderating while tracking east into Wed (1/29) repositioned in the Western Gulf. A bit of a split in the jet is to develop over Hawaii at that time. Still into Thurs (1/30) the jet is to be consolidated in the west with winds 170 kts forming a new trough over Japan then ridging over the dateline only to fall into another trough in the Northwestern Gulf with the split point holding in the apex of that trough with the northern branch then pushing up into British Columbia. Decent support for gale development appears likely in both troughs.


Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/23) swell was still hitting California but fading produced by a gale that redeveloped from the remnants a gale previously over the Northwestern Gulf (see Northwestern Gulf Gale Part 2 below). And more importantly larger swell was hitting Hawaii from a storm that previously crossed the dateline (see Dateline Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours another storm was circulating on the dateline (see Another Dateline Storm below).

 

Northwestern Gulf Gale (Part 2)
Remnants of the Northwestern Gulf Gale (see above) started redeveloping in the Central Gulf on Sun AM (1/19) producing a small area of 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 42N 158W aimed southeast. The tiny gale tracked east in the evening with winds holding at 40-45 kts from the west and seas building to 31 ft at 42.5N 148W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/20) 40 kt northwest winds were approaching the North CA coast with 33 ft seas at 42.5N 142W aimed east. In the evening west winds at 35 kts are to be just off Cape Mendocino CA with 28 ft seas at 43N 136W aimed east. The gale was fading off the OR-CA border on Tues AM (1/21) with seas fading from 23 ft at 43N 131W aimed east.

North CA: Swell fading Thurs AM (1/23) from 5/4 ft @ 11 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 292-296 degrees

 

Dateline Storm
On Sun AM (1/19) a small storm developed off North Japan tracking east with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft at 36N 159.5E aimed east. In the evening 45 kt west winds were tracking east with seas to 43 ft at 37.5N 167E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/20) the gale was approaching the dateline with 45 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 39N 174.5E aimed east. The gale tracked east over the dateline in the evening with a broad area of 45 kt west winds and seas rebuilding to 43 ft at 40N 178.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (1/21) the gale was moving into the Western Gulf with a building area of 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 39 ft at 38.5N 173W aimed east. In the evening the gale pushed east with 35-40 kts northwest winds over a solid area and seas 38 ft at 38.5W 166.5W aimed east. The gale was fading Wed AM (1/22) with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 37N 159W aimed east. The gale faded in the evening with 30 kt west winds and seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 27 ft at 37.5N 152W aimed east. The gale faded out from there.

Hawaii: Swell peaking overnight and then starting to fade Thurs AM (1/23) from 9.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (15 ft). Residuals fading Friday AM (1/24) from 5.3 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305-326 degrees focused on 312-321 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (1/24) building to 7.8 ft @ 17-18 secs well after sunset (13.5 ft). Swell peaking overnight. Swell fading Sat AM (1/25) from 8.6 ft @ 16 secs (13.5 ft) with period to 15 secs by sunset. Residuals on Sun (1/26) fading from 6.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 283-293 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Fri (1/24) afternoon at 2.1 ft @ 19-20 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell building overnight pushing 4.0 ft @ 17 secs (6.5 ft) at sunrise Sat (1/25) (6.5 ft) fading some through the day. Swell fading Sun AM (1/26) from 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 286-296 degrees

 

Another Dateline Storm
Another gale developed off the Kuril Islands Tues PM (1/21) with 40 kt northwest winds over a smallish area and seas building from 23 ft at 41N 161E aimed southeast. The gale built while approaching the dateline Wed AM (1/22) with 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 33 ft over a solid area at 42N 168.5E aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds were 45 kts solid just west of the dateline with 39 ft seas at 43N 172.5E aimed east. More of the same was occurring Thurs AM (1/23) with the gale creeping east producing 40-45 kt northwest winds and 39 ft seas at 42.5N 177.5E aimed southeast. The gale is to stall in the evening with a broad area of 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 33 ft at 43N 179W aimed southeast. On Fri AM (1/24) northwest winds to hold at 40 kts but retrograding west some aimed east-southeast with seas dropping from 27 ft over a broad area at 39N 172W aimed east and southeast with new seas 32 ft over a tiny area up at 46N 172E aimed southeast. The gale is to fade in the evening with 26 ft seas fading over a tiny area at 45.5N 178E aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/25) building through the day peaking at sunset at 8.5-9.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (13.5-15.6 ft). Swell fading Sun AM (1/26) from 8.4 ft @ 15-16 secs early (13.0 ft) down only incrementally at sunset. Residuals fading Mon AM (1/27) from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (1/28) from 4.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 314-323 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (1/26) building to 2.8 ft @ 20 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (1/27) pushing 8.0 ft @ 16 secs (12.5 ft) late AM. Swell fading Tues AM (1/28) from 9.1 ft @ 15 secs early (13.5 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (1/29) from 6.7 ft @ 13 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 296-297 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon AM (1/27) building through the day and peaking near sunset at 3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell steady on Tues (1/28) at 4.2 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (1/29) from 3.2 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (1/30) fading from 2.5 ft @ 13 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 301-302 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 (1/23) light winds were occurring over North and Central CA forecast holding all day but south at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino later. Light showers for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon and evening. Friday (1/24) north winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Big Sur southward all day. Light rain for Pt Arena northward mainly early. Sat (1/25) a front is forecast building offshore but light winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA early turning south 15-20 kts late afternoon from Pt Arena northward. Light rain is forecast from the Golden Gate northward all day. No precip forecast for the Sierra. Sunday (1/26) some for of south winds at 10-15 kts are forecast for North CA all day and north winds for Central CA 5 kts early building to 10-15 kts later. Snow down into the Central Sierra through the day fading in the evening. Monday (1/27) southwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for the northern half of North CA and north winds 15 kts from Big Sur southward. Rain for Pt Arena northward all day. No snow for the Sierra. Tues (1/28) west winds are forecast at 15 kts for Bodega Bay northward early fading to light winds. North winds 15 kts all day from Monterey Bay to Pt Conception. Rain from San Francisco north all day. Moderate snow for tahoe mid-day. Wed (1/29) north winds 5-10 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Big Sur to Pt Conception. Light rain for Pt Arena northward. Thurs (1/30) north winds 10 kts for North CA and 15 kts from Big Sur southward to Pt Conception. High pressure building with no precip forecast for the state.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 14, 15, 13 and 1 inches respectively.

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
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

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another small gale is to develop in the Central Gulf on Fri AM (1/24) producing 40 kt west winds over a small area and seas 37 ft at 42.5N 153.5W aimed east, In the evening the gael is to be tracking east with 40-45 kt west winds over a tiny area and 34 ft seas at 44.5N 152W aimed east. Fetch is to lift east-northeast on Sat AM (1/25) with 35 kt west winds and seas 30 ft at 45N 150W aimed east. The gale is to be lifting northeast and off Washington in the evening with 28 ft seas at 46N 144W aimed east. Secondary fetch is to be south of it at 40 kts. On Sun AM (1/26) primary fetch is to be gone with secondary fetch producing 35 kt west winds and seas 26 ft at 42N 138.5W aimed east. Small swell possible for the Pacific Northwest down into North CA and merging/intermingled with swell from 'Another Dateline Storm' above.

On Sat PM (1/25) a broad area of 30-40 kt northwest winds are to be streaming off the North Kuril Islands reaching the Dateline producing 25-26 ft seas over a moderate sized area aimed southeast at 38N 170E aimed southeast. Fetch is to hold into Sun AM (1/26) with the core still west of the dateline producing 27 ft seas at 37.5N 165E with a second area of 26 ft seas just off the North Kuril Islands. In the evening the fetch is to consolidate at 35 kts midway between the Kurils and the dateline with 25 ft seas over a small area at 35N 172E aimed east and the second patch at 26 ft at 45N 166.5E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/27) the fetch is to start fading from 30-35 kts from the northwest and seas 24-25 ft at 35-45N 170E aimed east. Fetch holding at 30-35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 24 ft at 36N 166E. Fetch fading Tues AM (1/28) from 35 kts on the dateline with seas 26 ft at 32.5N 175.5E aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible smallish swell for Hawaii.

A series of gales are forecast for the Northern Gulf on Wed-Thurs (1/30) impacting North Canada and likely having impact mainly from Oregon northward.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Active MJO Starting to Fade

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 (1/22) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the dateline and then turning strong westerly over the Southern KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then moderate westerly over the dateline and strong westerly over all the KWGA focused on the southern half.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/23) moderate to strong west anomalies were filling the KWGA. A neutral wind pattern was over the East equatorial Pacific. The forecast calls for moderate to strong west anomalies holding in the KWGA through 1/26 then fading to modest strength and losing coverage at the end of the model on 1/30.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/22) A solid Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is forecast slowly easing east and moving east of the KWGA at the end of the model run 15 days out with the Inactive Phase building over and filling the KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening to weak status at day 10 and retrograding over the far Western KWGA then fading with a dead neutral pattern in control at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/23) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Central Pacific today and is to track east to the Western Indian Ocean at day 15 and at weak status. The GEFS model suggests the same thing, but with the Active Phase quickly retrograding east back to the Maritime Continent at day 8 at weak status then racing east into the Indian Ocean and weak 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): (1/23) This model depicts a modest Active MJO over the East Pacific today but backfilling to the Central equatorial Pacific. The Active Phase is to push east while slowly losing strength pushing into Central America on 2/7 while a moderate Inactive MJO signal eases into the West Pacific 1/28 pushing to the East Pacific and then into Central America on 2/27. A modest Active Phase is to be building over the West Pacific 2/17 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/3.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/22) This model depicts the Active Phase was filling the KWGA and peaking today with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. East anomalies had faded over the East Pacific. The Active Phase is to hold with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA through 1/29. Beyond that the Active Phase is to fade out 2/1 but with solid west anomalies holding till 2/7 and still present at moderate strength through the end of the model run on 2/19. West anomalies are to push into California 1/23-1/29.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/23) This model depicts the Active Phase filling the West KWGA with modest west anomalies in control there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to hold while tracking east through the KWGA with moderate west anomalies on the dateline through 3/5. The Inactive Phase is forecast developing 3/3 tracking east through 3/29 with west anomalies fading some and gone on 3/13. A weak Active Phase is to again set up 3/21 holding through the end of the model run on 4/21 but with weak to modest west anomalies in play through that duration. 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 to 4/10 then fade. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean and is to hold for the foreseeable future. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22/19 and are to hold through 3/19 then fade as the Inactive Phase pushes across the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/23) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was all but gone with it's remnants at 170E while the 29 deg isotherm was steady at 170W. The 28 deg isotherm line had backtracked from 157W to 164W and steady there today. The 24 deg isotherm previously was pushing into Ecuador but retrograded to 107W on 1/21 then was pushing back to Ecuador today. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at +3 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent moving east with it's leading edge pushing into Ecuador. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 125E under the Dateline east to 100W at +2 degrees with lesser warm water pushing east from there (impacting Ecuador). The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/18) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is tracking east between 165E-100W. Very weak positive anomalies were in a pocket along Ecuador reaching south to Northern Peru and up into Central America but breaking up some, the result of Kelvin Wave #5 impacting that region.

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: (1/22) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate modest warm anomalies were building in coverage some just off the coast of Chile up into Peru, Ecuador and Central America then streaming west north the equator from the Galapagos. Cool anomalies were directly along the coast of Peru pushing up to Ecuador and then in pockets on the equator west of the Galapagos. Weak cool anomalies were also holding in a pocket south of the equator and well off Peru filling the area from 10S south down beyond 20S reaching west to 115W and east to 80W. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/22): Today a broad area of modest warming was filling the area from Chile and Peru west out to 100W and building some in coverage. Stronger warming extended on the equator from Ecuador out to 120W. This was a new development, likely attributable to the demise of east anomalies and the Inactive Phase of the MJO and the Active Phase building over that same area. The short term trend is towards weak warming in the Southeast Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (1/22) A building pocket of cool anomalies is holding south of the equator starting at 5S and just off Peru reaching west out to 120W and steady compared to weeks past. Cool anomalies were fading out on the equator from Ecuador out to 120W. Otherwise gentle warming was along Chile up to Peru lifting north up to Ecuador then pushing west just north of 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: (1/23) Today's temps were rising some at +0.102 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:
(1/23) Temps were steady today at +0.339. 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).

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/23) 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 and then rising to +0.7 degs Jan 1. The forecast has temps rising to +0.9 degs on Feb 1 then slowly falling from there to 0.0 in mid-May then diving negative appearing to be moving to La Nina down at -0.80 in early Oct and stabilizing there. 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 Jan 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.42 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in June 2020, then holding there till Sept 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) (1/23): The daily index was neutral today at +0.05. The 30 day average was negative and rising at -3.59. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -6.14, 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 

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


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (1/19):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yugRLkLqdsY&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

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/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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