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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2021 5:23 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
3.8 - California & 3.3 - 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 1/25 thru Sun 1/31

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   

Raw Swell Pattern Continues for CA
Favorable Jetstream Shift Projected

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, January 28, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Point): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 7.7 secs from 154 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 13.9 secs from 256 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 14-18 kts. Water temperature 56.7 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 8.2 ft @ 14.9 secs from 306 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.9 ft @ 8.8 secs from 260 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 262 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 4.8 ft @ 13.4 secs from 281 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 16.8 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 12.4 ft @ 14.9 ft from 305 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 6-10 kts. Water temp 51.8 degs (013), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 52.5 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 (1/28) in North and Central CA waves were 8-10 ft on the face and surprisingly clean but ill formed and but still pretty warbled from south lump with rain. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and relatively clean and lined up with moderate offshore winds with decent form early with rain. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and trashed and unrideable due to strong south winds and full whitecaps with rain. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high on the sets and lined up with some defined peaks and clean and rideable but a little bit out of control and rain threatening. Central Orange County had sets at near head high and clean and lined up with no winds and sunshine but swamped by tide. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had waves at chest to head high and clean and lined up and soft. North San Diego had sets at waist to maybe chest high and clean coming from the north and soft with sunshine. Hawaii's North Shore was small with sets waist high or so at top spots and clean with north warble running through it. The South Shore was thigh high and clean and weak. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves 1 ft overhead and chopped from strong east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/28) California was getting raw swell from a gale that fell southeast through the Northeastern Gulf Tues-Wed (1/27) producing 35 ft seas targeting California. A weak gale tracked off Japan Sun-Mon (1/25) producing 33 ft seas aimed somewhat at Hawaii then shifted hard north then redeveloped south of the Western Aleutians on Tues-Wed (1/27) producing 45-50 ft seas aimed east but not making it to even the dateline. Swell is pushing to the Hawaiian Islands. Back east another gale is to fall southeast through the Gulf on Sat (1/30) with 26-28 ft seas aimed southeast. And Sat-Sun (1/31) a small gale is forecast trying to develop just off the Kuril Islands producing 28-30 ft seas aimed east but again not making it to the dateline but then trying to redevelop but much small on the dateline Mon (2/1) with 30 ft seas aimed east. Currently the Central North Pacific is locked down by strong high pressure but the models suggestion the jetstream may try to reconsolidate and push some distance east of the dateline.

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 (1/28) the jet was barely consolidated pushing east off Japan then splitting half way to the dateline with most winds tracking east in the northern branch of the jet just south of the Aleutians pushing to the Northern Gulf of Alaska with winds 150 kts in pockets then falling hard south forming a steep almost pinched trough just off Central CA offering some limited support for gale development before lifting northeast and up over the coast of North CA. At the split point the southern branch of the jet was was falling southeast and well west of Hawaii to the equator. Over the next 72 hours the trough off California is to push inland on Fri (1/29). But another trough is to set up over the Northern Gulf falling southeast Fri-Sun (1/31) positioned off North California offering support for gale development. Back to the west wind energy is to start building in the jet to 180 kts over and off Japan pushing the split point over the dateline to 170W on Mon (2/1) and starting to build eastward forming a new trough pushing off Kamchatka supporting gale development reaching to the Northern Dateline. Beyond 72 hours starting Tues (2/1) the split point is to move to 160W with winds 180-190 kts in the jet pushing just over the dateline with the Kamchatka trough falling southeast and starting to pinch off just west of the dateline but still offering support for gale development there. The trough previously in the Eastern Gulf is to move east and inland over North CA on Tues (2/2) while a big ridge holds over the Gulf of Alaska. And the southern portion of the jet is to start shifting east while falling southeast directly over Hawaii late Mon (2/1) and holding there likely making for much weather there. By late Thurs (2/4) the jet is to be fully consolidated tracking from Japan to a point almost north of the Hawaiian Islands (160W) falling into a pinched trough there then splitting, with the northern branch ridging hard north into the Northern Gulf and then inland over North Canada locking down the US West Coast in high pressure while the southern branch continues falling southeast directly over Hawaii. The good news is a more favorable jetstream configuration for storm development is forecast for the area west of Hawaii. The bad news is dry conditions are to return to the US West Coast, and wet conditions and poor local weather is likely for Hawaii.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/28) raw swell from a local system that fell southeast off the US West Coast was hitting California (see Local California Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a storm that developed off Kamchatka was pushing east towards Hawaii initially and then the US West Coast (see Kamchatka Gale below).

On Friday PM (1/29) remnants of the Kamchatka Storm (see below) are to redevelop in the Northern Gulf producing 30-35 kt northwest winds over a broad area with seas building from 28 ft at 48N 152.5W aimed east. On Sat AM (1/3) fetch is to be falling southeast and fading from 30-35 kts over a solid area off Oregon to British Columbia with 26 ft seas at 45N 148W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 25-30 kts well off North CA with 22-23 ft seas over a broad area with it's leading edge at 41N 146W aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/31) fetch is to be gone with seas from previous fetch at 19 ft at 40N 143W aimed southeast. The gale is to dissipate from there.

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Mon (2/1) at 7.8 ft @ 15 secs (11.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-302 degrees

Also another gale is to be developing just off Japan starting Sat AM (1/30) with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 31 ft at 38.5N 152.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to inch east but mostly lift north off the Kuril Islands with 35 kt northwest winds holding down south and seas 31 ft at 36N 158E aimed east. On Sun AM (1/31) fetch is to be fading while lifting north at 30-35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 37N 168E aimed east. The gale is to hold in the evening with 30-35 kt west winds and seas 24 ft at 37.5N 168E aimed east. The gale to dissipate from there but with a secondary fetch developing just east of it (see Longtern Forecast). Maybe some energy is to result for Hawaii.

 

Local California Gale
Starting Mon PM (1/25) a gale developed in the Northern Gulf producing a small area of 45 kt northwest winds aimed southeast with seas building from 31 ft at 52N 152W aimed southeast. On Tues AM (1/26) the gale was falling southeast with 40-45 kt northwest winds covering a solid area off British Columbia with seas 35 ft at 47.5N 148W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be falling hard south off Oregon and North CA at 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft at 42.5N 140W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (1/27) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts over a broad area off North and Central California from the northwest with seas 27 ft at 41N 135W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 23 ft at 37N 135W aimed southeast. Raw swell likely for all of California with copious rain and wind. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell arriving in earnest on Thurs AM (1/28) pushing 11.0 ft @ 15 secs (16 ft). Swell fading on Fri (1/29) from 7.3 ft @ 12-13 secs early (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 280 degrees turning to 295 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (1/28) pushing 4.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.5 ft) and holding steady. Swell fading on Fri (1/29) from 4.4 ft @ 13-14 secs early (5.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (1/30) fading from 2.9 ft @ 11-12 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees turning to 295 degrees

 

Kamchatka Storm
On Sun PM (1/24) a small gale developed off Southern Japan producing 45 kt east winds with seas building from 25 ft at 34N 158E aimed only southwest. Fetch pushed east Mon AM (1/25) at 55 kt aimed south with 32 ft seas at 35.5N 163E aimed south and of no immediate interest. In the evening fetch was building in coverage at 45-50 kts while lifting hard north with seas 32 ft at 36.5N 169E aimed south. The storm started reorganizing off Kamchatka Tues AM (1/26) with 55 kt west winds and seas regrouping at 46 ft at 47.5N 174.E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be lifting north with west winds 40-50 kts and seas building to 53 ft but all aimed north with 42 ft seas at 48N 175E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Wed AM (1/27) from 40-45 kts from the west just south of the Aleutians as the gale lifts north with it's core in the Bering Sea with 33 ft seas at 49N 177.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be dissipating over the North Dateline region with 35 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians with seas fading from 31 ft at 50N 180W aimed east. The gale is to be gone after that. Small swell possible for Hawaii with more energy targeting the US West Coast but further away. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Fri (1/29) pushing 4.0 ft @ 16 secs (6.0 ft). Swell to continue on Sat (1/30) at 4.2 ft @ 15 secs early (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 318 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/30) building to 2.9 ft @ 18 secs late (5.0 ft). Swell peaking on Sun (1/31) at 4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.5 ft). Swell getting overrun by local swell after that. Swell Direction: 300 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • On Thurs (1/28) south winds were 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA early and 20 kts for the northern half of Southern CA early and fading while turning westerly for North and the northern half of Central CA later afternoon at 10 kts and southwest 15 kts from Big Sur to Point Conception and south over all of Southern CA at 15+ kts. Moderate rain for all of North and Central CA all day and heavy rain for Pt Conception into inland Santa Barbara Co in the afternoon. Moderate rain for the remainder of Southern CA pushing south to San Diego in the evening. Heavy snow all day for the Sierra continuing into the evening while fading some.
  • Fri (1/29) light northwest winds are forecast 5-10 kts for North and Central CA east and 15 kts for Southern CA and holding all day up north and getting lighter at 10 kts for Southern CA later. But south winds and a new front to be building for Cape Mendocino late afternoon at 15 kts. Light rain for Central and South CA early and more concentrated for Southern CA early clearing in Central CA at sunset and fading late afternoon for Southern CA clearing overnight. Moderate snow for the Sierra early and fading through the day dissipating at sunset.
  • Sat (1/30) the front is to be limited to Pt Arena northward with south winds 25 kts there and south 5-10 kts down to the Golden Gate early. Otherwise light winds south of there. South winds to build to near 15 kts to the Golden Gate at sunset and holding at 25-30 kts for Pt Arena northward. South winds 5 kts for Central CA later. Moderate rain for North CA from Bodega Bay northward holding all day and into the evening. No snow for Tahoe southward.
  • Sunday (1/31) south winds continue at 20-35 kts for Pt Arena northward and south at 15 kts south to the Golden Gate and 10 kts over all of Central CA early and building to 20 kts down to the Golden Gate and 15 kts to Monterey Bay later. Moderate rain continued for Bodega Bay northward all day. No snow for Tahoe or the greater Sierra.
  • Monday (2/1) south winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North CA down to Pigeon Point and south 5-10 kts south of there to Pt Conception holding all day. Rain all day creeping south from Bodega Bay to the Golden Gate northward later. Snow building solidly at sunset into the evening for Tahoe reaching south to the Southern Sierra late evening.
  • Tues (2/2) high pressure builds in with northwest winds forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA early building into Southern CA late morning building to 20-25 kts for all of North, Central and South CA later. Rain for all of North and Central CA early pushing into all of Southern CA late morning then clearing just after sunset all locations. Heavy snow for Tahoe early building for the entire Sierra late morning then dissipating in the evening.
  • Wed (2/3) high pressure and clearing in control with north winds 20-25 kts early for North and Central CA holding all day. Light north-northeast winds for Southern CA all day. No precip forecast.
  • Thurs (2/4) a pressure gradient and north winds are forecast at 30 kts for North CA north of Bodega Bay early lifting to Pt Arena later with north winds 10 kts south of there all day. It looks like a Spring time pattern.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 58 inches, 62 inches, 62 inches, and 49 inches through 2/6.

Freezing level 4,700 ft today rising to 6,200 ft 1/30. Snow level falling to 1,500 ft on 2/3 then rising dramatically to 11,000 ft on 2/4 and up to 12,000 ft 2/5 and holding.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours perhaps secondary fetch from a previous gale off Japan is to from on the dateline Mon AM (2/1) generating 40 kt west winds over a small area with 27 ft at 38N 178E aimed east. The gale is to wind up but very small in coverage just west of the dateline in the evening with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 33 ft at 40N 174W aimed east. On Tues AM (2/2) the gale is to lift northeast with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 28 ft at 41N 172 W aimed east over a small area. The gale is to hold position in the evening with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 30 ft at 41N 169W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (2/3) fetch is to fade while falling south fast just 600 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 35-40 kt north winds and seas 22 ft at 27N 165W aimed directly at the Islands. In the evening the gael is to ease east with 35-40 kt northwest winds and 28 ft seas at 30N 158W aimed just east of Hawaii and in close proximity. Fetch is to start lifting hard north from there and losing definition with seas fading.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Water Temps Continue Rising over Equatorial East Pacific

MJO/ENSO Discussion
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 (1/27) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific building to strong over the Central Pacific and strong east over the East KWGA but weak east over the West KWGA. Anomalies were light westerly over the East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific then weak easterly over the west 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 (1/28) a mix of weak west and east anomalies were in control of the KWGA and have been since 1/23. The forecast calls for more of the same through 1/30 and then east anomalies rebuilding to moderate status 2/1 filling the KWGA and holding to the end of the model run on 2/4. West anomalies are currently south of California to Ecuador on the equator at moderate strength and are forecast slowly fading and covering only a sliver of space from 1/29 through the end of the model run between 120W-140W.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/27) A moderate Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it holding strength while easing slowly east and over the dateline still barely filling the KWGA by day 15 of the model run with the Inactive Phase building over the Maritime Continent. The dynamic model suggests a variation of the same thing with the Active Phase building steadily to moderate status on day 15 of the model run and not moving east at all still filling the KWGA.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/28) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the West Pacific today and is to ease east to the East Pacific and fade to weak status on day 15 over the far East Atlantic. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold position in the West Pacific at moderate strength through day 15, not moving east at all.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/27) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the Central and East Pacific and is to track east while fading moving over Central America on 2/26. A moderate and cohesive Inactive Phase is starting to build in the West Pacific and is to track east to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/8 while holding strength. A weak Active Phase is to building over the KWGA at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/27) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal today over the far West Pacific with weak west anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase is to track east through the KWGA and east of it on 2/8 with west anomalies holding at weak to modest strength but with one pocket of east anomalies in the mix as well. Weak to modest east anomalies are to return 2/11 holding through the end of the model run on 2/24 but nothing compared to what we've previously seen. The low pass filter indicates weakening in strength of high pressure bias over the KWGA currently with 1 contour line and even that is to lose 60% of it's current coverage at the end of the model run. And weak west anomalies are to be building in the far west KWGA at that time. A dramatic fall of La Nina is forecast in the next 4 days per this model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/28 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase in control of the KWGA and holding till 2/27 with weak west anomalies developing and holding over the KWGA mixed with one pocket of weak east anomalies. A weak but broad Inactive MJO is to return 2/10 tracking through the KWGA through 3/31 with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA through 3/13 and then east anomalies trying to take over. A moderate Active MJO signal is forecast building in the west KWGA 3/25 filling it at the end of the model run on 4/27 with weak west anomalies starting to take control. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 4 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California. The forth contour line is to fade on 3/7. The remaining 3 are to hold indefinitely. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to hold in coverage with the second contour line fading on 2/11 with the remaining contour line theoretically shrinking in coverage from the west on 3/6 and starting to ease east to 160E. 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 10/1/20 and have stabilized there.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/28) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 and 29 deg isotherms were gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 165E today. The 24 deg isotherm was building east and pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 175W at depth but moving no further east. A broad but weakening cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies focused at -3C at 155W and west from there. A pocket of +1 deg anomalies were building from 120W eastward. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 indicates the same thing but with no warm anomalies in the east. 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: (1/18) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator at -5 to -10 cms continuous over that area with 1 small pocket at -15 cms at 145W. A building flow of neutral anomalies was pushing off Ecuador over the Galapagos. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja and -5 to -10 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 170E 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.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/27) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were building on the equator from Ecuador west to 135W and then cooler west of there to the dateline. Solid cool anomalies were south of there streaming from Chile extending west-northwest to the dateline. But no markedly cooler imbedded pockets were present in the east but several were in the west between 160-180W on the equator. And the overall cool pool does not look as cold as weeks and months past. Cool anomalies were also losing strength along the coast of Peru with stray pockets of warming fading in coverage along the South Peruvian Coast. This indicates a late phase 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 (1/27): Temps continue warming off Chile and Peru reaching west to 140W. And a stream of strong warming was occurring on the equator from Ecuador to 120W. The balance looks like warming is taking the upper hand.
Hi-res Overview: (1/27) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up well off Peru tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. But warm anomalies are on the equator from Ecuador to 130W. The last of the core of La Nina cold waters are pushing west from 160W towards the dateline. The peak of La Nina is past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/28) Today's temps were rising solidly today up to -0.044 compared to -0.482 on (1/11) and -0.604 on 1/24. 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 on a slow but steady increase. Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/28) Temps have been steady but started rising from -0.982 on 1/21 to -0.786 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 but stabalized starting in October. .

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 (1/28) Actuals per the model indicates temps rose to -0.75 degs mid-Jan after bottoming out in early Nov at -1.25 degs. The forecast depicts temps fading but mostly steady into April at -0.80 then starting a steep decline pushing -2.1 degs in Oct. This is completely unbelievable. This model is having some serious issues.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Jan 21, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.80 degs today, and are to rise to -0,25 in April and neutral by August. Most models are suggesting a moderate 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) (1/28): The daily index was falling at +21.11. The 30 day average was rising to +17.56. The 90 day average was rising to 14.30, 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 

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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 (1/24):
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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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