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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, February 20, 2021 1:32 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
2.2 - California & 2.2 - 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 2/22 thru Sun 2/28

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   

Strong 1046mb High Forecast
Weak Gales Around the Edges

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Saturday, February 20, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Point): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 7.8 secs from 171 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs.
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 7.5 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 7.9 secs from 64 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 6.7 secs from 269 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 16-20 kts. Water temperature NA degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.9 ft @ 6.8 secs from 318 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.2 ft @ 6.5 secs from 261 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 224 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 235 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 13.2 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 8.6 ft @ 9.9 secs from 299 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 23-31 kts. Water temp 51.8 (029), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 53.8 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 Saturday (2/20) North and Central CA had waves at head high to 2 ft overhead on the sets and chopped and a mess coming from the north and not rideable. Protected breaks were head high or so and a warbled mess with strong northwest winds. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to shoulder high on the sets and clean and lined up but weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high and looked like it was chopped but there was no wind. Central Orange County had set waves at waist high or so and clean and soft and very weak. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were maybe waist high and weak and mushed but clean. North San Diego had sets at waist to chest high and clean and lined up with glassy conditions but a little closed out. Hawaii's North Shore had some residual sets at chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up at top spots. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high or so and chest high and chopped from modest east wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (2/20) California was was seeing the last dribbles of secondary swell from a weak system that developed while tracking over the dateline and into the Western Gulf Fri-Sat (2/13) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east before it lifted northeast fast. But even that was buried in windswell. Also a pair of weak gales were tracking over the North Dateline region and the the Northwestern Gulf Fri-Sun (2/21) producing seas of 23 and 28 ft respectively supporting minimal swell development. Nothing significant is to follow. A small gale is forecast off the Kuril Islands on Sun-Mon (2/22) producing barely 31 ft seas over a tiny area but not making it to even the dateline. And another is forecast in the same area on Thurs (2/25) with 27 ft seas barely limping to the dateline. Down south swell from a small gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific has produced tiny swell fading out now. And another is right behind. But nothing else is forecast to follow.

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 Saturday (2/20) the jet was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds to 190 kts making it just over the dateline to 170W then splitting with the northern branch ridging northeast with winds still 180 kts pushing up to the Southern Alaskan coast then falling southeast down and over the Canadian and US West Coast pushing inland over Pt Conception. No troughs were indicated though low pressure could form north of the jet. The southern branch was falling south just east of the dateline pushing to the equator and of no interest. Over the next 72 hours wind energy in the jet is to steadily weaken with the split point retrograding to 165E with wind energy falling off rapidly east of there fragmenting into 3 non-distinct flows offering nothing. Beyond 72 hours starting on Wed (2/24) the jet is to repair itself slightly with the split point moving east back to the dateline with a trough starting to build off the Kuril ISlands on Thurs (2/25) but being fed by only 140 kts winds offering minimal support for gale development. The trough is to lift northeast fading over the North Dateline region on Fri (2/26) with the split point retrograding again back to 160E. By Sat (2/27) a weak pinched trough is to set up off the Kurils offering little and potentially another trough is to try and set up over the Northwestern Gulf. At that time the split point is to again push east to the dateline. But the overriding issue is weak wind energy in the jet not providing fueled to support substantial gale development. It looks like Spring.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (2/20) swell from from a secondary gale that developed while lifting northeast towards the Gulf of Alaska was all but gone in Hawaii and buried under locally generated windswell along the US West Coast (see Secondary Dateline Gale below).

Of Note - A massive and very solid 1046 mb high pressure system is forecast developing and filling the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs (2/25) and still 1040 mbs on Sat (2/27) while falling gently southeast. This certainly seems like a clear sign of the beginning of a La Nina induced Springtime wind regime.

Over the next 72 hours we're watching a broad pool of low pressure that started developing over the Northwest Pacific on Fri AM (2/19) with 2 pockets of winds at 30-35 kts, one off the North Kuril Islands and the other near the dateline. By the evening those 2 fetch areas shifted east some, with with the east-most one building to 35-40 kts from the southwest. Seas were 26 ft at 41N 175W aimed northeast and the secondary area off the Kurils had 21 ft seas at 47N 162E aimed east. On Sat AM (2/20) these fetch areas continued east with the west-most one approaching the North Dateline region with 30-35 kts west winds producing 23 ft seas at 47N 170E and the eastern one producing 40 kt southwest winds with seas at 28 ft at 46.5N 162.5W both aimed more or less to the east. In the evening the dateline low is to fade with 30 kts west winds and 23 ft seas at 47.5N 178E aimed east and the other is to move into the Northern Gulf with 35 kt southwest winds and 27 ft seas at 48.5N 152.5W aimed east. On Sun AM (2/21) the dateline gale is to move into the Northwestern Gulf and fade in coverage with 30-35 kt west winds and 24 ft seas at 51N 170W while the other has winds of 35 kts producing 25 ft seas at 50N 140W and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degrees). In the evening the east-most system is to be out of the CA swell window after that while the west-most one pushes into the Northwestern Gulf 35 kt west winds and seas 26 ft at 51N 160W aimed east. On Mon AM (2/22) fetch is to fade with 30 kt west winds over the far Northeastern Gulf and 23 ft seas fading at 52N 150W. This system is to no longer be of interest after that. Decent odds for small weak swell for both HI and CA. Will monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (2/23) at 2.8 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (2/24) from 2.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

North CA: expect swell arrival on Mon PM (2/22) building to 3.4 ft @ 15-16 secs late (5.0 ft). Swell to continue upwards overnight peaking Tues AM (2/23) at 5.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (7.0 ft) but buried in local north windswell. Swell fading on Wed (2/24) from 5.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft) with copious local windswell intermixed. A possible resurgence of swell to follow. Swell Direction: 300+ degrees

 

Also another small gale is forecast developing off the Kuril Islands on Sun PM (2/21) producing west winds at 40-45 kts over a tiny area and seas 31 ft at 45N 163E aimed east. On Mon AM (2/22) fetch is to fade from 35 kt lifting northeast with seas fading from 27 ft at 43.5N 170E aimed east. Fetch is to dissipate in the evening from 30 kt over the North Dateline region with seas fading from 23 ft at 46.5N 178E aimed east. This system to be gone after that. Something to monitor.

 

Secondary Dateline Gale
A gale started developing well south and west of the dateline on Thurs PM (2/11) producing 45 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 33N 168E aimed east. On Fri AM (2/12) west winds were holding while lifting east-northeast at 45 kts with seas 31 ft over a small area at 32.5N 177.5E aimed east. The gale is to start racing northeast in the evening with 35-40 kt west winds pushing east over the Western Gulf with seas 32 ft over a small area at 39.5N 167W aimed east. On Sat AM (2/13) the gale was lifting northeast with 45 kt west winds in the far Northwestern Gulf with seas 33 ft at 45N 162W aimed east. The gale was fading in the far Northwest Gulf in the evening with 30-35 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 50N 157W aimed east. Secondary fetch was south of there at 35 kts from the west and seas 24 ft at 44N 155W aimed east. On Sunday AM (2/14) secondary fetch continued at 40 kts from the northwest in the Gulf producing 25 ft seas at 44.5N 155W aimed east. Fetch was fading and racing east in the evening at 30-35 kts from the west with seas 23 ft at 46.5N 148W aimed east. This system dissipated while pushing east off Vancouver Island on Mon AM (2/15) with 30 kt west winds and seas 23 ft at 46N 135W aimed east. The gale faded out from there while pushing into the Pacific Northwest.

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (2/20) from 3.8 ft @ 11-12 secs early (4.0 ft) with local windswell building. Swell Direction: 292 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

  • Sun (2/21) north-northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for all of North and Central CA early but maybe lighter nearshore fading to 10-15 kts later but still 20 kts for Cape Mendocino. No precipitation forecast with high pressure in control.
  • Mon (2/22) north-northeast winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for North and Central CA all day but 20-25 kts from the north for Cape Mendocino.
  • Tues (2/23) a new gradient and north winds are forecast at 30+ kts for all of North CA early but 10 kts south of the Golden Gate early with 30 kt north winds building in coverage down to Monterey Bay later and 15-20 kts southward to Pt Conception.
  • Wed (2/24) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for all of North CA and 20 kts for Central CA early but less nearshore and holding all day.
  • Thurs (2/25) a massive 1046 mb high pressure system is to set up in the Gulf of Alaska producing north winds at 20-25 kts nearshore early for North CA and 10 kts early for Central CA building to 30-35 kts late for all of North CA and 25 kts for Central CA.
  • Fri (2/26) north winds are forecast at 30 kts for all of North CA and 25 kts for Central CA early (though less nearshore) holding all day.
  • Sat (2/27) north winds are forecast at 20-30 kts early for North CA early down to Bodega Bay and 10-15 kts south of there holding all day. No precip liquid or snow for the week.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inch through 2/27.

Freezing level 3,500 ft through 2/20 then building quickly to 10,500 ft on 2/22 before settling back down to 8,500 ft on 2/23 and holding there for the foreseeable future (3/1).

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
Swell was hitting California from a gale previously in the deep Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Swell from another gale that followed right behind in the far Southeast Pacific is in the water tracking northeast too (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also small swell from a gale previously lifting northeast from under New Zealand was radiating northeast (see Small New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale started developing in the far Southeast Pacific Sun PM (2/7) producing 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas building from 26 ft at 53S 127 W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (2/8) southwest fetch was holding at 35 kts with seas 28 ft at 50.5S 129W aimed northeast. And a secondary fetch was forming south of there at 45 kts aimed north with seas building from 28 ft at 64S 119W aimed north. In the evening the secondary fetch is to be fading from 40 kts from the south with seas 30 ft at 61S 118W aimed north. A tertiary fetch of 40 kt southwest winds was building on Tues AM (2/9) with 33 ft seas at 62.5S 143.5W aimed northeast. In the evening that fetch lifted hard northeast at 35 kts with seas fading from 30 ft at 55S 120W aimed northeast. This system dissipated after that. Possibly small southerly angled swell for Southern CA to result.

Southern CA: Residuals fading on Sat (2/20) from 1.7 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees moving to 185 degrees

North CA: Dribbles on Sat (2/20) fading from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185 degrees moving to 180 degrees

 

Another Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale was tracked east over the Central South Pacific building on Sat AM (2/13) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 33 ft at 60.5S 152.2W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was building in coverage at 35-40 kts from the southwest with 30 ft seas at 60S 142W aimed northeast. Fetch moved over the far Southeast Pacific on Sun AM (2/14) at 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas 29 ft at 59S 131.5S aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading from 30-35 kts while tracking east with seas 28 ft at 58S 122W aimed northeast. After that the gale faded and moved out of the Southern CA swell window. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/22) building to 1.5 ft @ 17 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Tues (1/23) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft) and holding. Swell DIrection: 193 degrees

North CA: Swell arriving on Tues (1/23) building to 1.4 ft @ 16 secs early (2.0 ft) a and likely buried in North Pacific swell. Swell Direction: 190 degrees

 

Small New Zealand Gale
On Wed PM (2/17) a small gale was tracking northeast from under New Zealand producing 40 kt southwest winds with seas 29 ft at 62S 1670E aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (2/18) the gale was lifting northeast with southwest winds fading from 35+ kts with seas 32 ft at 58.5S 179.5W aimed northeast. The gale faded in the evening with 30-35 kt southwest winds and seas fading from 29 ft at 57.5S 168.5W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (2/19) residuals 30+ kt southwest winds were still present producing 25 ft seas at 48S 172W aimed almost north. In the evening fetch was fading while pushing north from 30 kts with seas fading from 24 ft at 44S 165W aimed north at Hawaii and Tahiti. Small background swell is expected for Hawaii and Tahiti.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/25) building to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (2/26) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (2/27) from 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Swell weakly showing late on Sat (2/27) pushing1.1 ft @ 18 secs (1.5-2.0 ft) rarely. Swell Direction: 208 degrees

 

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 another small gale is forecast developing off North Japan on Wed PM (2/24) producing 35+ kt west winds with seas building from 26 ft at 43.5N 161E aimed east. On Thurs AM (2/25) 35-40 kt west winds are to be pushing east with 27 ft seas at 42.5N 162.5E aimed east. Fetch is to fade from 30-35 kts in the evening with seas 25 ft at 41.5N 168.5E aimed east. On Fri AM (2/26) the gale is to lift northeast with 30-35 kt west winds and seas fading from 24 ft at 44N 174.5E aimed east. This system is to be gone after that. But perhaps it's remnants to regenerate in the far Northwestern Gulf beyond.

Also on Wed AM (2/24) a gale is to develop in the far Northeastern Gulf with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 19 ft at 51.5N 145W aimed east. Fetch is to build in the evening to 45 kts with seas 30 ft at 55N 139W aimed east but well east of the North CA swell window. No swell generation potential is forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Warming Trend Continues

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 (2/19) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and moderate plus over the KWGA. Anomalies were light west over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then moderate easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (2/20) solid west anomalies were over the extreme west KWGA. Otherwise moderate east anomalies were filling the bulk of the KWGA. The forecast calls for light east anomalies continuing through the end of the model run on 2/27, with strong east anomalies developing just east of the dateline on 2/21-2/25 then easing further east to 150W and well east of the KWGA at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/19) A modest Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it easing slowly east while losing strength and out of the KWGA at day 15 of the model run with the Inactive Phase trying to build over the West KWGA at day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase weakening quickly on day 5 to almost nothing and backtracking west on day 10 of the model run and weak over the east end of the KWGA at day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/20) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was very weak over the West Pacific today and is to collapse while tracking east fading over the West Indian Ocean at very weak status on day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold position in the West Pacific at weak status at day 15, not moving east at all and if anything retrograding west some.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/19) This model depicts a very weak Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the East Pacific and is to track east while fading moving over Central America on 3/21. A weak Inactive Phase was over the West Pacific today and is to track east and to Central America at the end of the model run on 3/31. A weak Active Phase is to develop over the KWGA on 3/21 moving to the Central Equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/31.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/19) This model depicts a neutral MJO signal over the KWGA with a mix of west and east anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to backtrack west and fade from 2/25-3/5 and gone at that time with east anomalies taking control filling the KWGA at moderate strength and holding through the end of the model run on 3/19. West anomalies are currently south of California and are to hold coverage and strength through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/20 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO is building in the west KWGA today and is to be tracking east through the KWGA through 4/7 with weak west anomalies in the far West KWGA but mostly moderate east anomalies to hold control. A weak Active MJO signal is forecast to follow 3/24 tracking east through 5/11 producing modest to moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA. A weak Inactive MJO is to follow 4/12 in the far West KWGA starting to fill the KWGA at the end of the model run on 5/20 with weak west anomalies fading. 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 4/10. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 5/1. The third contour line is to fade 5/17. The remaining 1 is to hold indefinitely. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today. The remaining contour line is to theoretically start shrinking in coverage from the west on 425 and starting to ease east to 175E at the end of the run. Perhaps a second contour line is to redevelop on 5/5. East anomalies that were previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year migrated east into the West Pacific on 10/1/20 and stabilized there and are theoretically starting a slow fade, or at least an eastward migration.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/20) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 165E today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific but getting thinner than last week. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +3 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to maybe 165W at depth but moving no further east. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies in a broad pocket at -4C at 125W and west from there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 indicates the same thing. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were the least negative at any time in months. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/12) 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 but with a small pocket at -15 cms at 140W and all but gone now. A thin flow of neutral anomalies was trying to push west off Ecuador but was not even reaching to the Galapagos. Negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms were along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja at -5 to -10 cms then weaker 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 substantially weakening.

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: (2/18) The latest images indicate a stream of cool waters tracking west from the Galapagos joining the main pocket on the equator from 145W to the dateline. But this flow looks weaker than days past. Solid cool anomalies were streaming from Chile west-northwest to the dateline also feeding the main cool pool. The cool pool looks like it is trying to regenerate in the East after having previously faded. Overall 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 (2/18): Temps are warming solidly along the equator from Ecuador west to 140W. Weaker warming was off South Chile and up to Southern Mexico. No pockets of cooling were present. A marked warming trend is underway.
Hi-res Overview: (2/18) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile tracking northwest to the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. A fragile pattern of warm anomalies was trying to develop on the equator from Ecuador to 110W. A broader and cooler core of La Nina cold waters are pushing west from 140W towards the dateline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/20) Today's temps were rising slightly at -0.104 after a recent high of +0.100 on 2/1. Temps previously were -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:
(2/20) Temps were starting to rise again to -0.611 the new highest temp in months. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3, rising to to -0.982 on 1/21. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps were on a steady decline since 7/25 then bottomed out in late October and have been on a slow increase since.

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 (2/20) Actuals per the model indicates temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose to -0.65 degs mid-Jan and -0.45 degs in Feb. The forecast depicts temps holding steady from today into mid-April at -0.45 then starting a steep decline falling to -1.45 degs in Oct and -1.50 degs in Nov. This seems unbelievable but suggests another year of La Nina possible.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.64 degs today, and are to rise to -0.37 in April and stabilizing in May at -0.26 maybe easing up to -0.24 degs in Oct. Most models are suggesting a moderate La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring of 2021.
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) (2/20): The daily index was rising to +21.71. The 30 day average was rising to +14.11 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was rising at +15.25 a new peak and clearly indicative of La Nina. 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 (2/21):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?hd=1&v=cXO0lL9ZvL4&feature=youtu.be
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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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