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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2021 4:39 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
1.8 - California & 1.9 - 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 3/15 thru Sun 3/21

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   

Some Hope for the Gulf
South Pacific Showing Some Promise

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Saturday, March 13, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 5.6 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 15.6 secs from 211 degrees. Water temp 76.1 degs (Pearl Harbor 233).
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.0 ft @ 10.1 secs from 92 degrees. Water temp 75.7 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.6 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 8.1 secs from 3016 degrees (Buoy 067 - San Nicolas Island). Wind at the buoy was NA kts. Water temperature 56.1 (Topanga 103), 56.3 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.6 (Del Mar 153). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.4 ft @ 8.0 secs from 299 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.4 ft @ 6.4 secs from 259 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.9 ft @ 9.2 secs from 267 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.4 ft @ 6.6 secs from 270 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 6.3 secs from 318 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was NA kts. Water temp 50.2 (029), 52.0 degs (SF Bar) and 52.9 degs (Santa Cruz).

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 (3/13) North and Central CA had waves at waist high and blown with strong northwest winds and not really rideable. Protected breaks were waist high and mushed and heavily textured but with a few rideable waves intermixed. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to waist high and mushed and warbled with pretty mixed up surface conditions though no wind was blowing. Central Orange County had set waves at thigh to maybe waist high and clean but somewhat warbled and weak and not really rideable. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were flat and nearly chopped and unrideable. North San Diego had sets at knee to thigh high and mushed and heavily textured and weak. Hawaii's North Shore had waves at 1-2 ft overhead and nearly chopped from northerly wind and warbled and not real rideable. The South Shore was getting some wrap around windswell at up to thigh high and clean and warbled. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell with waves chest high and chopped from strong northeast winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (3/13) California was seeing no rideable swell. Hawaii was getting local northeast windswell. A small low pressure system developed in the Northern Gulf Fri-Sat (3/13) producing up to 22 ft seas aimed south likely bypassing both Hawaii and CA. But a local low is to produce 20 kt seas just northeast of Hawaii on Sat-Sun (3/14) offering some hope there. And maybe a more organized gale is to be tracking west through the Central Gulf on Tues-Wed (3/17) producing 23 ft seas aimed east then rebuilding off Oregon on Thurs-Sat (3/20) producing 20-24 ft seas aimed east. Down south a small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific on Sun (3/7) producing 35 ft seas lifting northeast with swell radiating north from it. And another gale is forecast developing the upper reaches of the South Central Pacific Sun-Mon (3/15) with 36 ft seas aimed north. And a stronger system is to form in the deep Central South Pacific Sun-Mon (3/15) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed east-northeast. And another is forecast pushing under New Zealand Wed-Fri (3/19) with up to 40 ft seas aimed east-northeast. So though no serious swell is forecast there is some hope for rideable swell.

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 (3/13) the jet was a fragmented mess pushing east off the area from Japan up to the North Kuril Islands with winds to 120 kts in a few pockets plodding east over the dateline and to a point north of Hawaii, then slightly organizing more forming a small pinched trough in the North Gulf offering very limited support for low pressure development. Otherwise nothing else of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours the pinched trough in the Gulf is to fall southeast holding together into late Sun (3/14) pushing into North CA perhaps offering some weak support for gale development. But otherwise the jet is to remain a mess. Starting Mon (3/15) a more organized trough is to start building over the Northwestern Gulf pushing southeast being fed by small pocket of 150 kt winds and tracking east into late Wed (3/17) offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the remnants of that trough are to still be circulating in the Central Gulf and holding stationary being fed by 90 kts winds building to 110 kts on Fri (3/19) offering improved support for gale development there before pushing inland over the Pacific Northwest on Sat (3/20). Back to the west starting Fri (3/19) the jet is to become more focused with the northern branch tracking east from Japan with winds 120 kts and that flow pushing east into the Gulf of Alaska on Sat (3/20) with perhaps a trough building over the North Dateline region and another building in the Gulf. So there's some potential for gale development and a more productive pattern long term.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (3/13) no swell was still hitting California. Local windswell was hitting Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours things are to get marginally more interesting due to development of a weak gale that formed in the Northern Gulf on Fri AM (3/12) producing 35-40 kts north winds over a tiny area with seas building from 20 ft at 45N 148W over an even smaller area aimed south. In the evening 30-35 kt north winds were building in coverage aimed midway between the mainland and Hawaii partially driven by a 1040 mb high pressure system to the gales west in the Northwestern Gulf with 23 ft seas at 42N 1487 aimed south mostly bypassing both the US West Coast and HI. On Sat AM (3/13) fetch was fading from 30 kts from the north driven by the high pressure system with a secondary fetch of 30-35 kt northeast winds targeting Hawaii directly and in close proximity producing 21 ft seas at 38.5N 145W aimed south and 19 ft seas at 27N 155W just 300 nmiles northeast of Hawaii. In the evening the main fetch is to be gone with no seas being produced from it but the fetch off Hawaii still producing 30+ kt northeast winds and seas to 20 ft at 25N 152W aimed southwest at the Islands. On Sun AM (3/14) the fetch northeast of Hawaii is to be fading from 30 kts with 19 ft seas fading at 24.5N 153W aimed at the Islands. This system is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii (Oahu North Shore): Expect windswell arrival on Sat afternoon (3/13) building to 9.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (10 ft). Swell continues on Sun (3/14) at 8.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (10 ft). Swell fading on Mon (3/15) from 7.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (8.0 ft). Dribbles Tues (3/16) fading from 5.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 00 degrees moving to 20 degrees

North CA: No swell to result.

 

On Tues AM (3/16) another gale is to build in the Western Gulf with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 19-20 ft at 43N 159.5W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts in the Central Gulf with seas 19 ft at 40N 153W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (3/17) west winds are to be off North CA at 25 kts with seas 17 ft at 37N 145W aimed east-southeast. In the evening a new gale center is to develop off Vancouver Island with northwest winds 35 kts and seas trying to rebuild. On Thurs AM (3/18) northwest winds to build to 45 kts with seas 30 ft at 46.5N 145W aimed south. In the evening fetch is to fall southeast at 35-40 kts off Oregon with seas fading from 29 ft at 44.5N 141.5W aimed southeast. the gale is to be fading Fri AM (3/19) with 35 kt west winds and seas 23 ft at 43.5N 137.5W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

 

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 (3/14) south winds ahead of a front are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and up to 30 kts for Cape Mendocino pushing south to the Golden Gate at sunset with the front dissolving and south winds at 10 kts reaching Big Sur overnight. A light wind flow is forecast early for Central CA turning light south near sunset. Rain for North CA starting in the afternoon pushing south to Santa Cruz at sunset and Morro Bay overnight. Snow developing for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Mon (3/15) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts early for North and Central CA continuing through the day if not reaching 30 kts over Central CA later. Northwest wind building for Southern CA late morning to 20+ kts pushing 30 kts at sunset. Spotty rain for North and Central CA early and fading through the day. Maybe some showers for Southern CA late morning through the afternoon. Solid snow over the Sierra early fading slowly through the day and gone in the evening.
  • Tues (3/16) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts early for North and Central CA fading to 15 kts in the afternoon. Light winds for Southern CA. No precip forecast.
  • Wed (3/17) light northwest winds are forecast early (10 kts) for North and Central CA fading through the day as another front approaches. South winds building for Cape Mendocino to 10-15 kts in the afternoon.
  • Thurs (3/18) south winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino early and south 10 kts to the Golden Gate and lighter still to Santa Cruz early. The front is to not make it south of Bodega Bay and be fading in the afternoon with south winds 15 kts from San Francisco northward. Light winds south of there. Rain building from Cape Mendocino to the Golden Gate through the afternoon. No snow forecast.
  • Fri (3/19) south winds are forecast at 20 kts isolated to Cape Mendocino early with light south winds to the Golden Gate and calm south of there. A light southwest flow is forecast to Pt Conception in the afternoon. Rain is forecast building south to the Golden Gate at sunset with showers south to Pt Conception through the day. Maybe some light snow for the upper reaches of Tahoe through the day turning to solid snow for the whole Sierra overnight.
  • Sat (3/20) light northwest winds 5 kts early building to 15 kts for Central CA in the afternoon and southwest 10-15 kts in the afternoon for Cape Mendocino with another front approaching. Scattered rain showers slowly fading through the day from Pt Conception northward. Snow for the Sierra all day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 37 inches, 42 inches, 46 inches, and 16 inches isolated to 3/14, 3/19 and a little on 3/21.

Freezing level to 8,500 ft on 3/13 falling to 2,000 ft on 3/15 then starting a steady warming trend with freezing level reaching 7,000 ft on 3/17 and holding there till 3/19, then falling again to about 3,000 ft on 3/20 and holding through 3/22.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No southern hemi swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii today. But small swell was radiating north from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is forecast developing in the Central South Pacific on Sat PM (3/13) producing south winds at 45 kts over a small area aimed north with seas building. On Sun AM (3/14) the gale is to build with south winds at 45 kts with 35 ft seas at 46S 143W aimed north. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35-40 kts lifting north with 33 ft seas at 42S 141W aimed north. Fetch is to fade Mon AM (3/15) from 30-35 kts with residual seas fading from 27 ft at 39S 140W aimed north. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor and interesting given it's very northward position and northward track.

Of interest also is a new storm forecast developing in the deep Central South Pacific on Sun AM (3/14) producing 45-50 kt southwest winds streaming off the Ross Ice Shelf with seas building from 33 ft at 67S 180W aimed northeast. On Sun PM the storm is to be building with 55 kt southwest winds and seas 43 ft at 67S 168W and just off the summertime melted Ross Ice Shelf. On Mon AM (3/15) southwest winds to be 45 kts over a decent sized area with seas 41 ft at 64.5S 151.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening the gale is to be fading with southwest winds fading from 30 kts and seas fading from 31 ft at 61S 141W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

 

Small Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale started building in the deep Southeast Pacific Sat PM (3/6) producing 40-45 kt southwest winds with seas building from 26 ft at 65S 147W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (3/7) 45 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast fast with 35 ft seas at 59S 123.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was east of the SCal swell window with 40 kt south winds and seas 32 ft at 55S 113.5W aimed northeast. Small swell is radiating northeast.

South California: Expect swell arrival on Mon (3/15) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) late. Swell building on Tues (3/16) to 1.7 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (3/17) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 180 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (3/16) building to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (3/17) from 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (3/18) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 175 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 a new gale is forecast developing in the Eastern Gulf with 35-40 kt northwest winds building off North CA on Sat PM (3/20) with seas building.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Wed PM (3/17) a gale is forecast building under New Zealand producing a broad area of 40-45 kt southwest wind with seas building from 32 ft at 57S 163.5E aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (3/18) fetch is to build to 45 kts from the southwest with seas 36 ft at 61S 169.5E aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to push northeast at 40 kts with seas 38 ft at 60S 179W aimed east-northeast. On Fri AM (3/19) fetch is to fade from 35 kts over a broad area aimee east-northeast with seas fading from 34 ft at 56.5S 167.5W aimed northeast. This system is to quickly dissipate after that. Something to monitor.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Warm Subsurface Waters Possible Seeping East

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 (3/12) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing at moderate over the Central Pacific and moderate over the KWGA. Anomalies were strong east over the East equatorial Pacific then modest west over the Central Pacific then modest to 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 (3/13) east anomalies were light to modest over the KWGA. The forecast calls for light east anomalies slowly fading in intensity through the forecast period but still present at weak status at the end of the model run on 3/20.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/12) A moderate Inactive MJO pattern was building over the West KWGA today. The statistic model projects the moderate Inactive MJO pushing east through the KWGA building to strong status and over the core of the KWGA at day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests the Inactive Phase holding at moderate status over the far West KWGA through the model run with no change forecast through day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/13) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the North Africa today and is to track east into the Central Indian Ocean by day 15 of the model run and exceedingly weak. The dynamic model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (3/12) This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO pattern (dry air) over the West Pacific and it is to track east while slowly losing strength moving over Central America on 3/27. A secondary Inactive Phase is to develop over the West Pacific on 4/1 tracking east while slowly fading and pushing into Central America at the end of the model run on 4/21. A cohesive Active Phase (wet air) is to be developing over the KWGA on 4/11 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/12) This model depicts a neutral MJO over the KWGA today with mostly weak east anomalies in the KWGA. The forecast indicates a weak Inactive MJO is to track slowly east through the KWGA 3/23 through the end of the model run on 4/9 with east anomalies slowly building in strength and coverage peaking starting on 3/26 and holding through the end of the model run. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are moving south of California today through 3/24 increasing the odds of rain there during that window. But east anomalies are forecast building in coverage over the Central and East Pacific filling that area to a point south of California by 4/2 and holding through the end of the model run (meaning decreased odds for rain in CA then).
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/13 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the KWGA today and its to slowly and weakly track east through 4/13 with weak east anomalies holding during that timeframe over the dateline with interspersed pockets of weak west anomalies. An Active MJO signal is forecast to follow tracking east 4/8-6/1 producing solid if not strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. A modest Inactive MJO is to follow 4/28 through the end of the model run on 6/10 but with modest west anomalies still in control of the KWGA. 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 3/20. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 4/30. The second contour line is to fade 5/20. The remaining 1 is to hold indefinitely but shifting quickly east and losing coverage. 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 5/4 and starting to track east to 180W on 6/5 and filling the KWGA just after that while building to 2 contour lines. This looks like a possible El Nino scenario if one is to believe the model. 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, but are theoretically starting a slow fade while migrating east moving to the a point south of California by late April as the Active Phase builds then. Theoretically the end of La Nina is near (starting on 4/15).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/13) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 170E after being steady at 165E for over a month. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and building in coverage and depth as compared to weeks prior. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +4 deg C have moved east with the dividing line today at 153W versus 165W on 2/21 with a thin finger tracking eat to 120W if one is to believe the model. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies in a broad pocket at -3C at 125W and west from there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/9 indicates the same thing but with warm anomalies moving east to 135W and maybe even east of that. 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: (3/9) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator but now only down to -5 cms. A small area of positive anomalies was building over Ecuador pushing almost to the Galapagos. Negative anomalies were -5 cms along the coast of Peru and reaching north from Central America up to Baja then 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. But it was much weaker than weeks and months past. And now a small pocket of positive anomalies were developing.

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: (3/12) The latest images indicate a stream of weak cool water tracking west on the equator from 110W feeding the main pocket of cooling from 150W continuing west to the dateline. But temperatures were much warmer than even a few days ago over that whole area. Warmer temps were building positive along Peru reaching northwest and streaming from Ecuador west to about 110W. The total cool flow looks much weaker than days past. Cool anomalies were streaming from Chile west-northwest to the dateline also feeding the main cool pool but much far weaker than even a few days ago. Overall this seems to indicate the start of the collapse of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/12): Temps are warming significantly over the equator from the Galapagos west to 120W. Warming was also occurring off Peru extending west to 145W. This is likely attributable to the Active Phase of the MJO moving over the East Pacific. But a strong pocket of cooling was right along the coast of Ecuador and now weak cooling was developing from 120W to 140W on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (3/12) A weak stream of cool water was entrenched from off Chile tracking northwest to the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. A similar stream was migrating southwest from off Baja Mexico. A fragile pattern of warm anomalies was again trying to develop on the equator reaching south off Chile and north to Mexico west to 115W on the equator with pockets out to 150W. The remaining cool core of La Nina is pushing west from 150W over the dateline but warmer than day past. La Nina appears to be in retreat.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/13) Today's temps were falling at +0.167 after peaking at +0.601 on 3/9 and that 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:
(3/13) Temps were steady at -0.170, the highest in a year. 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 (3/13) Actuals per the model indicates temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose to -0.65 degs mid-Jan and then up to -0.25 degs in March. The forecast depicts temps holding in the -0.25 to -0.30 deg range into July then starting a weak decline falling to -0.50 degs in early Nov. This seems more possible than previous runs, suggests perhaps another year of weak La Nina conditions at worst.
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) (3/13): The daily index was falling at -11.68. The 30 day average was falling at +3.07 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling some at +12.39 after peaking at +15.75 on 2/23 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 (3/7):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?hd=1&v=10uffqPRW5s&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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