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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2021 12:09 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 & 2.1 - 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 3/22 thru Sun 3/28

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   

NPac Going to Sleep
Moderate Southeast Pacific Gale Forecast

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, March 25, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 14.6 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 14.6 secs from 200 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs (Pearl Harbor 233).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 13.2 secs from 330 degrees. Water temp 76.3 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 6.2 secs from 263 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 54.3 degs, 53.8 (Topanga 103), 55.4 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.9 (Del Mar 153). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.9 ft @ 9.5 secs from 309 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 16.4 secs from 202 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 16.8 secs from 184 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.2 ft @ 17.0 secs from 188 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.7 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 9.0 ft @ 6.7 secs from 324 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 21-27 kts. Water temp 50.5 (029), 49.3 degs (SF Bar) and 51.4 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 Thursday (3/25) North and Central CA had waves at chest high and blown out with strong northwest winds and whitecaps in effect. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and chopped and mushed. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high and gutless and mushed but reasonably clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were flat to knee high and a bit warbled but with clean surface conditions. Central Orange County had set waves at thigh to maybe waist high and very weak and warbled with light northwest winds. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were waist high on the sets and nearly chopped from onshore wind. North San Diego had sets at maybe waist high and pretty junky with northwest wind and warble in control. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some local swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and rideable at select breaks. The South Shore was flat and chopped. The East Shore was getting northeasterly windswell with waves head high to 1 ft overhead and almost clean with a modest south breeze.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/25) California was getting only local windswell and pretty junky at that. There was some tiny southern hemi swell underneath but not worth mentioning. Hawaii was getting decent sized swell from a small gale that produced up to 27 ft seas in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Sun-Mon (3/22). Some of this swell was starting to Hit CA too but buried in chop. This gale is to possibly redeveloping in the same area on Fri (3/26) producing 18 ft seas momentarily aimed again at Hawaii. But after that nothing is forecast. Down south a reasonably strong system formed in the deep Central South Pacific Sun-Mon (3/15) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed east-northeast. That swell is fading in CA now. And another developed pushing under New Zealand Tues-Wed (3/19) with up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast but small in coverage. That swell is starting to hit HI. A weaker but broader one followed directly under New Zealand on Thurs (3/18) producing 29-30 ft seas aimed northeast. And another broad one was pushing northeast from under New Zealand Sun-Wed (3/24) with 26-30 ft seas aimed northeast. And maybe another to follow in the Southeast Pacific on Fri-Sat (3/27) producing 35-38 ft seas aimed northeast. But after that things quiet down. Spring is here.

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 (3/25) the jet was fragmented tracking northeast off Japan then pushing hard north to the Aleutian Islands tracking east over the Aleutians into Alaska and then down the interior US West Coast. A cut off low was circulating north of Hawaii. But in all there was no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast with the jetstream heavily split with the northern branch perhaps forming a weak trough just off the North Kuril Islands on Sun (3/28) but winds so weak as to offer no support for gale development. From there the jet is to ridge northeast up into the Bering Sea and then pushing inland over Canada. The southern branch is to be falling southeast towards the equator from off Japan, In all a very meager pattern. Beyond 72 hours the Kuril trough is to track slowly east arriving in the Northwestern Gulf on Wed-Thurs (4/1) but very weak offering little hope to support gale development. It sure looks like the end of winter with the Inactive Phase of the MJO in control at least from the jetstream perspective.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/25) swell was hitting mainly Hawaii with tiny energy also arriving in California though buried in local windswell from a gale previously north of Hawaii (see Small Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast other than local windswell.

That said remnants of the Gulf Gale below are to possibly redevelop on Thurs PM (3/25) northwest of the Islands producing a small area of 30 kt north winds and seas on Fri AM (3/26) building to 18 ft at 40N 170W aimed south. Fetch and seas to fade out after that.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Sun (3/28) pushing 3.0 ft @ 7-8 later (2.0-2.5 ft) for 24 hours from 335 degrees.

 

Small Gulf Gale
One last tiny gale developed in the Western Gulf on Sun AM (3/21) producing 40 kt west winds with seas building from 23 ft at 40N 180W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds were lifting northeast over a modest sized area with seas 27 ft at 42N 170.5W aimed east. The gale lifted northeast on Mon AM (3/22) with 30-35 kt northwest winds over the Northwestern Gulf with seas 23 ft at 43N 168W aimed southeast. The gale held in the evening while lifting north with 30-35 kt north winds streaming south off the East Aleutians with seas fading from 18 ft at 42N 168W aimed south. This system was dissipating Tues AM (3/23) with north winds fading from 25-30 kts and seas fading from 18 ft at 44N 165W aimed south at Hawaii. Possibly some small swell to result for Hawaii. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell building some overnight pushing on Thurs AM (3/25) to 4.6 ft @ 12 secs (5.5 ft) holding all day. Swell fading out on Fri (3/26) fading from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs early (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 moving to 335 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (3/25) building to 2.0 ft @ 15 secs buried in local windswell (3.0 ft). Swell holding on Fri (3/26) at 2.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell gone after that. Swell Direction: 290 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

  • Fri (3/26) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts for North CA just off the coast and 10-15 kts nearshore for Central CA but 20 kts over outer waters early fading to 10 kts everywhere later but Cape Mendocino which stays northwest at 20-25 kts. Some light rain San Diego through the day.
  • Sat (3/27) light winds are forecast all day other than northwest winds 20 kts from Pt Arena northward early and that fading to 10 kts later.
  • Sun (3/28) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts early holding all day.
  • Mon (3/29) high pressure and northwest winds return at 20-25 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA early building to 35-40 kts later in North CA and 25 kts for Central CA. Maybe some showers for north Cape Mendocino through the day.
  • Tues (3/30) north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino early and 10 kts nearshore south of there (but up to 25 kts off Central CA) fading late to 30+ kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts down to the Golden Gate and 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception.
  • Wed (3/31) north winds are forecast at 30 kts for Cape Mendocino early but 5-10 kts south of there fading later at Cape mendocino to 20-25 kts and near calm south of there.
  • Thurs (4/1) light north winds at 5 kts are forecast for all of North and Central CA early maybe turning light northeast midday.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 1 inches, 1 inches, 1 inches, and 1-2 inches all on 3/25.

Freezing level is at 4,000 ft on 3/25 then rising to 10,500 ft on 3/27 falling to 7,000 ft briefly on 3/29 then rising steadily to 12,000 ft on 3/30 holding at 11,000 ft through 4/2, then falling to 6,000 ft on 4/5.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/25)
small swell was fading in California associated with a gale that developed just off the Ross Ice Shelf in the Central South Pacific (See Ross Ice Shelf Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours another swell is expected to arrive radiating northeast from a gale that previously tracked northeast from under New Zealand (see Small New Zealand Gale below). And yet another small New Zealand swell is to be behind that (see Another New Zealand Gale below). And yet another small gale developed under New Zealand (see 3rd New Zealand Gale below).

Also a final gale is forecast building in the Central South Pacific on Fri AM (3/26) with 45-50 kt southwest winds over a fragmented area and seas building from 35 ft at 58.5S 152.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening 40-455 kt southwest winds are to move over the Southeast Pacific with 37 ft seas at 55S 131.5W aimed east. On Sat AM (3/27) 45-50 kt southwest winds are to be over the far Southeast Pacific with seas 40 ft at 53.5S 119.5W aimed east-northeast. After that the gale is to fall southeast and move east of even the Southern CA swell window. Something to monitor.

 

Ross Ice Shelf Storm
Of interest is a new storm that developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Sun AM (3/14) producing 45 kt southwest winds streaming off the Ross Ice Shelf with seas building from 32 ft at 67S 175W aimed northeast. On Sun PM the storm was building with 50+ kt southwest winds and seas 41 ft at 67.5S 167.5W and just off the summertime melted Ross Ice Shelf. On Mon AM (3/15) southwest winds were fading from 45 kts over a decent sized area with seas 42 ft at 64.5S 152.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening the gale was all but gone with southwest winds fading from 30 kts and seas fading from 32 ft at 60.5S 143.5W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Swell fading on Thurs (3/25) from 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (3/26) from 1.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Swell fading on Thurs (3/25) from 1.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0 ft). Dribbles on Fri (3/26) fading from 1.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

 

Small New Zealand Gale
Another gale developed under New Zealand Tues AM (3/16) producing 45 kt southwest winds over an infinitesimal sized area aimed northeast with seas building from 29 ft at 54S 166E. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast over a tiny area with 35 ft seas at 50S 178E aimed northeast. The gale was fading Wed AM (3/17) with 40 kt south winds and seas fading from 34 ft at 48S 173W aimed northeast over a tiny area. Fetch was fading in the evening from 40+ kts from the south with seas 33 ft at 46S 168W aimed northeast. This system dissipated quickly after that on Thurs AM (3/18) with seas fading from 25 ft at 44S 163W aimed northeast. This is to be more a swell producer for Tahiti and Hawaii than the US mainland.

Hawaii: Swell fading on Thurs (3/25) from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs early (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (3/26) at 0.9 ft @ 16-17 secs (1.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (3/27) at 1.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 218 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (3/26) at 0.8 ft @ 17 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (3/27) at 1.0 ft @ 16 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 217 degrees

 

Another New Zealand Gale
On Thurs AM (3/18) a broad gale was developing south of New Zealand producing 35 kt southwest winds and seas building from 30 ft at 59S 170E aimed east-northeast. In the evening 30-35 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast with seas 27 ft at 56S 177W aimed east-northeast. On Fri AM (3/19) fetch was fading from 30 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 52.5N 160W aimed east-northeast. Maybe small swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (3/25) building to 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (3/26) at 1.4 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (3/27) from 1.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (3/27) building to 1.0 ft @ 19 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell holding on Sun (3/28) at 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell continues on Mon (3/29) at 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0 ft). More on Tues (3/30) at 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Wed (3/31) from 1.2 ft @ 14 secs(1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (3/28) building to 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building Mon (3/29) to 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) later. Swell fading Tues (3/30) from 1.4 ft @ 15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

 

3rd New Zealand Gale
On Sun AM (3/22) a gale developed south of New Zealand producing a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas building from 30 ft at 60S 173E aimed northeast. In the evening a more consolidated and broader area of 30-35 kt southwest winds was pushing east-northeast with seas 27 ft at 55S 173W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (3/22) a secondary fetch was pushing under New Zealand with 40-45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 28-32 ft over an elongated area with it's leading edge at 58S 170WE aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was pushing east-northeast at 35 kts over a broad area with seas 26-28 ft at 56.5S 154W aimed east-northeast. On Tues AM (3/23) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts over a broad area aimed east-northeast with seas fading from 24-26 ft at 51.5S 149.75W aimed east-northeast. This system was gone after that. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (3/29) building to 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (3/30) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (3/31) from 1.9 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (4/1) fading from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (3/31) building to 1.9 ft @ 17 secs later (3.0 ft). On Thurs (4/1) swell is to build to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Fri (4/2) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (4/3) from 2.0 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (4/4) fading from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (3/31) building to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (4/1) to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) later. Swell fading on Fri (4/2) from 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Sat (4/3) swell is to be fading from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (4/4) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

 

South Pacific

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

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Kelvin Wave Pushing East
Summary - A Kevin Wave is in flight but a marked surface water cooling trend was developing along the immediate Peru Coast and off Ecuador. Perhaps the approaching Kelvin wave is forcing subsurface cool waters upward.

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 (3/24) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing strong east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest east over the East equatorial Pacific then neutral over the Central Pacific then modest 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 (3/25) east anomalies were strong over the KWGA. The forecast calls for east anomalies fading to modest status on 3/29 then migrating east and focused modestly over the dateline at the end of the model run on 4/1.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/24) A moderate Inactive MJO pattern was over the core of the KWGA today. The statistic model projects the moderate Inactive MJO easing east some and weakening on day 5 and gone by day 10 with a modest Active Phase building in the KWGA from the west and taking over the KWGA at day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model is corrupt.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/25) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to track east into the East Maritime Continent by day 15 of the model run and exceedingly weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase pushing to the West Pacific at the end of the model run and building to moderate status.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (3/15) No Update - This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO pattern (dry air) over the East Pacific and it is to track east while slowly losing strength moving over Central America on 3/30. A weak Active (wet) Phase is to develop over the West Pacific on 3/20 tracking east while slowly building and pushing into Central America on 4/14. A weak Inactive Phase (dry air) is to push east 3/30-4/24. And a weak Active Phase (wet air) is to push east from the West Pacific 4/9 through the end of the model run on 4/24 over the Central Pacific then.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/24) This model depicts a coherent Inactive MJO signal over the KWGA today pushing east with moderate plus strength east anomalies in the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Inactive MJO pushing through the KWGA and out of it by 4/5 with east anomalies holding at moderate plus strength during that window or even to 4/7. After that the Active Phase is to coherently build in the West KWGA starting 4/7 moving to the central KWGA at the end of the model run on 4/21 with moderate west anomalies building during that winds to about 150E. Theoretically this is to be the first real Active Phase of the MJO in a year.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/25 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the KWGA today and slowly and weakly tracking east and out of the KWGA on 4/10 with weak east anomalies holding mostly over the dateline during that timeframe. A moderate Active MJO signal is forecast to follow tracking east 4/2-5/10 producing moderate to strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. This is to be the first real Active Phase in a year or more. A moderate Inactive MJO is to follow 4/28-6/7 with weak to modest east anomalies filling the KWGA but also a good coverage of west anomalies. A new coherent Active Phase is to start building in the west on 5/28 pushing east through the end of the model run on 6/22. 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 4/11. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 5/2. The second contour line is to fade 5/11. The remaining 1 is to be shifting hard east starting 4/26 and losing coverage and no longer in the KWGA after 5/25. 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 4/26 while tracking east to 180W and almost filling the KWGA by 6/13 and building to 2 contour lines. The strong Active Phase forecast in April is to be the tipping point, and has been on this model for nearly 2 months. Still, it should only be strong enough to start pushing us to a neutral position long term. 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 over the KWGA 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: (3/25) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking some to 173E after moving to 175E, and that 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 +2 deg C have moved east with the dividing line today at 140W versus 165W on 2/21. A broad cool pool was trying to hold on over the equatorial Pacific with anomalies in a pocket at -2C at 125W and west from there but losing coverage compared to days past. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/19 indicates a dramatic improvement with warm anomalies moving east subsurface to 117W indicative of a Kelvin Wave moving east. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were the least negative at any time in months and getting shallower. They might be getting squeezed to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/19) A dramatic improvement was occurring with sea heights near neutral (0 to -5 cms) over the entire equatorial Pacific with a pocket of positive anomalies building on the dateline and another at 150W with a third nearshore to Ecuador. Negative anomalies were -5 cms along the coast of Peru and along the coast of Mexico up into California. 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 was dramatically collapsing in it's heart over the equator. The end seems near for La Nina.

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: (3/24) The latest images indicate a stream of warm water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador out to 125W but losing continuity. Weak cool water was west of there again on the equator out to the dateline but generally weak. Markedly cold waters were developing along the immediate coast of Peru indicative of an upwelling event. And cooling was building on the equator from the Galapagos west to 120W. Warmer temps were holding further offshore along Chile up into Peru joining the main flow on the equator and also building down from Central America. The total cool flow in the west looks much weaker than days past. Cool anomalies were streaming from Chile west-northwest to the dateline also feeding the main cool pool but far weaker and over a smaller area than even a few days ago. Overall this seems to indicate the collapse of La Nina. But the development of cool anomalies along the immediate Peru Coast and west of the Galapagos might be either the effects of the Inactive Phase taking root or upwelling ahead of the new Kelvin Wave or a mix of both.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/24): Marked cooling was occurring along Peru and off Ecuador and west of the Galapagos. In the absence of strong east anomalies, we suspect this might be upwelling of cool subsurface waters at depth being forced up by an approaching Kelvin Wave. Temps are warming in a small pocket between Ecuador and the Galapagos. Otherwise a neutral temperature trend was occurring on the equator. In all a warming trend that has been occurring for 2 weeks appears to be fading. This is partially also attributable to the Active Phase of the MJO also fading over the East Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (3/24) A pocket of warm water was pushing west off Ecuador near the Galapagos. Weak cool water was east of there to the dateline. Cooling was evident along the immediate Peru coast. A weak area of cool water was extending from off Chile tracking northwest to the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea but appears to be losing definition. A similar stream was migrating southwest from off Baja Mexico and pretty solid. A more stable pattern of warm anomalies was building on the equator reaching south off Chile and north to Mexico west to 120W on the equator. The remaining cool core of La Nina is pushing west from 120W over the dateline but warmer than day past. La Nina appears to be in retreat.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/25) Today's temps were falling steadily to +0.113 after peaking at +0.714 on 3/16. Temp previously peaked 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:
(3/25) Temps were rebuilding today at -0.189 after fall to-0.404 on 3/20 and that after peaking at -0.170 on 3/10, 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 (3/25) - 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 -0.15 degs in March. The forecast depicts temps holding in the -0.25 deg range into June then starting to fade falling to -0.75 degs in October and holding into early Dec. This model seems biased towards a return of La Nina in the Fall. Of course we;'re still in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier, so no outcome is certain.
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) (3/23): The daily index was rising at +8.28. The 30 day average was falling at -2.13 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was rising slightly at +9.97 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 


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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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

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

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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