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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2019 9:12 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
2.5 - California & 3.0 - 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 3/25 thru Sun 3/31

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

N. Dateline Swell Pushing Towards CA
Another West Dateline Swell Pushing Towards HI

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, March 28, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 4.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 14.5 secs from 293 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 14.7 secs from 321 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 11.1 secs from 252 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 12-15 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.5 ft @ 10.2 secs from 274 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.2 ft @ 10.3 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.9 ft @ 12.4 secs from 255 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 12.5 secs from 274 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 10.0 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was south at 14-18 kts. Water temp 56.1 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (3/28) in North and Central CA windswell was hitting producing waves in the head high range with light winds early but kind of jumbled conditions and pretty soft. Protected breaks were chest high on the sets and a little jumbled but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high and a bit uneven and mushed and a bit on the weak side. In Southern California/Ventura windswell was hitting producing waves in the waist high range and a bit lined up but also a little warbled and soft. In North Orange Co surf was chest to head high on the sets and lined up if not somewhat closed out and warbled and uneven. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were getting some limited southern hemi swell with waves chest high or so and lined up and clean but very slow. North San Diego had surf at waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but with some warble in the water. Hawaii's North Shore was getting North Dateline sideband swell with waves head high or so and slow but clean. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal mixed windswell with waves thigh high and clean early with no trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/28) sideband swell was weakly pushing into Hawaii from a gale that developed on the North Dateline Region Sun-Mon (3/25) producing 34 ft seas aimed somewhat to the east. Windswell was hitting California and of no real interest. A stronger storm developed just west of the North Dateline region Wed-Thurs (3/28) producing up to 49 ft seas aimed east. Also a cutoff low was developing north of Hawaii with 23 ft seas aimed south. Beyond a weaker swell pattern is forecast. A gale is to develop over the North Dateline region Mon-Wed (4/3) with 28 ft seas aimed east. And maybe something is to form in the Southern Gulf beyond. It's looking very much like Springtime.

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 Tuesday AM (3/26) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan with winds there to 180 kts then weakening half way to the dateline then splitting on the dateline with the northern branch pushing northeast over the Central Aleutians and then up into Alaska never to return to the Pacific but with fragments of wind energy also peeling off tracking over the East Pacific. In short, the jet was a fragmented mess from the dateline eastward. There were no clearly defined troughs indicated east of the dateline but a new trough was starting to dig out in the far Northwest Pacific offering some support for gale development. The southern branch fell southeast over Hawaii and then tracking northeast and up into North Baja. Over the next 72 hours wind energy is to continue building from Japan reaching east to the dateline on Sun (3/31) and consolidated by wind speeds falling to 160 kts forming a trough that is to slowly start getting pinched on the dateline but still supporting gale development. But the split point is to hold roughly at 170W (just east of the dateline). Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to again start building off Japan at 180 kts later Mon (4/1) with the split disappearing and the jet consolidated tracking east and reaching into the Gulf of Alaska by Thurs (4/4) with winds 160-170 kts from just off Japan to the Central Gulf and a trough starting to build into the Gulf providing support for gale development there.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/28) swell from a gale that formed on the North Dateline region was starting to hit Hawaii and pushing towards California (see North Dateline Gale below). And a cutoff low has developed north of Hawaii aimed at the Islands (see Cutoff Low below). And a new storm has formed off the Kuril Islands (see Kuril Islands Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is forecast developing on the dateline on Sun (3/31) with 40 kt northwest winds over a small area with 26 ft seas at 41N 174.5W aimed southeast. the gael is to fade in the evening with northwest winds dropping from 35 kts and seas 25 ft at 40N 175.5W aimed east. On Mon AM (4/1) fetch is to fade from 30 kts with seas 22 ft at 38N 174W aimed southeast. Small swell possible for HAwaii if this forms as forecast. Something to monitor.

 

North Dateline Gale
A gale started building off the Southern Kuril Islands on Sun AM (3/24) with 40 kt northwest winds over a tiny area and seas building from 23 ft over a small area at 38N 163E and lifting northeast. In the evening the gale was lifting northeast with 45-50 kt west winds and seas 30 ft at 44N 176E. On Mon AM (3/25) the gale was over the North Dateline region with 40-45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians and seas 35 ft at 51N 178W aimed east. By evening the gale was in the Bering Sea on the dateline with seas fading from 27 ft at 50N 173W aimed east to northeast. This system was gone after that. Small swell is radiating east targeting mainly the US West Coast with sideband energy pushing towards Hawaii.

Hawaii: Swell fading Fri AM (3/29) fading from 5.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 315 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival on Fri AM (3/29) building to 4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-day (6.5 ft) then holding. Swell fading Sat AM (3/30) from 3.8 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 300-306 degrees

 

Cutoff Low
Also a cutoff low developed 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Wed AM (3/27) generating 35 kt north winds and seas building. In the evening 30-35 kt north winds were building while falling south 1100 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii generating seas of 23 ft over a small area at 38N 164W aimed south. On Thurs AM (3/28) north winds were 30 kts targeting Hawaii well with seas 22 ft aimed south at 35N 162W. Fetch is to be gone in the evening. Windswell is possible for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Fri afternoon (3/29) building to 6.0 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat AM (3/30) from 6.2 ft @ 12 secs (7.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (3/31) fading from 3.5 ft @ 10 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees

 

Kuril Islands Storm
A new storm started building off Japan on Tues PM (3/26) producing west winds at 50 kts with seas building from 28 ft at 35N 154.5E aimed east. On Wed AM winds were 60 kts solid from the west with the storm lifting northeast and seas 37 ft at 39.5N 162E aimed east. In the evening the storm was lifting north off the Central Aleutians with west winds 55 kts and seas building to 49 ft at 44N 164.5E aimed east. On Thurs AM (3/28) the storm was just off the Northern Kurils with 45 kt west winds and seas fading from 46 ft at 47.5N 166E aimed east-northeast. By evening this system is to be dissipating with 45 kt west winds and seas fading from 35 ft at 47.5N 166E aimed east-northeast. Some degree of inconsistent long distance swell should be pushing east towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (3/30) building to 3.1 ft @ 18 secs late (5.5 ft). On Sun (3/31) swell to build to 4.4 ft @ 15-16 secs early (6.5 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading on Mon (4/1) from 3.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 311 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (4/1) building to 4.1 ft @ 17-18 secs later (7.0 ft). Swell fading slowly on Tues (4/2) from 3.9 ft @ 16 secs (6.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Wed (4/3) fading from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 300-302 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/28) weak high pressure is to be just off Pt Conception with low pressure fading off Southern Oregon. Southwest winds to be 15+ kts for Pt Arena northward early with light winds for Central CA but turning north 10-15 kts late afternoon. Light rain possible through the day mainly for North CA. Steady light snow mainly for Tahoe and building some late afternoon into the early evening. Fri (3/29) light winds are forecast of all of North CA and down into Central CA to Big Sur early then high pressure is to start building with north winds 15-20 kts for Monterey Bay southward late afternoon. Light rain mainly for Cape Mendocino early and fading fast. No snow forecast. Saturday (3/30) high pressure is to be holding with north winds 15 kts for Central CA and 10 kts for North CA pushing 15 kts all locations in the afternoon. No precip forecast. On Sun (3/31) high pressure to be lifting north off San Francisco with north winds 15 kts for all of North and Central CA holding all day. High pressure is to be weaker on Mon (4/1) with north winds 10-15 kts through the day for North and Central CA. Tuesday (4/2) weak low pressure is to move over North CA with south winds 5-10 kts for North CA and northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA. Low pressure is to be building in the Gulf. Wed (4/3) a light westerly flow at 5-10 kts is forecast through the day. Thursday (4/4) broad low pressure is to be filling the Gulf pushing towards California with south winds 15 kts early from Bodega Bay northward and 10 kts down to Pigeon Point building through the day with 15 kt south winds down to Big Sur later and 20 kt south winds for Cape Mendocino. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early building to Pt Conception late afternoon. Light rain for Tahoe later.

Total snow accumulation for for the week (thru Thurs PM 4/4) per the GFS model: Tahoe = 9 inches and Mammoth = 3-4 inches

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
A gale started building in the Central South Pacific Wed AM (3/20) with 35 kt southwest winds and seas building to 29 ft ft at 61S 167W aimed east-northeast. In the evening winds turned fully southwest at 35-40 kts with 30 ft seas at 57.5S 157W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (3/21) fetch held at 35 kts from the south-southwest with seas 29-30 ft at 59S 145W aimed -northeast. The gale faded from there in the evening with seas 27 ft at 55S 139W aimed northeast. Maybe some small swell is to radiate northeast towards Hawaii a week out and the US West Coast 10 days out.

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected late on Wed (3/27) to 1.2 ft @ 17 secs (2.0 ft). Swell peaking early Thurs (3/28) at 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Residuals on Fri (3/29) at 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

Southern CA: Swell arrival expected late on Thurs (3/28) to 1.3 ft @ 20 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building Fri (3/29) to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Sat (3/30) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 196 degrees

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a tiny gale is forecast developing west of the dateline on Sun PM (3/31) with 40 kt northwest winds over a tiny area aimed east and seas building from 22t at 42N 161E aimed east. On Mon AM (4/1) the gale is to be building with 45 kt northwest winds while approaching the dateline with seas 30 ft at 45N 165.5E aimed east. The gale is to fade in the evening with west winds 40 kts and seas 30 ft at 46.5N 170E aimed east. The gale is to fade out from there.

Beyond there's some indication that a pair of gales are to develop in the Western Gulf on Wed (4/3) building and merging on Thurs (4/4) with 33 ft seas projected 1000 nmiles north of Hawaii aimed east. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

SSTs Cooling Some - ESPI Rising - Mixed Signals

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and did not stop, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued 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. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

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 (3/27) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then weaker easterly over the KWGA and even lighter south of the equator. Anomalies were easterly over the far East Pacific then neutral over the Central Pacific and light westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (3/28) modest west anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast is for modest west anomalies steadily building in coverage through the end of the model run on 4/4 filling the KWGA at that time. Support for storm development is modest but is to be building steadily through the week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/27) A dead neutral MJO pattern was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates this weak Active MJO signal is to hold with perhaps a very weak Inactive signal trying to set up in the KWGA at days 10-15. The dynamic model indicates some variant of the same theme. The 2 models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/28) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was exceedingly weak and in no position and is to effectively hold in that status for the next 15 days. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (3/28) This model depicts a strong Active Phase was over the West Pacific. It is to move east while fading pushing into Central America on 4/19. A modest Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be setting up in the West Pacific on 4/10 pushing east to Central America on 5/2. A very weak Active Phase is to be building over the West Pacific 4/22 moving to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 5/7. This model suggests the MJO is very weak.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/27) This model depicts moderate west anomalies in the KWGA today with no MJO signal indicated. Moderate west anomalies are to be holding in the Central KWGA through 4/7, fading to weak levels to 4/14, then rebuilding and holding perhaps easing slightly east to the Eastern KWGA through the end of the model run on 4/24.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/28) This model depicts a modest Active Phase building in the West KWGA. The Active Phase is to hold solid filling the KWGA through 5/5 with weak west anomalies in the core of the KWGA building modestly and perhaps to WWB status 4/13 and holding through the end of the Active MJO phase near 5/1. After that a very weak Inactive MJO pattern is to set up but with weak to modest west anomalies in the KWGA till the end of the model run on 6/25. This looks very much like El Nino (no MJO and consistent west anomalies). The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California but not inland anymore and forecast to hold steady for the foreseeable future. A third contour line faded 12/17 but rebuilt starting 2/12 centered over the dateline and is to hold through the end of the model run. And a 4th control line was to develop 4/5-4/25 but disappeared from the charts on 3/18 and has not returned. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during 2018, then faded, and is now trying to rebuild and stronger by May 2019. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean during the summer of 2018, but that faded in the late Fall of 2018 with no objective evidence that coupling every happened. But it seems that tendency is trying to redevelop again (or at least forecast to do it). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere has turned from a La Nina pattern (that had been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more. But of more interest, if the low pass filter forecast holds, maybe El Nino to develop next year.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/28) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 deg temps reaching east to 175W, pushing east from 180W where it had been for the past month. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W near Christmas, then retrograded back at 160W in late Feb, but made a major push east starting 3/16 from 150W to 140W on 3/20, and is holding there today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25-30 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater with a pocket of warm water centered at 110W at +3 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) pushing east into Ecuador. Kelvin Wave #3 is the warmest of any Kelvin Wave so far since La Nina faded and is to adding warmth moving into the 2019-202 El Nino year. And a Westerly Wind Burst (2/12-2/24) is continuing to add more fuel (warm water) to the proverbial fire. So there's good sub-surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy for the foreseeable future. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/24 indicates cool water associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle occurring just east of Ecuador was all but gone. Kelvin Wave #3 was fading some under the West Pacific but was solid east of there peaking at +4-5 degs from 150W to 105W (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). And today it appears that more warm water was starting to build in the far West Pacific at 135E-145E falling into the pre-existing warm pool over the greater Pacific. There is a river of very warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/24) Positive anomalies were gone from the interior Maritime Continent with weak negative anomalies there now. But positive anomalies were solid tracking east from 145E over the dateline to a point west of the Galapagos (100W) at 0-5 cms with an imbedded pocket of +5 cms anomalies fading from 145W to 105W and a shrinking peak at +10 cms at 125W.

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: (3/27) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were modestly warm straddling 15 degrees north and south of the equator from a point just west of the Galapagos west to the dateline though cooler just south of Mexico. These temps were fading compared to day past. Cool water was building along the immediate e coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador. And a weird pocket of cold water was also present off Columbia and Panama but smaller than days past. There is more of an indication of El Nino now than at any point prior in the last 3 years but that signal appears to be fading.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/27): There was a sense today that a cooler water pattern was building focused off Ecuador migrating east to a point just west of the Galapagos. Otherwise a weakly warming pattern was building on the equator from 120W and points west of there.
Hi-res Overview: (3/27) Cool water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru and also along Columbia but with warmer water out beyond that and warm water from the Galapagos along the equator west to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And it's almost starting to look like an El Nino pattern is developing based on surface temps.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/28) Today's temps were steady today at -0.237 after falling hard from +1.00 degs on 3/20 after rebounding hard from -1.309 on 3/13. Temps fell to -0.6 degs on 2/28, after rising to +0.5 on 2/25, down to -0.425 degrees on 2/14, and that after rising to +1.2 degs on 2/2. Previously temps fell to -0.15 degs on 2/28. Temps rose to a peak +1.385 on 1/21. Previously they were down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(3/28) Today temps were steady at +0.685 today after falling to +0.694 on 3/9 and that after rising to +1.239 on 3/5 after falling to +0.050 on 2/11. Temps rose to a peak at +0.738 on 1/21, after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/28) The model indicates temps were at +1.00 degs on March 1. Temps are forecast holding April 1 to +1.00 degs then slowly building to +1.45 degrees in early July, then fading slightly through the Fall to +1.25 degs in Oct, then falling to +1.0 degs
in late Dec. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino tried to build weakly in the Winter of 18/19, but didn't really make it, then is to build in the summer on 2019 and building more into the Winter of 2019/20. But maybe a multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.65 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.6 range into July, then fade to +0.4 in October 2019. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (3/28): The daily index was negative today at -9.10 and has been negative the last 52 days (since Feb 4 other than 3/23 & 3/24). The 30 day average was rising some at -6.51 suggesting a fading Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at -7.09, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards El Nino (for now).
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/28) The index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), then fell some but is back up to +0.47 today. It was down to -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

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


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Local Interest

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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