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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 4:21 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
1.5 - California & 1.5 - 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   

Small S. Hemi Swell Hitting HI
2 More For CA - Then Nothing

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.4 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 15.9 secs from 178 degrees. Water temp 76.3 degs (Pearl Harbor 233).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 11.1 secs from 344 degrees. Water temp 75.9 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 6.5 secs from 256 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-14 kts. Water temperature 57.9 degs, 57.4 (Topanga 103), 56.3 degs (Long Beach 215), 59.2 (Del Mar 153). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.2 ft @ 11.7 secs from 310 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.8 secs from 208 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.9 secs from 202 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.8 ft @ 7.9 secs from 281 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 14.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 11.5 ft @ 11.6 secs from 321 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 10-14 kts. Water temp 49.5 (029), 52.5 degs (SF Bar) and 54.3 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 Tuesday (3/30) North and Central CA was getting local north windswell with waves at chest high or so and soft and clean with light northeast wind rideable but nothing more. Protected breaks were head high plus and lined up and almost clean but with some warble intermixed and mostly closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and clean and soft but with occasional rideable sets. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high or so and clean but with intermixed warble and haze. Central Orange County had set waves at waist high to chest high and and weak and soft and textured and crumbled but rideable if you had to go. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets near head high and lined up coming from the south but with a fair amount of intermixed lump messing up what was otherwise decent swell. North San Diego had sets at waist high or so and and lined up and pretty weak and soft and crumbled with heavy texture in the water. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a few waist to chest high sets but weak with clean conditions. The South Shore was getting southern hemi swell with waves chest to shoulder high and lined up and peeling when they came and real clean. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell with waves waist high and heavily textured from modest east-southeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (3/30) Hawaii's South Shore was getting swell from a broad gale that pushed northeast from under New Zealand Sun-Wed (3/24) with 26-30 ft seas aimed northeast. That swell is also pushing towards California. Swell was lapping into California from a previous gale that developed under New Zealand on Thurs (3/18) producing 29-30 ft seas aimed northeast. And one more gale followed in the Southeast Pacific on Fri-Sat (3/27) producing 35 ft seas aimed northeast targeting California. But after that nothing is forecast either north or south.

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 (3/30) the jet was heavily split with the split point just off Japan. The northern branch was tracking northeast over the Kuril Islands then east over the Aleutians with a weak trough barely drooping south of the Eastern Aleutians with the jet ridging northeast from there pushing into Alaska. There was no support for gale development. The southern branch was falling southeast to 15N then tracking east before rising northeast slightly and pushing over Baja Mexico. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast with the East Aleutian trough trying to organize in the Northeastern Gulf on Thurs (4/1) being fed by 140 kts winds perhaps offering some support for at least low pressure development there. Beyond 72 hours the East Gulf trough is to quickly pinch off on Sat (4/3) just off British Columbia but with a portion of the jet falling south to a point well off Pt Conception perhaps trying to support low pressure development there, but with that trough quickly pinching off and gone and inland later on Sun (4/4) offering no hope. After that the jet is to be well split with the northern branch tracking through the Bering Sea through Tues (4/6) offering no support for gale development. Not unexpected given the presence of La Nina.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (3/30) no swell of interest (other than windswell) was hitting Hawaii or California.

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

 

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

  • Wed (3/31) light winds are forecast from the northwest at 5 kts or less are forecast for all of North and Central CA early but maybe 10-15 kts from the north for Cape Mendocino early and going calm even there as well as all of CA later. No windswell production forecast.
  • Thurs (4/1) light variable winds are forecast for North and Central CA early building from the northwest at 10 kts later.
  • Fri (4/2) northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for North CA early pushing up to 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 5-10 kts for Central CA early fading to 5-10 kts everywhere later.
  • Sat (4/3) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts early for all of North and Central CA though possibly to 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early then northwest 15 kts for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon and 5-10 kts from Pt Arena down to Morro Bay and 15 kts south of there.
  • Sun (4/4) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for all of North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA. Northwest winds building to 25 kts for all of North Ca later and 15-20 kts for all of Central CA later too. Odds for northwest windswell production increasing in the afternoon for exposed north facing breaks.
  • Mon (4/5) the wind machine kicks into gear again with north winds 25-30 kts for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA building to 30-35 kts in the afternoon over Cape Mendocino and 20 kts down to Pt Arena but 15 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Northwest windswell expected all day at exposed breaks.
  • Tues (4/6) a summertime pressure gradient is forecast for north winds 30-35 kts for Pt Arena northward and northwest 10 kts south of there early holding all day. More windswell expected.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inches.

Freezing level is at 12,000 ft on 3/30, falling down to 10,000 ft on 4/1 and holding , dropping to 7,500 ft on 4/4, then building back to about 9.000 ft on 4/5 and up to 10,000 ft by 4/8.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (3/30)
small swell was hitting California originating from a small gale that tracked under and east of New Zealand (see Another New Zealand Gale below). Hawaii was getting decent swell from yet another small gale that developed under New Zealand (see 3rd New Zealand Gale below) and that swell was pushing towards CA too. And yet a third small swell is radiating north for California from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

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

 

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.

Southern CA: 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: 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: Swell holding on Tues (3/30) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell building some on Wed (3/31) at 2.1 ft @ 15 secs early (3.0-3.5 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 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (4/3) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 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 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Sat (4/3) swell is to pulse at 2.1 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: 198 degrees

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
A final gale developed in the Central South Pacific on Fri AM (3/26) with 45-50 kt southwest winds over a solid area and seas building from 35 ft at 59S 157.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening 40-45 kt southwest winds moved over the Southeast Pacific with 34 ft seas at 54.5S 140.25W aimed east. On Sat AM (3/27) 40-45 kt southwest winds were over the far Southeast Pacific with seas 32 ft at 55S 127W aimed east-northeast. After that the gale fell southeast and moved east of even the Southern CA swell window.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (4/4) building to 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (4/5) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals fading on Tues (4/6) from 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 194 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival later on Sun (4/4) building to 1.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (4/5) from 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals fading on Tues (4/6) from 1.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 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

 

Solid Active MJO to Build Over KWGA
Summary - A Kevin Wave is pushing east squeezing the cold remains of La Nina from depth to the surface in the East Pacific

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: A double dip La Nina occurred through the Winter of 2017-2018. 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 2019, those warm waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, with it fully developing into La Nina in July 2020. We continue in the place in March 2021, but with a Kelvin Wave sweeping east late in March possibly signaling the demise of La Nina.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Winter/Spring 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 (3/29) 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 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 (3/30) east anomalies were moderate over the KWGA. West anomalies were trying to build into the far West KWGA but not quite there yet. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding a t moderate status over the entirety of the KWGA through the end of the forecast period (4/6) with west anomalies moderate plus but not pushing east into the KWGA, poised just west of there.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/29) A moderate Inactive MJO pattern was over the dateline and still somewhat filling the KWGA today. The statistic model projects the Inactive MJO easing east and effectively out of the KWGA at day 5 of the model run with a modest Active Phase building and filling the KWGA from the west on day 10 and taking over the KWGA at day 15 of the model run while building to near strong status. The dynamic model is corrupt.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/30) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the West Maritime Continent today and is to track east into the West Pacific by day 15 of the model run and split between being weak or maybe modest in strength. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase pushing to the West Pacific at the end of the model run at weak 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): (3/29) This model depicts a coherent Inactive MJO signal covering the KWGA today with moderate plus strength east anomalies in the KWGA. Solid west anomalies were just on the western border of the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Inactive MJO pushing east through the KWGA and out of it by 4/6 with east anomalies holding at moderate plus strength during that window or even to 4/7. After that a coherent Active Phase is to build from the West KWGA starting 4/5 moving to the Central KWGA 4/12 and continuing east with moderate to strong west anomalies pushing to 170E, almost filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 4/24. Theoretically this is to be the first real Active Phase of the MJO in a year.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/30 - 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 4/12 with modest east anomalies holding mostly over the dateline during that timeframe. A moderate Active MJO signal is forecast to follow tracking east through the KWGA 4/5-5/9 producing moderate to strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. This is to be the first real Active Phase in a year or more. A weak Inactive MJO is to follow 5/1-6/17 but with mostly weak to modest west anomalies filling the KWGA. A new weak Active Phase is to start building in the west on 6/10 pushing east through the end of the model run on 6/27. 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 4/15. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 5/2. The second contour line is to fade 5/17. The remaining 1 is to be shifting hard east starting 4/24 and losing coverage and no longer in the KWGA after 5/25. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today. It is to theoretically start shrinking in coverage from the west on 5/1 while tracking east to 180W 0n 6/18 and filling the KWGA by 6/27 while 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 4/21 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: (3/30) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 173E. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and building in coverage and depth as compared to weeks prior in the East Pacific. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C have moved east with the dividing line today at 123W and almost reaching the surface versus 165W on 2/21 and limited to depth then. A previous broad cool pool under the East Pacific was fading fast getting squeezed to the surface by the approaching Kelvin Wave. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/24 indicates a dramatic improvement with warm anomalies moving east subsurface to 105W 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 were 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: (3/24) 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 west from the far west Pacific over the dateline from there to 120W and almost continuous over that area. Negative anomalies were less than -5 cms along the coast of Peru and along the coast of Mexico and then down to -5 cms from Central 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: (3/29) The latest images indicate a stream of cool water was tracking west on the equator originating along Peru then west from Ecuador out to 145W indicative of an upwelling event/ Weak warm water was further off Peru and Central America. 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.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/29): Marked cooling was occurring along Ecuador and west over the Galapagos out to 130W. 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. Otherwise a neutral temperature trend was occurring on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (3/29) A generic area of warm water was west of Peru and Central America. But cold water was evident along the immediate Peru streaming up to Ecuador then tracking west on the equator coast over the Galapagos and out to 140W. Also a faint 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. The remaining cool core of La Nina is pushing west on the equator from 120W over the dateline but warmer than days past. La Nina appears to be in retreat.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/30) Today's temps were stable after falling dramatically at -0.541 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:
(3/30) Temps were falling slightly at -0.280 after a recent peak of -0.185 on 3/27 after falling 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 (3/30) - 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 -0.15 deg range into June then starting a slow fade falling to -0.50 degs in early Aug and holding there into Dec. This model seems biased towards a return of cooling water temps but not quite making weak La Nina status 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) (3/30): The daily index was falling at +1.15. The 30 day average was rising slightly at -0.25 and negative the last 9 days after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling slightly at +9.25 after peaking at +15.75 on 2/23 and clearly indicative of La Nina. This index is a lagging indicator.

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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