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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, April 19, 2020 12:55 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 'Summer' 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 4/13 thru Sun 4/19

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   

Dateline Swell Hitting CA
Small SHemi Swell Pushing North for HI and CA

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Saturday, April 19, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 18.1 secs from 193 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 18.6 secs from 303 degrees. Water temp 76.8 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.3 secs from 260 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 60.3 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.4 secs from 292 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 13.4 secs from 206 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.2 secs from 190 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.6 ft @ 16.9 secs from 269 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 4.6 ft @ 14.5 secs from 278 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 8-10 kts. Water temp 52.7 degs (013), 55.6 degs (012) and 56.7 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Saturday (4/18) in North and Central CA dateline swell was hitting on occasion with waves up to head high but a little warbled and uneven and very inconsistent. Protected breaks were chest to maybe head high and clean and lined up but pretty soft. All parking lots closed. At Santa Cruz waves were waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura waves were maybe waist high but heavily textured if not lightly chopped by northwest wind and not really rideable. In North Orange Co waves were waist to chest high and junky and nearly chopped from northwest wind. Orange Country's best summertime breaks were waist high and heavily warbled and soft though wind appeared to be light. Beaches were closed. North San Diego was waist high on the sets and warbled and not rideable. All beaches closed. Hawaii's North Shore was getting the leading edge of new swell coming from across the dateline with waves to head high at select breaks and clean but inconsistent. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean but weak. The East Shore was flat to knee high and lightly chopped from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (4/18) in California swell as occasionally showing originating from a gale that developed just west of the dateline (in the northern hemisphere) Sun-Mon (4/13) producing up to 32 ft seas aimed east. In Hawaii swell was poised to hit from another gale that developed right behind it tracking northeast from Japan to the dateline Tues-Thurs (4/16) producing up to 35 ft seas aimed east. Another gale is forecast to develop in the far Northwestern Gulf Sun-Mon (4/2) producing 26 ft seas aimed southeast. And another is forecast falling southeast on the dateline Mon-Tues (4/121) with up to 26 ft seas. So there's still some hope. Down south a small storm formed south of the Tasman Sea tracking east Thurs-Sat (4/11) producing a small area of up to 50 ft seas aimed east then faded as it moved into the exposed Southwest Pacific. Small swell is poised for California. And another small gale spun up just east of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (4/14) generating a tiny area of 36-38 ft seas aimed well northeast. More swell seems likely favoring Hawaii from it. But beyond no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

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
Surface Analysis
On Saturday (4/18) swell from a gale that tracked towards the dateline was hitting California (see Dateline Gale below). And swell from another gale the pushed off Japan was poised to hit Hawaii (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours two more smaller systems are forecast over the dateline region (see below).

A small gale is forecast developing Sun AM (4/19) in the far Northwestern Gulf of Alaska producing a moderate size area of northwest winds at 30-35 kts aimed southeast with seas building from 20 ft at 40N 175W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to continue producing a modest area of 30-35 kt northwest winds with seas building to 25 ft at 41N 170.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to expand some on Mon AM (4/20) at 30-35 kts from the northwest with 24 ft seas at 39.5N 170W aimed southeast. The gale is to be fading in the evening with 30 kts west winds and seas 23 ft at 40N 163W aimed east. No fetch is to follow. Maybe small swell is to be generated tracking southeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Oahu: For planning purposes expect swell arrival late on Tues (4/21) building to 7.0 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft). Swell fading slowly on Wed AM (4/22) from 7.3 ft @ 12-13 secs (9.0 ft) and being overrun by new swell. Swell Direction: 320 degrees.

 

Also on Mon PM (4/20) another gale is to be falling southeast over the dateline producing northwest winds at 30-35 kts producing a small area of 23 ft seas at 46N 176.5E aimed southeast. On Tues AM (4/21) the gale is to be falling southeast fast producing northwest winds at 35-40 kts with seas 26 ft at 42N 179.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts with the gale tracking more easterly with seas 22 ft at 38N 174,5W targeting primarily Hawaii. Something to monitor.

 

Dateline Gale
On Sat AM (4/11) a gale developed mid-way to the dateline off North Japan producing west winds at 35-40 kts with seas building aimed east. In the evening the gale held position with 35-40 kt west winds and seas to 24 ft over a small area at 40N 171.5E aimed east. On Sun AM (4/12) the gale built some while easing east with 45 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 44N 171E aimed east over a small area. Fetch was fading from 40 kts while easing east in the evening still not reaching even the dateline with seas 32 ft at 38N 170.5E aimed east. The gale was dissipating Mon AM (4/13) with west winds fading from 30-35 kts and seas 28 ft at 37.5N 176E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the northwest on the dateline with seas fading from 26 ft at 37N 178W. The gale dissipated from there. Possible small swell is to be radiating east targeting mainly Hawaii. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell peaking Sat AM (4/18) pushing 4.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft). and still pretty inconsistent. Swell fading Sun AM (4/19) from 2.8 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290-298 degrees

 

Japan Gale
Another small gale started building while pushing east off South Japan on Mon AM (4/13) with 35 kt west winds and seas on the increase. In the evening west winds built some at 35-40 kts over a small area with seas 26 ft at 33N 148E aimed east. The gale started lifting east-northeast on Tues AM (4/14) with 35-40 kt west winds over a small area and seas 27 ft at 34N 153E aimed east. The gale tracked east in the evening with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 31 ft at 35.5N 159E aimed east. On Wed AM (4/15) the gale continued east with a decent sized area of west winds at 35-40 kts with seas 32 ft at 36.5N 164E aimed east. In the evening the gale built some while lifting northeast producing a solid area of 40+ kt west winds and seas 32 ft at 40N 166E aimed east. On Thurs AM (4/16) the gale was approaching the dateline with 40 kt west winds and seas to 34 ft at 40.5N 171.5E aimed east. Fetch is to be dissipating in the evening on the dateline with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 31 ft at 41N 177.5E aimed east. The gale to be dissipating Fri AM (4/17) producing 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 26 ft at 42.5N 179.5E. After that the gale is to be gone. Possible swell radiating towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Oahu: Swell arrival on Sat (4/18) with swell building to 5.6 ft @ 15-16 secs later (8.5 ft). Swell fading Sun AM (4/19) from 6.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (9.5 ft). Residuals on Mon AM (4/20) fading from 4.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft). Maybe some lingering energy on Tues AM (4/21) fading from 5.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 298-313 degrees with most energy from 312 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (4/20) building to 4.0 ft @ 17-18 secs late (7.0 ft). Swell peaking on Tues (4/21) at 5.0 ft @ 16 secs early (8.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (4/22) from 3.8 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 293-296 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (4/18) generally light winds from the southwest are forecast for the entire coast holding all day. Light snow possible for the Central Sierra mid-day. On Sun (4/19) winds to turn light northwest. Light rain possible for the Sierra Saturday and Sunday afternoon and early evening. On Mon (4/20) weak high pressure is to be building just off Central CA producing a weak northerly flow over North and Central CA early building to 10-15 kts later for both North and Central CA. Light snow for the Central Sierra late afternoon. On Tues (4/21) a gradient is to building with northwest winds 15-20 kts over North CA and 15-20 kts from Big Sur southward building to 15 kts up north and 20+ kts over Central CA. On Wed (4/22) no real change is forecast with northwest winds 10-15 kts for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA holding all day. Rain expected for North CA during the day. Thurs (4/23) the gradient is to build solidly with north winds 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA pushing near 30 kts in the afternoon. No precip forecast. Fri (4/24) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA holding all day. On Sat (4/25) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA fading to 15 kts for North CA later and 10 kts for Central CA.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 1, 1, 3 and 1 inches respectively.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday (4/18) the southern branch of the jetstream was tracking zonally west to east well south under New Zealand down at 70S continuing the whole way across the width of the South Pacific and falling south of that over the Southeast Pacific into Antarctica with winds generally weak at 60-80 kts actively suppressing support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast, but with the ridge lifting north slightly up to 66S at 160W suggestive of a potential trough developing beyond, but still offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours no change is forecast but with the weak trough like structure building some, then finally lifting decently northeast on Thurs (4/23) over the Southeast Pacific pushing up to 61S, but winds in the jet are to be very weak. But by Sat (4/25) winds to building feeding into the trough to 100 kts, offering only the tiniest hope for support of gale development.

 

Surface Analysis
Small swell is fading along the California Coast from a gale that developed previously in the far Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Another swell is right behind from a gale that tracked east under New Zealand (see New Zealand Gale below). Reinforcing swell is radiating north from the Southeast Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below). And another swell is radiating north from a gale previously along New Zealand (See New Zealand Gale below).

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

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Mon PM (4/7) a small gale started building in the Southeast Pacific lifting hard northeast with 40+ kt south winds and seas building from 20 ft at 66S 142W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (4/7) the gael built to storm status with 45-50 kts south winds over a small area and seas building to 29 ft at 60S 130W lifting north-northeast. In the evening the gale was racing northeast with 40-45 kt south winds and seas 29-30 ft at 51S 120W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (4/8) the gael tracked hard northeast out of the CA swell window with 40-45 kt southwest winds and seas 32 ft at 44S 107W targeting Peru up into Central Amerrica.and no longer of interest to our forecast area. Swell is radiating north towards CA.

Southern CA: Swell fading on Sat (4/18) from 2.3 ft @ 13 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (4/19) fading from 1.6 ft @ 12 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 180-185 degrees

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (4/18) from 2.3 ft @ 13 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (4/19) fading from 1.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 175-180 degrees

 

New Zealand Gale
On Thurs PM (4/9) a storm started developing in a trough well south of the Tasman Sea producing 50-55 kt west winds over a modest sized area and seas building to 50 ft at 57.5S 148E aimed due east and on the 218 degree track to CA. The gale faded some on Fri (4/10) with west winds 45 kts and seas 46 ft at 59S 160E aimed east (214-216 degs CA). In the evening 40 kt west winds continued tracking east over a solid area with 42 ft seas fading at 60S 172E aimed east (209-210 degs CA). The gale was dissipating Sat AM (4/11) with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 40 ft at 60S 177.5E aimed east. Remnants of this gale are to be racing east from there. At best some tiny southwest swell could possibly result but this system is a very long ways away meaning much swell decay should be expected. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect tiny indications of swell starting on Sat (4/18) late building to 1 ft @ 22 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building Sun (4/19) to 1.6 ft @ 20 secs mid-AM (3.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (4/20) to 1.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell continues Tues (4/21) building to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (4/22) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (4/23) from 1.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 219 degrees

North CA: Expect tiny indications of swell starting on Sat (4/18) late building to 1 ft @ 22 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building Sun (4/19) to 1.5 ft @ 20-21 secs (3.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (4/20) to 1.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) later. Swell continues Tues (4/21) building to 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (4/22) from 1.6-2.0 ft @ 15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (4/23) from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 218 degrees

 

Another Southeast Pacific Gale
Remnants of the New Zealand Gale (see above) started reorganizing over the Southeast Pacific on Sun AM (4/12) producing a broad fetch of 30+ kts southwest winds with seas building from 26 ft at 61S 151W aimed east. In the evening fetch built to 30-35 kts from the southwest with seas 27 ft at 65S 140W aimed east-northeast. On Mon AM (4/13) 30 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast with seas 25 ft at 60S 132W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was tracking northeast and fading at 30 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 55S 127W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (4/14) this system was gone. Small swell to radiate northeast. This swell to mix with the previous Southeast Pacific swell (see above) for California.

 

New Zealand Gale
Starting Mon AM (4/13) a storm developed just southeast of the southern tip of New Zealand producing a small area of 45-50 kt south winds and seas building from 33 ft at 525S 174.5E aimed north. In the evening winds were 45 kts from the south over a small area producing 38 ft seas at 50.5S 172.5E aimed north. On Tues AM (4/14) southwest winds were lifting north fast at 40 kts with seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 46.5S 175.5E aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts over a small area aimed northeast with seas fading from 34 ft at 42S 179.5W aimed northeast. The gale is to be gone after that. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (4/20) building to 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) later. On Tues (4/21) swell peaking at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (4/22) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (4/23) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Thurs (4/23) building to 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell holding on Fri (4/24) at 1.2 ft @ 16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (4/25) from 1.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 222 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Thurs (4/23) building to 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (4/24) from 1.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 220 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

 

Inactive MJO Forecast - Warm Anomalies Solid on Equator Today

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: 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 hold in a pool off Peru and has not changed as of late Jan 2020.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

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 (4/17) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and then solid east over the Dateline and KWGA. Anomalies were moderately westerly over the far East equatorial Pacific fading to neutral over the Central Pacific then moderate easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (4/18) modest to moderate east anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding unchanged filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 4/25 if not building some the last 3 days of the run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (4/17) A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO was filling the West Pacific/KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to track slightly east then stall in the core of the KWGA on day 5 building slowly through day 15 to strong status. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase starting to weaken at day 10 and then rapidly dissipating on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/18) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over Northeast Africa today and is to track slowly east while holding strength over the Central Indian Ocean at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase pushing faster east reaching the Central Maritime Continent at day 15 and fading rapidly in strength.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (4/18) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO filling the Central equatorial Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to track east while losing strength pushing into Central America on 5/3. A second pulse of the Inactive Phase is to develop right behind over the West Pacific 4/26 tracking east and into the Central America on 5/18. The Active Phase is to move east over the West Pacific starting 5/8 tracking to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 5/28 and moderately strong. A strong Inactive Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific on 5/23.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/17) This model depicts no MJO signal in the KWGA today with east anomalies developing over the whole of the KWGA. The forecast indicates A weak Inactive MJO is to be building into the KWGA 4/25-5/7 with east anomalies steady in the modest to moderate range and building in coverage filling the KWGA during that window. At the end of the model run on 5/15 east anomalies are to start fading and turing neutral at that time.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/18 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today but with weak east anomalies in-play. Beyond the Active Phase is forecast fading on 4/20 but with mostly weak east anomalies in the KWGA starting 4/22. A strong Inactive Phase/Pattern is to develop 4/23 holding through 5/15 with weak east anomalies forecast. The Active Phase is to start building 5/12 in the far West KWGA slowly building east and weakly filling the KWGA till 5/24 with weak west anomalies developing. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 5/26 through 6/5 with neutral wind anomalies forecast. After that a solid Active Phase is forecast 6/5 through the end of the model run on 7/16 with weak west anomalies indicated. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 1 contour line in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. This contour line is to hold till 5/10, then collapse to nothing and holding that way through the end of the model run. A high pressure bias previously that has been over the Indian Ocean since last Fall is to hold till May 12, then dissipate. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean last Fall and held through Jan 10, 2020, then started to become more episodic and are to continue that way, then fading on 5/10, After that west anomalies are to start building in the core of the Indian Ocean holding into the end of the model run. East anomalies are to start building solidly over the East Pacific mid-May reaching west to the the dateline into late June then holding through the end of the model run.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/18) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was shallow with remnants reaching east to 162E. The 29 deg isotherm was reaching east to 175W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 150W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was fading while pushing into the East Equatorial Pacific at +1.0 degs but with other nondescript warm water tracking from the Maritime Continent under the dateline merging with the tail of Kelvin Wave #6. The net effect was warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific but getting progressively shallower at 105 meters deep on the dateline and lifting shallower east of there today. A large pocket of cool water at -3 degs was 150 meters deep at 150W today tracking east with it's leading edge at 107W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/13 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave with warm water falling from 120E down into the dateline at 100 m deep peaking in the East Pacific at +2-3 degrees then pushing and rising east to 100W and likely now stationary. A pocket of cool water was east of there associated with the upwelling phase of the previous Kelvin Wave Cycle. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/13) No positive or negative anomalies were indicated on the equatorial Pacific, suggestive of no Kelvin Waves in flight.

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: (4/17) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were modest along the coast of Chile up into Peru and fading in intensity from days past with warm anomalies continuing up off Ecuador up into Central America. A stream of cool water was embedded pushing north from Peru up to a point off Ecuador and from Panama south to Ecuador and then west approaching but not reaching the Galapagos and weaker than days past. Markedly warmer water was building solidly aligned on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W and looking exactly like El Nino. A broad pocket of cool anomalies was all but gone south of the equator off Peru but with a solid but not unusual pocket of cool water off California and Baja.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/17): A neutral pattern was along Chile and Peru streaming north to a point just east of the Galapagos. Warming was on the equator from the Galapagos out to 150W. The short term trend is looking like a building warming pattern tracking west on the equator and developing off Peru and Ecuador taking limited control.
Hi-res Overview: (4/17) A pocket of cool anomalies is fading fast well off Peru. A stronger pocket of cooling was off California and Baja Mexico out to 145W. Warm anomalies were building along Chile and Peru then stronger off Ecuador and Central America up to Mainland Mexico and markedly strong on the equator from the Galapagos out to 145W. Water temps appear to be stable and if anything looking almost like El Nino that anything previous over the past few months. Overall the data suggests a El Nino trend today.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/18) Today's temps were rising today at +0.431, but overall down from a warmer range near +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26. Previously temps had been toggling near neutral. It appears we were in a rising or at least warmer trend, but that is now fading.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(4/18) Temps were rising today at +0.678. Temps previously were in the +0.3 degree range but rose to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.

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CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (4/18) Actual's indicate temperatures were steady at +0.65 degs Jan 1 2020 through April 1 then falling in early April. The forecast depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to 0.0 in early May then diving negative down to -0,75 July 1 and moving strongly to La Nina down at -1.25 in early Oct dropping to -1.50 degs Dec 1. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for Spring of 2020 but falling strongly towards La Nina as Summer develops.
IRI Consensus Plume: The March 19, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in June 2020, then falling some to -0.15 degs in the October 2020 timeframe. 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) (4/18): The daily index was negative today at -5.34 and has been negative the last 4 days. The 30 day average was rising at -5.28. The 90 day average was rising some at -3.07, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): March 2020 -0.11, Feb +0.69, Jan +0.42, Dec 2019 +0.46, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

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


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Local Interest

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