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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 4:02 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
2.0 - California & 2.2 - 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 5/7 thru Sun 5/13

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   

1 Last Gale Charted for Gulf
Storm Cycle Forecast for New Zealand Corridor

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 12.3 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 9.6 ft @ 14.8 secs from 7 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 12.3 secs from 150 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4-6 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.6 ft @ 17.1 secs from 189 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.8 ft @ 17.1 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 17.1 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 17.2 secs from 181 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 12.4 secs from 210 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-16 kts. Water temp 54.9 degs.

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 (5/8) in North and Central CA local north windswell was barely present with waves maybe thigh high and warbled and mushy with overcast/June gloom. Protected breaks were knee to maybe thigh high on the sets and reasonably clean but warbled and soft and not really rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to thigh high and clean. In Southern California up north surf was knee to thigh high on the sets and clean but gutless. In North Orange Co inconsistent small southern hemi swell was producing set waves at up to waist high and textured from southeast winds. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high on the rare set and textured from south winds. In North San Diego surf was knee to thigh high and textured and weak and semi closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was 10 ft plus at select breaks and a little wonky but there's definitely swell. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting the same north swell at double overhead and chopped from north-northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/8) solid swell was hitting Hawaii from a gale previously north of the Islands on Sun-Mon (5/7) with 27 ft seas aimed southeast with waves breaking on the outer reefs on the bigger sets. Tiny southern hemi swell was hitting select breaks in California coming from a modest system that developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Sat-Sun (4/29) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east. Also on Sun-Tues (5/8) another gale developed over the North Dateline region producing 32 ft seas aimed east. And maybe another is to form in the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs-Fri (5/11) with up to 30 ft seas aimed east. But after that the North Pacific is to go to sleep. Down south a small gale developed in the upper latitudes of the South Pacific on Sat-Mon (5/7) pushing northeast producing up to 30 ft seas over a small area aimed north. Also a small system pushed east under New Zealand on Sun-Mon (5/7) producing 37 ft seas aimed east. And a stronger system is forecast tracking under New Zealand on Tues (5/8) with up to 54 ft seas aimed east. And another is to form well south of New Zealand on Thurs-Sat (5/12) with possibly 37 ft seas aimed northeast. And another is to be behind that in the Central South Pacific on Mon-Tues (5/15) with a broader area of up to 39 ft seas aimed east-northeast. So the transition from a Spring time pattern to Summer pattern is theoretically going to start occurring. All the while La Nina continues to fade.

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday AM (5/6) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off North Japan tracking east on the 42N latitude line pushing over the Dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska with winds 150 kts over Japan but generally 120 kts over the remainder of the Pacific and pushing east to a point off North California with no clearly defined troughs indicated. Over the next 72 hours a trough is to start building just east of the dateline on Wed (5/9) pushing east into the Western Gulf early Fri (5/11) being fed by 150 kts winds offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (5/11) the trough is to start loosing wind energy while pinching off in the the Central Gulf on Sat (5/12) no longer supporting gale development. Still the jet is to be running west to east on the 42N latitude line with winds generally weak at 110 kts with no troughs forecast until Mon-Tues (5/15) when a weak trough is forecast developing on the dateline being fed by up to 140 kts winds offering some limited support for gale development with luck. Elsewhere the jet is to be loosing energy and looking very weak. Summer is setting up in the North Pacific. It looks like the jet is going to fade out completely long term. If and when that occurs, we'll start tracking the jet only in the South Pacific.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (5/8) swell from a gale that developed north of Hawaii was hitting the Islands (see Gulf Gale below). Also new swell from a gale that developed over the North Dateline was in the water starting to push east (see North Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Wed AM (5/9) with 40 kt west winds and seas building. In the evening at broader area of 45 kt west winds are to be pushing east with seas building to 27 ft at 43N 165W aimed east. The gale is to track northeast and fade Thurs AM (5/13) with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 29 ft at 47N 156W. The gale to fade and lift north in the evening with fetch fading out and seas fading from 28 ft at 52N 157W aimed mainly at Alaska. Will monitor.

 

Gulf Gale
On Sun AM (5/6) a low pressure/gale was developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska with 40 kt north winds and seas building from 21 ft at 40N 155W. By evening 40 kt north winds are to be falling south targeting just east of the Big Island of Hawaii with seas building to 27 ft at 36N 153W aimed south. On Mon AM (5/7) the gale is to start moving east and fading with 30-35 kts west winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 32N 149W somewhat targeting Southern CA. In the evening fetch is to dissipate from 20-25 kts aimed east and fading in coverage with seas fading to 17 ft at 34N 141W. The gale is to fade from there. Possible sideband swell for Hawaii and later for the Central and South CA coast.

Hawaii (Oahu): Real swell arrival is expected on Tues (5/8) pushing 6.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.5 ft faces) mid-day. Residuals fading Wed AM (5/9) from 4.2 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0 ft) and fading fast from there. Swell Direction: 005-0101 degrees.

North CA: Low odds of sideband energy arriving on Wed (5/9) building to 4.6 ft @ 12 secs later (5.5 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/10) fading from 3.4 ft @ 10 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 270 degrees

Southern CA: Small swell arriving on Thurs (5/10) pushing 2.2 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 283 degrees

 

North Dateline Gale
Another weak gale was forming west of the North Dateline Region Sun AM (5/6) producing 35 kt northwest winds over a small area and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening a modest sized area of 45 kt west winds were on the dateline aimed east with seas building from 26 ft at 45N 176E aimed east. On Mon AM (5/7) the gale lifted north slightly producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 25 ft at 48N 177W. Winds built briefly to 45 kts while lifting northeast in the evening with seas building to 32 ft at 48N 173W. Fetch was fading Tues AM (5/8) from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 25 ft at 49N 168W aimed east. The gale is to be fading in the evening with 30 kts west winds dropping off and seas fading from 19 ft at 50N 165W. The gale is to dissipate from there. Sideband swell for Hawaii and more direct but more decayed energy for California.

Hawaii: Expect sideband swell arrival on Thurs (5/10) building to 2.9 ft @ 14 secs early (4.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (5/11) from 2.7 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North CA: Swell to arrive on Fri (5/11) building to 4.0 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft) but buried in local windswell. Swell fades Sat (5/12) from 3.8 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft) and still interacting with local windswell. Swell Direction: 305 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (5/8) weak high pressure at 1022 mbs was off the Central CA coast ridging east weakly generating a northwest flow along mainly the Central CA coast at 15-20 kts. Winds were northwest 10-15 kts for North CA and down to Monterey Bay early. Weak low pressure was off the Pacific Northwest generating southwest winds 10 kts for Cape Mendocino. Wednesday (5/9) the low is to fade and move north towards the Canadian Coast with light southwest winds forecast for Cape Mendocino early and light north 5-10 kts or less south of there but still north 15-20 kts for Pt Conception but north winds building over the entire state at at least 15 kts late afternoon. Thurs (5/10) clearing high pressure is to be in control with north winds 20-25 kts for the entire North and Central CA coast early. Friday (5/11) a summer time pressure gradient is to set up with 35 kt north winds for all of North CA and 20-25 kts north winds down to Pt Conception. Sat (5/12) the gradient is to be fading with north winds 30 kts down to Pt Arena and an eddy flow (south winds) setting up south of there. By Sun (5/13) a light south flow is to be in control of the state and the gradient gone. Mon (5/14) a light winds flow is forecast over the entire state turning weakly northwesterly 5-10 kts on Tues (5/15).

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (5/8) tiny swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was hitting Southern CA (see South Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a small gale previously in the Central Pacific was pushing north towards CA (see Central Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a primer gale under new Zealand was pushing northeast (see Primer New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a far stronger system developed Mon PM (5/7) on the same track under New Zealand as the Primer Gale producing 65 kt southwest winds and 53 ft seas at 50S 156E aimed east-northeast but shadowed by New Zealand relative to HI and CA. On Tues AM (5/8) a broad area of 50 kt southwest winds were just south of New Zealand with seas building to 53 ft over a modest sized area at 50S5 165E and unshadowed relative to California (221 degs SCal, 220 degs NCal). Fetch is to push east and fade in the evening from 45 kts from the west-southwest with seas 44 ft at 50S 178W aimed east (215 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 213 degs NCal and unshadowed, 192 degs HI). This system is to fade from there Wed AM (5/9) with southwest winds 35 kts and seas fading from 34 ft at 49S 171W (189 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and 209 degs NCal and both shadowed). This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Fri PM (4/27) with 40 kt west winds falling southeast starting to produce 30 ft seas over a tiny area just north of the Ross Ice Shelf at 66S 163W. On Sat AM (4/28) 40 kt west winds were pushing east with the gale itself now tracking east building seas to 32 ft at 66S 149W. In the evening a broad area of 40+ kt southwest winds were pushing east fast with 32 ft seas at 66S 135W. The gale is to be fading fast Sun AM (4/29) on the edge of the SCal swell window with 35 kt west-southwest winds and 30 ft seas at 66S 122W. In the evening the gale was east of the California swell window with 30 kt southwest winds and 25 ft seas fading at 64S 110W. Low odds of small sideband swell radiating north towards California.

South CA: Swell building slightly on Tues (5/8) pushing 1.2 ft @ 16 secs 1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (5/9) from 1.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

 

Central Pacific Gale
A gale started developing in the upper latitudes of the Central South Pacific on Sat AM (5/5) producing 30 kt southwest winds over a small area lifting northeast with seas building. In the evening south winds built in coverage some at 30-35 kts aimed north with seas still building to barely 22 ft but not reaching a critical threshold just yet. On Sun AM fetch built in coverage at 35+ kts aimed north with 25 ft seas over a small area at 41S 142W. In the evening 35-40 kt south winds were pushing northeast with seas building to 25-26 ft at 38S 135W. On Mon AM (5/7) a tiny area of 40-45 kt south winds persisted with seas building to 31 ft at 42S 131W aimed northeast (192 degs SCal, 189 degs NCal). Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kt over a small area aimed north with seas dropping from 29 ft at 38N 129W. Swell has been generated pushing northeast.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/13) building to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs later (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Mon AM (5/14) at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft) and pushing 2.9 ft @ 14-15 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (5/15) from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192-195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/13) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-5.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/14) peaking late at 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (5/15) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 189-193 degrees

 

New Zealand Primer Gale
A primer gale tracked east under the Tasman Sea approaching New Zealand on Sun AM (5/6) with 40 kt west winds and seas to 36 ft at 53.5S 153E and barely in the SCal swell window (222 degs) but shadowed for NCal and Hawaii. This system was roughing the oceans surface up some. Fetch pushed east in the evening and faded from 40 kts from the west with seas 37 ft at 53S 165E (201 degs HI, 220 degs SCal, 219 degs NCal). On Mon AM (5/7) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 33 ft at 55S 175E (195 degs HI, 219 degs SCal, 217 degs NCal). This gale dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Expect sideband swell arrival on Mon (5/14) building to 1.1 ft @ 20 secs (2.0 ft). Swell to build slightly Tues (5/15) to 1.4 ft @ 17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 201 degrees

South CA: Expect the first hints of swell energy arriving late on Tues (5/15) building to 1 ft @ 23 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft) and not even noticeable. Swell Direction: 219-221 degrees

North CA: Expect the first hints of swell energy arriving late on Tues (5/15) building to 0.9 ft @ 23 secs late (2.0 ft) and not even noticeable. Swell Direction: 217-219 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 another gale is to start forming southwest of New Zealand on Thurs PM (5/10) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 35 ft at 60S 150E. On Fri AM (5/11) it is to be due south of New Zealand with 40+ kt southwest winds with seas building from 36 ft at 57S 168E (200 degs HI, 219 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 217 degs NCal and unshadowed). The gale is to fade some in the evening with 40 kt southwest winds and 35 ft seas at 55S 180W aimed northeast (193 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and shadowed, 210 degs NCal and becoming shadowed). On Sat AM (5/12) residual fetch to fade from 35-40 kts from the southwest and a broad area of 31 ft seas at 52S 167W. Something to monitor.

Yet a strong gale to be right behind that and in the same area tracking east-northeast Sun PM (5/13) with 50 kt south winds and seas building from 33 ft over a broad area at 55S 175W. Fetch is to build quickly Mon AM (5/14) over a broad area aimed northeast at 45 kts solid with 36-38 ft seas roughly at 53S 160W. In the evening fetch is to fall south some and consolidate at 55 kts from the southwest with seas 46 ft at 59S 149W (195 degs SCal and 194 degs NCal and unshadowed). On Tues AM (5/15) fetch to lift north at 50 kts from the southwest with 47 ft seas at 56S 147W. In the evening fetch to continue lifting north at 50 kts over a smaller area with 48 ft seas at 52S 145W. This all seems hard to believe at this early date.

More details to follow...

 

Low Pressure Bias Fills the KWGA

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 have not stopped, 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 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina was at hand.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (5/7) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and calm to light easterly over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and calm to light westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/8) Modest west anomalies were over the whole of the KWGA with light spotty west anomalies east of the dateline to Ecuador and not in the KWGA. But starting Wed (5/9) weak east anomalies are to develop over the KWGA and hold through the end of the model run on 5/15 with weak west anomalies in pockets east of the KWGA.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/7) A developing Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was over the far West Pacific building into the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is to build east filling the KWGA for the next 15 days. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but not making as much eastward progress.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/8) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Atlantic. It is to track east steadily while remaining weak over the next 15 days moving over North Africa and to the Indian Ocean at the end of the model run. The GEFS model depicts effectively the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/8) This model depicts a modest Inactive Phase is developing over the far West Pacific and is to be moving east to the East Pacific through 6/2 while a new modest Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 5/25 and moving through the East Pacific into Central America at the end of the model run on 6/17. At that time a weak Inactive Phase is to be developing over the West Pacific. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/8) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA with weak to modest west anomalies continuing in control in the KWGA but turning weak easterly on 5/10 with the Active Phase fading 5/13. A neutral pattern biased Inactive is to develop after that 5/16 and hold through 6/15 but with weak west anomalies in control of the KWGA through the period. A stronger Active Phase to develop 6/13 holding through 7/16 with modest west anomalies strengthening and solid in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that on 7/17 through the end of the model run on 8/5 but with weak to modest west anomalies are to still be in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates the low pressure bias is now officially filling the KWGA. This is good news. The high pressure bias is already east of the KWGA focused mainly a few hundred nmiles east of California on the equator. This is hugely good news. Basically the La Nina bias is gone. The expectation is that the atmosphere and ocean will begin to be coupled 3 months from now (8/8) in a more favorable configuration for storm production in the Pacific. And the low pressure bias is to only strengthen steadily over the KWGA into July.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/8) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has moved eastward again from 170W to 168W from 75 meters down to the surface with fingers to 165W. The 24 deg isotherm was building in thickness while making significant eastward progress at 100 meters deep at 140W and now to 50 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures are gone as warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies were holding in the West at +2.0 degs from 150E down 150 meters pushing east to 135W with +1 deg anomalies reaching east to 120W down 75 meters with lesser defined +1 deg anomalies to 95W reaching up to the surface. We suspect these warm waters are starting to erupt at the surface from 100W to 130W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/3 depicts warm water in the west at +3.0 degs at 170W with a river of warm water at +1 degs pushing east to 100W with the leading edge of that mass touching the surface there. The last of the La Nina cool pool was slowly fading in one shallow pocket in the extreme East Pacific along the coast of Ecuador and being squeezed to the surface by the large approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/3) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5-10 cms centered at 180W with continuous +5 cm anomalies reaching east under the equator to 105W. Negative anomalies were east of there at -5 cms from east of the Galapagos to Ecuador then down along the coast of Peru. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.

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: (5/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a pocket of cool anomalies weakening along the immediate coast of Peru reaching northwest off Ecuador then dissipating. Of much interest is a tiny area of warm anomalies holding on the oceans surface on the equator over and just west of the Galapagos at 90W with a broad area of less warm water off Peru (90W) out to 120W. Neutral anomalies were west of there. This is likely the start of a defined eruption point for a large Kevin Wave directly below. Warm anomalies were also stable along the immediate coast of Central America and Mexico reaching west to the dateline aligned along and north of the equator. There was no clear indication of La Nina anymore in the oceans surface.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/6): A neutral trend was in control of the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos down to Peru and then west to 120W. Otherwise weak warming was over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific north of 20S and south of 20N. The breach point for a large Kelvin Wave subsurface was no longer obvious.
Hi-res Overview: (5/6) A tiny pocket of cool water was fading along the immediate coast of Peru but no longer off Ecuador. Instead warm water was building from Ecuador west to the Galapagos. Weak warming was further off the coast of Peru and reaching north to the equator at 100W. Warming was also along Central America filling the area from the equator northward up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking and warming some limited to a broad pocket south of the equator from 110W to barely the dateline looking like a Modoki La Nina (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west and dissipating). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/8) Today's temps were rising at -0.526 after falling to -1.098 on 5/6, ending a previously rising trend over the past 3 weeks that peaked at -0.479 on 5/3. Previously temps rose to -0.069 on 4/3 but crashed the week after that to -1.9 degs on 4/10. Prior to that temps had fallen hard to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/8) Today temps were fading some at -0.489 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were about -1.2 degs. A weak surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps backed off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/8) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rising since, up to -0.5 in mid-March and -0.35 in early April. They are forecast to continue a steady increase from here forward reaching neutral in mid-May, hovering there then starting to rise July into Fall to +0.25 degs in Oct and +0.5 degs in late Dec. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to continue to fade through the Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the late Fall. This model is now falling inline with all the others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume depicts temps at -0.2 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.4 in August and +0.8 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/8): The daily index was rising some today to 9.06. The 30 day average was falling some to -2.94 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was rising some at 3.12 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (5/8) Today the index has risen some to -0.38, down from -0.35 on 4/26, but up from -1.02 on 4/5 and up from -1.13 on 3/27. Still, today's value is less than the -0.33 reading in late Feb, but was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but fading stedily. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+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= -0.10, Mar= -0.51. 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 EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+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. No 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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