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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 3:23 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
1.9 - California & 2.1 - 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 7/9 thru Sun 7/15

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   

Southern Hemi Awakens
Multiple Overlapping Swells Targeting EPac Breaks


On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 8.3 secs from 158 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 13.4 secs from 189 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 71.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.7 ft @ 13.1 secs from 188 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 5.7 secs from 274 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.9 ft @ 13.5 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 201 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 13.5 secs from 163 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temp 61.0 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (7/17) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the knee high range and lightly textured from light north wind. Protected breaks were knee to thigh high and weak but clean early. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was knee to maybe thigh high and clean. In North Orange Co waves were thigh to maybe waist high and textured from light northwest wind. South Orange Country's best breaks still had a some southern hemi swell producing waves waist to chest high on the bigger sets and clean. In North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and lightly textured and formless. Hawaii's North Shore was flat with a northerly sideshore texture. The South Shore had a few sets at waist high though mostly flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest high and chopped from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (7/17) no real swell was hitting California or Hawaii. But swell was in the water pushing northeast from a gale that developed south of New Zealand tracking east and barely moving into the Southwest Pacific on Thurs (7/12) with 40 ft seas aimed east. Of more interest is a stronger system that tracked under New Zealand and started building Sat-Tues (7/17) while lifting well northeast through the Central Pacific with 31 ft seas from the initial pulse and up to 40 ft seas from a stronger second pulse. Otherwise east windswell is expected for Hawaii with help from a tropical wave through Thurs (7/19) and windswell is to develop for North and Central CA on Wed (7/18) holding through the weekend then dissipating.


Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (7/17) no swell of interest was in the water nor being generated in the North Pacific other than local windswell.

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

Windswell Forecast
California: On Tuesday (7/17) high pressure at 1030 mbs was in the Gulf of Alaska but not ridging east much with a weak pressure and wind pattern along the California coast offering no support for windswell production. But by the afternoon a weak gradient is to start building over Cape Mendocino producing up to 20 kt north winds pushing south to Pt Arena offering only limited support for windswell production. Wednesday (7/18) high pressure still centered in the Gulf of Alaska is to finally surge eastward with a decent gradient developing over North California producing north winds at 25 kts from Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena resulting in decent odds for the producing of north windswell down into Central California with and eddy flow developing south of there. On Thursday (7/19) the gradient is to build more with north winds building to 30 kts over the area from Cape Mendocino to Pt Arena offering continued support for windswell development down into Central CA while a near eddy flow continues south of there. More of the same is expected on Fri (7/20) with north winds in the core of the gradient near 30 kts. See QuikCASTs for details.

Hawaii: On Tuesday (7/17) east fetch driven by high pressure continued at 15+ kts extending 900 nmiles east of Hawaii producing more limited short period east windswell being supported by a tropical wave 500 nmiles east-southeast of Hawaii. On Wed (7/18) east fetch at 20 kts is to hold but fading in coverage limited to an area 500 nmiles east of Hawaii with odds for windswell development holding steadily as the tropical wave fades and moves south of Hawaii. Thursday (7/19) east fetch at 15 kts is to be limited to within 250 nmiles east of the Islands early and gone later with windswell fading out. Friday (7/20) no east fetch reaching even 15 kts is expected east of the Islands offering no support for windswell production. See QuikCASTs for details.


  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 (7/17) north winds were 15 kts for Pt Arena northward and are to build to 20 kts but 10 kts or less from just south of Pt Arena southward. Wednesday (7/18) a light wind flow if not weak eddy flow (south winds) is expected nearshore for the entire state up to Pt Arena with north winds 25 kts north of there. Thursday (7/19) the eddy flow is is to build some south of Pt Arena with north winds 25-30 kts from Pt Arena northward. No change Friday or Saturday (7/21). On Sunday (7/22) north winds are to be limited to Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts with a light flow over the vast majority of California. Monday (7/23) light winds (10 kts or less) are expected for the entire CA coast but building to 20 kts over Pt Conception later. No change on Tuesday (7/24).

South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (7/17) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging solidly southeast under New Zealand reaching down to 72S and over the Ross Ice Shelf but started to form a trough pushing well to the north over the Central Pacific reaching up to 40S and being fed by 120 kt winds offering good support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. East of there another ridge is to be pushing the jet south into Antarctica south of Chile and actively suppressing support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Central Pacific is to ease east and move out of the California swell window later Wed (7/18) but still providing support for gale development as it impacts extreme Southern Chile over the weekend. To the west the ridging pattern is to continue sweeping east down at 65S and over Antarctic Ice and filling the entire Hawaii and California swell window by Fri (7/20) actively suppressing support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Saturday (7/21) another push of wind energy to the southeast at 120 kts is to be reinforcing the ridge over the Central South Pacific. But west of there a weak trough is forecast developing under New Zealand on Sun (7/22) pushing north to 55S being fed by southwest winds to 100 kts building to 120 kts on Mon PM (7/23) and reaching the Central Pacific on Tues (7/24) offering decent support for gale development. So there's some hope.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (7/17) no swell of interest was hitting Hawaii or California. But swell was in the water pushing northeast from a gale that was previously under New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealand Gale below). And of far more interest is a gale tracking northeast through the Central Pacific (see Central Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours all focus is to be on the Central Pacific Gale. No other swell producing weather systems are forecast.


Stronger New Zealand Gale
A gale started to
form while tracking east under New Zealand Wed PM (7/11) with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft over a small area at 58S 161E. On Thurs AM (7/12) fetch was building in coverage but fading in velocity from 45 kts from the west-southwest and seas 40 ft at 56.5S 178E. The gale faded in the evening with fetch dropping from 40 kts but aimed more southwest with seas fading from 34 ft at 56.5S 169.5W aimed east. The gale dissipate from there Fri AM (7/13) with southwest winds fading from 35 kts and seas fading from 28t at 55S 158W. The eastward track of this system likely means most swell energy is to be tracking east, not northeast. Limited sideband swell energy expected for Hawaii and California.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (7/19) 5 AM with swell at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding through the day as period drops to 17 secs later. Residuals on Fri (7/20) fading from 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193-197 degs

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/21) near noon pushing 2.1 ft @ 18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) later. Swell holding Sun AM (7/22) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (7/23) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210-213 degs

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/21) building late afternoon to 1.8 ft @ 18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell holding Sun AM (7/22) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (7/23) from 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft) and being overridden by stronger swell. Swell Direction: 210-213 degs


Central Pacific Gale
Another gale started developing southeast of New Zealand on Sat AM (7/14) tracking northeast with winds from the southwest at 40 kts over a building area and seas building from 29 ft at 57.5S 176W and building while lifting hard northeast. In the evening a moderate sized fetch of 40 kt southwest winds were lifting east-northeast with seas 31 ft at 52.5S 164.5W. On Sun AM (7/15) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the south-southwest with seas 31 ft at 49.5S 152.5W aimed well to the north. Swell was in the water pushing north-northeast but for the most part this was just primer activity. In the evening the fetch is to dissipate from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 29 ft at 44S 145W. But secondary fetch (which is really the main event) is to be developing solidly at 45 kts southwest of it tracking northeast with seas building from 37 ft down at 60S 167.5W tracking northeast. On Mon AM (7/16) only the secondary fetch is to be viable at 45 kts from the south-southwest lifting northeast with seas 39 ft at 53.5S 155.5W. The gale is to fade some in the evening with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 38 ft at 49S 148W aimed north-northeast over a solid area. On Tues AM (7/17) additional 45 kt southwest fetch is to build in the upper reaches of the Central Pacific aimed north-northeast with seas 35 ft at 44S 141W aimed solidly northeast. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40-45 kts over a fragmented area with seas 32 ft fading at 41S 135W. Fetch fading out Wed AM (7/18) from 35-40 kts and seas fading from 31 ft aimed northeast at 43S 127W. A good pulse of swell is possible targeting California down into Mexico, Central America and South America. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival from the first pulse of this swell late on Fri (7/20) pushing 1.2 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.0 ft). On Sat (7/21) swell to be 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (7/22) from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) while being overridden by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 190 degrees The second pulse of this swell is to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs midday (3.5 ft with sets to 4.5 ft). Swell holds on Mon (7/23) 2.0 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (7/24) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 180 degrees

South California: Swell from the first pulse of this system to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 2.2 ft @ 19 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (7/23) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) and starting to be overrun by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 200 degrees. The second pulse of this swell to arrive early Mon (7/23) with period 21 secs and size building steadily pushing 3.3 ft @ 20 secs late (6.6 ft with sets to 8.0 ft). Swell building from there on on Tues AM (7/24) swell to reaching 4.6 ft @ 18 secs (8.0 ft with sets to 10 ft). Swell holding. Swell Direction: 191-200 degrees

North California: Swell from the first pulse of this system to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 2.0 ft @ 19 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (7/23) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) and starting to be overrun by the second pulse of this swell. Swell Direction: 199 degrees. The second pulse of this swell to arrive early Mon (7/23) with period 21 secs and size building steadily pushing 2.6 ft @ 20 secs late (5.2 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell building from there on on Tues AM (7/24) reaching 3.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (6.6 ft with sets to 8 ft) mid-day. Swell holding. Swell Direction: 191-200 degrees

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




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

North Pacific

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

Windswell Forecast
On Saturday (7/21) more of the same is expected with high pressure forming a pressure gradient and north winds 25-30 kts limited to Cape Mendocino early and with north winds slowly fading to barely 25 kts later with windswell producing fading some. Sunday (7/22) the gradient is to be fading limited to extreme North California with north winds 20-25 kts with windswell production potential steadily fading. Low odds for windswell production. Mon-Tues (7/24) no fetch of interest and no odds for windswell production is forecast.

Hawaii: Saturday (7/21) no east fetch at 15 kts or greater is forecast east of the Islands offering no support for windswell production. But on Sun (7/22) a light fetch of 15 kt east winds is to become more coherent east of Hawaii with another tropical wave pushing southeast of Hawaii offering very limited support for windswell development mainly on the Big Island. On Monday (7/23) easterly fetch to hold at 15 kts up to 500 nmiles east of the Big ISland but not reaching well up into Oahu. Small windswell possible for the Big Island. More of the same on Tues (7/24).

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a gale is to form in the Central Pacific on Tues (7/24) with up to 40 ft seas aimed east over a tiny area at 51S 152W. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast

Kelvin Wave Eruption Tries to Restart - ESPI Unfortunately Falling

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 two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and was building over equatorial waters in early June, suggesting the demise of La Nina and possibly turning towards El Nino.

Summer 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 4.0
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)

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (7/16) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then weakening starting on the dateline but still moderately east over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were mostly neutral over the East equatorial Pacific building to light easterly over the dateline and extending over then bulk of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (7/17) weak to modest west anomalies were over the western KWGA to 155E and moderate easterly anomalies were east of there in the Eastern KWGA and continuing east over the remainder of the Pacific. The forecast suggests this pattern is to hold but with east anomalies slowly loosing velocity through the end of the model on 7/24 down to the light category while weak west anomalies continue over the western half of the KWGA.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (7/16) A moderate Active/Wet MJO signal was building over the Western KWGA. The statistical model depicts that Active/Wet MJO signal is to hold steady into day 8 then fading and then fading to the point of almost being gone at the end of the model run. The dynamic model depicts the same thing except the Active Phase holding more solid through the end of the model run. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/17) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the East Maritime Continent and is to track steadily east reaching the West Pacific in 10 days then stalling and weakening there at the end of the model run. The GEFS model depicts a variant on the same theme.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/17) This model depicts the Active/Wet MJO signal was moderate over the West Pacific and is to be easing east over Central America on 8/11. A moderate Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific on 8/4 making slow east headway reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 8/26.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/16) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the Western KWGA with light east anomalies all but gone on the dateline. Those east anomalies are to fade and be gone by 7/19 with west anomalies building solid at 150E from there till 7/28. Even after that west anomalies are to hold moderate in strength from there till at least 8/13 and filling the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/17) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was starting to build over the KWGA with weak west anomaly wind pattern starting to build from 160E and points west of there with weak east anomalies on the dateline. A weak Active MJO pattern is to develop 8/12-8/24 but with modest west anomalies holding if not building in coverage and strength in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to redevelop 8/25 continue through 9/13 with west anomalies building in the KWGA and a Westerly Wind Burst on the front end of that Active Phase. The Inactive Phase is to follow 9/13 through the end of the model run on 10/14 but with weakening westerly anomalies still in control. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and has built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 and forecast to hold if not build for the foreseeable future (through Winter 2019). This means we are in full El Nino mode starting today through the coming Fall-Winter season. The eastern edge of the Low Pressure bias is to ease east to 125W (just off California) by 10/6. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking steadily and is to be gone by 9/24. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and should fully reach that state 3 months after the start of the transition or by 8/8 (low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA starting on 5/8). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/17) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs reaching east to 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and is now at 156W today due to weakening Kelvin Wave conditions under the West Pacific. The 28 degs line was stationary on the dateline last winter, then started moving east on 5/15 to 165W, then to 160W on 5/22 then to 154W on 6/19 and to 150W on 6/24 from the surface to 75 meters deep. The 24 deg isotherm was stable at 115 meters deep at 140W and 75 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are focused in the East Pacific at depth. Warm anomalies at +1.0 deg C were moving east from the far West Pacific and building to +2.0 deg C starting at 155W 125 meters down and pushing east to the Galapagos. +3.0 degs anomalies were centered from 135W to 115W and +2.0 deg anomalies were east of there pushing into Ecuador. These warm waters are breaching the surface from 135W and points east of there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/12 depicts a river of warm water pushing east from the West Pacific with a large Kelvin Wave embedded in it starting at 145W building to +3.5 degs extending unbroken to the east to Ecuador and breaching the surface between 100W-150W. No residual cool water from La Nina are indicated. And more warm water was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline and joining the existing Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/12) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and broad in coverage reaching east to 110W then less broad on into Ecuador with no breaks and anomalies 0-5 cm over that entire area with multiple imbedded pockets at 5+ cms. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing.

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: (7/16) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate near neutral anomalies biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile and building a little in the past 2 days. An area of warm water is erupting on the oceans surface on the equator from the Galapagos west to 160W and had lost significant coverage between the Galapagos to 110W the past few days, but not appears to be regaining it's footing with pockets of deep warming rebuilding at 95W and 105W. A broad area of generic warming was also filling the area south of Mexico out to the dateline, gaining a little coherency south of Mexico at 120W and points east of there in the last few days. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were south of the equator between 120W-150W and south of 5S and fading significantly in the past few days.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/16): Mixed pockets of mainly warming were scattered along the equator from Ecuador to 140W suggesting the Kelvin Wave is starting to erupt again. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru but warming off of Central Mexico.
Hi-res Overview: (7/16) An area of weak cool water was all but gone along Chile and Peru and weakening compared to days past. Otherwise warm water was holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N and building in coherence, but still just in the mild warming category. The only cool water was in the fading remnant pocket from La Nina limited to an area south of the equator starting at 5S between 115W-145W and all but gone now.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/17) Today's temps were -0.756, down from -0.383 on 7/12, up from -0.428 on 6/7, up from -0.819 on 5/22, and that down from a recent peak rising to +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.75 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/17) Today temps were at +0.138, down considerably from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Temps were -0.266 on 6/2, -0.427 on 5/12 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were down at -1.2 degs.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/17) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.40 degs and to +1.50 degs in Nov then slowly fading from there but still above the +1.0 range into April 2019. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Summer and Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-June Plume depicts temps at +0.3 degs in late June and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in January holding there. 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 (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (7/15): The daily index was falling some today at +3.51. The 30 day average was rising today to -2.76 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having some effect. The 90 day average was rising some too at -2.50, turning negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (7/17) Today the index was falling again at -1.28 after nearing the highest it's been in a year at 7/2 at -0.09. This is not good news suggesting La Nina has not completely given up it's grip on equatorial precipitation yet and if anything is surging again. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
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, April = -0.85, May =-0.61. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): 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, Mar = -0.05. 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 



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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