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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018 1:49 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
4.2 - 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 7/23 thru Sun 7/29

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   

First NZ Swell Starts Hitting CA
Multiple Overlapping Southern Hemi Pulses to Follow

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Saturday, July 21, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 14.5 secs from 180 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 14.8 secs from 237 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 71.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.4 ft @ 8.8 secs from 278 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 19.8 secs from 195 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.4 ft @ 19.1 secs from 222 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 18.5 secs from 199 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 10.2 secs from 321 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 8-12 kts. Water temp 60.8 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 Saturday (7/21) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the chest high range and effectively chopped from solid south winds and the eddy flow in full effect. Protected breaks were occasionally in the waist to chest high range and soft and modestly textured from south wind. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and clean an lined up but inconsistent coming from the southern hemi. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to maybe waist high and clean but soft and nearly closed out. In North Orange Co waves were waist to maybe chest high and lined up but heavily textured from northwest wind early. South Orange Country's best breaks were up to chest high and heavily textured if not lightly chopped from northwest winds early. In North San Diego surf was waist high and lined up and nearly closed out early and heavily textured and crumbled. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was seeing fading southern hemi swell with set waves waist to maybe barely high and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell at thigh 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 Saturday (7/21) the southern hemi swell from New Zealand has faded but new small swell energy from the Central South Pacific is forecast to return again by Sunday (7/22). In California the first little dribbles of longer period energy from from under New Zealand were starting to show and expected to build from here forward. For California that first pulse of southern hemi swell was pushing northeast from a gale that previously 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 to both Hawaii and California was 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 no real easterly windswell is forecast relative to Hawaii and north windswell is to start fading out for North and Central CA early Sunday (7/22) with no return for either location until late next week (7/27).

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Saturday AM (7/21) 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 Saturday (7/21) high pressure at 1032 mbs was 600 nmiles west of Oregon forming the usual pressure gradient just off Cape Mendocino producing north winds 25-30 kts early limited to Cape Mendocino outer water and is expected to slowly fade through the day dropping to barely 25 kts later with windswell production fading some. Sunday (7/22) the gradient is to be fading limited to extreme North California with north winds 20 kts early with windswell production potential steadily fading and gone by sunset. Low odds for windswell production. Mon-Tues (7/24) no fetch of interest is forecast with no odds for windswell production expected. See QuikCASTs for details.

Hawaii: On Saturday (7/21) no easterly fetch reaching even 15 kts is expected east of the Islands offering no support for windswell production and that pattern is to hold through the weekend. On Monday (7/23) a weak fetch of easterly winds is to develop at 15 kts extending 200 nmiles east of the Big Island but not reaching well up into Oahu. No real windswell to result. Even that little fetch is to fade on Tuesday (7/24). 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. A small and weak tropical wave might develop to depression or minimal tropical storm status status on Wed (7/25) 1500 nmiles east-southeast of Hawaii. Something to monitor.

Also a pair of tropical systems are forecast developing in the far West Pacific in that same time frame (Wed-Thurs 7/26) but neither is forecast to make any moves towards recurving northeast, staying enclosed in the far West Pacific.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (7/21) an eddy flow (south winds) was in control south of Pt Arena with north winds 30 kts limited from Cape Mendocino northward and mostly 10 miles off the immediate coast and forecast to hold all day. On Sunday (7/22) north winds are to be limited to mainly just off the coast Cape Mendocino at 20 kts early fading to near calm later with a calm to 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) until later when north winds are also to build to 15 kts over Cape Mendocino. Wednesday (7/25) north winds to be 15 kts over all of North and Central CA and up to 20 kts over Pt Conception. Thursday (7/26) 15-20 kt north winds are forecast building over all of North and Central CA. On Fri (7/27) north winds to hold at 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA. North winds to fade some on Sat (7/28) at 15-20 kts over all of North and Central CA.

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday AM (7/21) the southern branch of the jetstream was very weak not exceeding 100 kts and running zonally east on the 60S latitude line with no trough indicated offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast until Monday (7/23) when another pulse of wind energy is to develop southeast of New Zealand at 140 kts lifting northeast trying to form a trough and reaching the Central Pacific on Tues (7/24) offering decent support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to be reinforced by more wind pushing northeastward later Wed (7/25) at 120 kts near 140W (Central Pacific) offering increased support for gale development there and holding while easing east into Thurs (7/26). Friday (7/27) the trough is to be east of the California swell window at 110W. There's some suggestion that a new weak trough might start developing in the far Southwest Pacific under New Zealand later Fri-early Sat (7/28) but being fed by winds at only 70 kts offering no support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Saturday (7/21) the first of 2 small swells was fading at Hawaii but starting to arrive in California from a gale previously under New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealand Gale below). And of far more interest is swell pushing north from a gale that tracked northeast through the Central Pacific (see Central Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours all focus is to be on swell tracking north from 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.

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 2.4 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 (Swell #4S)
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: On Sat (7/21) swell to be 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (7/22) from 1.8 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) at 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (7/24) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Nothing left after that. 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 2.8 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 Tues AM (7/24) reaching 4.4 ft @ 18 secs (8.0 ft with sets to 10 ft). Swell holding. Swell fades some on Wed (7/25) from 3.8 ft @ 16 secs (6.1 ft with sets to 7.7 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/26) from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (7/27) fading from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell gone after that. Swell Direction: 191-201 degrees

North California: Swell from the first pulse of this system to arrive on Sun (7/22) building to 1.6 ft @ 19-20 secs later (3.5 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 Tues AM (7/24) reaching 3.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (6.6 ft with sets to 8 ft) mid-day (possibly 4.0 ft @ 18 secs (7.2 ft with sets to 9.0 ft). Swell holding. Swell fades some on Wed (7/25) from 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.9 ft with sets to 7.4 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/26) from 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (7/27) fading from 2.2 ft @ 14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell gone after that. Swell Direction: 190-200 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.

Windswell Forecast
California:
Wednesday (7/25) high pressure is to again try to get a toehold in the Eastern Gulf producing north winds at 15-20 kts along the entire North and Central Coast focused mainly on Pt Conception offering only minimal odds for short period junky windswell production. By Thurs (7/26) the gradient is to start lifting north with north winds building to 20+ kts over all of North and Central CA waters again producing junky short period northerly windswell at exposed breaks. Friday (7/27) north winds to hold solid at 20+ kts over all of North and Central CA again producing short period junky local north windswell. More of the same is expected on Sat (7/28).

Hawaii: On Wednesday (7/25) easterly fetch is to start building at 15 kts well east of Hawaii and not reaching the Islands associated with a developing tropical system 1350 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island. No windswell resulting yet. Then on Thurs (7/26) a tropical wave is to move west to within 1000 nmiles east of the Big Islands with high pressure in the Eastern Gulf feeding a gradient extending from California to the tropical system and west over Hawaii producing east winds at 15 kts targeting all the Hawaiian Islands offering better odds for short period east windswell at exposed breaks along east facing shores. More of the same is forecast Fri and Sat (7/28) with the tropical system moving to within 500 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island again providing improving odds for local east windswell production along all exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a gale is to form in the far Southeast Pacific on Mon PM (7/24) producing a tiny area of southwest winds at 45 kts starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (7/24) the gale is to build to storm status with southwest winds 55 kts and seas building to 34 ft at 54.5S 133.5W and small in coverage and aimed mainly east. In the evening winds to hold at 55 kt from the west tracking east to eastern edge of the SCal swell window with seas building to 45 ft over a smallish area at 54.5S 119.5W aimed east. The gale is to track east out of the California swell window and be fading Wed AM (7/25) with winds 45 kts from the southwest and seas fading from 38 ft at 52.5S 108.5W targeting mainly Chile and no longer of interest to our forecast area. Something to monitor.

On Thurs (7/26) another similar gale is to develop in the far Southeast Pacific with seas 38 ft later again aimed east.

Details to follow...

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

Kelvin Wave Eruption Continues - But ESPI Still Negative

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.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
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 Fri (7/20) 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 light to modest easterly over the East equatorial Pacific holding to a point south of Hawaii then turning to neutral anomalies and holding that way over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (7/21) weak to modest west anomalies were over the western KWGA to 150E with weak easterly anomalies east of there to the dateline. Weak west anomalies were east of there to Ecuador. The forecast suggests west anomalies are to build over the entirety of the KWGA by 7/25 and holding through the end of the model run on 7/28 except with weak easterly anomalies on the dateline and even those fading at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (7/20) A moderate Active/Wet MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that Active/Wet MJO signal is to hold steady into day 8 then fading and almost gone at the end of the model run if not turning weakly Inactive/Dry. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/21) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate midway between the East Maritime Continent and the far West Pacific and is to track east for the next 4 days then stalling and collapsing in strength in the West Pacific making no further eastward progress through the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The GEFS model has not updated.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/21) This model depicts the Active/Wet MJO signal was modest in strength over the Central and East Pacific and is to be easing east over Central America on 8/5. 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 8/30.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/20) This model depicts moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA except with a tiny pocket of light east anomalies on the dateline. Those east anomalies are to fade and be gone by 7/23 with west anomalies slowly building in coherency over the entirety of the KWGA perhaps building to WWB strength 8/9-8/17.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/21) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA with weak west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA. The weak Active MJO pattern is to continue developing and holding through 8/6 then fading with a weak Inactive MJO signal taking over 8/6-8/23 but with modest westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA with a Westerly Wind Burst forecast developing at the end of this Inactive Phase 8/14-8/22 near 170E. A weak Active Phase of the MJO is to redevelop on 8/24 holding through 9/23 with solid west anomalies in the KWGA if not a near WWB status through the first half of this Active Phase. A very weak Inactive PMJO signal to follow through the end of the model run on 10/18 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA. 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 120W (over 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 on 8/8 or 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (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: (7/21) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs reaching east to 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and is now at 157W today due to weakening of a Kelvin Wave 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 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 15 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 150W 125 meters down and pushing east. +3.0 degs anomalies were centered from 135W to 110W and +2.0 deg anomalies were east of there pushing into Ecuador. These warm waters are breaching the surface from 133W and points east of there. This Kelvin Wave had peaked and is to continue slowly fading. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/17 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 centered at 120W 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: (7/17) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and broad in coverage reaching east to 105W 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: (7/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate near neutral anomalies biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile and stable. An area of warm water is erupting on the oceans surface on the equator from the Galapagos west to 160W and building in coverage and coherence between the Galapagos to 110W the past few days with pockets of deep warming at 95W and 105W embedded in a broader area of less defined warming. 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 previously south of the equator between 120W-150W and south of 5S were now gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/20): Mixed pockets of mainly cooling were in pockets along the equator from the Galapagos to 130W. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru but warming along the coast of Central America up into mainland Mexico.
Hi-res Overview: (7/20) An area of weak cool water was all but gone along Chile and Peru but still present. Of more interest was warm water 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 145-180W and all but gone now.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/21) Today's temps continued falling at -0.980 degs, down from -0.383 on 7/12, and that 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: (7/21) Today temps were rising at +0.211, up from +0.136 a few days ago, but that 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 (7/21) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.25 degs and to +1.40 degs in Nov then slowly fading from there but still not falling below +1.0 by 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) (7/21): The daily index was steady today at +7.32. The 30 day average was rising today to -0.25 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having some effect. The 90 day average was rising some too at -1.79, 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): (7/21) Today the index was steady at -1.15 after falling to -1.28 on 7/17). But that is way more negative than it recently was, when it hit the highest it's been in a year on 7/2 at -0.09. This negative trend 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. The El Nino pattern is NOT coupled. 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 

 

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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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