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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2020 12:20 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
3.1 - California & 2.3 - 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 8/24 thru Sun 8/30

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   

Weak NZ Swell To Continue
Long Term Outlook Indicates Nothing

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Saturday, August 22, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 12.6 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 5.9 secs from 35 degrees. Water temp 80.8 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.3 secs from 188 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4 kts. Water temperature 70.9 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.7 ft @ 8.4 secs from 307 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.1 secs from 205 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.9 secs from 199 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.0 secs from 197 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 9.3 secs from 278 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was north at 12-16 kts. Water temp 50.7 degs (013), 59.4 degs (SF Bar) and 54.5 degs (042).

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

 
Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Saturday (8/22) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at waist to chest high and reasonably lined up but warbled and mushed with some surface lump but with light to near calm wind. Protected breaks were in the thigh to waist high range and and clean but very soft and heavily fogged in. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high or so and clean and soft and inconsistent and real foggy. In Southern California/Ventura windswell was producing waves from the northwest at waist to approaching chest high on the peaks and clean and lined up. Central Orange County had set waves at waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but soft and inconsistent. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at head high and lined up and clean and peeling when the sets came. North San Diego had sets to shoulder high and lined up and clean but fairly closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was supposedly getting fresh New Zealand swell with waves at waist to maybe chest high on occasion and clean and lined up when they came but generally pretty weak. The East Shore was getting no rideable windswell and almost chopped from modest easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (8/22) minimal locally generated windswell was hitting North and Central CA. There was some even less southern hemi swell pushing into North CA but it was hitting stronger in Southern CA and all but gone in Hawaii originating from a par of gales that developed southeast of New Zealand on Tues (8/11) producing up to 34 ft seas aimed east and another that developed south of New Zealand on Fri (8/14) producing 27-28 ft seas aimed northeast for 12 hours. For the future one more weak gale tracked east through the South Central Pacific on Tues-Wed (8/19) producing up to 32 ft seas aimed due east. Tiny swell from it is heading to Hawaii and CA. But beyond nothing solid is suggested. At this point we're just waiting for Fall.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Saturday (8/22) no swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical system are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (8/22) a weak pressure gradient was over Cape Mendocino producing northwest winds there down to Pt Arena at 20 kts with 15 kts winds mostly off the coast down to Big Sur early building to 20-25 kts over most all of North CA later with winds 10 kts nearshore over Central CA later. Windswell production building some later. On Sunday (8/23) north winds are forecast at 20 kts for North CA down to Pt Arena with a light eddy flow (south winds) from Pt Reyes southward holding all day. On Mon (8/24) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts limited to Pt Arena northward resulting in windswell radiating south into Central CA with winds light from Pt Reyes southward all day. On Tues (8/25) the gradient is to hold producing north winds at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino but with light winds south of there early but building to 10-15 kts from the north in the afternoon while north winds fade to 20 kts over Cape Mendocino later. Wed (8/26) the gradient starts building with north winds at 25-30 kts over a decent area from Bodega bay northward and 15 kts winds south of there to Pt Conception early and holding all day. Windswell production potential on the increase. More of the same on Thurs (8/27) with north winds 25-30 kts over Cape Mendocino early and 10-15 kts south of there to Pt Conception holding through the day. Fri (8/28) more of the same with the gradient in place producing north winds at 25+ kts over the Cape Mendocino area with north winds 5-10 kts south of there into Central CA holding all day. North winds 15 kts for all of southern CA in the afternoon. Sat (8/29) north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for the Cape Mendocino area but with a light eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 14,000 ft or higher for the week.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday (8/22) the jetstream was well split over the width of the South Pacific with the southern branch pushing east under New Zealand weakly then falling hard south into Antarctica forming a ridge over the Central South Pacific and never returning north offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to dissipate but the whole of the jet is to be southward displaced tracking east on the 63S latitude line and mostly over Antarctic Ice by Mon (8/24) offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the southward displaced zonal flow is to hold if not fall further south into early Thurs (8/27) continuing the lockdown on support for gale production eventually falling so far south over Antarctica as to disappear from the chart. Then on Sat (8/29) the southern branch of the jet is to reappear pushing just under New Zealand up at 50S being fed by 150 kts winds forming a trough there and offering some support for gale development. Something to possibly look forward to through nothing epic.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (8/22) fading swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand was still hitting California (see Weak New Zealand Gale below). There was secondary and tertiary energy intermixed. Another system developed in the same area producing small swell radiating northeast (see Another New Zealand Gale below). And a final system developed southeast of New Zealand (see Final New Zealand Gale below). One more gale followed that but only tiny swell is expected (see South Central Pacific Gale below). Beyond no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

 

Weak New Zealand Gale
A gale started building in the far Southwest Pacific south of Tasmania on Fri PM (8/7) pushing east with 35-40 kt west winds over a small area and seas building. On Sat AM (8/8) southwest winds were 40-45 kts over a small area south of New Zealand with seas 30 ft over a modest area at 56S 162E aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was fading with southwest winds 35-40 kts over a modest sized area aimed northeast with seas 32 ft at 53S 176E aimed east-northeast. On Sun AM (8/9) fetch was fading and sinking south from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 27 ft at 53S 175W aimed east. Low odds of any swell resulting for Hawaii or the US mainland.

Southern CA: Swell fading on Sat (8/22) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (8/23) fading from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 213 degrees

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (8/22) from 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 213 degrees

 

Another New Zealand Gale
On Fri AM (8/14) a small gale formed southeast of New Zealand lifting northeast producing a modest sized area of 40 kt southwest winds producing 28 ft seas aimed northeast at 56S 170E. In the evening southwest winds were 35 kts lifting northeast producing 26 ft seas at 52S 179W aimed northeast. Fetch dissipated after that on Sat AM (8/15) offer no more swell production potential.

Hawaii: Swell building on Sat (8/22) to 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-day (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding early Sun (8/23) at 2.0 ft @ 14 secs (2.5 ft) then fading. Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell to arrive weakly on Tues (8/25) building to 1.3 ft @ 15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell dissipating and merging with the next swell after that (see below). Swell Direction: 213 degrees

North CA: Expect swell to arrive weakly on Tues (8/25) building to 1.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell dissipating and merging with the next after that (see below). Swell Direction: 212 degrees

 

Final New Zealand Gale
On Sat PM (8/16) a gale developed southeast of New Zealand producing southwest winds at 40 kts with seas building from 23 ft at 57S 180W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (8/17) fetch continued lifting northeast at 40-45 kts with seas 28 ft over a tiny area at 52S 170W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale tracked well northeast with winds 45 kts from the southwest with seas 30 ft over a small area at 49.5S 160W aimed northeast. Fetch faded Mon AM (8/17) from 35 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 29 ft at 47S 153W aimed northeast. The gale dissipate in the evening with seas fading from 29 ft at 48S 147.5W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell arrival on Sun (8/23) building to 1.3 ft @ 16 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell peaking early Mon (8/24) at 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (8/25) from 1.5 ft @ 13 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Tues (8/25) pushing 1.0 ft @ 17 secs (1.5 ft). Swell building on Wed (8/26) to 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (8/27) from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft).Swell Direction: 198 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Tues (8/25) pushing 1.0 ft @ 17 secs (1.5 ft). Swell building on Wed (8/26) to 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (8/27) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft).Swell Direction: 198 degrees

 

South Central Pacific Gale
Starting Tues AM (8/18) a gale developed well southeast of New Zealand producing a broad area of northwest winds at 45 kts with seas building to 29 ft at 58.5S 176.5W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to push quickly east and build in coverage at 40-45 kts from the west-northwest with 31 ft seas at 57.5S 162W aimed east-southeast. Fetch moved rapidly east on Wed AM (8/19) over a building area at 40-45 kts with seas 34 ft down at 62S 131W aimed east. The gale pushed east with west winds 35 kt over a large area and seas 31 ft over a broad area aimed east at 58.5S 125W aimed northeast. The gale pushed east of the Southern CA swell window after that. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: No swell expected to result.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (8/27) pushing 1.3 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Fri (8/28) pushing 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (8/29) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 194 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (8/27) pushing 1.0 ft @ 18-19 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell building on Fri (8/28) pushing 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (8/29) from 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

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

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a tiny gale is forecast developing just south of New Zealand on Fri PM (8/28) pushing east producing 37 ft seas at 53S 155.5E aimed east. The gale is to fade on Sat AM (8/29) producing 29-30 ft seas over a decent sized area at 52S 171E aimed east. Something to monitor but odds low of its formation at this early date.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Cooling SST Trend Building Solidly over Central Pacific

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.

And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (8/22) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and then weak to moderate from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were moderate east over the East equatorial fading to weak easterly over the Central Pacific turning light westerly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (8/22) weak east anomalies were building in over all the KWGA today with weak west anomalies filling the far East Pacific. The forecast calls for east anomalies building in coverage and strength over the KWGA filling it at the end of the forecast period (on 8/29) and moderate or near strong strength. Moderate west anomalies are to continue filling the East equatorial Pacific east of a point south of California for the duration of the forecast period, but showing signs of dissipating on the last day of the model run. Support for energy transfer into the jet is fading and will continue on that trend for at least the next week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (8/21) A weak Inactive MJO was trying to move into the far West KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to push weakly into the core of the KWGA 5 days out then fading to half that strength on day 10 and continuing to fade through day 15. The dynamic model suggests the same thing initially and is corrupt after that.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/22) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Gulf of Mexico today and is to steadily track east over the Atlantic and into the Central Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model continue to suggest the Active Phase is to building to moderate status while tracking over the Atlantic the next 6 days then weakening while pushing into and over the East Indian Ocean 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (8/21) This model depicts a moderate plus strength Inactive MJO was filling the KWGA today. The forecast depicts the Inactive Phase is to move east through the Central equatorial Pacific and into Central America on 9/25 while holding solid strength. A modest Active MJO is to follow pushing into the far West Pacific 8/20 moving to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 9/30.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/21) This model depicts an organized Active MJO fading while moving east out of the KWGA today with west anomalies all but gone in the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO tracking east while fading in the KWGA and gone by 8/26 but with west anomalies building to strong status over the East Pacific through 8/29. East anomalies are to build in the KWGA from now forward as the Inactive Phase of the MJO moves east through the Pacific filling the KWGA 8/26 at least through the end of the model run on 8/18. East anomalies building to strong status 8/29-9/16. Overall a long run of easterly anomalies are to again take over the KWGA. Whatever window there was for the MJO to support swell production, it is all but gone now.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/22 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active MJO fading over the KWGA today and past its prime with patches of weak west anomalies mainly east of the KWGA. A strong Inactive Phase is forecast traversing the Pacific 8/24-9/23 with another bout of strong east anomalies firmly controlling the KWGA and filling the whole equatorial Pacific and strong over the East Pacific. A strong Active Phase of the MJO is forecast 9/14 through 10/15 with solid west anomalies filling the western 75% of the KWGA while east anomalies remain strong and in control east of there. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 10/5-10/18 but with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. Another modest Active MJO is to follow 10/23 through the end of the model run on 11/19 producing strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the dateline today reaching east to a point south of California and is to hold in coverage through the end of the model run with a second contour setting up on 9/11 on the dateline holding through the end of the model run. A single contour low pressure bias is building weakly over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage through the end of the model run while its eastern periphery eases east to 145E and over the far West KWGA at the end of the model run. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year are migrating east into the West Pacific and should track east becoming stationary over the Central Pacific early Sept and holding for the foreseeable future. The trend is turning towards La Nina.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/22) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was moving east to 174E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was tracking east at 170W today. The 24 deg isotherm was backtracking to 133W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies 0-1 deg C were fading in the West Pacific reaching east to barely 170W with another pocket at +1 deg from 110W eastward. A river of generally cooler temps were tracking west to east down at 150m traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. Embedded in that was a large pocket of cooler anomalies at -2 degs located between 105W-165W today and bubbling up to the surface near and around 140W. It appears a conveyor belt of cool water (Cold water Kelvin Waves) was in effect. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/16 indicates the cool water bubble at depth was far stronger and larger erupting to the surface from the dateline eastward to Ecuador. Almost no warm water was below the surface or at the surface east of the dateline. In effect a river of cool water was at depth under the entirety of the equatorial Pacific 150m tracking east. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/16) Negative anomalies greater than -5 cms with a large embedded area at -15 cms were building over the Central equatorial Pacific between 110W to 170W. Interestingly negative anomalies were dissolving along Ecuador and down into Peru but still covering a large area at -5 cms there and reaching north up to Baja and into Southern CA. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except west of 160E.

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: (8/21) The latest images indicate cold water was building from just off the coast of Ecuador west on the equator to the dateline and consistent in density over that area. Cool water was also holding along Peru tracking northwest to Ecuador. This is now looking like a well developing version of La Nina. Cool anomalies along the coast of Chile up into Peru appearing to be feeding the cool stream. Warm water was off Central America reaching west to the dateline but only north of the equator, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/21): A clear stream of cooling water was pushing west from Ecuador out to 160W. Small pockets of warming interspersed but rapidly fading. The short term trend is looking like development of a large scale cooling trend centered in the Central Equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (8/21) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Peru up to Ecuador then building from there to the dateline. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/22) Today's temps were rising some at -1.351 degs after previously reaching a new low of -2.138 on 8/13. The trend has been steadily downward since March 26. Overall the trend is towards cooling after having previously been in a warmer range at +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(8/22) Temps were falling today down to -0.525, previously down at -0.492 on 8/12. Before that temps were stable between 6/27-7/25 at near 0.0. And before that temps were rising after bottoming out down at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend was warming but now appears to be in a steep decline.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/22) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range early this year through March, then started falling down to -0.20 in late-May then stabilized near neutral into late June. Then they began falling in July down to -0.6 degs early Aug. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend from here reaching down to -1.30 degs in late Oct. After that temps to start rebuilding steadily up to +0.1 degs in late April. We think the dynamic models might be overstating the magnitude of the coming cooling trend for the equatorial Pacific, but maybe not too much.
IRI Consensus Plume: The August 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.52 degs today, and are to fall in early Nov to -0.60 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.35 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by March. The low outlier is a dynamic models (NASA GMAO). But a good plethora of models are now suggesting a developing modest La Nina. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (8/22): The daily index was positive today at 9.53. The 30 day average was rising at +6.44. The 90 day average was rising slightly to 0.76, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was in control and trending perhaps to La Nina. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

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


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (8/23):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI_nua906HA&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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