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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2018 4:14 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
3.3 - California & 2.5 - 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 9/11 thru Sun 9/17

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   

SE Pac Swell Starting To Hit CA
Two More Behind - A Fourth Forecast

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Saturday, September 8, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 13.3 secs from 186 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 10.2 secs from 183 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 72.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.7 ft @ 8.0 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.4 ft @ 9.5 secs from 203 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.8 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 14.0 secs from 200 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 6.5 ft @ 6.6 secs from 326 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 21-25 kts. Water temp 57.7 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 (9/8) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves at thigh to waist high and heavily textured from northwest winds and not really rideable. Protected breaks were thigh high with a few waist high sets and textured and not really rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was occasionally up to thigh high on the peaks and clean but very slow and weak. In Southern California/Ventura surf was up to thigh high on the peak of the sets and clean and weak. In North Orange Co waves were waist to chest high on the peak of the sets coming from the south and a bit warbled though surface conditions were clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to head high on the sets and clean and lined up but fogged in early. In North San Diego surf was waist to rarely chest high and lined up and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high and clean wrapping in from the northeast. The South Shore was getting background southern hemi swell with set waves occasionally waist high and clean but slow. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves chest high and clean with no trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (9/8) minimal background southern hemi swell was hitting California i making for barely rideable surf at select breaks. Small windswell was the best option in Hawaii coming from the northeast. No really windswell was arriving in California yet. Swell from Hurricane Norman was fading along east facing shores of all Hawaiian Islands while small swell from Hurricane Olivia was pushing west towards the Islands, expected to arrive soon. A low pressure systems is forecast to develop over the dateline on Sunday (9/9) with 18-20 ft seas aimed south targeting HI with sideband energy with luck. In the southern hemisphere a gale produced up to 43 ft seas just east of the Southern CA swell window on Sun (9/2) pushing north, so some swell is finally tracking barely towards CA but more so for Mexico. Another gale produced 38 ft seas in the Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/5) targeting California down to Peru while at the same time another gale produced 39 ft seas in the Southwest Pacific just off the Ross Ice Shelf aimed east. And maybe another gale is to form in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (9/9) on the very edge of the SCal swell window with seas to 49-53 ft, but mostly targeting Chile. Things are looking a little better but a persistent ridge is to keep the Southwest Pacific locked down. And there's no real sign of the North Pacific coming on-line yet.

 

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 (9/8) no swell was hitting and no swell was in the water moving towards Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours 2 low pressure systems are forecast. The first is to be building in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska on Sat (9/8) to 996 mbs but with winds only reaching 20-25 kts circulating just off the coast of Northern British Columbia on Sun AM (9/9) and not generating seas even reaching 18 ft, then moving onshore on Monday AM (9/10). No swell to result.

A second broader low is to form on the dateline on Sat PM (9/8) producing 35 kts northwest winds over a tiny area starting to get traction on the oceans surface. Winds to hold while building in coverage Sun AM (9/9) aimed south with seas building to 19 ft over a tiny area at 42N 178E. In the evening fetch is to build in coverage at 30 kts aimed south with seas continue at 18 ft over a small area at 39N 179E aimed south mostly bypassing Hawaii. More of the same is expected on Mon AM (9/10) with 18 ft seas at 37N 176E. This system is to fade from there. Low odds of small sideband windswell radiating southeast towards Hawaii. Something to monitor.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Saturday (9/8) high pressure was starting to push east ridging under low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and barely into North and Central CA resulting in north winds at 20 kts over North and Central CA producing raw short period local north windswell at exposed breaks. On Sunday (9/9) more of the same is forecast with north winds 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA with raw local north windswell expected reaching down into Southern CA too. Monday (9/10) high pressure is to continue ridging into North and Central CA producing north winds at 20-25 kts along the coast there resulting in more local short period raw north windswell at exposed breaks. No real change forecast on Tuesday (9/11). See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Saturday (9/8) no fetch exceeding 15 kts was occurring near the Hawaii Islands other than the fading remnants of Norman 320 nmiles north of Hawaii and fading while tracking north with little to no fetch aimed south at Hawaii. But Olivia was tracking west about 1100 nmiles out and positioned north enough to be targeting swell production at all the Hawaiian Islands. No windswell fetch is to be occurring on Sun (9/9) with Norman out of the picture and possible swell from Olivia poised to hit and with Olivia while tracking west 750 nmiles east of the Islands. On Monday (9/10) swell from Olivia is to be hitting and with Olivia moving closer and just slowly weakening while tracking west positioned 450 nmiles east-northeast of Hawaii. Tues (9/11) Olivia is to be at strong tropical storm status tracking west-southwest positioned 250 nmiles east-northeast of the Big Island generating windswell and forecast to move over the Eastern Hawaiian Islands within 24 hours. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Norman: On Sat AM (9/8) TS Norman was 360 nmiles north of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 50 kts (58 mph) tracking north with all it's central dense overcast offset off it's north quadrant and no longer of any interest. Norman is to continue on this track an fading while moving over cooler water and providing no swell production potential, effectively gone by Wed (8/12).

Oahu (exposed breaks on the East Shore): Residuals fading on Sat (9/8) from 5.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (5.0 ft faces). Swell Direction: 80 degrees moving to 55 degrees

Hurricane Olivia: On Saturday (9/8) Olivia was 1100 nmiles east-northeast of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 75 kts (86 mph) tracking west at 13 kts producing 32 ft seas pushing west. Olivia is to continue on westerly track on Sun (9/9) positioned 800 nmiles west of Maui with winds 65 kts (75 mph) still generating swell, but of less size. The official track has Olivia tracking west on Mon AM (9/10) with winds 65 kts and positioned 500 nmiles east of Maui then fading to tropical storm force Tues AM (9/11) with winds 60 kts (69 mph) positioned 300 nmiles east of Maui and tracking west-southwest producing swell aimed at exposed east shores of the Hawaiian Islands. On Wed AM (9/12) Olivia is to be tracking west-southwest pushing over the northern tip of Big Island with winds 55 kts (63 mph) and quickly pushing west and south of the other Hawaiian Islands with swell production fading out. On Thurs AM (9/13) Olivia is to be 150 nmiles south Kauai tracking west-southwest with winds 45 kts (52 mph) and no longer of interest. Something to monitor.

Oahu (exposed breaks on the East Shore): Small swell possible starting Sun (9/9) at 3.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (9/10) to 3.4 ft @ 13-14 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell building Tues (9/11) afternoon to 5.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (9/12) at 7.5 ft @ 10-11 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (9/13) from 5 ft @ 8 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 80 degrees moving to 70 degrees

 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/8) north winds were in control at 15-20 kts early over all of North and Central CA nearshore waters forecast building to 20 kts later and building some Sun (9/9) at 20-25 kts continuing unchanged Monday (9/10). On Tues (9/4) north winds to be a little weaker but still 20+ kts over all of North and Central CA. Wednesday (9/12) north winds to continue but weaker at 15 kts over North CA and 20 kts over the Pt Conception area. Thurs (9/13) a weak wind flow is forecast over North CA but up to 20 kts down near Pt Conception. Fri (9/14) north winds to be 15 kts over all of North and Central CA building to near 20 kts later. Saturday (9/15) north winds to be 20 kts over North Ca and 15 kts down into Central CA.

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday AM (9/8) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging south under New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf down to 73S with winds up to 130 kts suppressing gale production there then pushing east while lifting northeast over the Southeast Pacific forming a trough there lifting north to 59S with winds 110 kts offering some support for gale development on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the west is to push east while the trough in the east holds if not amplifies some into Mon (9/10) being fed by a pocket of 150 kts winds offering increased odds for gale production, then the trough is to start moving east and out of the Southern CA swell window by Tues (9/11). Beyond 72 hours another ridge is to start building under New Zealand sweeping east reaching the Southeast Pacific on Sat (9/15) and completely locking down any odds for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Saturday (9/8) the first faint hints of swell from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific was starting to show on the buoys in California and along the coast of Mexico (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also two other swell are starting to radiate northeast from gales previously in the Southeast and Southwest Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale and Southwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small but strong storm is forecast developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (9/8) with 45 kt south winds aimed north and seas building from 27 ft at 58S 131W. This storm is to build quickly Sun AM (9/9) with south winds 60 kts over a small area aimed north and seas 49 ft at 57.5S 119.5W barely in the SCal swell window. The storm is to lift northeast in the evening with winds still 55 kts aimed north and seas fading from 53 ft to 49 ft at 54S 109.5W and outside the SCal swell window targeting Chile well. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat PM (9/1) a small gale started to form in the deep Southeast Pacific generating 31 ft seas at 50S 126W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (9/2) the original fetch faded while a new fetch developed further south with 34 ft seas building at 52S 122W, on the edge of California swell window and up to 43 ft mid-morning at 48.5S 115W and effectively out of even the SCal swell window. By evening the storm was well east of the CA swell window with 41 ft seas at 45.5S 133W aimed northeast. Small swell is radiating north towards CA but more so at Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/8) building to 2 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell to continue upwards on Sun (9/9) building to 3.2 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell holding on Mon (9/10) 3.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (9/11) from 3.1 ft @ 14-15 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175-185 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/8) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell to continue upwards on Sun (9/9) building to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs later (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell holding on Mon (9/10) at 2.6 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (9/11) from 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (9/12) from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170-180 degrees

 

Another Southeast Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a new gale developed in the Southeast Pacific with a broad area of 45 kt southwest winds building and getting traction on the oceans surface aimed northeast with seas building to 37 ft at 55.5S 137.5W. Fetch faded fast ain the evening at 35-40 kts with seas 35 ft at 52S 121W. Fetch was fading from 40 kts from the west Thurs AM (9/6) with seas 33 ft at 55.5S 121W and pushing mostly east of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. No additional fetch or seas occurred. Small swell is to radiating north towards California but more so at Central America and Peru.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (8/12) building to 1.5 ft @ 20 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building Thurs (8/13) to 2.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/14) 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft) but being over taken by another swell. Swell Direction: 189 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (8/12) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building Thurs (8/13) to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft) later. Swell fading on Fri (8/14) 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft) but being over taken by another swell. Swell Direction: 187 degrees

 

Southwest Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a solid gale was trying to build under New Zealand on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with west winds 45 kts and seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 62S 175E hugging the ice. In the evening fetch was fading while lifting east-northeast with winds fading from the southwest at 35 kts and seas 36 ft at 60.5S 172.5W. On Thurs AM (9/6) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the southwest lifting northeast with seas 31 ft at 59S 158W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading while racing northeast at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 53.3S 130W. Fetch continued tracking east in the evening at 40 kts with seas 34 ft at 53S 119W and starting to move out of the Southern CA swell window. Additional fetch built in the evening to near 50 kts again on the edge of the SCal swell window generating 30 ft seas at 53S 125W aimed east. On Sat AM (9/8) 35 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast with 29 ft seas at 50S 123W. Small swell is possible pushing up into mainly the US West Coast Central America and Peru. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (8/14) building to 3.3 ft @ 18-19 secs later (6.0 ft). Swell holds on Sat (8/15) at 3.3 ft @ 17 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (8/14) building to 2.2 ft @ 19 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell holds on Sat (8/15) at 2.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 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 (9/12) high pressure in the Gulf is to be weakening along the California coast with a local low tracking south along the Washington-Oregon Coast and north winds over California coastal waters fading from 15-20 kts early to is to barely 15 kts later. Thursday (9/13) the low is to be moving inland over the Oregon-Ca boarder with no winds and windswell production expected. Fri (9/14) high pressure is to return riding east from the Gulf with north winds building to 20 kts over all of North and Central CA later and raw windswell starting to build. Back to the wind machine on Sat (9/15) with north winds 20 kts over all North and Central CA generating small raw local short period north windswell at exposed breaks. It certainly looks like a La Nina pattern rather than El Nino from a local perspective.

Hawaii: On Wednesday AM (9/12) Olivia is to be over the northern tip of the Big Island tracking west-southwest with 20 + kt east-northeast winds moving over all the Islands and windswell impacting exposed east shores. Thursday (9/13) Olivia is to be 150 nmiles south of Kauai and moving out of the picture with easterly winds 20 kts over all the Islands early producing shore period windswell along exposed easterly shores fading to 15 kts later. Friday (9/14) a shallow area of east winds to be fading from 15 kts with no real windswell production expected. By Sat (9/15) no east winds or windswell is expected.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Wed PM (9/12) a gale is to form southeast of New Zealand with 45 kt west winds and seas starting to build from 34 ft at 57S 170E but falling southeast. On Thurs AM (9/13) 45-50 kt west winds are to blowing east with seas 40 ft at 59.5S 179.5W but with the system falling southeast. The gale is to be falling southeast in the evening with winds fading from 40 kts from the west and seas fading from 37 ft at 61S 169W and starting to fall over the Ross Ice Shelf. No additional swell production is forecast. Given the southeast falling direction of this system, little swell is expected to radiate northeast even if it forms as forecast. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

ESPI Steady at its Highest Point So Far

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 continued trying to build over equatorial waters in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 6.5
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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Fri (9/7) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, but no further, with modest west anomalies west of there and filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light westerly in pockets over the East equatorial Pacific, then turning with moderately west anomalies filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/8) moderate west anomalies are filling the KWGA continuing east and filling the entire East Pacific and are forecast to hold like this solidly through 9/12, then turning with modest east anomalies starting to fill the KWGA through the end of the model run on 9/15.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/7) A weak Inactive/Dry signal was over the far West KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold or weaken slightly over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/8) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the Atlantic and it is to remain weak while collapsing and drifting east to the Indian Ocean over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (986) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO signal over the East Pacific. That pattern is to ease east pushing into Central America on 9/27 while a modest Inactive/Dry pattern develops in the West Pacific starting 9/16 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific on 10/13. A very weak Active Phase is to follow in the west at that time pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/18.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/7) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA today. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to build in coverage and intensity over the next 3 days in the heart of the KWGA, then weakening some 9/14 for 2-3 days. After that modest west anomalies are to rebuild filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 10/5. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct. So far it has generally overstated the strength and breadth of westerly anomalies.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/8) This model depicts a dead neutral MJO signal over the KWGA with weak to modest west wind anomalies in play. This pattern is to hold but with west anomalies building some to WWB status 10/2-10/10, then fading some but still solidly westerly into 11/1. The Active Phase is to build 11/2 through 12/2 with moderate westerly anomalies steady over that entire duration through the end of the model run on 12/6. In short, west anomalies are to hold for the foreseeable future. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to hold solid through the end of the model run building east to 120W (over California) by 9/19 and to 115W in mid-October. No 4th contour line is expected now. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking fast and is to be gone by 9/14. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias though were originally thought to reach that state 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8) or on 8/8. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected, so we're thinking coupling should occur more like 8/28 now. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific. The high pressure bias is forecast building near 90E (Central Indian Ocean) reaching 2 contour lines in November.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/8) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 170E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 163W on 8/10. It started moving east again reaching to 158W on 8/16 due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific, but today is steady at 161W. The 24 deg isotherm was 100 meters deep at 140W but retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 122W, or basically stationary since 8/10. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 are gone with neutral anomalies in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 165W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 105W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/31 is a little more aggressive, with remnants of the first Kelvin Wave still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 140W eastward to 105W at +1.5 degs. It was breaching the surface between 120W-130W. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 degs reaching east to 130W and building in coherency with broken fragments of warm water joining the existing Kelvin Wave east of there. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/31) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 125W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in mainly one pocket at 90W, but not reaching Ecuador, remnants of Kelvin Wave #1. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino appears to be 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: (9/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile. A weak thin stream of warm anomalies were holding directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 110W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico. A small pocket of cool upwelling was near 120W on the equator but losing coverage compared to days past. Moderate warm anomalies continued from 125W west out to the dateline without these upwelling issues. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/7): An elongated area of pockets of alternating warming and cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with pockets of easterly anomalies supporting cool upwelling, though the balance was now towards warming temps. Temps were steady along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Weak warming was on the equator off Central West African. We're waiting from that warming trend to be mirrored west of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (9/7) An pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with imbedded pockets of stronger warming and continuing west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N, but mainly on the equator and points north of there. A pocket of cooler water was between 105W to 125W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/8) Today's temps are steady after having fallen recently and are at -0.895 degs. That is down some compared to the past few weeks readings. A big peak occurred at +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.50 deg range and slowly rising.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/8) Today temps were steady at +0.189 degs or effectively neutral, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and steadily fading from the +0.25 degs range the past month to +0.15 now.

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CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/8) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.00 degs and to +1.30 degs in early Nov holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +1.20 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the 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-Aug Plume depicts temps at +0.45 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.8 in October (unchanged from last months forecast) and +0.9 in Nov and holding there into Jan 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in April. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the high 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) (9/8): The daily index was falling hard today at -30.78. The 30 day average was falling some today at -6.66 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was falling at -4.33. The 90 degree average turned 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): (9/8) Today the index was rising some at +0.24, beating it's highest point this year at +0.20 on 8/20. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year and beats the previous highest peak (-0.09 on 7/2). This suggest that La Nina is finally gone, and perhaps El Nino is starting to get better coupled in the atmosphere,(though that is a bit of a reach). 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: June 2017 +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 -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. 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): June 2017 +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, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

 

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

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