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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 3:24 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   

3 More SPac Swells Pushing Northeast
NPac Sleeps - But Tropics Still Active

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Tuesday, September 11, 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 2.6 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.8 secs from 190 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 68.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.9 secs from 191 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.5 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.6 ft @ 15.2 secs from 210 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.6 ft @ 15.1 secs from 180 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.0 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 8.1 ft @ 6.6 secs from 320 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 25-31 kts. Water temp 55.0 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 Tuesday (9/11) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves at chest to shoulder high with head high peaks and chopped early from northwest winds and not rideable. Protected breaks were chest high or so and pretty lumpy but rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high on the peaks and clean but slow and weak. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to waist high on the peak of the sets and clean and weak. In North Orange Co waves were head high on the sets coming from the south and modestly textured from light south wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were 1-2 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined. In North San Diego surf was shoulder to head high and clean and lined up if not closed out and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting chest high sets wrapping in from the northeast with a little bit of sideshore lump intermixed but otherwise clean. 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 to shoulder high and chopped with modest northeast trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (9/11) southern hemi swell originating from the far Southeast Pacific was hitting only the most exposed breaks in California making for rideable surf at those locations. Otherwise junky windswell was hitting north facing breaks. Modest northeasterly windswell was hitting the east shores in Hawaii originating from Olivia. A low pressure system developed over the dateline on Sunday (9/9) with 18-20 ft seas aimed south targeting HI with minimal sideband energy expected on Thurs (9/13). 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. That swell is hitting now. 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. Those swells are in the water pushing northeast. And another gale formed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (9/9) on the very edge of the SCal swell window with seas to 38-46 ft, but mostly targeting Chile. But beyond 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 either.

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (9/11) no swell was hitting Hawaii or California originating from the North Pacific. Tiny swell from a low pressure system previously on the dateline is radiating towards Hawaii (see Dateline Low below).

Over the next 72 hours another tiny gale is forecast developing near the dateline tracking east starting Wed PM (9/12) with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 20 ft at 41N 167E targeting Hawaii decently. On Thurs AM (9/13) northwest winds are to be fading from 30 kts with seas fading from 19 ft at 41N 171E. Whatever swell develops, assuming it does, will be minimal.

 

Dateline Low
A broad low pressure system formed 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 held while building in coverage Sun AM (9/9) aimed south with seas building from 15 ft over a tiny area. In the evening fetch built in coverage at 30 kts aimed south with seas 18-20 ft over a tiny area at 41N 175E aimed south mostly bypassing Hawaii. More of the same occurred on Mon AM (9/10) with 20 ft seas at 37N 176E aimed south. This system faded from there. Low odds of small sideband windswell radiating southeast towards Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (9/13) building to 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs mid-day (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (9/14) from 1.4 ft @ 10-11 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

 

Windswell Forecast
California: On Tuesday (9/11) high pressure at 1028 mbs was in the Central Gulf of Alaska ridging east producing a pressure gradient along the North and Central CA coast generating north winds at 20+ kts resulting in more local short period raw north windswell at exposed breaks. Wednesday (9/12) high pressure in the Gulf is to be weakening with the gradient along the California coast fading too while a local low tracks south along the Washington-Oregon Coast and north winds over California coastal waters fading from 15-20 kts early to is to 15 kts later. Windswell fading out. Thursday (9/13) the low is to be moving inland over the Oregon-CA boarder with no winds north of Monterey Bay and no windswell production expected. Fri (9/14) more of the same is forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Tuesday (9/11) Olivia was at 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. On Wed AM (9/12) Olivia is to be 15 miles east of Maui with winds 45 kts tracking directly over the Island and continuing east-southeast. Winds to be 30 kts or greater all day over Maui and Oahu with windswell being generated along exposed east fading shores. By Thurs (9/13) easterly fetch is to slowly fade to the 15-20 kts range late and windswell still present. Friday east winds to continue at 15-20 kts and extending up to 600 nmiles east of the Islands due to the gradient between Olivia (now well west of Hawaii) and high pressure at 1028 mbs just 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii. More windswell is to be produced. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
Hurricane Olivia: On Tuesday AM (9/11) Olivia weakened with winds down to 55 kts (63 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 directly over Maui with winds 45 kts (52 mph) and quickly pushing west and south of the other Hawaiian Islands with swell production fading. On Thurs AM (9/13) Olivia is to be 150 nmiles south-southwest of Kauai tracking west-southwest with winds 40 kts (46 mph) and no longer of interest.

Oahu (exposed breaks on the East Shore): Swell holding Tues (9/11) at 4.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (9/12) afternoon at 9.0 ft @ 11 secs (9.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs AM (9/13) from 5 ft @ 8 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 80 degrees moving to 70 degrees

 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/11) north winds were 20+ kts over all of North and Central CA making for a chopped mess of conditions. Wednesday (9/12) north winds to continue at 20 kts over North and Central CA early then weaker at 15 kts later in the afternoon (still 20 kts over Pt Conception). Thurs (9/13) a weaker wind flow is forecast over North CA at 10-15 kts mainly later still 20 kts down near Pt Conception. Fri (9/14) north winds to be 15 kts over all of North and Central CA but near 20 kts over Pt Conception. Saturday (9/15) north winds to be 5-10 kts over North CA and 15 kts starting at Big Sur and up to 20 kts over Pt Conception. Sunday (9/16) north winds to be 15 kts over all of North and Central CA early and up to 20 kts near Morro bay all day. Monday (9/17) north winds to continue at 15 kts over all of North and Central CA. Tues (9/18) north winds to be 20 kts for all of North and Central CA building towards 25 kts later.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday AM (9/11) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging south under New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf down to 73S with winds light at 60 kts suppressing gale production there then pushing northeast over the Southeast Pacific forming a trough there lifting north to 58S with winds to 150 kts offering some support for gale development but mostly east of the Southern CA swell window. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the west is to be reinforced by another pulse of the jet pushing southeast and pushing over the Ross Ice Shelf while the trough in the east pushes east and out of the picture. No support for gale development is indicated in the upper atmosphere. Beyond 72 hours another energetic ridge is to start building under New Zealand on Fri (9/14) sweeping southeast and pushing over Antarctic Ice reaching the Southeast Pacific on Sun (9/16) and completely locking down any odds for gale development through Tues (9/18).

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (9/11) swell from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific was starting to fade along exposed breaks in California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). But two more swells are radiating northeast from gales previously in the Southeast and Southwest Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale and Southwest Pacific Gale below). And yet another small storm built in the far Southeast Pacific behind them with swell now radiating north (see Southeast Pacific Storm Below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing just southeast of New Zealand on Tues AM (9/11) producing a small area of 40 kt southwest winds and seas at 34 ft at 55S 177E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be fading while lifting northeast with southwest winds 35 kts and seas 30 ft at 52S 173W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (9/12) southwest winds are to be 35 kts lifting northeast with seas 27 ft at 48S 169W. Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii.

 

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: 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: 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 1.8 ft @ 20 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell building Thurs (8/13) to 2.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/14) 2.2 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 fades some on Sun (9/16) from 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 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 fades some on Sun (9/16) from 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

 

Southeast Pacific Storm
A small but strong storm developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (9/8) with 45 kt southwest winds aimed northeast and seas building from 27 ft at 58S 131W. This storm built quickly Sun AM (9/9) with south winds 60 kts over a small area aimed north and seas 36-38 ft at 58.5S 119.5W barely in the SCal swell window. The storm tracked east in the evening with winds 50 kts aimed north and seas peaking at 46 ft at 55.5S 110W and outside the SCal swell window targeting Chile well. This system is to fade from there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/16) building to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be peaking at 2.1 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 177-182 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on late on Sun (9/16) building to 1.3 ft @ 20 secs (2.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be building 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175-180 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:
On Sat (9/15) a weak wind pattern is forecast over all of North CA with high pressure ridging into only the Pt Conception Area with north winds 20 kts there, but not generating meaningful windswell. By Sun (9/16) the usual gradient is to be lifting north with north winds 15 kts over north CA early building to 20 kts over all North and Central CA later generating small raw local short period north windswell at exposed breaks. Mon (9/17) a solid fetch of north winds at 20+ kts is forecast entrenched along all of North and Central CA generating larger raw north local windswell. That fetch is to continue on Tues (9/18) but pulled away a bit from the Central CA coast, perhaps generating cleaner north local windswell. It continues to look like a La Nina pattern rather than El Nino from a local perspective.

Hawaii: By Saturday (9/15) the depth of the gradient is to shrink only extending 100 nmiles east of Hawaii with east winds 15 kts and windswell production fading out. Sun (9/16) east winds to be 10-15 kts with no windswell production forecast. No change is forecast on Mon (9/17). Then on Tues (9/18) high pressure is to again get established at 1034 mbs building in the far Northwestern Gulf of Alaska ridging southeast towards Hawaii and California with east winds building at 15-20 kts from over 1,000 nmiles east of Hawaii starting again to generate windswell.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Sat PM (9/15) a storm is to form south of New Zealand with 55 kt northwest winds and seas starting to build from 40 ft at 58S 166.5E but falling southeast. On Sun AM (9/16) 550 kt west winds are to blowing east with seas 45 ft at 59.5S 178.5E 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 41 ft at 61.5S 169.5W and starting to move 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

 

La Nina Hanging Tough - ESPI Falls

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 Mon (9/11) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, then lighter west of there. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific, then turning to moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/11) moderate west anomalies are filling the KWGA continuing east and also filling the entire East Pacific. those anomalies to turn weakly easterly in the KWGA for one day near 9/13 then returning to westerly anomalies 9/14 through the end of the model run on 9/18 but with east anomalies developing on the dateline 9/16 and holding through the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/10) A weak Inactive/Dry signal was over the far West KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold and then build some 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/11) 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 Maritime Continent over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/11) This model depicts a dead neutral MJO signal over the Pacific. A very weak Inactive/Dry signal is to push into the West Pacific on 9/21 tracking east and pushing into Central America on 10/18 while a neutral pattern develops in the West Pacific starting 10/1 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/21.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/10) This model depicts moderate or more west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA today. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to build quickly fade to weak east anomalies for a day or two on 9/14, then instantly rebuilding to moderate plus west anomalies filling the KWGA and holding through the end of the model run on 10/8. 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): (9/11) 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 9/26-10/10, then fading some but still solidly westerly into 11/3. The Active Phase is to build weakly 11/4 through 12/6 with strong westerly anomalies at WWB status steady over that entire duration through the end of the model run on 12/8. In short, west anomalies are to hold for the foreseeable future with 2 embedded possibly WWB events, 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. A 4th contour line is expected starting 11/15. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking fast and is to be gone by 9/13. 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. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say not until mid to late Oct. 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 Oct 12.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/11) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 170E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady to day at 160W. It 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. 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 150W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 105W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/5 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: (9/5) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 130W 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 2 pockets at 120W and again at 100W, but not reaching Ecuador. 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: (9/10) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile, but warming directly nearshore. A 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 persistent cool upwelling was near 115W 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 (9/10): 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 towards warming temps. Temps were warming along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (9/10) A 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: (9/11) Today's temps are steady if not warming slightly at -0.746 degs. 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: (9/11) Today temps were rising at +0.267 degs or just above 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.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/11) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +0.85 degs and to +1.25 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) (9/11): The daily index was still negative at -11.94. The 30 day average was rising some today at -5.74 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was rising at -4.16. 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): (9/11) Today the index was falling some at +0.03, falling below it's all time recent high of +0.24 on 9/8. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. 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). In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now. 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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