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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:01 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
2.4 - California & 2.4 - 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 10/15 thru Sun 10/21

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   

NPac Swell Hitting CA
2 New Zealand Swells Pushing Northeast

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, October 18, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.3 secs from 164 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 12.5 secs from 327 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 15.4 secs from 228 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 67.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 16.6 secs from 241 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.0 secs from 215 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 16.4 secs from 220 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 17.8 secs from 258 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.5 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.9 ft @ 15.6 secs from 296 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temp 61.7 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 Thursday (10/18) in North and Central CA Dateline swell was hitting producing waves at 2-3 ft overhead on the rare sets and lined up and clean but with some surface lump intermixed. Protected breaks were chest to head high on the sets and clean and lined up and closed out. At Santa Cruz dateline swell was swamping whatever south swell was left with waves chest high and soft and clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to near waist high and clean and very slow. In North Orange Co waves were flat and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist high or so and clean chest to head high and clean and soft. In North San Diego surf was waist to maybe chest high and closed out and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting Dateline swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and clean and lined up but with a little lump running through it. The South Shore was getting fading New Zealand swell with waves waist high with a few stray chest high peaks and clean and lined up but a little on the soft side. The East Shore was thigh to waist high and textured from modest northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (10/18) swell from the third of three gales that previously passed under New Zealand was fading out in mainly in Southern California. Northwest swell from the Dateline was fading in Hawaii and peaking in North and Central CA. Down south a gale developed under New Zealand Fri-Sat (10/13) with up to 37 ft seas aimed northeast. That swell is pushing northeast. Yet one more was developing there on Wed-Thurs (10/18) with up to 34 ft seas aimed well northeast. But after that nothing is projected. Up north a gale developed over the dateline pushing into the Northwestern Gulf Sat-Mon (10/15) with up to 38 ft seas aimed east. Swell from it is fading in Hawaii and peaking in California. Another small gale is forecast for the Central Gulf of Alaska on Sat (10/20) with 26 ft seas aimed east. But nothing obvious is to follow. See all the details are below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (10/18) the northern branch of the jetstream was ridging while pushing off Japan reaching up to 47N with winds 150 kts then falling southeast while pushing over the North Dateline region forming a ill formed trough in the Western Gulf of Alaska offering weak support for gale development. The jet split there with most energy tracking northeast up into the North Canadian Coast with ghost wind energy tracking east from the split point into Baja. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the ridge moderating and a solid pocket of 150-160 kts winds are to be pushing flat east over the dateline into the Gulf on Sat (10/20) and starting to form a trough in the Northern Gulf offering decent support for gale development and holding into Sunday (10/21). Beyond 72 hours the trough is to move east to the Eastern Gulf on Mon (10/22) still being fed by 150 kt winds pushing over the dateline offering support for gale development. The pocket of wind energy is to slowly push east while moving over the Western Gulf on Wed (10/24) with winds to 150 kts still feeding a generic broad trough over the entire Gulf offering support for gale development. By Thurs (10/25) the trough is to be fully isolated to the Gulf with a new apex forming north of Hawaii being fed by 130 kts winds offering yet more support for gale development. Finally a semi Fall-like pattern is to be setting up.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (10/18) swell from a gale that developed on the Dateline was fading in Hawaii and peaking in North California (See Dateline Gale below)

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is to develop in the Western Gulf on Fri PM (10/19) producing a small area of 30-35 kts west winds with seas starting to build. On Sat AM (10/20) the gale is to be lifting northeast into the Northern Gulf producing 45 kts west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 48N 157W aimed east and tracking northeast. In the evening the gale is to be racing northeast with 40 kt west winds and seas 27 ft at 51.5W 151.5W in the gales south and southeast quadrant aimed mainly at Southern Alaska. On Sun AM (9/21) the gale is to be racing northeast and moving into Alaska with 27 ft seas just off the Alaskan Coast targeting only locations there. Possible swell to result for the mainland from Pt Conception northward. Something to monitor.

Also a weak fetch of west winds is to set up off Kamchatka on Fri AM (10/19) tracking east and producing 20 ft seas pushing to the Western Gulf on Sun AM (10/21) still with 20 ft seas at 48N 168W then fading producing only 18 ft seas while falling southeast into the Central Gulf on Mon AM (10/22) reaching 45N 154W aimed southeast and fading out. Low odds for small 12-13 sec period background swell for Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.

 

Dateline Gale
A gale developed mid-way between Kamchatka and the dateline on Sat AM (10/13) producing a tiny area of 45 kt northwest winds ands seas building. In the evening a broader fetch of up to 50 kt northwest winds were pushing over the dateline with 36 ft seas on the dateline at 48N 180E over a small area targeting Hawaii and California. On Sun AM (10/14) the gale tracked east into the Northwestern Gulf with 45 kt northwest winds and seas to 38 ft at 46N 173W pushing east. In the evening the gale was fading in the Gulf with 40 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 32 ft at 45N 167W. Monday (10/15) the gale was fading while stalling in the Northwestern Gulf with northwest winds 30+ kts and seas 24 ft at 44.5N 162W targeting both Hawaii and California. The gale held position in the evening and faded with winds barely 30 kts from the west and seas fading from 19 ft at 45N 160.5W. The gale dissipated from there. Teaser Fall swell to result for Hawaii and California.

Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs AM (10/18) from 4.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft). Dribbles early Fri (10/19) fading from 3.5 ft @ 11 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 335 degrees

North CA: Swell peaks Thurs AM (10/18) at 5.3 ft @ 15 secs (8.0 ft) and shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Fri (10/19) from 4.8 ft @ 13 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (10/20) from 3.2 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 298 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Thurs (10/18) building to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0 ft at exposed breaks). Swell peaking Fri AM (10/19) at 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces). Swell fading on Sat AM (10/20) from 2.2 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft) Swell Direction: 304 degrees

 

Windswell Forecast
California: No locally produced windswell of interest is forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: No locally produced windswell of interest is forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/18) seasonally correct light winds were in control of the entire California coast. A light wind regime is to stay in control through Fri (10/19) but with perhaps north winds 15 kts over Cape Mendocino. On Sat (10/20) north winds to build over North CA at 15 kts early fading in the afternoon and light winds over Central CA all day. A light north flow is to set up on Sun (10/21) at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA. On Mon (10/22) north winds to be 15 kts from Big Sur to Pt Conception all day but light north of there. On Tues (10/23) a front is to be pushing into Oregon and extreme North CA with south winds 10 kts down to maybe Pt Arena but calm over most of the region down to Big Sur with north winds 15 kts over Pt Conception and holding all day. On Wed (10/24) light winds continue but north at 20 kts for Pt Conception with a front possibly impacting North Ca later with south winds 15 kts there. Light winds continue on Thurs (10/25) but south at 10 kts from Pt Arena northward.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (10/18) the southern branch of the jetstream was running zonal (flat east) down at 61S at 130 kts under New Zealand then lifting hard north-northeast near 165W forming a decent trough there and offering support for gale development there. East of there the jet was gently falling southeast and pushing over Antarctic Ice near 120W offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to generally hold if not being amplified on Fri PM (10/19) as another batch of wind energy is to start building under New Zealand pushing northeast building to 140 kts into Sat AM (10/20) again offering support for gale development with the trough moving east to the Central South Pacific. But after that on Sun (10/21) winds are to be fading offering less support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (10/22) winds to again build to 150 kts under New Zealand pushing east and then lifting northeast over the Central and Southeast Pacific on Tues (10/23) again building a bit of a trough there and offering support for gale development holding into Wed (10/24). After that winds energy is to settle down while moving over the Southeast Pacific with support for gale development fading out. A weak wind pattern is to be in control of the Southwest Pacific too offering no support for gale development. It looks like the South Pacific is to go to sleep.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (10/18) swell from the third of 3 gales that previously tracked under New Zealand was fading in CA (see New Zealand Gale 3 below). Also swell from another gale that developed under New Zealand on Fri-Sat (10/13) was also radiating northeast (see Another New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours yet another gale developed under New Zealand Wed AM (10/17) producing 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 58S 164E aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds continued lifting northeast at 40-45 kts with seas building to 31 ft at 56S 173E. On Thurs AM (10/18) southwest fetch was holding at 40 to barely 45 kts lifting northeast with 35 ft seas aimed northeast at 52S 167W tracking northeast. Fetch is to fade from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 33 ft at 49.5S 161.5W. The gale to fade from there. Some more southwest swell is likely already in the water pushing northeast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/24) building to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (10/25) to 2.6 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/26). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/26). Swell Direction: 204 degrees

Another gale is to build right behind the above gale on Fri AM (10/19) with 30-35 kt southwest winds building aimed northeast over abroad area with seas building to 25 ft at 57S 168W. In the evening fetch is to build to 35+ kts over abroad area from the southwest with 28 ft seas at 52S 168W aimed northeast. Fetch on Sat AM (10/20) is to fade from 35 kts from the southwest lifting hard northeast with 29 ft seas at 49S 162W aimed northeast. Fetch is to fade from 30 kt from the south in the evening with 26 ft seas at 42S 156W aimed northeast. This system is to fade from there. Possible solid secondary southwest swell to tag on to the end of the New Zealand swell developing above for Hawaii and CA.

 

New Zealand Gale 3
Another gale passed under New Zealand Sat AM (10/6) producing an area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 56.5S 173.5E aimed east. A generalized fetch of 35-40 kt west winds held in the evening with seas building to 32 ft at 57.5S 175.0E aimed east. Fetch started fading Sun AM (10/7) with west winds 35 kts and seas 30 ft at 56S 171W. By evening a new fetch of 35 kt west winds developed under New Zealand with 29 ft seas at 56S 172E aimed east. By Mon (10/8) seas were below 30 ft and of no interest. Some odds for small sideband swell radiating northeast.

Southern CA: Swell fading on Thurs (10/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell continues on Fri (10/19) at 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (10/20) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Nothing after that. Swell Direction: 210 degrees

North CA: Swell fading on Thurs (10/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Nothing meaningful on Fri (10/19) and buried in northwest swell Swell Direction: 210 degrees

 

Another New Zealand Gale
On Fri AM (10/12) a gale developed directly under New Zealand with 50-55 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 59S 159E aimed east. In the evening southwest winds built in coverage at 45 kts tracking east with 37 ft seas at 57S 170E aimed east. On Sat AM (10/13) fetch was fading from 40 kts from the southwest with seas 34 ft at 53.5S 173.5E aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest fetch was 35 kts with 29-30 ft over a broad area at 55S 179W aimed northeast. Some 40 kt southwest fetch rebuilt Sun AM (10/14) aimed well northeast in the same area with barely 29 ft seas at 52S 173W. In the evening fetch is to fade from 35 kts aimed northeast with a decent area of 29 ft seas at 46S 168W. Fetch is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/19) building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building through the day Sat (10/20) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs later (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell holding on Sunday (10/21) at 3.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Mon (10/22) from 3.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell slowly fading on Tues (10/23) from 2.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (10/24) from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Thurs (10/25) from 2.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft) and being overtaken by a new swell. Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/21) building to 1.1 ft @ 20 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell builds on Mon (10/22) to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell builds on Tues (10/23) to 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (4.0 ft). Swell continues on Wed (10/24) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/25) from 2.1 ft @ 15 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215-216 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/21) building to 1.0 ft @ 20 secs late (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell builds on Mon (10/22) to 2.1 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell builds on Tues (10/23) to 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (4.0-4.5 ft). On Wed (10/24) swell holds at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (10/25) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 214-215 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 obvious swell producing weather systems are forecast. But the atmosphere appears to be getting primed in the Gulf of Alaska to become productive.

Windswell Forecast
California:
No locally produced windswell of interest is forecast. But weak low pressure is to be 700 nmiles off the North CA coast on Tues PM (10/23) producing a small area of 30 kt west winds possibly producing windswell pushing east.

Hawaii: No locally produced windswell of interest is forecast until maybe Mon (10/22) when east winds (trades) build to 15 kts enhanced by tropical low pressure 600 nmiles southeast of the Big Island over an area up to 600 nmiles east of the Islands perhaps offering small east windswell. More of the same is forecast into Wed (10/24) as the tropical low pushes west and fades producing east winds at 15+ kts offering small easterly windswell targeting exposed east facing shores of the Big Island, Maui and Oahu.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no further swell producing weather systems are forecast.

Details to follow...

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Inactive MJO Continues Biting Into SST's, SOI & ESPI

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 = 6.5 (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: 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 Wed (10/17) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then fading significantly over the KWGA and only lightly from the east. Anomalies were modest east starting south of Hawaii and continuing to the dateline, then neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/18) modest east anomalies were over the dateline but with modest west anomalies over the Western KWGA. East anomalies are to hold on the dateline for 2-3 days then evaporate on 10/21 with building west anomalies developing in the core of the KWGA and holding till the end of the model run on 10/25. But at that time east anomalies are to develop on the dateline again.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/17) A dead neutral signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts no change through the end of the model run at day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but persists in forecasting a developing Inactive Phase of the MJO rebuilding steadily from day 5 and solid over the KWGA at day 15. The 2 models continue in direct opposition to each other.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/18) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the Indian Ocean and is to noodle around in that area unchanged over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing but with the Active Phase slightly pulsing to weak status over East Africa 10 days out then tracking east from there. This is a big downgrade for this model and more in line with ECMF now.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/18) This model depicts a modest Dry/Inactive pattern is over the East Pacific and is to track east pushing into Central America on 11/2. A weak Active/Wet signal is developing in the West Pacific and is to push east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and Central America on 11/10. A new very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be moving into the West Pacific on 11/2 and pushing to Central America at the end of the model run on 11/27.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/17) This model depicts weak east anomalies on the dateline and moderate west anomalies in the western KWGA. East anomalies are to quickly evaporate over the next few days with west anomalies filling the KWGA by 10/21. From there west anomalies to hold through then end of the model run on 11/14 but perhaps with east anomalies developing over a thin sliver on the dateline 11/7 and holding through the end of the model run. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet fully coupled.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/18) This model depicts neutral anomalies were over the KWGA today with a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO peaking on the dateline. Western anomalies are to start rebuilding in the core of the KWGA on 10/21 and steadily building in coverage continuing forward even though the Inactive Phase is to hold through 11/1. After that no clear MJO pattern is expected typical of a building El Nino situation. West anomalies are to hold if not build steadily through 1/9/19 while drifting east and out of the KWGA at that time. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 120W (over California) and is forecast to 115W late-October. A 4th contour line previously forecast to start 12/2 and holding through the end of the model run has again reappeared starting 12/25-29. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean. 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 mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, especially compared to the 2 previous years.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/18) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid retrograding west slightly to 178E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 153W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 102W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 165W down 150 meters and reaching east with +3 degree anomalies just off the coast of Ecuador at 100W and +1-2 degree anomalies impacting the coast there. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/10 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave pushing aggressively east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +4.0 degs reaching east to 100W in the +2 degrees range. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 100W to 145W solidly with secondary solid warm anomalies starting to fill the entire region on the equator from 105W-165E. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/10) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 100W at +5-10 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building and pushing east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies in a continuous stream on the equator pushing into Ecuador and branching out along the Central American Coast and now some down into Peru. 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: (10/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased weakly cool along the outer coast and some of the inner coat of Peru. Warm anomalies were building solidly over Chile up into Southern Peru. A thin stream of warm anomalies were stretched directly over the equator from just off Ecuador westward to 130W but continuing to get progressively weaker presumably due to east anomalies now in that area. Warm anomalies continued west modestly out to 160W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. Previous small pockets of persistent cool upwelling on the equator are gone. Warming was holding south of the equator from Peru west to 160W down to 8S. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/17): A cooling trend is setting up on the equator from the Galapagos west to 120W. No clear warming pattern was indicated there anymore. West of there a modest warming pattern is in place extending continuously from 120W to the dateline. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru. The Inactive Phase of the MJO was taking its toll.
Hi-res Overview: (10/17) A pocket of weak cool water was present just off the outer coast of Chile but warm water was building along the immediate coast of Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the 140W then weaker out to the dateline. There were no pockets of imbedded cool anomalies. It seems we've turned the corner to a warm regime and are no longer in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are present intermixed with warm anomalies.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/18) Today's temps were falling down to -0.200 down from the all time high for this event on 9/25 +1.316. Two previous peaks occurred of +0.510 degs on 9/17 and +0.459 on 5/13. Otherwise temps have been steady in the -0.50 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/18) Today temps were down again at +0.508, below the peak of +0.795 on 10/9, beating the previous all time high of +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and markedly rising from the +0.25 degs range the past month. This looks like perhaps El Nino is developing.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/18) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising to +1.00 degs in early Nov and to +1.25 degs in Dec and Jan 2019, then fading slowly from there to +1.20 degs in April 2019 then slowly fading through July 2019 down to +0.40 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. But perhaps La Nina to follow in Fall of 2019. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume depicts temps at +0.52 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.71 in October (+0.8 per last months forecast) and +0.8 to +0.9 in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in May. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and there's a 76% chance of a weak El Nino developing.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (10/18): The daily index was still positive at +8.89 today. The 30 day average was rising at -2.88 suggesting an Inactive MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling some at -3.84 and has been steady for a month now. 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): (10/18) Today the index was falling some going back to negative at -0.03 after having risen to +0.39 on 10/10, the highest so far this event. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having a negative effect. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now and it's not unexpected that the Index will toggle between weakly positive to weakly negative. 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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