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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2018 4:04 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
2.3 - California & 2.2 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 10/29 thru Sun 11/4

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   

Gulf Swell Fading in Hawaii
Same Swell Hitting CA - Another Swell Pushing Towards HI

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Sunday, October 28, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 13.4 secs from 212 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.4 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 13.0 secs from 347 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 13.7 secs from 214 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 66.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.7 ft @ 11.6 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 16.0 secs from 208 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.8 ft @ 16.2 secs from 220 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 15.9 secs from 214 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 10.5 secs from 284 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temp 60.1 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 Sunday (10/28) in North and Central CA residual northwest swell from the Gulf was producing waves at shoulder to head high and clean with some minimal warble intermixed. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean and closed out. At Santa Cruz northwest swell was still wrapping in producing waves at shoulder to head high but with sets to 1 ft overhead. In Southern California/Ventura northwest swell was producing surf at chest to shoulder high on the sets and clean and lined up with some decent form. In North Orange Co waves were head high and lined up and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high on the sets and real line dup and clean. In North San Diego surf was shoulder high and lined up and clean but mostly closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northerly windswell with waves 2-3 ft overhead and clean but a little warbled. The South Shore was still getting New Zealand swell with waves chest to shoulder high and peaks to head high on the sets and clean and lined up but a little slow. The East Shore was getting wrap around swell from the north with waves 2 ft overhead and pretty ragged driven by moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (10/28) swell from a final New Zealand gale was fading in Hawaii and about ready to hit California while swell from a previous New Zealand gale was still hitting California. Also swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska Tues-Wed (10/24) with up to 25 ft seas aimed east was still hitting exposed breaks in California but on it's way down in the north end of the state. Swell from a gale that fell southeast through the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs-Fri (10/26) producing up to 23 ft seas was hitting Hawaii decently. This system then turned east producing 18-22 ft seas in the Gulf pushing towards the US West Coast but has not arrived yet. Also a small system developed Sat (10/27) west of the dateline producing 30 ft seas initially then fading Sun (10/28) from 26 ft pushing east over the dateline with swell targeting mainly Hawaii. Beyond some sort of ill formed broad gale is to develop in the Northwest Pacific moving towards the dateline and Western Gulf Fri-Sat (11/3). Maybe some background swell to result. But overall a seasonally quiet pattern is to set up.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Sunday AM (10/28) the northern branch of the jetstream was ridging some off North Japan with winds 180 kts then weakening to 150 kts while it falls southeast to the dateline starting to carve out a trough there offering weak support for gale development. From there the jet lifting northeast some then tracked east on the 43N latitude line pushing into Oregon at 100-130 kts offering no real support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough on the dateline is to build with winds pushing 150-160 kts and slowly easing east with it's apex moving to 165W on Tues (10/30) offering increased support for gale development while a big ridge builds east of it over the Gulf with the jet pushing inland over the Central Canadian Coast and continuing into Wed (10/31) as the apex of the trough moves almost north of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to start pinching off in the Gulf on Thurs (11/1) no longer offering support for gale development. Still winds at 160 kts are to be pushing off Japan reaching to the dateline with a weak trough trying to form in the Northwest Pacific and holding into the weekend while the jet splits over Japan but then merges at 160E with the trough near 165E. Very limited support for gale development in the trough. From there the consolidated jet is to track steadily northeast pushing into the Central Canadian Coast. By Sun (11/4) the jet is to get pretty weak over Japan and split with the split point reaching east to the dateline offering no support for gale development. East of there the jet is to be solid at near 180 kts running flat east on the 47N latitude line then falling southeast some before pushing into Oregon. No support for gale development. In short, it looks like the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be building over the West Pacific.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday AM (10/28) residual swell from a gale that previously developed in the Gulf of Alaska was fading in California (see Gulf Gale below). Also a gale developed in the Northern Gulf falling south that was starting to hit Hawaii now (See North Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale started developing west of the dateline on Fri PM (10/26) producing a short lived area of 45-50 kt northwest winds falling southeast with seas building to 22 ft over a tiny area at 46N 168E aimed east. On Sat AM (10/27) northwest winds were falling southeast at 40+ kts approaching the dateline with 30 ft seas at 42.5N 170E aimed southeast. On Sat PM northwest winds were fading from 40 kts and seas 29 ft falling southeast at 41N 175E aimed well at Hawaii. On Sun AM (10/28) the gale was fading with northwest winds 35 kts on the dateline with seas fading from 27 ft at 39N 180W targeting Hawaii. In the evening the gale was fading with 25+ kt west winds and seas 23 ft over a small area at 38N 174W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor mainly for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Mon afternoon (10/30) building to 4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs late (6.5 ft). Swell peaking Tues AM (10/31) at 5.1 ft @ 14 secs early (7.0 ft) fading some through the day. Swell fading Wed AM (11/1) from 3.9 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

 

Gulf Gale
A tiny gale developed Tues AM (10/23) in the Western Gulf producing a decent fetch of 30-35 kt west winds at 40N 163W mainly targeting the US West Coast. In the evening fetch built while the gale moved to the Central Gulf at 35 kts with seas to 22 ft over a small area at 42N 148W. The gale was racing northeast on Wed AM (10/24) with 35+ kt west winds and seas 23 ft at 43N 141W (295 degrees NCal) aimed east. The gale was lifting north in the evening producing 45 kt northwest winds and 28 ft seas at 49N 139W aimed east targeting mainly Oregon and points northward. From there the gale was lifting hard northeast and was pushing over the North Canadian/Alaskan coast Thurs AM (10/25) with 45 kt west winds and seas 31 ft at 54N 137W impacting the coast there. Swell likely for Central CA northward up into Canada.

North CA: Dribbles on Sun (10/28) fading from 4.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction 296 degrees

 

North Gulf Gale
A gale was developing on the North Dateline region Thurs AM (10/25) producing 30-35 kt north winds streaming south off the Central Aleutians and seas building from 18 ft just south of the Aleutians at 50N 177W. In the evening north winds built in coverage while falling south at 30-35 kts falling into the Central Gulf with 21 ft seas at 45N 168W targeting Hawaii best. On Fri AM (10/26) winds turned from the northwest at 30-35 kts with the gale starting to track east with seas 22 ft at 42N 162W targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale started tracking east with winds 35 kts from the northwest and seas 22 ft at 42N 154W aimed east and bypassing Hawaii. The gale pushed east and was losing organization Sat AM (10/27) with winds barely 30 kts from the west and seas 21 ft at 41N 147W. In the evening the gale faded while lifting northeast with west winds 25-30 kts with seas fading from 19 ft at 43N 145W aimed east. This system dissipated after that. Swell is hitting Hawaii and is pushing towards the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell building Sun AM (10/28) to 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.0 ft) fading steadily through the day. Dribbles on Mon AM (10/29) fading from 3.5 ft @ 12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 350 degrees.

North California: Expect swell arrival on Sun PM (10/28) after sunset building Mon AM (10/29) to 6.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (9.0 ft) then fading through the day. A mixture of swell and local windswell expected on Tues AM (10/30) at 7.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 293 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
Typhoon Yutu was located 400 nmiles east of the Northern Philippines on Sun (10/28) with winds 110 kts (125 mph) tracking west. This track is to continue with Yutu slowly weakening and pushing into the big island of the North Philippines Monday evening (10/29) with winds 100 kts (115 mph) and continuing east from there into the East China Sea. No recurvature northeast is expected.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (10/28) light winds were in control from Monterey Bay northward early but with north winds 15-20 kts from Big Sur to Pt Conception and with high pressure building in later and north winds building to 15 kts from Pt Arena southward to Pt Conception. Monday (10/29) high pressure is to be building in with north winds 20 kts from Bodega Bay south to Pt Conception early and up to 25 kts later in the afternoon from Pt Arena southward to Pt Conception. Tuesday north winds to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for the Central Coast with high pressure still in control. Wednesday (10/31) north winds to be fading from 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but 10 kts or less from Pt Arena southward. On Thurs (11/1) high pressure is to be pushing into Oregon with north winds 15-20 kts over Pt Arena but with a light to calm wind pattern south of there. Fri (11/2) light winds are forecast everywhere except 15 kts from the north for Cape Mendocino. Sat (11/3) north winds to build at 20-25 kts over Cape Mendocino to Pt Arena but light winds are to be in place early south of there but north winds building to 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA later and holding into Sunday (11/4).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
On Sunday (10/28) swell from a second gale that pushed under New Zealand was hitting Southern CA (See New Zealand Gale #2 below). Secondary fetch developed right behind that gale too (see Secondary New Zealand Fetch below) and swell from it was already fading in Hawaii and is to hit California imminently.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

New Zealand Gale #2
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 167.5W tracking northeast. Fetch was fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 31 ft at 49.5S 161.5W. The gale to faded from there. Some more southwest swell is in the water pushing northeast.

Southern CA: Swell continues on Sun (10/28) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell being overtaken after this by Secondary New Zealand swell (see below). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

 

Secondary New Zealand Fetch
Another gale was building right behind New Zealand Gale #2 (above) on Fri AM (10/19) with 30-35 kt southwest winds building aimed northeast over abroad area with seas building to 25 ft at 53S 168W. In the evening fetch built to 35+ kts over abroad area from the southwest with 27 ft seas at 52S 168W aimed northeast. Fetch on Sat AM (10/20) was fading from 30 kts from the southwest lifting hard northeast with 27 ft seas at 46S 162W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading from 30 kts from the south in the evening with 25 ft seas at 40S 156W aimed northeast. This system faded from there. Possible solid secondary southwest swell in the 15 sec range to tag on to the end of the New Zealand swell developing above for Hawaii and CA.

Hawaii: Swell fading on Sun AM (10/28) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles fading out on Mon (10/29) from 1.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 189 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/28) afternoon and peaking Mon AM (10/29) building to 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (10/30) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/28) afternoon and peaking Mon AM (10/29) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (10/30) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 205 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 an area of 30 kt northwest winds are to develop east of Japan Thurs-Fri (11/2) pushing east generating 18-20 kts seas in pockets but not cohesive and not offering any much in terms of swell production.

On Sat PM (11/3) a gale is to develop in the North Gulf 11/1) with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 32 ft at 53N 150W aimed east continuing to Sun AM (11/4) with seas building to 36 ft at 53N 144W aimed east. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Equatorial SST's Fading Some - ESPI Rising Some

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 over the Summer 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 Sat (10/27) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific fading some while pushing towards the dateline, then calm over the KWGA if not light westerly. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and the dateline, and weak westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/28) strong west anomalies were holding over the core of the KWGA. Strong west anomalies are to hold for on more day in the core of the KWGA through 10/29, then fading with moderate plus strength east anomalies developing over the same area on 10/31 holding through the end of the model run on 11/4. This was previously not on any of the longer range models and is not a good sign.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/27) A neutral Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA but with a building Inactive MJO signal over the Maritime Continent easing into the far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase is to slowly build in the far West KWGA building to moderate strength at day 8, then fading some at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the exact same thing. The 2 models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/28) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the Central Pacific and is to track steadily east while weakening eventually reaching the Maritime Continent 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing. The 2 models are in sync.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/28) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet pattern was over the Central Pacific far East Pacific and is to track east pushing into Central America on 11/12. A moderate Inactive/Dry signal is to build over the West Pacific 11/5 pushing east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and into Central America on 12/2. Another weak Active Phase is to push over the West Pacific 11/20 fading while pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/7.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/27) This model depicts strong west anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. This pattern is to hold for a few days while easing east moving out of the KWGA about 11/3. After that weak west anomalies are to rebuild in the KWGA by 11/5 holding for the foreseeable future. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not yet fully coupled.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/28) This model depicts weak west anomalies were over the KWGA today with a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO all but gone on the dateline. Western anomalies are to fade some in the western KWGA 11/2-11/10 but nothing dramatic. After that west anomalies are to rebuild some and continue steady at modest to moderate strength through the end of the model run on 1/25/19 with no clear MJO pattern is expected (typical of a building El Nino situation). But those west anomalies are to be slowly drifting east and centered on the dateline (and still in the KWGA) at the end of the model run. But east anomalies are to also be easing east from the Indian Ocean to the Maritime Continent over that same duration. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east over California to 115W and forecast holding beyond. A 4th contour line forecast to to develop in the 12/22-29 period is now slated for 1/2/19. The atmosphere and ocean are theoretically slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean. But actual data (not forecast data) indicates that coupling has not happened yet. 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: (10/28) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid retrograding west slightly to 175E. The 28 deg isotherm line was retrograding west to 157W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 95W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of Kelvin Wave (#2) at extending from 175E at +3 degs but now appears to be centered near 115W down 90 meters reaching east and pushing into the coast of Ecuador. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region and reaching South America. This is likely the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this El Nino. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/20 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave starting in the West Pacific near 160E pushing down under the dateline at up to +4.0 degs reaching east to 90W and then pushing into Ecuador. A small pocket of neutral anomalies was developing just west of the Maritime Continent. 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: (10/20) Positive anomalies were solid from New Guinea over the Dateline and broad in coverage peaking at +5-10 cms at 120W and continuing east to Ecuador indicating that Kelvin Wave (#2) was peaking and pushing quickly east. El Nino appears to be developing, but weak.

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: (10/27) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were warm in a classic Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, with imbedded pockets of slightly stronger warming. But these temps were much less warm than day past. There was slight warming building along the coast of Chile up into Peru. Generic warm anomalies were north of the equator from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. This pattern looks somewhat like El Nino, but no solid warming was branching north and south along the Central and South American coast, suggesting this El Nino is only weakly in control at best.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/27): A weak warming trend was set up from Ecuador to the dateline mainly just south of the equator. Weak warming was along the coast of Peru and Chile. Solid cooling was was on the equator from the Galapagos west to 110W.
Hi-res Overview: (10/27) A pocket of weak cool water was present just off the outer coast of Chile but warm water was holding along the immediate coast of Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos building out to the dateline with many pockets of stronger imbedded warming. 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: (10/28) Today's temps were rising at -0.134 after falling to -0.628 on 10/22, 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: (10/28) Today temps were steady at +0.612, 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 (10/28) The forecast calls for a slow but steady increase from here rising to +1.00 degs in mid-Nov then toggling from 0.8 to +1.10 degs in Dec into May 2019, then slowly fading through July 2019 down to +0.80 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018 but weaker than previous model runs. But given the weak El Nino forecast, this somewhat dampens the odds of La Nina following 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-Oct Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +0.90 degs in October and +0.9-+1.0 degs in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.78 in June. 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) (10/28): The daily index was rising today at +5.93. The 30 day average was rising at +0.48 suggesting an Inactive MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling some at -4.66 and has been essentially 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): (10/28) Today the index was rising slightly at -0.16, up from -0.22 the week of 10/22, 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 and that precip and evaporation are about normal, not above normal as one would expect if El Nino were in play. 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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