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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, November 16, 2020 5:58 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 & 2.0 - 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 11/16 thru Sun 11/22

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   

N. Dateline Region To Be Active
One Last South Swell For Southern CA

On Monday, November 16, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 14.4 secs from 192 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 10.6 secs from 317 degrees. Water temp 81.1 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 13.8 secs from 213 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 58.3 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.6 ft @ 14.4 secs from 305 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.3 secs from 239 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 12.7 secs from 229 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.4 secs from 260 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.5 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 8.5 ft @ 13.4 secs from 314 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 4-6 kts. Water temp 51.4 degs (013), 54.7 degs (SF Bar) and 55.4 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Monday (11/16) in North and Central CA new swell was arriving from the far Eastern Gulf with waves 8-10 ft and lined up and glassy but with some warble in the water. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean with light offshore winds and lined up if not closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean but with some warble mainly from tide bouncing off the seawall. In Southern California/Ventura waves were flat to thigh high and clean. Central Orange County had waves at chest high and clean and soft breaking just off the beach. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at thigh to waist high or so on the peak and clean but rare and soft. North San Diego had thigh to waist high sets and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting wrap around east windswell at waist high or so and clean. The South Shore had some thigh to waist high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves thigh high and almost chopped from weak east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (11/16) another pulse of very north angled sideband swell from the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska was hitting North CA mixing with leftover swell from the North Dateline with favorable local winds. This swell was not reaching Southern CA. No swell was hitting Hawaii. Another gale was tracking east over the North Dateline Region on Mon (11/16) then fading with up to 35 ft seas. And perhaps some sort of weak local system is forecast off North CA and Oregon Tues (11/17) producing 21 ft seas aimed east. And beyond some ill formed gale is to develop over the North Dateline region tracking into the Northwestern Gulf Wed-Fri (11/20) producing 18-20 ft seas over a broad area aimed east. And another to form in the Northern Gulf on Sun-Mon (11/23) producing 43 ft seas aimed east. And on last weak gale tracked east over the Southeast Pacific Tues-Thurs (11/12) producing 28-30 ft seas aimed east. Small swell is radiating northeast from it.

See all the details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

On Monday (11/16) the jet was fragmented and almost split running generally east off Japan ridging slightly over the dateline then consolidating while falling into a tight pinched trough in the Central Gulf of Alaska being fed by 160 kts winds offering some support for gale development there. From there the jet ridged northeast and pushed inland over British Columbia. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast over the west while in the east the pinched trough builds some while opening up more offering better support for gale development before it tracks east and moves over the Pacific Northwest mid-week. Beyond 72 hours the split flow in the west is to continue with the northern branch digging out a trough at new trough over the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Fri (11/20) being fed by 160 kt winds and pushing through the North Gulf and into British Columbia on Sun (11/22). Decent support for gale development is indicated. And yet another weaker trough is forecast behind over the same area. At that time (Mon 11/23) the jet is to be consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds 160 kts tracking east of the 45N latitude line then weakening and splitting weakly over the dateline only to consolidate again over the Gulf of Alaska rebuilding to 150 kts and pushing into Washington state. The only trough is to be over the Northern Gulf. It's interesting that the high pressure bias is over the dateline and that is where the jet seems to be splitting. And a building Inactive Phase of the MJO over the Dateline region is likely to continue stealing energy from the jetstream at that point also.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (11/16) swell from a gale that developed in the extreme Northeastern Gulf on Sat (11/14) with up to 41 ft seas mostly east of the NCal swell window was radiating down the North and Central CA coast and already fading in size in NCal. Swell from that system was mixing with leftover swell from a gale previously over the North Dateline region (see North Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to form in the far eastern Gulf off California on Mon PM (11/16) producing 30-35 kt northwest winds over a tiny area off the North CA coast with seas building. On Tues AM (11/17) northwest fetch is to be just off the OR-CA border at 35 kts with seas 18 ft at 41N 130W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to lift northeast and into the Pacific northwest with no fetch remaining over open waters. Residual seas of 15 ft to be off Cape Mendocino. Only windswell likely to result for North and Central CA (See QuikCASTs for details).

And beyond sort sort of an ill formed gale is forecast developing off the North Kuril Islands and Kamchatka on Wed AM (11/18) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas to 24 ft at 50N 172E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts but with a secondary gale forming just south of the previous fetch producing west winds at 35-40 kts and seas 24 ft over a small area at 47N 174E aimed east. ON Thurs AM (11/19) the gale is to lift northeast and over the Central Aleutians with 35-40 kt west winds ands a large fetch of 30 kt west winds behind it extending off Kamchatka with 20- 24 ft seas from Kamchatka to a point just east of the dateline at 47N 173W aimed east. In the evening the low is to push east into the Western Gulf with 30 kt west winds over a solid area aimed east with 20-21 ft seas over a large area from 50N 170E to 47N 167W aimed east. Fetch is to fade on Fri AM (11/20) from 25-30 kts over a solid ar in the Northern Gulf with seas fading from 18-20 ft over a solid area at 47N 160W aimed east. Something to monitor.


Another North Dateline Gale
Another small system started developing just west of the dateline on Sun PM (11/15) producing 45-50 kt northwest winds over a tiny area with 32 ft seas at 47.5N 170.5E aimed east. On Mon AM (11/16) the gale was tracking east with 40 kt west winds over a small area on the North Dateline region with 32 ft seas 48.5N 177.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to push east and dissipate over the extreme North Dateline region with seas fading from 25 ft at 50N 176.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (11/19) building to 2.8 ft @ 15 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (11/20) from 3.1 ft @ 13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North Dateline Gale
A gale developed just off the Kuril Islands on Mon PM (11/9) producing 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 26 ft at 47.5N 163E aimed east. The gale tracked east Tues AM (11/10) producing 50 kt west winds and seas building to 38 ft at 48.5N 168E aimed east (308 degs NCal). In the evening the gale raced east over the North Dateline region producing 40 kt west winds and seas 33 ft at 50N 178.5E aimed east. On Wed AM (11/11) the gale moved north of the Eastern Aleutians with 40 kt west winds still lingering south of the Aleutians producing 26-28 ft seas at 51N 164W aimed east. 30-35 kt west fetch lingered over the Northern Gulf in the evening producing 25 ft seas at 53N 158W aimed east. The gale was fading Thurs AM (11/12) in the extreme Northern Gulf with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 23 ft up at 54.5N 154W aimed east. Small swell is radiating east. Additional fetch is to develop in the Northern Gulf in the evening at 35 kts with seas holding at 21 ft at 56N 150W aimed east. On Fri AM (11/13) the gale is to fall southeast with a building area of 35 kt northwest winds and seas building to 26 ft at 54.5N 145W aimed southeast and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs). The gale is to fade in the evening with 30 kts northwest winds dissipating with 24 ft seas fading at 51N 137W aimed southeast and again barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs). The gale is to be gone from there. Given the extreme northerly angled little to no energy is expected reaching into Southern CA.

North CA: Swell fading on Mon (11/16) from 6.0 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 308 degrees moving to 315+ degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (11/16) light northeast winds were blowing early along the North and Central coast and southeast at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino with low pressure building off the coast there. By afternoon winds are to turn southerly at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts down into Central CA. Tues (11/17) south winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino early moderating to 10 kts over Pt Conception and then fading through the day to 10 kts or so everywhere at sunset. Rain building solid from the Golden Gate northward early pushing south to Morro Bay late. Heavy snow building in Tahoe over the evening. Wed (11/18) south winds to be 15-20 kts from Pt Arena northward and 5 kt from the southwest south of there to Big Sur and less further south turning northwest 5 kts in the afternoon except for Pt Arena northward where winds to still be southwest 5-10 kts. Light rain along the coast from Pt Conception northward fading through the day but hanging on over North CA late afternoon. Steady solid snow for Tahoe through the day fading in the evening. On Thurs (11/19) northwest winds to be 5 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA early building to 10-15 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA later as high pressure starts building in. Light rain early lingering for Cape Mendocino and Pt Arena fading late afternoon. On Fri (11/20) high pressure and north wind takes over at 20-25 kts early building to 25 kts solid in the afternoon. No precip forecast. Sat (11/21) north winds are forecast at 20 kts early fading to 15 kts nearshore in the afternoon. Sun (11/22) light winds are forecast for North CA early and north winds 15-20 kts for Central CA rebuilding to 20 kts everywhere later. A new front is forecast with rain for all of North CA from Bodega Bay northward early pushing to Half moon Bay then vaporizing in the afternoon. Mon (11/23) north winds are forecast at near 20 kts early for all of North and Central CA early except Cape Mendocino with light winds pretty much holding all day. Rain for Cape Mendocino all day.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 31 inches, 30 inches, 21 inches, and 3 inches respectively. Freezing level falling to 6,800 ft on Tues (11/17) and holding rising briefly to 8,500 ft on 11/21 then falling on 11/22 to about 7,000 ft.

Snow Models: (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Monday (11/16) swell from a weak gale that formed in the Southeast Pacific was fading out in Southern CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Swell from one last gale that formed in the far Southeast Pacific was tracking north towards Southern CA (see Last Southeast Pacific Gale below).

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


Southeast Pacific Gale
Background swell is expected into Southern CA from a gale that weakly pushed east through the Southeast Pacific on Wed-Thurs (11/5) producing up to 29 ft seas aimed east.

Southern CA: Swell fading out on Mon (11/16) at 1.6 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees


Last Southeast Pacific Gale
One last gale developed over the Southeast Pacific Tues AM (11/10) producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 60S 143W aimed east. In the evening that fetch pushed east producing southwest winds at 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 57.7S 132.5W aimed northeast. On Wed (11/11) that fetch dissipated but a new fetch of 40 kt west winds built right behind producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 60.5S 146.5W aimed east. In the evening the fetch built with 40-45 kt west winds in the far Southeastern Pacific producing 32 ft seas at 59.5S 131W aimed east. Core fetch and seas moved just east of the Southern CA swell window Thurs AM (11/12) with 28 ft seas lingering at 56.5S 118W barely in the SCal swell window. There some odds for small southern hemi swell to result radiating north towards Southern CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (11/17) building to 1.4 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building through the day Wed (11/18) to 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (11/19) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (11/18) building to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building through the day Thurs (11/19) to 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-day (2.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 192 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another gale is forecast developing in the Central Gulf on Sun AM (11/22) producing 40 kt west winds ands seas building from 23 ft at 45.5N 159W aimed east. A new core is to build in the evening in the Northern Gulf with 55kt northwest winds and seas 32 ft at 53.5N 145W aimed southeast and barely in the NCal swell window. On Mon AM (11/23) the gale is to fall southeast with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 43 ft at 52N 137W just off North British Columbia. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast. The southern hemi is going to sleep.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Inactive MJO Building at Strong Status

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

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

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (11/15) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak from the east over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and moderate easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/16) strong east anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast calls for east anomalies building steadily in density at strong status over the KWGA through the forecast period ending 11/23 and building over the East Pacific to a point south of California at the end of the model run. Support for energy transfer into the jet is weak and is expected to be getting progressively weaker.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/15) A moderate Inactive MJO signal was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to hold on day 5 of the model run then fading on day 10 and gone on day 15 with a neutral MJO pattern indicated. The dynamic model suggests much the same thing but with the Inactive Phase at strong status on days 5 and 10 then all but gone on day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/16) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was nearly non-existent over the West Indian Ocean today and is to track east to the Maritime Continent and even weaker on day 15. The GEFS model suggests pretty much the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (11/16) This model depicts a moderate Inactive Phase (dry air) over the Central Pacific tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 11/26. A weak Active Phase is to set up over the West Pacific on 11/28 pushing east and pushing into Central America on 12/16. At that time another Inactive/Dry Phase is forecast pushing over the KWGA reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/26.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/15) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA today with east anomalies building in strength and coverage. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to build in coverage reaching strong status filling the KWGA today and holding through 11/26 as the Inactive Phase pushes east and out of the KWGA. Beyond strong east anomalies are to hold filling the KWGA and east to a point just south of California on the equator through the end of the model run on 12/13.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/16 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was near peaking over the KWGA with east anomalies in control. The Inactive Phase is to pushing over the KWGA through 12/12 producing east anomalies filling the KWGA and points east of there to Ecuador. A weak Active Phase is to follow on 12/10-1/5 fading quickly producing only limited west anomalies in the KWGA. A strong Inactive MJO is to return 1/8-1/30 with strong east anomalies filling the KWGA and strong east anomalies over the East Pacific. Another Active Phase is forecast starting 1/16 through the end of the model run on 2/13 with west anomalies building and filling the western half of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run with it's western periphery easing east to 150E at the end of the model run. A third contour line is to appear on 12/10 with a fourth contour line on 1/21. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage holding through the end of the model run and its eastern periphery easing east to 140E at the end of the model run. Its core is to remain locked at 80E. A second contour is to develop on 12/27. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year previous migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and are forecast stabilizing there for the foreseeable future. The trend is towards a building La Nina that is not likely to be dislodged anytime soon. This looks like a 2 year event now.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/16) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was stable at 160E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east slightly to 176E today. The 24 deg isotherm was easing east at 129W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 160W at depth today but no warmth east of there and no sign of moving anytime soon. There was a pocket of cooler anomalies at -3 degs near 120W with cool anomalies filling the entire area east of the dateline and shallower west to 150E. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/9 indicates the same with a large cool water bubble at depth stronger and larger erupting to the surface from 160E eastward to Ecuador with a core to -5C at 130W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/9) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 160E building to -15 cms at 125W and -10 cms solid between 90W-145W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and then reaching north up to Baja and into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from San Francisco south to Southern Chile and west out to the intersection of the dateline and the equator. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

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: (11/15) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Colder anomalies were imbedded in that flow between 110W to 150W and steady in coverage today. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru through a small pocket of warming anomalies were indicated along southern Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. Warm water was all but gone off Central America north of the equator. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/15): Temps were cooling on the equator between 110W to 150W and steady west of there.
Hi-res Overview: (11/15) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea with markedly cool anomalies between 110-150W. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/16) Today's temps were rising slightly to -0.728 today after having been on a seesaw rising trend since early October peaking at -0.910 degs on 11/5. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The overall trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/16) Temps were steady today at 1.093 after bottoming out at -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/16) Today the model indicates temps at -1.50 degs. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend to continue reaching -2.00 degs in mid-Jan then beginning to rise, rebuilding up to -0.30 degs in early Aug and stabalizing there. This is becoming a 2 year event in that even after temps return to 0/normal it will take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -1.10 degs today, and are to hold into Dec, then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.89 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by June. Most models are suggesting a moderate to La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (11/16): The daily index was rising at +11.45. The 30 day average was rising at +4.53. The 90 day average was rising some at 8.37, suggesting the current fading Active MJO has had some limited impact on the deep state La Nina pattern. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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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