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Monday, December 24, 2018
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 6.9 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 7.3 secs from 147 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 11.9 secs from 333 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.4 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 10.5 secs from 265 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 62.8 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.1 ft @ 12.4 secs from 280 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 11.7 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.1 ft @ 12.5 secs from 236 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.4 ft @ 15.0 secs from 280 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.9 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 7.3 ft @ 13.3 secs from 306 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southeast at 10-16 kts. Water temp 58.8 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.
On Monday (12/24) in North and Central CA surf was 8-10 ft on the face and maybe some bigger sets but a bit jumbled from modest south wind. Protected breaks were 1-2 ft overhead and clean with offshore (southeast) winds. At Santa Cruz surf was 1-2 ft overhead on the peak and lined up and clean with just a touch of warble in the water. In Southern California/Ventura surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co surf was waist high or so and clean but breaking on the beach. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were flat to thigh high and clean. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high and clean and lined up but pretty soft. Hawaii's North Shore was small but still rideable with waves chest to head high and clean and occasionally lined up at top breaks. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves near chest high and nearly chopped early from moderate east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Monday (12/24) swell from a gale previously in the Northern Gulf of Alaska was still hitting in California making for some decent sized waves. That gale tracked through the Northern Gulf Thurs-Fri (12.21) with up to 37 ft seas aimed east, and remnants from it redeveloped just off the coast of Oregon on Sat (12/22) producing 30 ft seas aimed east. Sideband swell from that gale was fading out in Hawaii. Another small system developing just west of the dateline on Sun (12/23) with 26 ft seas aimed southeast, then faded but is to redevelop today into Tues (12/25) tracking east through the Northwestern Gulf with seas building to 28 ft. And a stronger one was developing mid-way between Japan and the dateline tracking east to the dateline Mon-Wed (12/26) with up to 47 ft seas aimed east and dissipating before reaching the Western Gulf. A bit of a break is forecast but then on Sat (12/29) a large but ill formed gale is to start developing while filling the Northwestern Pacific Ocean producing a broad area of 31 ft seas targeting Hawaii well and possibly to build while lumbering slowly east. The Active Phase of the MJO is looking to have a significant positive impact on storm production as we move into the New Year.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Monday AM (12/24) the jet was consolidated pushing east off Japan down on the 33N latitude line with winds to 170 kts reaching to the dateline and weakly falling into a developing trough there, then starting to ridge northeast slightly through the Gulf and pushing into North CA. There was limited support for gale development in the trough. Over the next 72 hours the same situation is to continue Tues (12/25) but with the ridge in the east building and the trough behind it lifting northeast through the Gulf and fading. And if anything a split is to be developing at 165W pushing the northern branch to the northeast. Also a weak and broad trough is to start building just west of the dateline offering decent support for gale development. And that trough is to build while moving to the dateline early Thurs (12/27) offering good support for gale development while a big ridge starts building, locking down the East Pacific. This pattern is likely due to the development of the Active Phase of the MJO in the far West Pacific and the Inactive Phase moving through the East Pacific. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (12/28) the dateline trough is to pinch off in the Western Gulf offering nothing. But wind energy over Japan is to be building to 210 kts pushing due to reaching the dateline with a broad trough building north possibly supporting gale development. This same pattern is to steady get entrenched and at 180 hours out on Mon (12/31) 200 kt winds are to be tracking from Japan to the dateline and into the far Western Gulf with a developing broad trough setting up filling the entire Western North Pacific offering good support for gale development. East of the there the jet is to be heavily split starting on the 155W longitude line with the northern branch of the jet tracking north pushing up into Alaska offering only support for high pressure down at the surface there. The suspicion is the North Pacific is going to wake up significantly, starting in the west and slowly moving east.
On Monday (12/24) swell from a gale that developed in the Northern Gulf was fading along the US West Coast (see North Gulf Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a gale is to be tracking over the Dateline and into the Western Gulf (see Dateline Gale below). Also a storm is to be building west of the dateline (see West Pacific Storm below).
North Gulf Gale
A new small storm developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Wed PM (12/19) with northwest winds building to 45 kts over a small area aimed southeast with seas building. On Thurs AM (12/20) the gale built while tracking east-southeast producing a small area of 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas 35 ft over a small area up at 48N 164.5W aimed southeast. In the evening west winds were 45 kts targeting the US West Coast well with seas 38 ft at 48N 157.5W (357 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). The gale is to fade fast Fri AM (12/21) with west winds 35 kts targeting Vancouver Island with seas fading from 32 ft at 48.5N 150.5W aimed east. This system to dissipate from there. Possible swell targeting mainly North CA and points north of there though energy will reach south to Pt Conception. Remnants of the this gale redeveloped briefly off the Oregon Coast on Sat (12/22) with west winds 40+ kts and seas building at 18Z to 30 ft at 44.5N 137.5W aimed east. Additional swell energy was pushing southeast targeting Oregon and the North CA coast from 303 degrees relative to North CA.
North CA: Swell fading on Mon AM (12/24) from 8.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (11 ft) . Swell fading after that and being overtaken by local windswell. Swell Direction: 303-305 degrees
On Sat PM (12/22) and ill formed gale started developing just west of the dateline producing 35-40 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii decently with seas building from 25 ft at 40N 165E. On Sun AM (12/23) northwest winds to move over the dateline fading to 35 kts with seas fading from 24 ft at 37N 172E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the fetch is to lift north and reorganize with west winds 30-35 kts over a modest area on the dateline with seas from the original fetch fading from 20 ft at 35N 177W aimed southeast mainly at Hawaii. On Mon AM (12/24) 35-40 kt west winds to continue just east of the dateline with 25 ft seas at 43N 177W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the gael is to push east and fade with winds 35 kts from the west with seas 27 ft at 43N 170W aimed east. On Tues AM (12/25) winds to hold at 35 kts from the west lifting northeast with seas building to 28 ft at 45N 162W. West winds to be fading in the evening fetch is to be racing east at 30 kts targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest with seas fading from 24 ft at 48N 155W. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell to result pushing east.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (12/25) building to 3.9 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Additional energy arriving early Wed AM (12/26) with swell building to 5.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading Thurs (12/27) from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 312 moving to 320 degrees
North CA: Rough estimates of swell arrival are on Fri (12/28) 8 AM pushing 5.0 ft @ 15 secs (7.5 ft) mid-AM but buried in local windswell. Swell Direction: 296 degrees
West Pacific Storm
Starting Mon AM (12/24) a new storm is to be building mid-way between Japan and the dateline with 55 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas building fast. In the evening the storm is to lifting east-northeast still with 55-60 kt west winds and seas building to 42 ft over a tiny area at 42N 167E aimed east. On Tues AM (12/25) northwest winds to be 50 kts targeting Hawaii well with seas building to 47 ft at 43N 172.5E. In the evening the storm is to be fading to gale status with northwest winds 45 kts nearly on the dateline with seas 42 ft at 42.5N 177.5E. The gale is to be fading fast on Wed AM (12/26) on the dateline with northwest winds 35-40 kts and seas 35 ft at 42N 177.5W aimed east targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast well. In the evening the gale with west winds fading from 30 kts and seas 28 ft at 42.5N 172W. Something to monitor.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (12/24) high pressure is to be building just off the Central Coast with low pressure just off the CA-OR border with the front from the low impacting the North Coast mid-day with south winds 10 kts early then winds turning north 20 kts late and starting to build over the entire North and Central Coast. Rain building south to Monterey Bay at sunset and Pt Conception overnight. Moderate snow for the Sierra starting at sunset and building overnight. Tuesday (12/25) high pressure is to be in control with north winds 25-30 kts for the North and Central coasts and 25 kts for South California continuing through the day. Light snow showers for the Sierra early. Wednesday (12/26) high pressure is to continue with north winds 15-20 kts for North and Central CA but light winds for Southern CA. On Thurs (12/27) high pressure is to pulse again with north winds building to 25-30 kts for all of North and Central CA. North winds fading Fri (12/27) from 20-25 kts early fading to 10-15 kts later. On Sat (12/29) high pressure is to be fading from the north-northeast at 10 kts. Sun (12/30) a light north flow is forecast at 5 kts nearshore. Monday (12/31) high pressure is to start building again forming a gradient over North CA with north winds there 20-25 kts and 10 kts from Pt Reyes southward.
Total snow accumulation for for the week for North Lake Tahoe 14 inches and 3 inches for Mammoth. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO is moving over the East Pacific.
No swell of interest was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a broad area of low pressure is to be building over and just east of Japan Thurs-Sat (12/29) with west winds 30-35 kts in patches pushing well off Japan with seas 20-24 ft over a large area from Japan to the dateline aimed east with the leading edge 34N 177E. And then fetch is to start building behind that on Sun PM (12/30) with 35-40 kt northwest winds mid-way between Japan and the dateline and seas building from 33 ft at 41N 164E. On Mon AM (12/31) northwest winds to still be 35-40 kts over a large area with 34 ft seas at 39N 169E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening west winds to be 30-35 kts with seas 34 ft at 38N 176E aimed east. Possible solid swell to result for Hawaii eventually reaching the US West Coast but smaller and less consistent.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
Sea Surface Temps Falling on the Equator
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 Fall, but not enough yet to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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 does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/23) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately easterly near the dateline and continuing into the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (12/24) modest east anomalies were on the dateline but strong west anomalies were building in the Western KWGA. The forecast is for east anomalies moving east to the very eastern edge of the KWGA on 12/26 and holding there while west anomalies build strong filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 12/31. Support for storm development appears to be building but limited to the far West Pacific for the next week with the Active Phase developing there.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (12/23) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was just east of the dateline with the Active Phase over the Maritime Continent and starting to push into the West Pacific. The statistical model indicates the Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the dateline region at day 5 and then gone after that with the Active Phase moving fully into the KWGA at day 10 holding into day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase not moving quite as fast to the east but out of the KWGA at day 10 while the Active Phase slowly builds in the far West Pacific but not as strong as the statistical model. But the 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/24) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was fairly strong over the Central Maritime Continent. It is to track east steadily losing strength reaching the Central Pacific 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts the MJO building to very strong status in the far West Pacific at 2 weeks out. There is an interesting divergence between the 2 models here.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/24) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO developing in the far West Pacific today moving east and reaching Central America on 1/13. An Inactive signal is to set up over the far West Pacific 1/13 tracking east and is to move over the East Pacific and into Central America on 2/2. A modest Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 1/28 tracking east over the dateline at the end of the model run on 2/2/19.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/23) This model depicts moderate west anomalies were building over the western KWGA with weak east anomalies on the dateline and those east anomalies are to hold till 12/28. At the same time strong west anomalies are to set up in the far West Pacific 1/1 as the Active Phase of the MJO start building there. After that the Active Phase and solid west anomalies are to start pushing east moving to the heart of the KWGA on 1/7, then fading some but still present through the end of the model run on 1/20 as the Active Phase starts moving out of the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/24) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO building in the far West Pacific with modest west anomalies from 165E and points west of there filling 50% of the KWGA while east anomalies from a fading Inactive Phase were all but gone over the dateline. A strong Active MJO pattern is to build 12/25 through 1/25 with west anomalies building in coverage filling the KWGA, possibly to WWB status 12/29-1/12. A weak Inactive Phase to follow starting 1/25 through 2/20, followed by the Active Phase holding through the end of the model run on 3/23 but with weak west anomalies still in control. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through the end of the model run. A third contour line faded 12/17 and to remain suppressed now through 2/29, then reappearing thereafter. It appears from this model that El Nino is in control, but we know from other data this is not the case. The atmosphere and ocean are trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence of it occurring yet. If coupling did not happen by Dec 15, it's doubtful it will. And this model is not suggesting they will become coupled, with the MJO cycle active, and not muted as it would be during a strong El Nino. Still this pattern is to slowly become more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/24) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is steady today back at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific with temps rebuilding in the Central Pacific at +3 degs at 140W (Possible Kelvin Wave #3). Temps are stable at 3 degs east of there the whole way into Ecuador. It appears Kelvin Wave #2 is gone and fully erupted off Ecuador. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 2-3 months with the development and merging of Kelvin Wave #3 with Kelvin Wave #2. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/19 paints the same picture with the Kelvin Wave #2 in the East Pacific and almost gone with 2 little pockets at +5 degs at 100W pushing into Ecuador and a separate area of modest warming building at +3 degs under the dateline associated with Kelvin Wave #3. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 90W to 165E solidly. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/19) Positive anomalies were solid from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east at 0 to +5 cms, then continuing east over the equator north of New Guinea pushing to over the dateline and extending steady into Ecuador at 0-+5 cms, but the extent of +5 cms is not continuous west of 150W, suggesting a potentially fading Kelvin Wave pattern in the future. .
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (12/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were warm in a Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, but definitely fading compared weeks past. Warm water was steady along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador, not warming nor building. Generic warming also extends north to Central America and Mexico and steady. It's not a strong trend towards El Nino, but appears to be pushing in that direction. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has lost some ground but is still defined and present. Overall the pattern looks more like El Nino than La Nina, but not strongly El Nino. In all this developing El Nino is weakly in control and becoming more fragile.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/23): A building broad area of warming water was developing on the equator from the Galapagos to 140W. A broad area of warming was building along the coast of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (12/23) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos building out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And one could kinda think we are moving towards a El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely only going to move to a minimal warm regime, likely not reaching full El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/24) Today's temps were falling hard at +0.356, after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/24) Today temps were rising some at +0.672 after having previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/24) The model indicates temps were at +0.85 degs in early Dec (which wasn't even close to reality - they were actually about +0.6) then forecast rising some to +1.45 degs by Feb 1 holding to early May 2019, falling to +1.10 degs into July 2019 and down to +0.9 degs in Sept. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe odds of weak El Nino are more likely. Most models are suggesting a turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall. It's not certain we're there yet.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (12/24): The daily index was stable at +5.66. The 30 day average was rising at +9.41 suggesting a Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was rising some at +3.34, rising the past 3 weeks and no longer negative and the highest its been in months. 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. Unfortunately we have made no progress from there towards a negative El Nino pattern and if anything, have moved back to a positive regime.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (12/24) The index has risen slightly from at +0.03 on 12/3 to +0.28 on 12/15 but is down today to +0.08, just barely positive and not as strong as it should be if El Nino were developing. Typically El Nino peaks in late December. If that is the case in this years event, then there's no way we're going to move into a legit El Nino this winter. It was down to -0.22 the week of 10/22, after having risen to +0.39 on 10/10, the highest so far this event. This suggests that precip and evaporation are normal, and not above normal as one would expect if El Nino were in play. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year.
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. 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, 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table