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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2020 4:30 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
4.2 - California & 4.0 - 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 12/28 thru Sun 1/3

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   

Dateline Swell Hitting HI
And Pushing Towards CA - Strong Gulf Swell Forecast

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, December 29, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 18.0 secs from 229 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.1 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 5.7 ft @ 17.3 secs from 326 degrees. Water temp 78.4 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 265 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-16 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.4 ft @ 13.5 secs from 296 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.9 ft @ 11.6 secs from 262 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.4 ft @ 11.6 secs from 268 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 5.4 ft @ 12.6 secs from 270 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 8.8 ft @ 13.1 ft from 297 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temp 51.8 degs (013), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 54.7 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

 
Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (12/29) in North and Central CA waves were 8-9 ft or more on occasion and fairly clean but kinda wallowing around but clean and rideable at select breaks. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up and approachable but not great. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up but a little uneven. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest to head high with peaks one foot overhead and super clean and lined up with decent form. Central Orange County had sets at head high to maybe 2 ft overhead on the sets coming from the north and clean with decent form. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but a bit warbled and soft. North San Diego had sets at chest high and clean with light offshore winds and lined up with decent form. Hawaii's North Shore was starting to get new dateline swell with waves 8-10 ft and lined up and clean but with some lump at more exposed breaks. The South Shore was flat and textured from sideshore wind. The East Shore was getting waist high east windswell and chopped from modest east-southeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (12/29) in Hawaii swell was starting to show from a broad storm that developed over the dateline on Sat-Sun (12/27) pushing into the Northwestern Gulf on Mon (12/28) with seas peaking at 53 ft aimed east. Energy from that system is pushing towards California too. And for California swell was fading from a weak system that developed in the Central Gulf Fri-Sat (12/27) producing 23 ft seas aimed east. Of more interest is a strong storm forecast tracking over the southern dateline pushing east into the Gulf Wed-Fri (1/1) with up to 59 ft seas aimed east. And another is to be right behind it over the North Dateline region Thurs-Fri (1/1) with up to 51 ft seas targeting mainly the Aleutians. Another is to form in the Central Gulf Sun-Mon (1/4) producing 44 ft seas aimed east. And another to follow in it's wake in the Eastern Gulf Tues (1/5) with 45 ft seas aimed east. And maybe another is to follow over the North Dateline region on Mon-Tues (1/5) with 28-30 ft seas aimed east. Much swell looks possible.

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 Tuesday (12/29) the jet was reasonably well consolidated pushing east off Japan tracking over the dateline to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii with winds 150 kts in multiple pockets but with no obvious troughs indicated. From there the jet split with most energy in the northern branch tracking northeast to a point just off Washington then falling south down the California coast and pushing inland over North Baja. the southern branch was tracking weakly over Hawaii and then into South Baja. No clear support for gale development was indicated, but neither was there anything hindering it's development. Over the next 72 hours winds are to start building over Japan on Wed (1/30) pushing 190 kts with a trough starting to build just ahead of the leading edge of that energy northwest of Hawaii offering good support for gale development. That trough is to push east through the Gulf into the Eastern Gulf on Fri (1/1) being fed with 150 kts winds offering good support for gale development while back to the west winds in the jet are to build to 200 kts reaching east to the dateline. A nice setup. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to hold tracking generally east to west on the 38N latitude line unbroken over the width of the North Pacific into late Tues (1/5) with winds 150 kts in pockets, but with no troughs forecast offering no obvious support for gale development. But nothing was hindering their development either.


Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (12/29) swell from a weak gale that previously tracked southeast through the Gulf of Alaska was fading in CA (see Weak Gulf Gale below). Of more interest is swell radiating and hitting Hawaii from a broad storm previously over the North Dateline region (see Dateline Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours a strong storm is forecast developing on the Southern Dateline Tues PM (12/29) with 55 kt west winds and seas building from 44 ft at 35.5N 177W aimed east tracking east. The storm is to push east-northeast on Wed AM (12/30) with 55-60 kt west winds and seas building to 48 ft at 39.5N 168W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to start sweeping northeast with 55 kt west winds and seas 59 ft at 42.5N 160.5W aimed east positioned 1,200 nmiles north of Kauai. On Thurs AM (12/31) northwest winds to be developing at 45 kts with seas 44 ft at 42N 155W aimed east and southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 40 kts with seas fading from 42 ft at 44N 148.5W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate after that on Fri AM (1/1) with winds fading from 35 kts and seas fading from 34 ft at 46N 143W aimed east. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: For planning purposes swell arrival is expected on late on Thurs (12/31) building to 8.4 ft @ 16-17 secs (13.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (1/1) from 8.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (13 ft). Dribbles on Sat (1/2) fading from 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320-325 degrees

North California: TBD

 

Dateline Storm
On Sat AM (12/26) a broad storm was developing over and just west of the dateline with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft at 43N 168.5E aimed east. In the evening the storm was building while tracking over the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas building from 52 ft at 46.5N 179.5E aimed east. On Sun AM (12/27) west fetch was tracking east at 45 kts with seas 48 ft at 48.5N 173W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt west winds were over a broad area over the North Dateline region aimed east with seas 39 ft at 49.5N 175.5W aimed east targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast with secondary fetch south of it at 40 kts generating 33 ft seas at 37N 178E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch was fading Mon AM (12/28) at 35-40 kts from the northwest over a large swath of the dateline with 29-33 ft seas at 40N 178W but also reaching north to the Aleutians aimed east. In the evening fetch was fading from 30-35 kts from the northwest over a large area over the dateline with seas fading from 29 ft at 40N 179.5W aimed east. This system faded out from there. Possible steady solid swell to target both Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (12/29) building to 7.8 ft @ 16 secs later (12.5 ft). Swell holding on Wed (12/30) at 8.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (13 ft). Swell fading on Thurs AM (1/31) from 6.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (9.5 ft) with new swell building over top. Swell Direction: 320-335 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (12/30) building to 7.0 ft @ 18 secs later (12.0 ft) and shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell holding Thurs (12/31) at 10.6 @ 16-17 secs (17.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (1/1) from 8.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (13.5 ft). Swell Direction: 296-306 degrees and shadowed in the SF Bay Area with lesser energy later down at 290-292 degrees

Southern CA: expect swell arrival on Wed (12/30) building to 2.5 ft @ 19 secs later (4.5 ft) and shadowed at most breaks. Swell holding Thurs (12/31) at 3.7 @ 17 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (1/1) from 3.9 ft @ 16 secs early (6.0 ft) and still shadowed expect from only the most exposed breaks. Residuals being overrun by new swell after that. Swell Direction: 301-308 degrees and mostly shadowed

 

Weak Gulf Gale
On Thurs PM (12/24) another small gale started developing over the North Dateline region falling southeast with 30 kts northwest winds and seas 23 ft up at 48N 177W aimed southeast. On Fri AM (12/25) northwest winds were pushing southeast at 30-35 kts with seas 21 ft at 45N 166W aimed southeast at Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening fetch was falling quickly southeast over a broad area at 30-35 kts from the northwest in the Central Gulf with seas 22-24 ft at 42N 152W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (12/26) northwest winds were fading in coverage at 30-30 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 42N 148W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kt northwest winds are to be fading while easing east with seas fading from 23 ft at 45N 145W aimed southeast. On Sun AM (12/27) northwest winds to be fading from 30 kts s moving close to California with 23 ft seas up at 44N 141W aimed southeast. The gale is to slowly fade while pushing directly into Central CA Mon AM (12/28) with 22 ft seas just off the coast at 35N 123W. Something to monitor especially for Southern CA.

North CA: Residuals were fading on Tues AM (12/29) with swell 7.8 ft @ 13 secs (10 ft). Dribbles fading on Wed (12/30) from 4.0 ft @ 10 secs early (4.0 ft) Swell Direction: 303 degs falling nd with most energy at 285 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 Tuesday (12/29) high pressure was trying to take over with northwest winds 10-15 kts early mainly off the coast for all of North and Central CA fading to 10 kts later. No precip forecast. Wed (12/30) light northwest winds are forecast all day except up to 15 kts for Pt Conception and southwest winds developing for Cape Mendocino at 15+ kts mid-day. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino late afternoon pushing south to the Golden Gate late. Light snow for Tahoe late. Thurs (12/31) high pressure again appears behind the front with northwest winds 15 kts forecast all day for North CA and up to 20 kts for Central CA. Light lingering showers for North CA down to Monterey Bay early then rapidly clearing. Snow for Tahoe down to Yosemite clearing early morning. Fri (1/1) light north winds are forecast early up for North and Central CA turning southwest for Cape Mendocino later at 10-15 kts. Rain developing for North CA down to Bodega Bay in the evening. Sat (1/2) light winds are forecast early turning south at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino later. Rain for Pt Reyes early pushing to Monterey Bay in the afternoon. Fresh rain developing for Cape Mendocino overnight. Sun (1/3) south winds are forecast for North CA at 15-20 kts down to Pt Arena and calm for Central CA early. Winds turning light everywhere by afternoon. Light rain mainly for North CA early but showers lingering until sunset. Snow showers for Tahoe fading at sunset. Monday a solid front moves over North CA early with south winds 15-20 kts to the Golden Gate and likely down to Monterey Bay late AM. Rain for all of North CA early and down to Big Sur pushing to Pt Conception and Santa Barbara Co at sunset. Solid snow developing for all of the Sierra by late afternoon fading in the evening. Tues AM (1/5) another front queues up off Oregon with south winds for CApe Mendocino at 20+ kts early pushing to the Golden Gate late afternoon then fading. Rain building south to San Francisco late afternoon with snow developing for Tahoe.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 72 inches, 71 inches, 62 inches, and 25 inches.

Freezing level peaking during the day at 7,000 ft through Dec 31 then pushing 10,000 ft on Jan 1. Temps falling after that with freezing level 6,000 ft over less through 1/8.

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (12/29) no swell was in the water.

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

 

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 another broad gale is to start developing west of the dateline Wed PM (12/30) producing 50-55 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft over a diffuse area near 40N 162E aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (12/31) the gael is to lift northeast fast positioned just west of the Northern Dateline region with 55 kt west winds and seas building from 39 ft at 48N 172E aimed east and northeast. The fetch is to hold just barely south of the Central Aleutians in the evening with 60 kt west winds and seas building to 51 ft at 51.5N 176E aimed east and southeast. The storm is to fall southeast some on Fri AM (1/1) with 50 kt west winds over a broad area aimed east with 41 ft seas at 50N 175E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be fading but still large with winds 35-45 kts filling the North Dateline region with 46ft seas at 50N 177W aimed east. Fetch fading Sat AM (1/2) with stray pockets of west winds at 35-45 kts filling a good portion of the Northwest Pacific with seas fading from 33 ft in pockets at 50N 177W and 40N 172E aimed east. Residual fetch fading over the dateline and further south in the evening at 35-40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft over a broad area at 42.5N 180W aimed east. This system gone after that. POssible swell mainly for the US West Coast but with secondary energy targeting Hawaii later. Something to monitor.

And remnants of the above system are to redevelop in the Central Gulf on Sun AM (1/3) with 45 kts west winds and seas building from 35 ft at 44.5N 161W aimed east. The fetch is to track east in the evening at 50 kts from the west with seas building to 42 ft at 46.5N 150W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/4) the storm is to be just off the Pacific Northwest producing 50 kt northwest winds and seas 44 ft at 46N 141.5W aimed east and southeast (307 degs NCal). The storm is to fade in the evening while pushing into the Pacific Northwest.

On Mon AM (1/4) another gale is forecast developing in the Central Gulf with 40 kts west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 44N 158W aimed east. In the evening winds to build to 50 kts with seas 44 ft over a small area at 45N 149W aimed east. The storm is to race east and be just off Oregon on Tues AM (1/5) with 45-50 kt west winds and seas 42 ft at 43.5N 138.5W. This system is to be moving into the Pacific Northwest late in the evening.

And yet another system is to be possibly forming over the North Dateline region on Mon AM (1/4) tracking east-southeast to the Northwestern Gulf on Tues PM (1/5) producing 35 kt west winds and seas 29-30 ft peaking near 45N 170W on Tues AM. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

SOI 30-Day Average Strongly Positive

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.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
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 (12/28) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and stronger still from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong 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 (12/29) exceedingly strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA and reaching east to a point south of Hawaii. The forecast calls for more of the same through the mode run ending on 1/5. East anomalies are to hold through the end of the model run reaching east only to a point south of Hawaii. weak west anomalies are forecast south of California to Ecuador.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/28) a neutral MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA today. The statistic model projects no change but with perhaps a weak Inactive signal developing south of Hawaii and a weak Active signal over Bali on day 5 and holding through day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests a variant of the same thing but with both Active and Inactive signals stronger. .
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/26) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was non-existent over the Indian Ocean today and is to track east to the Maritime Continent at weak status on day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to be weak over the far East Indian Ocean at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/6) No Update. This model depicts a weak Active Phase (wet air) over the East Pacific tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 12/21. A modest Inactive Phase was over the West Pacific and is to push east and into the Central America on 1/5. A weak Active Phase is to push into the West Pacific on 1/10 easing east at the end of the model run on 1/15. .
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/25) This model has not updated but previously depicted a weak Active MJO signal all but gone over the KWGA today with strong east anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold at strong status through 1/9, then fading to moderate status and holding through the end of the model run on 1/22. The low pass filter indicates no change in strength of high pressure over the KWGA but with coverage fading some at the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/29 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase over the KWGA today with mostly moderate to strong east anomalies in control focused over the dateline. The Active Phase is to quickly fade in the KWGA on 1/2 but with strong east anomalies holding in the KWGA over the dateline through 1/4, fading but still present unchanged at moderate status even while the Active Phase tries to return 1/9-1/30. A weak version of the Inactive Phase is to develop 1/30-2/7 but with west anomalies truing to build in the West KWGA. The Active Phase is to return 2/5-3/19 with weak to modest west anomalies filling the western portion of the KWGA with east anomalies trying to hang on over the dateline. A weak Inactive MJO is to return 3/22 holding through the end of the model run on 3/28 with mostly moderate west anomalies forecast on the dateline. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 3 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 160E at the end of the model run. A fourth contour line is to develop on 1/8 with a fourth on 2/10 holding to 3/19 with the third contour fading 3/27. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage with a second contour lined holding through 3/26. Its eastern periphery is to ease east to 150E at the end of the model run with it's west periphery moving from 65E to 100E. 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 have stabilized there. There's some sense they might start weakening in late Feb into March, but that's more a fantasy than reality.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/29) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 163E today but building in depth. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 174E today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 122W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 165W at depth and moving no further east. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies -2 degs C in the far East, but otherwise temps generally -1 deg C over the entire equatorial Pacific at depth. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/24 indicates the same thing. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/24) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator at -10 cms continuous over that area with one pocket to -15 cms from 130-150W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja and -5 cms into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from Cape Mendocino to the intersection of the dateline and equator then into Southern Chile. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there. But the triangle was not as strong as weeks past but not substantially weakening either.

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: (12/28) 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. Two small pockets of colder anomalies were near the Galapagos but otherwise none were imbedded in that flow in the East and limited between 145-170W and losing intensity even there. And the overall cool pool does not look as cold as weeks and months past. Cool anomalies were losing strength along the coasts of Chile and Peru with stray pockets of warming indicated. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. But the overall cool intensity of that pool appears to be waning. We are past the peak of this event.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/28): Temps continue warming along Chile and Peru reaching west to 110W and fading some compared to days past. 5 or so small pockets of cooling were imbedded on the equator from Ecuador westward. The balance again looks like warming is taking the upper hand, just barely.
Hi-res Overview: (12/28) 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. But the trail of markedly cool anomalies previously imbedded in that flow is gone. The peak of La Nina has perhaps past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/29) Today's temps were falling to -1.381 after peaking near -0.9551 on 12/22. A previous peak of -0.595 occurred on 12/11. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(12/29) Temps were steady at -1.028 today 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 (12/29) Today the model indicates temps steady at -1.00 degs after bottoming out in early Nov at -1.25 degs. The forecast depicts temps holding at -1.00 degs to mid-Jan then beginning to rise, rebuilding up to -0.4 degs in April and rising to -0.25 degs mid-July and stabilizing there. This is likely becoming a 2 year event in that even if temps were to return to normal in July it would 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) (12/29): The daily index was rising to +20.86. The 30 day average was rising to +16.37. The 90 day average was rising to 9.73. 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 

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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


Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (12/27):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?hd=1&v=9xvZMG6juWA&feature=youtu.be
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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