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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 1:35 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
3.1 - California & 3.1 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 2/26 thru Sun 3/3
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   

Raw Gale Building in Gulf
Another Gale Off Japan - Another Gale Forecast for North Dateline

BUOY ROUNDUP
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 13.2 secs from 195 degrees. Water temp 75.6 (Barbers Pt), 75.6 (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 9.1 secs from 43 degrees. Water temp 74.8 degs
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 8.5 secs from 30 degrees. Water temp 75.4 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.8 secs from 203 degrees. Wind south-southeast at 4 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs, 57.9 (Harvest 071), 59.2 (Topanga 103), 59.5 (Long Beach 215), 60.3 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 59.2 (Del Mar 153), 60.4 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.4 ft @ 10.1 secs from 312 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.2 ft @ 10.2 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.9 secs from 209 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.9 secs from 209 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.5 ft @ 14.0 secs from 221 degrees. Water temperature was 59.5 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.1 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 12.4 secs from 313 degrees. Wind northwest at 6-8 kts (46013) and north-northwest at 8-9 kts (1801589). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 55.8 degs (Pt Reyes 029), NA (San Francisco 46026), 56.5 (SF Bar 142), 55.9 (1801589) and 58.6 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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 Wednesday (2/28) in North and Central CA waves were head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up if not closed out breaking only on the inside and clean with light wind. Protected breaks were up to head high and lined up with occasional decent form and cleanish but with northwest warbled running through it making it uneven. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high and lined up and clean but soft and inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high and lined up and real clean with good form. Central Orange County had waves at chest high and lined up and clean with decent form but soft. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had waves at waist to sometimes chest high and lined up and clean with decent form and looking a bit like summer. North San Diego had waves at maybe waist high and and lined up with decent form and clean conditions but soft and inconsistent. Oahu's North Shore had waves at waist high and lined up and fairly clean with decent form but a little uneven. The South Shore was thigh high on the sets and soft and clean with light trades. The East Shore was getting east wind swell at head high and chopped from solid easterly-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (2/28) California and Hawaii were getting no real ground swell of interest. Southern California was getting background southern hemi swell. A gale is starting to form in the Northern Gulf Tues-Fri (3/1) producing 25-26 ft seas aimed southeast. And maybe something to develop just east of Japan lifting off the Kuril Islands Tues-Thurs (2/29) producing up to 30 ft seas aimed east. A small gale is forecast developing over the North Dateline on Tues-Wed (3/6) producing up to 41 ft seas aimed east maybe moving into the Gulf beyond. But overall it looks like a change towards a Springtime pattern is developing.

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 Wednesday (2/28) the jet was consolidated off Japan with winds to 160 kts forming a trough offering good support for gale development then splitting just west of the dateline with the northern branch tracking due north up into the Bering Sea then falling southeast digging out another trough in the Northern Gulf being fed by 140 kt winds also offering decent support for gale development. The southern branch was tracking east on the 25N latitude line eventually pushing over Baja offering nothing. Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs (2/29) the jet is to remain consolidated off Japan to the dateline continuing to form a trough just east of there into Fri (3/1) offering support for gale development off Japan and the Kuril Islands, then the trough dissipates beyond. The second trough over the Gulf is forecast falling southeast being fed by 140 kts winds offering good support for gale development while pushing into North California through Sat (3/2) supporting gale and weather development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to reorganize some with the split point still holding on the dateline and the northern branch falling south some now just south of the Central Aleutians on Mon (3/4) with a trough building over the North Dateline region Tues (3/5) being fed by 150 kts winds supporting gale formation and pushing east into the Gulf on Wed (3/6). And the jet is to be pushing down the US West Coast then supporting more weather for CA with the jet reconsolidating while pushing inland over North Baja. There is some hope.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (2/28) swell was fading in Hawaii from a small low pressure system that developed off California targeting Hawaii (see California Low Pressure System below). And a gale was building in the Gulf (see Gulf Gale below). And another gale was building off Japan (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours the Gulf and Japan Gales (see below) are to be the focus.

 

California Low Pressure System
Residuals of a Small Gulf Gale reorganized weakly 1000 nmiles west of Pt Conception Fri PM (2/23) producing 35-40 kt northeast winds and seas 19 ft at 35N 135W aimed somewhat at Hawaii. On Sat AM (2/24) northeast winds were 30-35 kts over a decent sized area with seas 20 ft at 34N 139.75W aimed back at Hawaii. In the evening 30-35 kt northeast winds to continue while falling southwest towards Hawaii with seas 22 ft at 29.75N 139.50W aimed southwest at Hawaii. Fetch is to be fading from 25 kts Sun AM (2/25) with seas fading from 20 ft at 26N 138.5W aimed southwest again at Hawaii. Fetch and seas gone after that. Perhaps small northeast windswell to push towards Oahu arriving at sunset Mon (2/26). Something to monitor.

Oahu: Residuals on Wed (2/28) fading from 4.0 ft @ 8-9 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 50 degrees

 

Gulf Gale
A gale started developing in the Northwestern Gulf Tues AM (2/27) producing northwest winds at 35 kts with seas building from 21 ft at 53N 153W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds built in coverage at 30-35 kts with seas 18-20 ft at 52.5N 145W. On Wed AM (2/28) northwest winds build to 35-45 kts and seas 21 ft at 48N 152W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds hold at 35-40 kts with seas building to 27 ft at 52N 149W aimed southeast. More of the same Thurs AM (2/29) with northwest winds 35-40 kts filling the Northern Gulf and seas 26 ft falling southeast at 47N 142W aimed southeast. The gale to be fading in the evening while approaching California with northwest winds 30-35 kts and seas 23 ft over a solid area centered at 42.5N 141W aimed southeast. The gale is to be fading in the Gulf Fri AM (3/1) just off North CA with northwest winds 30-35 kts and seas 25 ft at 42N 141.75W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be just off San Francisco at 30 kts with seas 24 ft at 38N 134W aimed southeast. The gale to dissipate from there while moving onshore over Central CA. Something to monitor.

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival later on Fri (3/1) building to 9.8 ft @ 12-13 secs later (12 ft) and pretty raw. Swell peaking Sat AM (3/2) at 11.8 ft @ 14 secs (16 ft) and raw. Swell fading Sun (3/3) from 8.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (10 ft). Residuals on Mon (3/4) fading from 5.0 ft @ 11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 285-295 degrees

Southern CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Sat (3/2) building to 3.9 ft @ 14-15 secs later (5.5 ft) at exposed breaks and pretty raw. Swell fading on Sun (3/3) from 3.8 ft @ 13-14 secs early (5.0 ft) at exposed breaks and still pretty raw. Residuals on Mon (3/4) fading from 2.2 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 moving to 305 degrees

 

Japan Gale
And a gale started developing just east of Japan on Mon PM (2/26) producing west winds at 50 kts and seas building from 27 ft at 36N 151.5E aimed east. On Tues AM (2/27) the gale lifted slightly north producing 50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 30 ft over a small area at 39.75N 150E aimed southeast. In the evening north winds were at 45 kts with seas 33 ft over a building area at 36.5N 149.25E aimed southeast. On Wed AM (2/28) fetch held at 40-45 kts from the northwest with seas 30 ft at 37.25N 153E aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening still off North Japan with seas 29 ft at 37N 156.75E aimed east. On Thurs AM (2/29) fetch is to be lifting northeast at 35-40 kts with seas 31 ft at 37.75N 160.75E and off North Japan aimed east and southeast. Fetch fading in the evening from 30-35 kts from the northwest over a solid area with seas fading from 27 ft at 37N 166.25E aimed southeast. Fetch and seas fading from there. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Mon AM (3/4) at 3.4 ft @ 15 secs early (5.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (3/5) from 2.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 305 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.

California Nearshore Forecast
(North CA is defined as the area north of the Golden Gate - Central CA from Pt Conception to the Golden Gate, and Southern CA everywhere south of Pt Conception).

  • Thurs AM (2/29) a front is to be pushing down the North CA coast with southwest winds forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA and northwest at 5-10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon the front is to be impacting North CA with southwest winds 15-20 kts for North CA and southwest at 15 kts down to Morro Bay. Rain for North CA early moving south to Morro Bay in the afternoon and Pt Conception in the evening. Heavy snow for Tahoe in the afternoon building south down the Sierra overnight.
  • Fri AM (3/1) southwest winds are to be 15-20 kts for North CA and southwest 10-15 kts from Central CA. In the afternoon low pressure moves up to North CA with southwest winds 25+ kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA and 15 kts to Pt Conception. Rain for North and Central CA holding through the day reaching into LA County overnight. Heavy snow for Tahoe building down the Sierra in the afternoon and then turning dangerous in the evening.
  • Sat AM (3/2) the low moves onshore over the OR-CA border with southwest winds 20 kts for North CA and southwest 15-20 kts for Central CA and west winds 10 kts for Southern CA early. In the afternoon high pressure and northwest winds to be 15 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA and west winds 15 kts for Southern CA. Rain for all of California holding through the day. Heavy snow for the Sierra through the day moderating during the evening.
  • Sun AM (3/3) northwest winds fade from 10 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA and northwest 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon west winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and northwest 10-15 kts for Central CA and northwest 15 kts for Southern CA. Scattered showers for the state clearing during the morning but redeveloping for North CA in the afternoon and evening. Modest snow for the Sierra early fading through the morning.
  • Mon AM (3/4) more low pressure tries to develop off North CA with southwest winds 15 kts for North Ca and northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA early. Light winds for Southern CA. In the afternoon southwest winds are to be 10-15 kts for North CA and south winds 10+ kts for Central CA. RaIn for North CA early Building south to Monterey Bay in the afternoon and evening. Snow developing for Tahoe late afternoon and holding through the evening.
  • Tues AM (3/5) light southwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA early and southwest 10 kts for Central CA. No change in the afternoon while more low pressure build off South Oregon. Rain for North and Central CA early fading some in the afternoon. Heavy snow early for mainly Tahoe moderating in the evening.
  • Wed AM (3/6) low pressure moves over North CA early with south winds 20 kts early there and west at 20 kts for Central CA. in the afternoon northwest winds are to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA and northwest at 20 kts for Southern CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early building into the afternoon. Heavy snow for the Sierra through the day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 141, 154, 125, and 64 inches with most 3/1-3/2 then more 3/4-3/5. .

Freeze Level for Tahoe Ski Resorts: Freeze Levels are 7,000 ft today (2/28) then down to 6,500 ft on 2/29 and then 4,000 ft 3/1 falling to 3,500 ft 3/2 rising to 4,000 ft 3/4 and beyond before rising hard on 3/7 to 10,000 ft on 3/8.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No swell of interest coming from the Southern Hemisphere was hitting Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast. Swell from a gale previously southeast of New Zealand is tracking northeast (see New Zealand Gale below).

 

New Zealand Gale
A gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs AM (2/22) producing southwest winds at 40 kts and seas building from 27 ft at 60.5S 172.75E aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds were 40 kts lifting northeast with seas to 31 ft at 58.5S 179W aimed northeast. The gale lifted northeast Fri AM (2/23) with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 30 ft at 54.25S 170.25W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading in the evening from 30-35 kts and seas fading from 29 ft at 50.25S 158.25W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Fri (3/1) building to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (3/2) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading from 1.3 ft @ 13-14 secs early (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (3/3) building to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 202 degrees

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a small gale is forecast developing while lifting northeast up into the North Dateline region Mon PM (3/4) producing 45 kts northwest winds with seas building from 27 ft over a tiny area at 43.75N 177E aimed east. On Tues AM (3/5) the gale is to be over the dateline with 45 kts northwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 46.75N 178.75W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to race east and in the Northwestern Gulf with 45 kt west winds and seas 41 ft at 47.5N 173.5W aimed east. On Wed AM (3/6) fetch is to be moving into the Gulf at 40 kts with seas 37 ft at 48.75N 163.5W aimed east. In the evening fetch to be fading from 35 kts over a solid area in the Gulf with seas 31 ft at 46N 156.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a solid gale is forecast moving northeast into the Tasman Sea from under Tasmania Sun-Mon (3/4) producing up to 39-40 ft seas (46.25S 155.5E 12Z Sun 3/3) aimed northeast. Possible swell for Fiji and Hawaii with luck.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

El Nino Collapsing
NINO3.4 SST Anomalies Starting to Fade
9 Kelvin Waves traversed the Pacific from Dec '22 through Dec 2023 erupting off Ecuador. The warm pool created by them is now dissipating fast off Ecuador. But the atmosphere is still in El Nino and will continue from previous momentum through slowly fading. Cold water is getting poised to start erupting off Ecuador in a few weeks which will hasten the demise of El Nino.

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: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. That pattern continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing. But it was not coupled with the atmosphere as of 7/20/2023.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Winter 2023 = 7.7 (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: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 6 Active MJO's produced 6 Kelvin Waves over early to mid 2023 with Kelvin Wave #7 in August building over the West Pacific and the 4th, 5th and 6th backed up off Ecuador now (10/20/23). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias moving over California now filling the Pacific. We are now under an El Nino status. We are moving into a period of enhanced storm production (starting late Sept 2023) and beyond, getting intense come late Fall and early Winter. This should result in an above normal level of swells, with swells being longer than normal duration from here forward as El Nino gets a stronger footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is a well above normal number of swells with above normal size and duration (i.e 15 significant class swells perhaps). Last year there were 0 and year before 5 or less.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (2/27) 5 day average winds were strong east over the East equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over East equatorial Pacific and weak east over the Central Pacific and weak east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/28) East anomalies are moderate plus over the KWGA today. The forecast indicates moderate east anomalies holding if not building some and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 3/15. No west anomalies are forecast.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/27) A weak Inactive MJO (clear sky's) were filling the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates a moderate Inactive MJO is to builds on day 5 of the model run then fading some on day 10 and neutral on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with an Inactive MJO (dry air) developing to strong status on day 10 and holding on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (2/28) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over then Central Indian Ocean today. The forecast indicates it is to move to the Maritime Continent and weakening to very weak status 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase tracking east to the Central Maritime Continent at moderate strength 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/28) A weak Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The Active MJO is to slowly ease east through the KWGA at modest strength through the end of the model run on 4/8.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/27)
Today a modest Inactive MJO signal was over the dateline and forecast holding through 3/10 with east anomalies moderate and holding. East anomalies to hold into 3/15 and then holding in the bulk of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 3/26 but west anomalies developing on the dateline 3/15 and beyond.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/28) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Inactive Phase of the MJO and east anomalies were building over the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is forecast to control the KWGA through 3/20 with mostly weak east anomalies blowing. The Active Phase is to follow 3/15 through 5/8 with modest west anomalies in control. The Inactive Phase to follow 4/28 through the end of the model run on 5/27 but with weak west anomalies in control. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 165W with a third contour line fading on 3/17 and a second contour line fading on 4/28. The final contour is to hold through the end of the model run. The high pressure bias was over the Maritime Continent 10/2-1/21 faded but returned weakly 2/13 and is to hold through 2/26. It appears a strong El Nino is still in control and is to move east over the next 3 months while dissipating.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/28) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was stationary at 170E. The 29 degree isotherm was stationary at 177W. The 28 deg isotherm line was stationary at 160W. The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific and was getting shallower in the east at 24m deep. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C are moving east (or at least shrinking in coverage) fast under the East Pacific starting at 130W (previously 135W). +3 deg anomalies start at 118W (previously 126W, 143W and 172W) and are shrinking in coverage while getting squeezed to the surface by cold water underneath, reaching up to 37m. The warm pool in the east is discharging fast to the surface with no backfilling occurring. There's maybe 2 weeks of warm water left. Colder water extends east now under the entire Pacific to Ecuador undercutting the warm pool preventing the formation of any new Kelvin Waves. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/22 indicates 3 deg anomalies from Kevin Wave #8 start at 90W erupting to the surface and covering east into Ecuador. Cool water was building deep in the far West Pacific down 150m reaching east to 85W and lifting up to 5 meters at 120W poised to erupt to the surface. The end is very near for El Nino. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/22) Sea heights over the equatorial Pacific were negative at 0 to -5 cms over the entire area and down to -10 cms at 110W but +5 cms along the immediate coast of Ecuador. The El Nino fueled warm pool is discharge quickly. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram (2/22) warm water is racing east with +0.5 degs anomalies starting at 89W into Ecuador with +1.0 deg anomalies limited to the immediate coast of Ecuador. Cool water was moving east filling most of the equatorial Pacific reaching to 95W. Basically colder water was taking control. El Nino is collapsing with cooler water developing over the West Pacific and now moving into the East Pacific. This signals a turn to La Nina.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (2/27) The latest images depict a moderate warm stream from Ecuador uniformly covering the area on the equator west to 140W and steadily losing density with many cooler (but not cold) pockets interspersed. Heat also extends north up to Southern Baja and south down into North Chile. There is still a clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place but it is steadily losing density and intensity.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/27): A solid warming pocket was present from the Galapagos west to 105W. But solid cooling was developing on the equator from Ecuador to the Galapagos then weaker at 115W. A warming trend that has been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 2022 is collapsing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/27) Warmer than normal waters are filling the Equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to the dateline. The classic El Nino tongue of warm water is still present but slowly losing it's density on the equator west to the dateline. Everything still looks like El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/28) (The official OISST temp record runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps are steady at +0.867 after peaking at +1.197 on 2/13 as the last of warm subsurface water gets squeezed upwards. Temps were up from +0.502 on 2/4 and had been toggling in the +0.6 degs range since 12/30, previously up into the +2.0 range in early Nov. .
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(2/28) (OISST runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps were steady at +1.151 and have been +1.2 degs or higher since 1/3. Temps had been in the +1.5 range since 11/19-1/12. Weekly OISST are at +1.5 (weeks of 2/14 & 2/21) +1.7 degs ( week of 2/7), +1.8 degs (week of 1/31). +1.7 (week of 1/24) and 1/17 up at +1.9 degs 1/10 and 1/3. and up at +2.0 (12/27, 12/20 and 12/13) after being at +1.9 (12/6), +2.0 degs (11/29) and +2.1 (week of 11/22 - the highest so far), then +1.9 the week before and +1.8 degs (previous 2 weeks). Monthly Data is +1.72 Oct, 2.02 Nov, 2.02 Dec and +1.87 for Jan. The 3 month ONI is +2.0 ft the 3 month period Nov-Dec-Jan or bare minimal Super El Nino status.

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 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps started slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, and +1.05 mid July reaching up to +1.30 degs early Au, +1.6 degs in Sept holding in Oct and , +1.95 in Nov, +2.0 in Dec and +1.85 in Jan and +1.65 in Feb.
Forecast (2/27) - Temps are to fall to +1.5 degs in mid-Feb. Temps are to be falling to +1.0 mid-March and steadily falling from there down to +0.5 degs in April and -2.1 degs in Nov 2024. The PDF Corrected forecast effectively suggests the same thing but with temps falling to -1.55 degs in Nov and leveling off there. According to this version of the model we are past the peak of a strong El Nino.
IRI Consensus Plume: The February 20, 2024 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.154 degs today and its the 10th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to fall steadily from here forward down to +0.749 in March (that's a 3 months running mean) then fading from there down to -0.990 in Oct. The Dynamic model suggest temps falling to -0.988 in Oct and the Statistic down to -0.992.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (2/28) the Daily Index was positive at +14.22 today. It turned positive after a 28 day negative run on 2/20 peaking down at -46.54 on 2/9. It was positive and up to +31.61 on 1/6 and had been rising the previous 10 days. It had been effectively neutral 11/20/23 through 1/10/24. This was not consistent with El Nino. Previously it was negative for 29 days (7/14-8/11) with a peak down to -37.30 on 7/25 and negative previously to 7/12 with peaks down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12.
The 30 day average was rising at -16.39, Recent max lows were -19.26 on 2/20, -10.43 on 11/16 and -15.70 on 9/23.
The 90 day average was rising at -4.96. Recent max lows were -11.14 on 11/17, -11.85 on 10/15.
El Nino is collapsing

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since and the most negative in 2021-2023 since 2011, driven by a 3 year La Nina conditions. There's some sign of it rising in Nov/Dec 2023, but only slightly. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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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

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

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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