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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:21 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 3/13 thru Sun 3/19

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   

Small WPac Swell Pushing To Hawaii
Local CA Gales Forecast - Stronger Storm for WPac

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Saturday, March 18, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 3.8 ft @ 10.0 secs from 320 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 11.5 secs from 237 degrees. Wind east 6-12 kts. Water temperature 60.4 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.0 ft @ 11.1 secs from 261 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.3 ft @ 11.8 secs from 247 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 0.6 ft @ 21.5 secs from 224 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.7 ft @ 12.0 secs from 254 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 10.5 secs from 299 degrees. Wind southwest 2-4 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.2 degs.
    Notes

    46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Saturday (3/18) in North and Central CA minimal windswell was producing waves in the waist high range on the sets and clean but very weak and crumbly at best. Protected breaks were hear flat to thigh high and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high or so and clean and weak. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and clean with no wind and very weak. In North Orange Co surf was near flat with a few thigh high sets and clean. In San Diego surf was knee to maybe thigh high and clean but weak with no form. Hawaii's North Shore was waist to chest high and kinda lumpy with northerly cross bump running through it. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was knee high and lightly chopped with modest northeast winds 10 kts.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (3/18) no swell was of interest was hitting California or Hawaii. But swell was in the water pushing east towards Hawaii originating from a small gale that was previously off Japan tracking east towards the dateline Wed-Thurs (3/16) generating up to 33 ft seas and then lifted north producing 24 ft seas Fri-Sat (3/18) before dissipating. Longer term a positive turn is forecast with a gale projected tracking through the Eastern Gulf Sun-Mon (3/20) with 19-20 ft seas aimed east at California and another Wed-Fri (3/24) on a similar track with 24 ft seas aimed east. And of more interest is a storm still forecast for the West Pacific Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 45 ft seas aimed east not making it to the dateline, then fading while continuing to circulate producing 27 ft seas into Sat (3/25). In the southern hemisphere a gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri (3/10) producing a small area of seas to 40 ft then quickly faded with seas dropping from 32 ft Sat AM (3/11). And another is to develop southeast of New Zealand tracking east-northeast Mon-Thurs (3/23) producing a tiny area of 30-32 ft seas with more behind that. So we're suffering through the worst of it now with somewhat better things to come.

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday AM (3/18) the jetstream was pushing solidly east off Japan with winds building to 160 kts over the dateline forming a weak trough over the West Pacific pushing east, holding together well reaching a point 900 nmiles northeast, and even then not .cgiitting, but just loosing energy before veering northeast and pushing over the Pacific Northwest. There was some support for gale development in the trough over the West Pacific and building potential east of there. Over the next 72 hours the consolidated jet is to continue pushing east tracking off Japan with the same trough in the West Pacific ridging slightly north of Hawaii with another trough forming off the US West Coast and moving onshore over Central California later Monday (3/20). Support for gale development is possible in both troughs. Beyond 72 hours more wind energy is to get injected into the jet moving off Japan on Wed (3/22) with winds 170 kts there forming a new trough in the far West Pacific a series of weaker troughs imbedded in the jet over the Gulf of Alaska. The Japan trough is to push east reaching the dateline on Sat (3/25) while the Gulf troughs are to consolidate into one broad trough moving into California on Sat (3/25). Support for gale development looks possible in all troughs with a much improved weather pattern possible if the models are accurate.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (3/16) new small swell from a gale that developed off Japan was in the water and pushing east (see Japan Gale below). And that system was still producing winds and seas of interest in the Northwest Pacific.

Over the next 72 hours the Japan Gale (below) is to be the main weather system of interest.

But a small low pressure system is to start developing in the Gulf on Sun PM (3/19) generating 30 kt northwest winds with seas to 16 ft at 39N 149W targeting the US West Coast. That fetch is to build in coverage at 30 kts Mon AM (3/20) moving closer to the US with seas 18 ft at 39N 144W. Fetch is to hold at 30 kts in the evening moving closer to the mainland (off Central CA) with 18 ft seas fading at 37N 139W. Fetch is to fade from 25 kts Tues AM (3/21) 600 nmiles off Central CA. Westerly windswell possible for the US West Coast by Wed (3/22).

 

Japan Gale
A gale started developing off Japan on Wed AM (3/15) with 45-50 kt northeast winds targeting mainly the southern hemi with 33 seas at 31N 145E. In the evening a new small fetch of 45 kt west winds built east of the original fetch with seas 34 ft at 35N 162 over a tiny area. The gale lifted northeast Thurs AM (3/16) with 35 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 35N 168E over a tiny area. 30-35 kt west winds grew in coverage while lifting slowly north in the evening with 24 ft seas at 39N 174E. On Fri AM (3/17) the gale retrograded west with 30-35 kt west winds off the Southern Kuril's with 21 ft seas from the original fetch fading at 43N 178E. Fetch built some in the evening off the Kuril's at 35-40 kts with 23 ft seas developing at 44N 163E. The gale was stationary Sat AM (3/18) with 35 kt west winds and seas 24 ft at 43N 167E. The gale is to be fading in the evening with fetch dropping from 30 kts and seas 21 ft over a solid footprint at 43N 170E. This system is to fade Sun AM (3/19) with winds dropping from 25-30 kts and seas fading from 19 ft at 40N 170E. This system is nothing remarkable but could produce a nice longer lasting pulse of small swell for the Islands with limited energy reaching the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Wed AM (3/22) Sat 4.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.5 ft) and holding through the day. Swell fading some on Thurs (3/23) at 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Residuals on Fri (3/24) at 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (3/18) low pressure was moving inland over South Oregon with south winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early and a light south flow reaching down to the Golden Gate, otherwise light west winds at 5 kts were south of there to Pt Conception. Rain for North CA is expected with sprinkles down to San Francisco later morning into the afternoon. A light wind and pressure pattern is forecast for Sunday (3/19) with low pressure building off the coast. Light winds are forecast for the state. Low odds of light rain confined to the area from the Golden Gate northward. Monday (3/20) the low is to be off the North and Central coasts with a front impacting it mid-day and south winds building to 25 kts from Monterey bay northward but south winds to Pt Conception. Light rain building from San Francisco mid-day and southward to Pt Conception at sunset. Light snow for the highest peaks of the Sierra with falling snow levels overnight. 2-3 inches of accumulation for Tahoe resorts. Tuesday (3/21) the low is to still be circulating just off the North CA coast lifting north with south winds 10-15 kts from Pt Conception northward early fading to 5 kts later but up to 20 kts for North CA all day. Rain for all of North and Central CA through the day and building south from Santa Barbara to San Diego at sunset. Snow levels dropping through the day for the entire Sierra then fading out overnight. Total accumulation of 9-12 inches for Tahoe crest resorts. A brief break is forecast Wednesday (3/22) with light winds from North and Central CA while another low queues up off the coast. Scattered snow showers for the Sierra with 2-3 inches of accumulation. Thurs (3/23) weak high pressure tries to set up while the next low continues building and pushing towards the state. Light northwest winds 5 kts all day. Moderate snow for the Sierra with 6-7 inches of accumulation for Tahoe. Friday (3/24) the front from the low starts impacting the coast with 30 kt south winds reaching south to Pt Conception later with rain expected for all of North and Central CA reaching down to Santa Barbara late afternoon. Snow building through the day for the Sierra and heavy late afternoon continuing overnight. 12-15 inches of accumulation possible. Saturday (3/25) southwest winds continue 15 kts down into Southern CA but fading to 10-15 kts later. Rain early down to San Diego fading some later. Snow continues for the Sierra and pretty heavy with 20+ inches of accumulation possible. Total accumulation for Tahoe 52-55 inches for the crest down into Yosemite and 28 inches east of the crest for Mammoth.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
Tiny swell from two systems previously in the South Pacific is tracking northeast but expected to have little impact (see details below).

Otherwise another gale is projected well south of New Zealand on Mon AM (3/20) with 45 kt southwest winds and 32 ft seas over a tiny area at 59S 180W. In the evening winds to fade from 40 kts with seas 31 ft lifting northeast at 55S 167W. On Tues (3/21) 40 kt southwest fetch is to hold with seas 31 ft at 53S 160W lifting northeast. More of the same is forecast in the evening with 31 ft seas at 52S 150W. On Wed AM (3/22) the system is to be tracking east with 40 kt west winds and 328-30 ft seas at 53S 140W. More energy to assimilate into this system Thurs (3/23) with 40 kt west winds and 32 ft seas at 55S 121W but starting to fall southeast. Something to monitor.

 

Small New Zealand Storm
A storm developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs PM (3/9) with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building to 32 ft at 57S 174E over a tiny area. On Fri AM (3/10) winds faded some to 50 kts over a somewhat larger area though still small with seas 39 ft over a tiny area aimed east at 57S 174W. The gale tracked east in the evening with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west and seas fading to 38 ft at 56S 163W. Fetch faded Sat AM (3/11) from 40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 56S 153W. The gale faded from there. Maybe small sideband swell for Hawaii up into the US West Coast.

Southern CA: Swell arrival on Sun (3/19) building to 1.2 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (3/20) to 1.4 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Tues (3/21) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell continues on Wed (3/22) at 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (3/23) from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 200 degrees

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues PM (3/14) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52S 117W aimed due north and barely in the Southern CA swell window but mainly targeting mainland Mexico. The gale held while tracking east Wed AM (3/15) with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 33 ft at 53S 113W barely in the SCal swell window but targeting Mexico well. Fetch fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with 33 ft seas at 51S 107W targeting only Mainland Mexico. The gale is to dissipate from there. Small swell for Southern CA but mainly targeting Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Swell arriving on Wed (3/22) building to 1.1 ft @ 19 secs late (2 ft). Swell building some on Thurs (3/23) to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (3/24) from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175 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 there's a suggestion of another gale developing in the Southwestern Gulf of Alaska Wed PM (3/22) with 35 kt west winds over a moderate area with seas building from 18 ft. By Thurs AM (3/23) winds to hold at 35 kts over a decent sized area with 23 ft seas at 39N 150W (northeast of Hawaii). In the evening the gale is to track east-southeast with 30 kt west winds still over a moderate sized area with 23 ft seas at 38N 145W targeting California well. The gale to continue east Fri AM (3/24) with 30 kt west winds just 650 nmiles off Central CA and 22 ft seas at 37N 140W. Fetch fading in the evening from 30 kts just off Monterrey Bay and seas fading from 20 ft at 37N 134W. Something to monitor mainly for the US West Coast.

Of far more interest but still a ways away time wise is a storm projected off Japan on Tues PM (3/21) with west winds building from 50 kts. By Wed AM (3/22) northwest winds to be 55 kts with seas building from 39 ft at 36N 156E. In the evening the storm is to fade with winds 50 kts but increasing in coverage with seas building to 46 ft at 37N 162E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch holding Thurs AM (3/23) at 45-50 kts with seas fading from 44 ft at 38N 166E. The gale is to be stationary in the evening with winds 45 kts from the west and seas fading from 39 ft at 40N 171E. Fetch and seas fading as it approaches the dateline Fri AM (3/24) with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 33 ft over a solid area at 39N 169E. A broad area of 35 kt northwest winds to continue in the evening with seas fading from 27 ft at 36N 170E. More of the same expected Sat AM (3/25) with 35 kt west fetch and seas fading from 27 ft at 38N 172E. Certainly something to monitor.

 
South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another small system is forecast developing in close proximity to New Zealand and somewhat fragmented generating 28 ft seas on Fri (3/24) aimed northeast and tracking east into Saturday (3/25).

More details to follow...

 

Inactive MJO Holds - But Sea Surface Temps Again Warming Along Peru

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.cgianet, 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 .cgiit 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 di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Fri (3/17) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were dead neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but strong easterly over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up and are being enhanced by the Inactive Phase of the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Strong east anomalies were modeled over the eastern Kelvin Wave Generation Area centered near the dateline attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO. The forecast suggests east anomalies to weaken some on the dateline for the next 3 days then rebuild 3/22-3/24, then fading some but not near enough. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week. this is unexpected and its very stubborn.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 3/17 a weak Inactive MJO was indicated over the West Pacific. The statistic model projects it holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping much stronger over the West Pacific 10-15 days out. This is not good.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/18) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts essentially the same thing if not retrograding west to the East Indian Ocean. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/18) This model depicts a weak Active Phase present in the far West Pacific tracking east reaching the dateline 4/2 and dissipating with the Inactive Phase redeveloping and taking over the dateline at that time and then pushing into Central America 4/22. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/22. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/18) This model depicts the Inactive Phase fading and all but gone on the dateline loosing control of the KWGA by 3/20 but with moderate east anomalies still in control. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow starting 3/22 but with east anomalies still in control of the KWGA into 3/28. But west anomalies are to be developing by 3/29 and building solid by 4/2 and not fading for the foreseeable future through 6/15 with nary a hint of east anomalies after that. So 3/28 is the anchor date for the final demise of east anomalies. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/26 (holding this run and the run before but previously 4/6) with El Nino taking hold 5/8 (holding this run but previously 5/2, 4/26 and 4/19 before that). We're thinking the model is still slipping the start of an El Nino like episode. Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has been slipping with each run of the model.
We'll see what happens.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/18) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line is retrograding to 172E and steep still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 25 meters (60 meters at 140W) and holding. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific from 100 meters upward. A pocket of -1 degs anomalies is fading at depth between 110-150W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/14 depicts that warm water has built east forming a continuous path from the West Pacific to Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs suggesting a Kelvin Wave has evolved. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/14) The previous upgrade where positive anomalies were depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream has broken up into pockets rather than one continuous flow. Still La Nina is gone in the East Pacific.

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: (3/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching now west to 105W at 2+ degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W eliminating any hint of a cool pool that previously developed there. This is good news. And better news is warm temps are again building along the South America coast in the past 4-5 day. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 with that warming building into the Nino3.4 region. Temps are +2-4 degs above normal along the immediate South American coast and advecting west along the equator. Impressive. And these waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/17): The previous warming trend covering waters of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is redeveloping, with warming notable along Peru. Marked warming continues developing from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 160W with more moderate warming north of there up into Mexico and south to Peru. The warming trend that started in the Southern hemi is redeveloping and also developing now in the Northern Hemi off Mexico up to California and out over Hawaii and reaching to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview:
(3/17) There is no sign of La Nina east of 160W. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and building but less energetic out to at least 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/18) Today's temps were inching upwards at +2.452 degs.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/18) temps were rising steadily at +0.313 degs, but not remarkable like Nino1.2. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend all above the neutral line. A turn to a warmer regime looks like it's developing. But it's way to early to proclaim anything more than that.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies



SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/18) The forecast has temps at +0.35 degs mid-March building to +0.5 degs early April and +0.8 degs later in April holding through the summer then rising to +0.9 -1.0 degs in Sept and +1.2 degs in Oct suggesting a return of a weak El Nino. This is a bit of an upgrade from previous runs that had temps to +1.3 degs or more. Regardless, La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source from grater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume just updated today (3/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/17): The daily index was positive at +10.91 but has been noodling around neutral for the past 2 weeks. The 30 day average was rising some at -5.38 and has been negative al east 30 days. The 90 day average was rising slightly at 0.24 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/18) Today's value has fallen again at -1.10 attributable to falling sea surface temps in the Central Equatorial Pacific a few weeks ago. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral. That seems like a reach.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, Feb = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70. No 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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Local Interest

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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/

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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