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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 5:44 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
2.5 - California & 1.5 - 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 4/4 thru Sun 4/10

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   

Three Swells in the Water
1st Swell Hitting CA, 2nd Swell Hitting HI

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.

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea Bay): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 17.2 secs from 317 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 10.0 secs from 251 degrees. Wind northwest 8-10 kts. Water temperature 59.7. At Santa Barbara swell was 0.8 ft @ 15.0 secs from 245 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 0.9 ft @ 14.9 secs from 231 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.2 ft @ 14.9 secs from 226 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 8.3 ft @ 14.9 secs from 290 degrees. Wind northwest 16-18 kts. Water temp 54.3 degs.

    Notes

    Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (4/12) in North and Central CA surf was 3 ft overhead and lined up and coming up but getting chopped early by northwest wind. At Santa Cruz surf was 2 ft overhead and clean and lined up but a bit on the closed out size. In Southern California up north waves were maybe knee high and clean. Down south waves were maybe thigh high and clean. Occasional waist high sets were showing up at top spots. Hawaii's North Shore was getting the start of the second dateline swell with waves occasionally 3 ft overhead and clean and lined up. The South Shore was near flat with rare thigh to waist high sets and clean. The East Shore was chest high and chopped with modest trades in effect.

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

Meteorological Overview
New swell was hitting California from a broad system that tracked over the dateline on Fri (4/8) producing 28-30 ft seas aimed southeast then dissipated in the Gulf late Sat (4/9). Also new swell is starting to hit Hawaii generated by a smaller system that developed on the dateline Sat (4/9) with up to 32 ft seas then faded Sunday while tracking east. That same gale redeveloped in the Gulf Mon (4/11) producing up to 25 ft seas targeting the US West Coast and is to redevelop yet again off South Oregon Wed-Thurs (4/14) with seas to 28 ft before moving inland over Cape Mendocino. Larger raw swell expected for North and Central CA. Yet another gale was developing Tues (4/12) west of the dateline pushing east with seas forecast to 40 ft targeting the US West Coast and Hawaii tracking east and fading late Thurs (4/14) in the Western Gulf. And yet another is forecast behind that in the Northwest Pacific Fri-Mon (4/18) with seas to 33 ft tracking to the dateline then fading just south of the Central Aleutians. And yet another is possible behind that. A nice run of smaller late season swell looks possible. Nothing obvious is forecast from the Southern Hemi.

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday AM (4/12) the jet was reasonably consolidated pushing east off Japan forming a trough off the Kuril Islands with winds 150 kts in it's apex offering good support for gale development. From there the jet tracked northeast some then pushed hard east-southeast from the dateline with winds building to 160 kts reaching a point just off the Pacific Northwest forming a trough and offering good support for gale development off Oregon. A weak secondary flow of wind energy was also present over Hawaii tracking into Baja. Over the next 72 hours the trough off Japan is to move to the dateline and weaken considerably by Thurs (4/14). Interestingly the trough off Oregon is to redevelop into early Thursday being fed by 140 kts winds again offering support for gale development there then moving onshore late afternoon. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to hold together well but forming a high a.cgiitude pattern by late Fri (4/15). A trough be off Japan being fed by 140 kts winds then ridging hard up to the Central Aleutians before falling south again into another trough in the Gulf being fed by 140 kts winds then ridging into the Pacific Northwest. Both troughs to be pretty steep but still offering support for gale development. The Japan trough to mellow while easing east to the dateline but still supportive of gale development Sunday while the Gulf trough pinches well off the California Coast and dissipates. The remains of the dateline trough is to fade in the Gulf on Tues (4/19) while yet another trough develops off the Kuril Islands. And the stray flow over Hawaii continues. In all, a pretty productive pattern is to hold.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (4/12) swell associated with a gale that developed on the dateline on Thurs (4/7) tracking east was starting to hit California (See Dateline Gale below).

A second smaller system developed on the dateline Sat (4/9) tracking east (see Second Dateline Gale below). Swell is hitting Hawaii today.

And yet a third gale developed west of the dateline Tues AM (4/12) (See Third Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a new weather system is to start building off Japan (see Long Term Forecast).

 

Dateline Gale
A broad gale developed over the dateline on Thurs AM (4/7) producing 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii well. Seas were building. In the evening a broad fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds persisted over the dateline aimed like before generating 22 ft seas at 42N 177E. A fetch of 45 kt northwest winds developed Fri AM (4/8) just east of the dateline targeting Hawaii and California with seas building to 29 ft at 42N 175W. In the evening 35 kt west winds pushed east with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 41N 168W. The gale started lifting east-northeast in the Gulf on Sat AM (4/9) with winds fading from 30 kts from the west and seas fading from 24 ft at 42N 161W. Fetch and seas dissipated from there in the evening dropping from 20 ft at 45N 153W. Possible decent swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast if all goes as forecast.

North CA: Swell arrival forecast for 1 AM Tues (4/12) with period 17 secs building to 6.1 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunrise (9.0 ft). Buoy 029 (Pt reyes) reported 2 readings of swell at 8.3 ft @ 15 secs at sunrise. Swell fading Wed AM (4/13) from 4.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees A bit inconsistent.

 

Second Dateline Gale
On Fri PM (4/8) another gale developed a bit west of the dateline generating 35 kts west winds over a small area and tracking east. By Sat AM (4/9) winds built to 50 kts from the west with seas building from 27 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 41N 170E. Fetch faded some in the evening at 45 kts over a small area as the gale moved to the dateline with seas to 32 ft at 40N 177E. Sun AM (4/10) the gale increased in coverage but faded in strength with winds 35-40 kts generating 30 ft seas at 39N 174W. On Sun PM the gale lifted northeast slightly and moved into the Gulf of Alaska generating 30 kt west winds with seas faded some at 24 ft at 46N 166W. The gale built some on Mon AM (4/11) with winds to 40 kts over a solid area and seas building to 22 ft over a broad area aimed east at 43N 155W. In the evening the gale continued east with 30-35 kts winds targeting California and the Pacific Northwest with seas 26 ft at 44N 151W. On Tues AM (4/12) 30 kt west winds were positioned off Oregon generating 24 ft seas up at 48N 146W. The gale to vaporize in the evening but a secondary gale to develop from the remnants of this system generating a decent sized area of 35 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Wed AM (4/13) 40 kt northwest winds are to be off Oregon generating 26 ft seas at 44N 142W. 35 kt northwest winds are to east east off the Oregon-CA border in the evening with seas 27 ft at 43N 136W. 30 kt northwest winds to be pushing into Cape Mendocino on Thurs AM (4/14) with seas still 23 ft at 41N 130W. This system is to be inland by the evening.

Swell possible for Hawaii with larger but rawer energy for California. Certainly something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (4/12) a bit before sunrise building through noon reaching 5.6 ft @ 15 secs (8.0-8.5 ft). Swell was 5.0 ft @ 16.7 sec at 16Z at Waimea Bay. Swell fading Wed (4/13) 3.8 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell dissipating through the day. Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Swell arrival expected 8 PM Wed (4/13) at 4.7 ft @ 17 secs (8 ft) from 292 degs but buried in more local swell. By Thurs AM (4/14) swell to be 10.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (14.5 ft) and raw and jumbled. Swell fading by Fri AM (4/15) from 10 ft @ 13 secs and much of that local windswell. Swell Direction 296 degree moving to 302 degrees

 

Third Dateline Gale
On Mon PM (4/11) a new gale developed off the Southern Kurils generating a small fetch of 45 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (4/12) a broader fetch of 50 kt west winds were taking hold with seas 36 ft at 42N 165E. 45 kt west winds to start tracking east in the evening with seas building to 40 ft at 41N 171E aimed east. Fetch to build in coverage Wed AM (4/13) but loose velocity at 40 kts from the west with seas 35 ft at 42N 178E. Fetch to fade in the evening from 30 kts with seas 29 ft at 42N 176W. Fetch to fade from 30 kts just east of the dateline Thurs AM (4/14) with seas fading from 23 ft at 43N 170W. The gale to dissipate from there. Possible swell for Hawaii by the weekend and then eventually reaching the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Swell arrival possible on Fri afternoon (4/15) building to 5.6 ft @ 17 secs (9.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 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 Tuesday AM (4/12) high pressure was trying to ridge into the California coast as low pressure moved closer from the Gulf. Northwest winds were 15+ kts over North and Central CA and reaching down to the Channel Islands late. Wednesday (4/13) south winds to build in the north 15-20 kts late and calm near San Francisco, but north winds 15-20 kts from Morro Bay southward over the Channel Islands. Rain for North CA late moving south. Thursday (4/14) the low is to be moving over the Oregon-CA border with high pressure south of there generating northwest winds 15 kts over the entire state, building to 20 kts late. A front is to be pushing over San Francisco early fading out over Morro bay late AM. Rain for those area up into North CA. Light snow for Tahoe starting at sunrise building into the late afternoon fading overnight. 2 inches accumulation. High pressure to take over Fri AM with northwest winds at 20-30 kts for the the entire coast. No rain. The pattern is to hold Saturday, but backing off with 20 kts northwest winds limited to North and Central CA. Sunday winds to fade from the northwest at 5 kts. Light winds and a light pressure pattern to continue Monday and Tuesday, but high pressure to be building in the north.

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
On Sunday AM (4/3) no swell producing fetch was occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is 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 gale is to develop over North Japan on Fri AM (4/15) starting to produce 40 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. Those winds to push off Japan in the evening at 45 kts generating 27 ft seas at 41N 152E. Sat AM (4/16) a broad fetch of 40 kt northwest winds to be extending off the Kuril Islands with 32 ft seas at 40N 159E. 40 kt northwest winds to continue east in the evening generating 32 ft seas at 41N 166E. On Sun AM (4/17) a broad fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds to continue pushing east resulting in 32 ft seas at 41N 172E. The fetch to hold at 40 kts in the evening with seas 32 ft at 44N 176E. On Monday AM (4/18) fetch is to fade from 35 kts on the dateline with seas fading from 29 ft 43N 175W. fetch fading from 30 kts in the evening with seas fading from 25 ft at 44N 170W. Swell possible.

On Tues AM (3/19) yet another gale was pushing off the Kuril Islands with 35 kts northwest winds generating 24 ft seas at 42N 157E.

 
South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...

SubSurface Warm Pool Is Collapsing
MJO Weak with No Active Phase Forecast

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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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 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. 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: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading out. The last of the ocean subsurface warm water reservoir is dissipating and surface temperatures are rapidly fading.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (4/11) no west winds were occurring in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) but anomalies were from the west from 170E to 150W mainly from 5S and points southward. A weak expression of El Nino was occurring.
1 Week Forecast (GGFS Model): Very light west anomalies started developing in the KWGA on (4/10) and are forecast building some through 4/16, then weakening some but holding through 4/19. A very weak El Nino pattern continues to hold control.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Comparison of 2 Strong Westerly Wind Bursts (WWB)

On left the massive WWB in late June/July that created large Kelvin Wave #3. On right the current WWB that is generating Kelvin Wave #4.
Scales are a little different but notice anomalies in the July event at 12-14 m/s est (24-28 kts) and now in Oct at 13-14 m/s (26-28 kts)
(Click to Enlarge Images)

June/July WWB October WWB

 

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 4/11 a weak Inactive Phase MJO signal was over the dateline. The Statistic model projects the Inactive Phase holding position and strength for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. This suggests El Nino influence of the jetstream is being lightly suppressed by the Inactive MJO. The Active Phase is to be in the Indian Ocean trying to ease east and making some headway in to the far West Pacific 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/12) The ECMF model indicates the Active phase of the MJO was over the Indian Ocean and very weak. It is to ease east some to the Maritime Continent then backtrack to the Indian Ocean and remain very weak. The GEFS depicts the same pattern. West wind anomalies in the KWGA attributable to El Nino are expected to get no help from the MJO anytime soon and if anything are to be slightly suppressed by the Inactive Phase. There is to be no real fuel to supporting strengthening of the jetstream.
40 Day Upper Level Model: (4/12) A mixed pattern was indicated weak continuing through 5/2. Finally the active Phase of the MJO is to ease into the West Pacific on 5/7. But with the change of season in.cgiay, it is likely to have any real positive impact. This marks of the end of El Ninos support for the jetstream in the North Pacific for the Winter 2015-16 season. It's been a fun run.
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model suggests the tail end of a weak Active Phase of the MJO was on the dateline moving east, and is all but gone. No west anomalies of interest are in.cgiay. There is no fuel to support enhancing the jetstream and therefore storm production was minimal. The model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase trying to get a foothold 4/15-4/25 followed by a weak Active pulse of the MJO near 5/2. Weak west anomalies are to be developing 4/20 and holding into early June driven mainly by El Nino. This seems like a minority report. Each model is projecting a different outcome, suggesting a very weak MJO signal likely for the future.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/12) Actual temperatures continue to retreat. A pocket of 29 deg temps were holding at depth but retreating west fast from 177W. The 28 deg isotherm line was shallow stretching east only to 127W and retreating west. Anomaly wise things are collapsing fast. +1 deg anomalies extend from 180W eastward and no more than 60 meters deep near 165W and only 30 meters deep just west of the Galapagos. This is the last of the El Nino subsurface warm reservoir. Cool subsurface waters are down at 100m and racing east reaching the Ecuador Coast with -2 deg anomalies reaching east to 110W down at 60 meters and -3 degs anomalies pushing east to 122W. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/8 the reservoir is fading and very shallow from 170E eastward. Anomalies were +1-2 deg over the area and only extending down 25 meters with one tiny pocket of +2-3 degs anomalies under the Galapagos. The subsurface reservoir is shrinking steadily. The onset of La Nina looks imminent.
Sea Surface Height Anomalies (SSHA):  (4/8) The image depicts the warm pool is gone with no anomalies remaining over the entire equatorial region from the dateline to Ecuador. -5 cm anomalies are easing east fast to 115W.
Upper Ocean Heat Content: (4/8 - but updated daily) Warm temps are gone. +0.0-0.5 deg anomalies are from 100W and points east. -1.0 deg anomalies are racing east reaching 120W. La Nina is coming closer every day.

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 : (4/11) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates temps are in total collapse with only a few no +2.25 degs remaining. Instead a diffuse pattern of 1.5-2.0 deg anomalies is present straddling the equator from the Galapagos west to 160W. Temps are crashing along the coast of Peru streaming northwest at -0.5 degs with pockets at -2.0 or lower. The warm pool is collapsing.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/10): Massive cooling is setting up occurring from Peru, Columbia and Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 130W. It looks like strong east trades are in effect in this area.
Hi-res Overview:
(4/10) The El Nino signal is quickly collapsing. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps are present from the Galapagos to 150W over the equator. Warmer water is also present south and north of the equator, but quickly becoming less relevant with neutral temps building off Ecuador and advecting west, now pushing just west of the Galapagos.

Other Sources
TAO Data: (4/2) +1.0 anomalies were over the equatorial East Pacific advecting west from the Galapagos covering out to 150W. Overall the warm water signature was in steep decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/12) Today temps were fading from +0.896 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (4/12) temps have been steadily fading but ticked up a little starting 4/7 and continued slightly up today +1.439 degs.
Centered Nino3.4 Monthly Temps The centered Nino3.4 temps for the month of March were +1.63 degs (beating '98 at +1.32 degs and '83 at +1.44 degs). Feb was +2.19 (beating '98 which was +1.89 and '83 which was +1.84). Jan readings were +2.23 (beating '98 which was +2.21 and '83 which was +2.13). December was +2.31 (beating 97 which was +2.23 and 82 at +2.21). November was +2.36 degs (beating the highest temp recorded in '97 Nov - +2.32 degs and beating '82 +2.03 degs). Oct temps were +2.03 degs. See updated graphs above. This make this year El Nino the strongest ever. That is not reasonable looking at other evidence.
ONI For 2015 for the 3 month period centered on Sept, Oct, Nov , Jan and Feb the values are: +1.8, +2.1. +2.2 +2.3, +2.2 and +2.0. For the same period in '97 the values were: +2.0, +2.2, +2.3, +2.3, +2.1 and +1.8. And for '82 the values were: +1.5, +1.9, +2.1, +2.1, +2.1 and +1.8. This make this years El Nino the second strongest on record since 1950. The ONI uses a 3 month running average.

Note: ERSSTv4 'centered' data is not available for Nino1, 3 and 4 regions, only Nino3.4.


Pacific Counter Current:  As of 4/1 the current was strong from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomaly wise - they were strong from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. El Nino is in solid decline and La Nina is on the rise based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data depicts peak temps reached +2.95 degs on Nov 5, then faded slightly in early December to +2.8 holding to Feb 1. Then a sharp decline started with temps down to +2.5 degs mid-Feb and falling from +2.0 degs in early March.

The forecast indicates temps fading fast to +1.3 by 4/1, then continuing to decline through Oct dropping to -1.1 degs and -1.4 degs by Dec. This would be solid La Nina territory.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.5 by December. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Co.cgiing Index's (lagging indicators rather than driving oceanic change):   
Southern Oscillation Index (4/12): The daily average was down some today -13.20. The 30 day average was falling from -7.89. The 90 day average was rising from -13.41. El Nino was still quite evident in this index.
SOI trend - Tahiti (looking for low pressure here): On 4/12 weak low pressure was over Tahiti and is forecast to hold if not build over the next week. Interesting. The SOI is expected to hold if not fade some based on the Tahiti contribution perhaps providing some support to enhance El Nino and fuel the jetstream.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (4/12) Today's value was falling some at +0.79. It peaked recently on 3/12 at +1.57 but has generally fallen ever since.
Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) (March) These numbers were released April 6th and indicate the index decreased slightly to +1.96. The Feb reading was +2.12. In Jan the reading increased slightly by 0.08 to +2.20, holding it in the third highest since 1950 behind the '82/83 and '97/98 El Ninos. Since it has not reached the +3.0 standard deviation level, it is NOT considered a Super El Nino, nor is it expected to reach that status. The Dec reading was +2.12. The Nov ranking was +2.31, up barely from +2.23 (Oct), down from it's peak of +2.53 in Sept, and from +2.37 in Aug. The top 6 events since 1950 in order are: '97, '82, '15, '91, '86, and '72 with '97 and '82 classified as 'Super El Nino's' because they reached 3 standard deviations (SD) above normal. '91 and '86 were at about 2.2 and 2.1 respectively with '72 peaking at 1.8 SD's above the norm. This years El Nino was the third strongest since 1950 per this index.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. In Jan 2016 it was +1.53 and up to +1.75 in Feb. 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 suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

Conclusion: This El Nino is the 3rd strongest El Nino since 1950 based primarily on the MEI. Centered Monthly Nino3.4 data suggests it is the strongest. Based on California precipitation, this one does not compared to any major El Nino in recent memory. Based on surf, El Nino has had the expected effect producing 13 significant class swells in the North Pacific so far this season. The target is 16, but that appears ambitious. From a pure El Nino perspective, the peak of the event is over. But from a teleconnection standpoint, the warm pool in Nino3.4 is still imparting solid energy to the atmosphere. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is destructively interacting with the influence on the jet stream and storm production. And this will continue until the next Active Phase of the MJO comes into.cgiay (if at all). With the season moving towards Spring, and SST anomalies fading in the Ninos zones, the MJOs influence will not be a strong as previous Active Phases in winter.

The focus now turns to how quick and how much will the jet be affected for the Fall and Winter of 2016-2017. It's too early to know anything definitive yet, but with the PDO still positive, it is possible the transition to La Nina may not be a strong as in past events.

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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http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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