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.
On Tuesday (6/24) in North and Central CA local windswell was in the waist to chest high range and completely chopped at most locations but clean at protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz it was thigh high on the sets and clean. In Southern California up north local north windswell was producing waves at knee to maybe thigh high on the sets with clean conditions. Down south south windswell was producing waves in the chest high range on the sets and clean and lined up with a little texture on it. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was small with sets thigh to waist high and clean but lined up. Minimal southern hemi swell showing. Trade wind generated east windswell was small at maybe thigh high and chopped at exposed breaks on the East Shore.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
Theoretically tropical low pressure is to be tracking south of the Aleutians on Wed (6/25) producing a tiny area of 20 ft seas then fading to 17 ft in the Central Gulf on Friday. Small windswell possibly to result for the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA with luck. Otherwise no swell producing fetch is occurring or forecast for the North Pacific other than local windswell. In the southern hemisphere a gale tracked just off the north edge of the Ross Ice Shelf Sun (6/14) producing a short burst of 38 ft seas over a small area aimed east then faded Mon AM with seas falling below 30 ft. A little swell energy is expected to radiate north into our forecast area arriving in CA on Thurs (6/26). Another gale formed directly under New Zealand on Wed (6/18) and tracked northeast Thurs (6/19) with 34 ft seas aimed well to the north but fading fast after that. A better but still small pulse of swell to result hitting HI on Thurs (6/26) and CA on Sat (6/28). None of these systems were strong, broad or long lasting so the resulting swell will be weak and small. No other swell producing systems are forecast so take what you can get.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (6/24) trades were 15 kts over and west of the Hawaii Islands with 15 kt east winds in patches over a small area east of Hawaii producing a minimal amount of easterly windswell for east facing shores there. High pressure had retrograded west and was positioned 800 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with just a trace of it ridging east towards North and Central CA, just enough to produce a small area of 20 kt north winds over mainly the Central CA coast generating minimally rideable windswell at exposed breaks. Interesting but weak tropical low pressure was on the dateline having originated south of Japan and was pushing towards the Gulf of Alaska generating 30 kt northwest fetch and threatening to cut the legs out of the minimal gradient along the CA coast. But more so, was possibly generating windswell pushing to the east.
Over the next 72 hours that low is to generate a pressure gradient with the high pressure system south of it resulting in a decent sized fetch of 35 kt west winds and seas building to 20 ft at 45N 170W aimed east up the 295 degree path to North CA (but too far way to be of real interest). Given the time of year and the gales track, this is interesting especially considering El Nino is supposedly not yet having atmospheric influence. The low is to track east into the Central and then Eastern Gulf on Fri (6/27) with winds fading from 25 kts and seas 17 ft at 45N 140W. Windswell with period in the 10-11 secs range possible for the US West Coast north of Pt Conception over the weekend. As the low approaches the US west coast the California summer time gradient is to shift south starting Wed (6/25) with 20-25 kt north winds isolated to the Morro Bay/Pt Conception area possibly generating small windswell there through Fri (6/27) with a far weaker wind pattern from Monterey Bay northward at 10-15 kts.
Trades to remain at about 15 kts over and west of the Islands through Fri (6/27) and 15 kts in short lived patches east of the Islands. Perhaps some minimally rideable easterly windswell expected to be generated.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No swell producing tropical systems of interest were occurring. That said, low pressure of tropical origins is moving east from the dateline supposedly bound for the Gulf of Alaska (see North Pacific Analysis above).
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (6/24) high pressure had retrograded to a point northwest of Hawaii with only a thin ridge reaching the Central CA coast. The local pressure gradient was still barely in.cgiay producing north winds at 20 kts over waters off the Central and North Coasts. By Wed (6/25) north winds are to still be at 20 kts but di.cgiaced south to the Morro Bay area and holding there into Sat (6/28). North winds to generally be 15 kts from Cape Mendocino southward to Monterey Bay through that time frame but possibly fading to less than that on Fri (6/27) as low pressure moves into Oregon. By Sunday low pressure is to move out of the Gulf with high pressure lifting north to a more normal position with the gradient lifting north to Cape Mendocino with north winds 25+ kts and holding into Tues (7/1) with a eddy flow (south winds) taking over Central CA and Northern CA up to at least Pt Arena.
Jetstream - On Tuesday (6/24) the jetstream was .cgiit with the southern branch di.cgiaced south and running flat east along the 63S latitude line, just barely north of Antarctic Ice but not far enough to result in sufficient area to support gale production until the jet moved over the Central and East Pacific where the jet lifted up to 55S. And a small pocket of 120 kt winds was building approaching the Central Pacific, with some northward push in the jet indicated, perhaps supporting gale development longer term. Otherwise there was nothing yet to fuel gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours winds are to build Wed (6/25) in the southern branch to 150 kts and lifting hard north over the Southeastern Pacific offering good support for gale development through early Fri (6/27) as the trough pinches and collapses in the far Southeast Pacific. Beyond 72 hours a ridge is to push hard south into Antarctica on Sat (6/28) in the West Pacific while a broad trough builds in the far East Pacific with 130 kt winds supporting gale development but mainly positioned to target Chile into Tues (7/1). Another trough is to build behind the ridge in the west with a trough reaching up to the Tasman Sea and then over New Zealand Tues (7/1) offering some support for gale development.
Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (6/24) small swell from a storm that developed under New Zealand was in the water pushing northeast towards CA (see 1st New Zealand Storm below). Swell from a weak gale in the Southeast Pacific that pushed north was peaking in Southern CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a second better organized but still small New Zealand gale was pushing northeast (see 2nd New Zealand Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing weather systems were occurring. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather system of interest are forecast with any gale activity di.cgiaced south over Antarctic Ice.
1st New Zealand Storm
A tiny storm developed southwest of New Zealand on Sat PM (6/14) with 45 kt northwest winds building and tracking east, but with all fetch aimed southeast at Antarctica. By Sun AM (6/15) winds built to 55 kts just barely north of the Ross Ice Shelf and starting to get purchase on ice free waters with seas building from 34 ft over a tiny area at 61S 166E (197 degs HI, 210 degs NCal and clear of Tahiti, 211 degs SCal and shadowed). 50 kt west winds continued into the evening aimed more to the north with ice receded in that area with seas 36 ft at 61S 178W aimed due east (190 degs HI, 205 degs NCal and shadowed, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed). Winds faded from 40 kts on Mon AM (6/16) with seas 30 ft at 60S 163W (183 degs HI, 200 degs NCal and unshadowed, 202 degs SCal and unshadowed) and tracking east in ice free waters. This system faded after that. Some small sideband swell could result for locations northeast of the storm core with luck.
California: Expect swell arrival late Wed (6/25) with swell 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (2 ft). Swell peaking later on Thurs (6/26) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (6/27) at 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205-210 degrees
Southeast Pacific Gale
A weak gale developed on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window on Sat PM (6/140 with 40 kt winds aimed due north and tracking north with seas 26 ft at 50S 121W aimed right up the 182 degree path to SCal. By Sun AM (6/15) 40 kt south winds continued pushing north with 25 ft seas at 48S 114W aimed up the 177 degree path to SCal. By evening winds were down to barely 30 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 43S 113W or 4581 nmiles from SCal on the 176 degree path. This system merged with a mid-latitude low well off Chile on Mon AM (6/16) regenerating 30 kt south-southeast winds with seas holding at 21 ft at 38S 112W on the 175 degree path to SCal. By evening winds were fading from barely 30 kts with seas dropping from 20 ft at 35S 11W. By Tues AM (6/17) 30 kt south winds held with seas 22 ft at 30S 111W or 3814 nmiles from SCal on the 173 degree track. This system dissipated after that.
Small short period southern hemi swell is possible for exposed breaks in Southern CA.
SCal: Swell fading fast on Wed (6/25) dropping from 2.6 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 173-180 degrees
Second New Zealand Gale
A new gale developed due south of New Zealand Wednesday AM (6/18) with a decent sized area of 35-40 kt southwest winds materializing. Seas 30 ft at 52S 160E and on the 221 degree path to NCal and SCal and unshadowed. 45 kt south winds built in areal coverage in the evening with seas building to 34 ft at 57S 165E (200 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and shadowed). Thurs AM (6/19) a small area of 40 kt southwest winds were pushing north with seas 34 ft at 51S 172E (200 degs HI, 215 degs NCal and unshadowed, 218 degs SCal and unshadowed). Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35 kts with seas 30 ft at 48S 179W (196 degs HI, 215 degs NCal and unshadowed, 217 degs SCal and unshadowed). Winds to be fading from 30 kts Fri AM (6/20) aimed almost due east with 27 ft seas fading at 46S 171W (190 degs HI, 211 degs NCal and barely shadowed, 213 degs SCal and shadowed). This system to fade thereafter.
Some small rideable swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast but nothing more.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (6/26) building to 2 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/28) at sunrise with swell building to 1.5 ft @ 18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) late. Swell Direction: 217 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/28) at 8 AM building with swell to 1.3 ft @ ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft) late. Swell Direction: 215 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours high pressure is to remain di.cgiaced south through Saturday (6/28) while low pressure continues circulating in the far Eastern Gulf of Alaska with the usual summer time pressure gradient also di.cgiaced south relative to California with 20+ kt winds centered near Morro Bay with 15 kt north winds extending up to Pt Arena. But late Saturday into Sunday (6/29) the low is to move inland and the usual summer time Gulf high is to shift north with the California pressure gradient building and moving over Cape Mendocino at 25 kts with an eddy (south winds) taking control nearshore for Central CA and holding into Tuesday (7/1). Windswell with improving conditions expected for Central CA. The models also predict that more tropical low pressure is to migrating east from a point South of Japan starting Fri (6/27) then to the dateline Tues (7/1) but likely stalling there with high pressure re-establishing itself in the Gulf of Alaska.
Relative to Hawaii trades to fade east of the Islands below 15 kts later Thurs (6/26) with whatever minimally rideable easterly windswell that previously existed fading out.
Note: 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. 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. 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).
As of Tuesday (6/24) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was falling at -6.26. The 30 day average was down some at 5.48 and the 90 day average was down some at 4.04. The near term trend based on the 30 day SOI was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO turning Active. The longer term pattern was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO. The SOI is expected to fall with the GFS model depicting a stronger low pressure system developing west of Tahiti late Tuesday (6/24) building much stronger south of Tahiti Wed-Thurs and still an influencer into Sat (6/28). The thought being the SOI should nosedive during this timeframe. And yet another small low is to build just south of Tahiti on Mon-Wed (7/2). The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator running a week behind surface level weather trends.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak to modest west anomalies over the Maritime Continent continuing reaching over the dateline and to a point south of Hawaii. This is good news. Neutral anomalies continued from there into the Galapagos. A week from now (7/2) weak west anomalies are forecast over the equatorial Maritime Continent building some over the dateline reaching moderate strength south of Hawaii continuing to 120W, the eastern edge of the Nino 3.4 region. This is a major upgrade and exactly what is needed, especially considering the easterly anomalies in the Equatorial counter current (more below). These anomalies, if the develop, could dampen if not reverse that trend. The GFS model indicates trades have effectively collapsed in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and are to main that orientation for the next week. See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here. The TOA array is indicating westerly anomalies too (at the surface - the ground truth). Though westerly anomalies are forecast a week out south of Hawaii (east of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area), east winds are still to be blowing on the oceans surface per the GFS, just lighter than normal for this time of year (resulting in the depiction of westerly anomalies). Previously an Easterly Wind event occurred in the West Pacific starting 6/13 building to the moderate.cgius category by 6/16 fading to moderate on 6/18 then gone on 6/20. 7 days of east anomalies were experienced, with only 3-4 of them of real concern. Our best guess is they came as closed as one can get to not turning off the warm water flow to the east. But the fact that east anomalies occurred at all is of concern. If this were any sort of a real El Nino, westerly anomalies should dominate with no hint of easterlies. So the need remains for some sort of modest Westerly Wind Burst to develop soon to continue to feed the developing warm pool in the east. The good news is the models are now suggest just such an event.
A previous WWB created a large Kelvin Wave tracking towards South America in January (starting 1/8, peaking 1/28 then fading the first week of Feb) followed by a second strong WWB in Feb-Mar (as strong as the first one starting 2/15 and peaking 2/20-3/2 then fading 3/10) setting up and offering yet more reinforcing transport warm water east. And then a third weak westerly wind burst developed (starting 3/12 and faded out by 3/28). And a fourth weaker one started 4/7 and held through 4/20, and was strong enough to be considered a minimal Westerly Wind Burst WWB. And weak westerly anomalies continued through the month of May. Of historical note: The big El Nino's of '82/32 and '97/98 both started forming in the February timeframe and progressed non-stop through the Summer and Fall months. Those WWBs served to push massive amounts of warm water east in the form of mult.cgie Kelvin Waves. which started erupting along the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru in early May and has continued unabated since then.
An article presenting a Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and this 2014 WWB event has been posted here.
A second analysis from 5/28 is posted here.
The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 6/23 are coming into sync, but not in a way that is advantageous. They both suggest a very weak Active Phase of the MJO was trying to get a toehold over the Maritime Continent. But 5 days out it is to make zero eastward progress and is to be fading and being r.cgiaced with a building Inactive Phase 10-15 days out. In short, this is not what we're looking for to aid in development of El Nino. The ultra long range upper level model suggests a building coherent MJO signal over the next 40 days, with the Active Phase of the MJO currently over the Central Pacific and is to push east through 7/6 and weakening. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific 7/4 pushing east through 8/3. We still remain skeptical regarding this model. But the building strength of the MJO signal is concerning and the fact that a moderate Inactive Phase is yet more troubling. A very weak MJO pattern is what one would expect if an El Nino were to develop - namely that the MJO would all but disappear. If that occurs it provides some hope that perhaps the warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some impact on the atmosphere above. We're at the point where weak westerly anomalies should be standard in the West Pacific, attributable to warming waters temps over the width of the equatorial Pacific. That is not happening. And now the upper level Dynamic model is suggesting almost a month long moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in July. If a strengthening MJO signal were to develop, especially the Inactive Phase, that would actual provide fuel to the belief that El Nino is decaying. But it's too early to know that with any certainty yet. And there even been some discussion that the Dynamic model doesn't respond well in developing El Nino scenarios. So as always, we won't know anything until it actually happens. There are physics based limitations on the ability of the models to deal with certain situations with confidence. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.
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. As of the most recent imagery (6/23), a warm water regime continues building from Ecuador west over the Galapagos (even since the last update 3 days ago) and drifting west from there peaking at 3.0-3.5 degs C above normal with +1.0 deg C anomalies extending west from there to the dateline. Of notice is markedly warmer water in pockets along Peru and up into Southern Central America with its core between the Galapagos and Ecuador forming the the signature warm El Nino triangle (it started being obvious on 5/1). This pattern became pronounced as of the 5/19 update and has been building every since. Hi-res SST monitoring site depicts +3.0 deg anomalies embedded in the triangle between the Galapagos and Ecuador and trailing off of Peru in small pockets and 4 degree anomalies in pockets off Peru. But the size of these ultra warm pockets are shrinking as of 6/24, suggesting the Kelvin Waves generated by Westerly Wind bursts in Jan-April have peaked, In short, the last of the really solid Kelvin Wave generated warm water that was produced by the end of March has reached the surface in the east 3 months later, or end of June, exactly as expected. This is what appears to be occurring. And those waters are advecting west moving into the Nino 3.4 region now. Indicies from Nino 3.4 are depicting spikes in water temps, the result of the erupting Kelvin Wave previously discussed. So from a water temp perspective things look very encouraging. That is a large Kelvin Wave that was built by consecutive Westerly Wind bursts Jan-April is now erupting on the surface in the East Pacific. The larger equatorial warming pattern started in earnest on 3/29 and has been solidifying it's grasp every since, and is being fed by the Galapagos warm pool. Comparing this years event to the '97 El Nino event, water temps still are not approaching the warmth or coverage of the '97 event. So this will not reach to proportions of that event, regardless of hype produced in early May.
Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water as is the West Pacific (north and south). There is only the weakest signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California, as would be expected for this time of year. This is significant. And the only cool water present is streaming off Southern Chile pushing west almost reaching up to the equator, but getting shunted south by the warm water on the equator. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific is impressive. A sympathetic warm pool that was developing off equatorial West Africa is gone now with a cool pool starting to develop instead. This pattern developed in both the '97 and '09 El Ninos too. So we're not so concerned about it at the moment. Still, previous cool bursts here have been early indicators of cool water developing in the East Pacific. But all eyes remain on the evolving breech of warm water along the western coast of Ecuador as a gauge of what's to come atmospherically.
Subsurface waters temps on the equator are holding. A large area of warm +3-5 deg C above normal water is in.cgiace and tracking east with it's core 75 meters down somewhere near 105W. the most recent data as of 6/21 suggests to core is now up to +6 degrees C above normal. As best as can be identified this Kelvin Wave covers the area from 155W to Ecuador with the core between 120 and 90W. The leading edge is impacting Ecuador and the Galapagos. Satellite data as of 6/17 has downgraded the areal coverage of the Kelvin Wave with increased surface water heights 0 to +5 cms limited to 120W into Ecuador with the core only +5 cm limited to the area around the Galapagos. This suggests warm water at depth is di.cgiacing the surface upwards but that the peak has already occurred since the di.cgiacement heights are fading and limited to only the area around the Galapagos. And subsurface models are now depicting the flow from the West Pacific to the east is nearly cut off if not totally cut off, For all practical purposes, the flow has been turned off. With a week or two of westerly anomalies forecast, perhaps the hose will reopened. But if Easterly anomalies develop 2 weeks out in July in association with a predicted development of the Inactive Phase of the MJO, the flow will again be cut off. Another (if not mult.cgie) legit WWB's are required, and soon. The odds of this occurring though is low.
Now for the bad news. The Pacific equatorial surface counter-current (from 2N to 2S from the Philippines to the Galapagos) as of 6/17 was tracking strongly anomalously east to west from the Galapagos to the dateline, the exact opposite direction it should be to build warm waters in the East Pacific. In fact, the actual current was starting to track east to west over the same area too. The current is still flowing west to east in the far West Pacific though. The assumption is the change in direction is attributable to development of easterly winds in the same area. A Westerly Wind burst is needed ASAP if this El Nino is to remain viable. On 5/28 the counter current was strongly anomalously tracking west to east, typical of an El Nino configuration. But by June 2 data looked less impressive with the current loosing some velocity and reacting to the previous reduction in westerly anomalies west of the dateline. On (6/7) had a small pocket of strong easterly anomalies building in the current centered at 155W and extending from 120W to 170W, in the heart of the Nino3.4 region. The actual current was still pushing east, but there was one small pocket of westward pushing anomalies. We'll continue to be conservative and suggesting this is not good news, and could be a harbinger of things to come. We've used these data points in the past as early lead indicators and they have been trustworthy, no matter how much we didn't want to accept what they told us. Said another way: We've used a west bound counter current as early indicators for either the demise or start up of El Nino in the past, and Pacific equatorial winds have normally responded in kind with a delay of about two weeks, normally to the demise of whatever warm event was trying to take root. In a worst case scenario, the situation could.cgiay out like this: No WWB class wind events have occurred 5/1 to present. And assuming 2-3 months of travel time for the tail end of the resulting Kelvin Wave to erupt over the Galapagos and Ecuador, the existing warm pool should start dissipating on 8/1, unless something develops to reinforce it. And even at that, if a WWB were to develop today (6/12), it would not reach the Galapagos till 9/12. So there's a 6 week 'hole' where the warm pool will start loosing energy (8/1-9/12) even if reinforcements develop immediately (unless some unknown process is occurring continuing to push warm water eastward). And this 'hole' is growing every day. This is what occurred in the 2012 False-Start El Nino, only this years situation is on a much larger scale. The CFSv2 model likely senses this, and is projecting accordingly. We'll continue monitoring this situation closely.
As of right now were waiting for a feedback loop to develop, reinforcing the warm water flow and buildup off Central America into the Fall. But we're a long ways from that occurring, especially considering the easterly winds event of the week of 6/17 and projections of an Inactive Phase of the MJO the whole month of July. What is needed is another or mult.cgie Westerly Wind Bursts or at least continued westerly anomalies, and no hint of Easterly anomalies. Anything that reduces or suppresses trades in the equatorial West Pacific will suffice to continue the transport mechanism. So out-and-out west surface winds are not required. Anything that reduced trades in the east (like increasing water temps) will continue to stabilize the warm pool that is evolving there. Conversely anything the puts the continued eastward flow of warm water in jeopardy could trigger a demise of this evolving ENSO event, especially considering that the East Pacific warm pool has NOT been in.cgiace long enough to develop a co.cgiing with the atmosphere above it. Regardless of the WWBs in early 2014 or the resulting massive Kelvin Waves, only once the ocean and atmosphere are co.cgied on a global level (that is the ocean has imparted enough heat into the atmosphere to start changing the global jetstream pattern) can one begin to have confidence that a feedback loop is developing and a fully matured El Nino is in.cgiay. About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. From a skeptics perspective, that's another 1.5 months before anything is guaranteed.
Projections from the CFSv2 model run 6/24 have upgraded slightly again. It suggests water temps building to +1.0 deg C by mid October and building to +1.3 deg C by Nov (up +0.2 deg since last report) holding well into at least March 2015. Previous forecast peaked at +1.75 in Nov 2014, so we're well off that mark. We're thinking that a El Nino warning is not in the cards in the next month.
Previously a pattern of mult.cgie strong Westerly Wind Bursts occurred Jan-March 2014, but then moderated in late March, but never gave way to a fully Inactive Phase (with no hint of easterly anomalies west of the dateline). A neutral pattern developed May 5 and held through the end of May. This is great news with westerly anomalies in.cgiay for 4 full months and then only turning neutral in May. Then on June 13 an unexpected Inactive Phase developed generating easterly anomalies on the dateline and east of there at the surface. Longterm the signal of suppressed trades in the far equatorial West Pacific would hold into at least August with warm water building greater than 0.5 deg C over the tropical East and Central Pacific (120W to 170W) for 3 consecutive months before one could declare the development of El Nino. The big issue right now is the tenuous state of the westerly anomaly pattern, and the forecast for a building moderate Inactive Phase in July, putting the future of El Nino in jeopardy. But nothing is certain until it happens. But as of right now, the weight of evidence is not in favor of El Nino development.
Overall the immediate outlook remains unchanged, but potentially trending towards something that would be considered warm by June-July 2014, assuming one is to believe the models and the subsurface water configuration. At a minimum the ocean is well past recharge mode, with cold water from the 2010-2011 La Nina dispersed and temperatures on the rise in fit's-and-starts. Regardless of the WWBs etc, we are in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern at this time with neither any form of El Nino or La Nina present or imminent. But given all current signs, atmospheric transition should begin in June over the equatorial Pacific possibly increasing during the summer, intensifying into Fall. Still there remains 3 months ahead where any number of hazards could derail this event. But this is a better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. And it seems apparent we've recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. In a normal situation one would expect there to be at least one or two years of neutral temperatures ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2015 or 2016). Historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms). We've turned the corner, but we'll remain cautious and not say to much yet, especially in light of what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998).
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13
See a 'Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and the 2014 WWB Event' Here (posted 4/5/2014)
Beyond 72 hours low pressure is to start building in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat (6/28) with 40 kt southwest winds barely in the California swell window and seas building to 38 ft Sun AM (6/29) at 57S 115W. This is effectively east of the SCal swell window. Low odds of any swell resulting for CA. This system is to push east and target primarily Southern Chile.
Also a gale is to build south of Tasmania on Mon (6/30) with a small area of 45 kt southwest winds pushing up into the Tasman Sea with seas building to 32 ft at 39S 168E targeting Fiji well. But it's 180 hours out on the charts, and is not believable yet.
Details to follow...
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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Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table