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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:53 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
Swell Potential Rating = 2.5 - California & 3.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 6/23 thru Sun 6/29

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 Southwest Swell Hits Hawaii
Bound For CA - Stronger Storm Forecast for Southeast Pacific

 

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.

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday
(6/26) in North and Central CA limited dribbles of local windswell was producing surf in the thigh high range and clean at select protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was producing surf at waist 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 southern hemi swell was producing waves in the chest to shoulder high range on the sets and clean but moderately textured from southerly wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was small with waves in the waist high range and clean and lined up. Trade wind generated east windswell was small at thigh high and lightly chopped at exposed breaks on the East Shore.    

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

Meteorological Overview
The remnants of tropical low pressure were tracking through the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs (6/26) producing 17 ft seas and expected to continue east into Friday. Small windswell from it coupled with locally produced north windswell is expected to result for the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA for the weekend 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. Swell from it is hitting California, and expected to be fading on Friday (6/27). 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 is hitting HI on Thurs (6/26) and is expected into CA for Sat (6/28). A solid gale is forecast developing on the eastern most edge of the Southern CA swell window on Saturday peaking late Sun (6/29) with up to 46 ft seas targeting mainly Chile.  Maybe small sideband energy to radiate up to Southern CA with luck. Otherwise no swell producing systems of interest are forecast. 

Details below...

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

North Pacific

Overview 
Surface Analysis  - On Thursday (6/26) 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 remained retrograded west nearly over the dateline at 1024 mbs while low pressure at 988 mbs was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska with just a finger of high pressure ridging east under the low towards the southern edge of Central CA.  The low was shifting the normal summer time pressure gradient well to the south. This ridge was just strong enough to produce a minimally sized  area of 15-20 kt north winds isolated to the Pt Conception area producing barely rideable windswell for exposed breaks in Southern CA. 

The low is the Gulf was of tropical origins, having migrated from South of Japan on Sun (6/22) over the dateline with winds building to 35 kts and seas to 20 ft at 45N 170W at 12Z on Wed (6/25) aimed east up the 296 degree path to North CA. 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 tracked east into the Central Gulf on Thurs AM (6/26) with winds fading from 25 kts and seas 16 ft at 45N 157W. Windswell at 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft) is possible arriving in the SF Bay area on Sunday afternoon (6/29) from 296 degrees. 10-11 sec energy to continue into Monday (6/30). 

Over the next 72 hours north winds along the California coast are to remain displaced south until late Saturday (6/28) when low pressure in the Gulf starts moving inland over British Columbia. The usual summer-time pressure gradient is to start moving north and reorganizing over waters of Cape Mendocino to 25 kts at that time. The gradient and north winds at 25 kts to hold over Cape Mendocino Sun-Tues (7/1) with local north short period windswell being generated and radiating into Central CA.     

Easterly trades to fade below the 15 kt threshold relative to Hawaii on Friday (6/27) and remain that way through Mon (6/30) with no easterly windswell expected to be generated.    

 

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

Tropics
No swell producing tropical systems of interest were occurring. That said, low pressure of tropical origins is moving east int the Gulf of Alaska with more forecast behind(see North Pacific Analysis above and below).

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (6/26) high pressure was retrograded to a point near the dateline with only a thin ridge reaching the South Central CA coast. The local pressure gradient was still barely in play producing north winds at 20 kts over waters near Morro Bay but much lighter north of there with an eddy flow south of there over Southern CA. This pattern is to hold into Sat (6/28). North winds to generally be 15 kts or less from Cape Mendocino southward to Monterey Bay through that time frame. By Sunday low pressure is to move out of the Gulf with high pressure starting to lift north to a more normal position with the gradient moving to Cape Mendocino with north winds there at 25 kts later Sunday and then starting to build there on Tues (7/1) at 25+ kts with a eddy flow (south winds) taking over Central CA and Northern CA up to at least Pt Arena early Monday. North winds building to 30 kts on Wed with an eddy flow in effect for Central CA, then the gradient falls south wind north winds 25 kts over outer waters of all of Central CA.      

     

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream - On Thursday (6/26) the jetstream was split with the southern branch displaced well south running flat east along the 70S latitude line, over Antarctic Ice and offering no support for gale production in lower levels of the atmosphere until the jet moved over the East Pacific where the jet turning to the north forming a trough with 120 kt winds lifting up into it. There was limited support for gale development in this trough, but it was effectively east of even the Southern CA swell window. Over the next 72 hours a new trough is to build in the far Southeast Pacific starting Sat (6/28) with 130 kt winds in the troughs apex on Sun (6/29) but focused only on Chile. A massive ridge is to be locking down the far West Pacific at the same time. Beyond 72 hours another smaller trough is to build in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues-Wed (7/2) with 120 kt winds pushing northeast again offering support for gale development but focused only on Chile. There's some suggestions the ridge is to clear out of the West Pacific on Thurs (7/3) with some weak signs of a trough trying to take root under New Zealand. Something to monitor. 

Surface Analysis  -  On Thursday (6/26) small swell from a storm that developed under New Zealand was impacting CA (see 1st New Zealand Storm below).  Swell from a second better organized but still small New Zealand gale was pushing northeast and was hitting Hawaii (see 2nd New Zealand Gale below). A gale was trying to organize in the deep Southeast Pacific producing 40 kt south winds on the eastern edge of the SCal swell window producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 54S 120W but that is to be fading by evening.  No swell to result. Otherwise no swell producing weather systems were occurring. 

Over the next 72 hours low pressure is to start building in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat AM (6/28) with a broad area of 40-45 kt south-southwest winds barely in the California swell window building to 55 kt in the evening and seas building to 37 ft at 57S 119W, barely in the SCal swell window at 180 degrees. By Sun AM (6/29) 50-55 kt south winds are to be in-play just outside the SCal swell window with 44 ft seas building at 55S 110W targeting only Chile. In the evening 50-55 kt south winds to continue with 46 ft seas forecast at 53S 105 W targeting only  Chile. A quick fade is forecast Mon AM (6/30) with winds dropping from barely 45 kts and seas fading from 41 ft at 49S 95W. This system hold most hope for South America.   

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:  Swell fading on Fri (6/27) at 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205-210 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 continues Fri (6/27) at 2 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft) then fading on Sat (6/28) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) early.  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 continues at 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) on Sun (6/29). Swell fading Mon (6/30) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft).  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 continues at 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) on Sun (6/29). Swell fading Mon (6/30) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 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 high pressure is to build some in the Central Gulf on Tues (7/1) with the California pressure gradient building more over Cape Mendocino at 25 kts with an eddy (south winds) taking control nearshore for Central CA and then building with up to 30 kt north winds on Wed (7/2). Windswell with improving conditions expected for Central CA. The gradient to fall south some on Thurs (7/3) with the eddy fading for Central CA and 25 kt north winds over outer waters off San Francisco down to Morro Bay.  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 as high pressure re-establishes itself in the Gulf of Alaska.  

Relative to Hawaii trades to rebuild extending from California to the Islands near 5 kts on Wed (7/2) with minimally rideable easterly windswell developing and the trades building in coverage with windswell on the increase some on Thursday.

MJO/ENSO Update
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 planet. 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 split 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 Thursday (6/26) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was falling at -20.60. The 30 day average was down some at 3.78 and the 90 day average was down some at 3.68. 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 falling as expected with low pressure developing south of Tahiti. And yet another small low is to build just south of Tahiti on Mon-Wed (7/2) and possibly beyond. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator running a week behind surface level weather trends.  

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak 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 (7/4) neutral anomalies are forecast over the equatorial Maritime Continent continuing over the dateline then building with west anomalies moderate in strength south of Hawaii continuing to 130W. This is an 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 in the counter current. The GFS model indicates trades have effectively  collapsed in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and are to maintain that orientation for the next week.  See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here. The TOA array is indicating moderate westerly anomalies now  west of the dateline (at the surface - the ground truth). Previously an Easterly Wind event occurred in the West Pacific starting 6/13 building to the moderate plus 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 have come as close 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 (as it appears to now be doing) to continue to feed the developing warm pool in the east. The longer and stronger it is, the better. 

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 multiple 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 6/25 are more in sync, but not in the way we want. They both suggest a dead neutral MJO signal is in effect in the West Pacific.  But 5 days a weak Inactive Phase is to start building in the Indian Ocean making some eastward headway and reaching the for West Pacific 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 weakening but still coherent MJO signal over the next 40 days, with the Active Phase of the MJO currently fading over the East Pacific dissipating through 7/1. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific 7/6 pushing east through 8/3. We still remain skeptical regarding this model. But the fact that a coherent MJO signal is forecast is concerning and the fact that it is an Inactive Phase (versus and Active Phase) is yet more troubling. A very weak MJO pattern is what one would expect if an El Nino were to develop. 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 happening now but is forecast to collapse with the upper level Dynamic model suggesting almost a month long moderate Inactive Phase developing 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.  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 (6/26), a warm water regime continues building from Ecuador west over the Galapagos 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 started shrinking as of 6/24 and continued 6/26, suggesting that warm waters produced by successive Kelvin Wave and 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. But that is the tail of the proverbial dog, while Westerly Wind Bursts are the nose. So from a water temp perspective things look very encouraging. But the issue remains getting more warm water into the pipe to eventually erupt near the Galapagos.  And the pipe is empty.  

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. 

Subsurface waters temps on the equator are holding. A large area of warm +3-5 deg C above normal water is in-place and tracking east with it's core 75 meters down somewhere near 105W. Temps previously up to +6 degs C on 6/21 have backed off to +5 degs. As best as can be identified this Kelvin Wave covers a smaller area now, starting at 145W building into Ecuador with the core between 120 and 90W.Satellite data as of 6/22 has downgraded the areal coverage of the Kelvin Wave again with increased surface water heights 0 to +5 cms limited to 135W into Ecuador with the core only +5 cm limited to the area around the Galapagos. This suggests warm water at depth is displacing the surface upwards but that the peak has already occurred since the displacement 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 now completely 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 reopen. But if easterly anomalies develop 2 weeks into July in association with a predicted development of the Inactive Phase of the MJO, the flow will again be cut off. Another (if not multiple) legit WWB's are required, and soon. The odds of this occurring is thought to be low, unless the long term models are way off base, or unless and sudden coupling of the atmosphere and the warm waters erupting in the tropical East Pacific occurs. 

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. 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 play 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 multiple 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 place long enough to develop a coupling 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 coupled 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-play. 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 6/26 have upgraded slightly again.  It suggests water temps building to +1.0 deg C by mid October and building to +1.4 deg C by Nov (up +0.3 deg over the last week) 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 multiple 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 play 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. We're hoping the long term models are wrong. 

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 place 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)  

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to build in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues (7/1) with a small area of 50 kt south winds pushing due north with seas building from 38 ft at 59S 110W and southside the SCal swell window.  50 kt southwest winds to lift northeast in the evening with seas building to 45 ft at 54S 101W targeting Chile and Peru. Fetch is to be fading from 50 kts Wed AM (7/2) with seas fading from 41 ft at 52S 92W again targeting mainly Chile. But that's still a ways out and much could change, but this situation is worth monitoring.  

Details to follow...

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External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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