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.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 1.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 9.9 secs from 201 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 6.1 secs from 263 degrees. Wind northwest 8-10 kts. Water temperature 72.5 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 2.6 ft @ 6.2 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.4 ft @ 6.2 secs from 265 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.6 ft @ 13.3 secs from 193 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 6.4 secs from 316 degrees. Wind northwest 20-23 kts. Water temp 60.1 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Thursday (9/1) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at waist high and chopped from northwest winds. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California up north surf was flat to knee high and clean. Down south southern hemi swell was producing set waves in the thigh high range and clean but very weak and swamped by tide. Further down south top spots had set waves in the waist to chest high range and clean but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was thigh high at best and clean and weak. The South Shore was small with sets knee to thigh high and clean at top breaks. The East Shore was getting east windswell at 1-2 ft overhead and chopped.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
No swell is in the water in California on Thursday (9/1) and in Hawaii east windswell from Madeline was hitting exposed east shores. Swell is tracking northeast from a gale that developed under New Zealand on Sun-Mon (8/29) with seas to 36 ft. That system redeveloped while tracking east on Tues-Wed (8/31) still producing 30-32 ft seas aimed east-northeast. Small swell is to result. In the North Pacific no swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water and none is forecast. Typhoon Lionrock was previously in the far West Pacific and produced winds and seas continuously Thurs-Mon (8/29) in the 30-40 ft aimed east-northeast but isolated to the far West Pacific (just south of Japan). Some small swell to result mainly for California. Hurricane Lester was tracking west-northwest from a point 600 nmiles east of Hawaii with winds 90 kts and Tropical Storm Madeline was 200 nmiles south of Maui with winds 45 kts tracking west. Otherwise no normal Fall-like swell producing weather systems are forecast in the Dateline-Aleutian corridor.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (9/1) no swell is in-flight and none is expected for the next 72 hours. A broad area of low pressure is over the Northern Dateline region on Thurs AM (9/1) at 992 mbs generating 20-25 kt northwest winds in pockets south of the Aleutians. This system is to ease northeast and fade into Sat AM (9/3) while lifting into the East Bering Sea. No swell is to result but this lows presence suggests the start of transition towards Fall.
The California coastal pressure gradient on Thurs (9/1) was in.cgiay driven by high pressure at 1026 mbs 1,200 nmiles west of Central CA producing north winds at 15-20 kts down the coast of North and Central CA generating small weak and raw local windswell. That gradient is to be continue on Fri (9/2) with north winds 20 kts over North and Central CA with a core to 25 kts near Pt Reyes. The gradient is to lift north a bit on Sat (9/3) with 20 to barely 25 kt north winds centered near Pt Arena with 15-20 kt north winds reaching to Pt Conception. More of the same is forecast on Sun (9/4) but with the gradient building in coverage and continuity of fetch at 20-25 kts focused near Pt Arena offering decent odds for generation of windswell.
For Hawaii on Thurs (9/1) trades were not of concern but the approach of Hurricane Lester was front and center. Over the next 72 hours the focus is to be entirely on the Hurricane Lester (see Tropical Update below).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Typhoon Lionrock was 450 nmiles south of Southwestern Japan on Thurs AM (8/25) at 23.7N 131E (5,281 nmiles out on the 298.5 degree path) with winds 110 kts and starting to move east-northeast with seas 31 ft. On Fri (8/26) winds fell to 90 kts with Lionrock starting to accelerate to the east-northeast with seas down to 28 ft. But on Sat AM (8/27) strengthening had again set in with winds building to 105 kts at 24.5N 134.7E with seas 35 ft building in the evening to 110 kts with 38 ft seas at 26N 136.6E. On Sunday AM (8/28) winds were up to 115 kts with 442 ft seas at 28.5N 138.9E (4768 nmiles on the 298 degs to NCal). On Mon AM (8/29) this system was accelerating to the north-northeast 150 nmiles east of Central Japan with winds 70 kts and seas 26 ft at 32.7N 143.4E turning to the north in the evening with swell producing fetch fading out. Given it's relative strength and heading and weak forward motion Thursday through Sunday some small swell could be generated in this window. But it has a long ways to travel and the fetch area is small. Assuming swell is to result, arrival time with period 16 secs would be 8.8 days, or Sat 2 AM (9/3) continuing through Mon (9/5). Odds very low of any measurable/rideable swell to result.
NCal: Swell to become noticeable on Sun (9/4) at 2.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) later. Swell continues on Mon (9/5) at 2.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3 ft) dropping Tues (9/6) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-298 degrees
Hurricane Lester peaked on Sat PM (8/27) with winds 95 kts positioned 1000 nmiles south of Pt Conception or 2100 nmiles east of Hawaii tracking due west. On Sun AM (8/28) winds were down to 80 kts still heading west. Lester rebuilt on Mon (8/29) peaking again in the evening with winds up to 120 kts and seas 48 ft at 18.1N 131.2W 1600 nmiles east of the Big Islands on the 90 degree track. On Tues AM (8/30) winds were down to 105 kts with seas 39 ft at 18.1N 133.8W. Lester continued on a westerly track on Thurs (9/1) 600 nmiles east of the Big Island with winds fading slowly from 90 kts and seas 35 ft at 18.3N 143.1W. By Fri AM (9/2) Lester is to be 450 nmiles east of the Big Island with winds 75 kts and slightly lifting to the west-northwest. Latest forecast data suggests Lester is to be 150 nmiles north of the Big Island Saturday afternoon (9/3) with winds 65 kts (still hurricane force) and starting to accelerating on that heading, positioned 100 nmiles north of Oahu on Sun AM (9/4) with winds 65 kts. This path is virtually unchanged from previous tracks and strengths. Some degree of swell is likely for east shores of the Big Island and north shores of the other islands into Sat-Sun (9/4), but quickly fading as the core of the storm passes west of any given point on that track.
Big Island (East Shore): Swell arrival on Thurs (9/1) at 4 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft). Swell heading upwards on Fri (9/2) to 7 ft @ 14 secs (9.0 ft). Swell building on Sat (9/3) peaking early at 9.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (11 ft). Swell Direction: 90 degrees turning to 65 degrees
Oahu (East Shore): Swell arrival on Thurs (9/1) at 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4 ft). Swell building some on Fri (9/2) to 4.0 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft). Swell building in earnest on Sat (9/3) to 8 ft @ 13-14 secs late (10 ft). Swell fades out on Sun (9/4) from 4.5 ft @ 9-10 secs (4 ft). Swell Direction: 75 degrees
Tropical Storm Madeline was moving west of the Islands and no longer a swell producer.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (9/1) high pressure was 1200 nmiles west of San Francisco at 1028 mbs ridging east into Central CA but being held at bay somewhat by another weak low pressure system falling down the coast of British Columbia. The result was a somewhat southward di.cgiaced pressure gradient generating 15-20 kt north winds for North and Central CA. The low is to move inland over the Pacific Northwest on Fri (9/2) with the gradient and northwest winds holding if north building some focused near Pt Reyes at 25 kts extending down through Central CA to Pt Conception at 20 kts. North winds to continue Sat (9/3) at 20 kts for North CA building to 25 kts late and 15-20 kts for all of Central CA and holding on Sun (9/4). More of the same is expected on Mon (9/5) with north winds 25 kts over a small area of North CA and 20 kts down to Pt Conception then weakening and shrinking some on Tuesday, only to return on Wed-Thurs (9/8) at 25 kts over North CA and 15-20 kts down into Central CA.
On Thursday AM (9/1) the northern branch of the jet was equal in strength to the southern brach running west to east on roughly the 37S latitude line with two pockets of winds to 140 and 130 kts respectively over the Central and East South Pacific. The more important southern branch was lifting northeast slightly southeast of New Zealand forming a weak trough near 145W (Central Pacific) with west winds only 100 kts offering weak support for gale formation there in lower levels of the atmosphere. East of there the jet was falling hard south over Antarctic Ice forming a ridge and locking down the rest of the South Pacific and actively suppressing gale formation. Over the next 72 hours the trough over the Central Pacific is to push east and weaken through Sat (9/3) offering nothing of interest in terms of support for gale formation. At the same time a ridge is to be building under New Zealand sweeping east down at 70S reaching east to 140W shutting down potential for gale formation and continuing east to 120W on Sun (9/4). Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to continue locking down the entire South Pacific until Tues (9/6) when there's some suggestion of a new trough trying to build under New Zealand with winds pushing north to 120 kts. By late Wed (9/7) reinforcing south winds to be pushing hard north at 140 kts forming a well defined but steep trough just east of New Zealand and drifting east through Thurs (9/8). Something worth monitoring.
On Thursday (9/1) swell is pushing northeast from a 2 part gale that tracked from New Zealand to the Central South Pacific (see New Zealand Gale Part 1 and Part 2 below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
New Zealand Gale (Part 1)
A gale developed under New Zealand Sun AM (8/28) producing a broad fetch of 45 kt southwest winds with seas at 32 ft at 56S 158E (in the NCal swell window at 221 degs, in the SCal swell window at 222 degs, and shadowed by NZ relative to HI). In the evening fetch is to be more consolidated but di.cgiaced south some at 45 kts with seas 33 ft at 53.5S 164E (221 degs NCal, 222 degs SCal, still shadowed by New relative to HI). On Mon AM (8/29) southwest winds were aimed more to the northeast and rebuilding some at 45 kts tracking east with seas 35 ft over a broad area at 57S 172E (212 degs NCal and unshadowed, 213 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 195 degs Hl). In the evening the gale was holding while tracking east still producing 40-45 kt winds aimed well to the northeast with seas 37 ft down at 59S 178E (206 degs NCal and in the middle of the shadow, 209 degs SCal and becoming unshadowed, 192 degs HI). On Tues AM (8/30) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the southwest pushing east with 31 ft seas at 59S 174W. Swell was radiating northeast towards HI and CA and expected to reach well down into Central America.
South CA: Expect swell arrival on on Tues 10 PM (9/6) with period 20 secs and size tiny and slowly building. Swell 1.3 ft @ 19 secs (2.5 ft) on Wed (9/7). Period turning to 18 secs near Wed 8 PM (9/7) pushing 1.5 ft @ 18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell peaking as period hits 17 secs at 5 AM on Thurs (9/8) at roughly 1.5 ft @ 17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading but still solid on Fri (9/9) with period 16 secs fading from 15 secs on Sat AM (9/10). Swell Direction: 216-222 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on on Wed 2 AM (9/7) with period 20 secs and size tiny and slowly building. Period turning to 18 secs near Wed 8 PM (9/7) pushing 1.4 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell peaking as period hits 17 secs at 9 AM on Thurs (9/8) at roughly 1.5 ft @ 17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading but still solid on Fri (9/9) with period 16 secs fading from 15 secs on Sat AM (9/10). Swell Direction: 215-221 degrees
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/5) building to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell steady on Tues (9/6) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (9/7) from 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192-198 degrees
New Zealand Gale (Part 2)
Starting Tues PM (8/30) a second part to the New Zealand Gale formed. A new broad fetch of 40 kt west winds developed south of New Zealand with seas on the increase from 30 ft under New Zealand at 59S 176E. On Wed AM (8/31) a broad fetch of 40 kt southwest winds were in.cgiay generating 32 ft sea at 56S 173W (208 degs NCal and shadowed, 209 degs SCal and barely unshadowed by Tahiti, 190 degs HI and aimed well east of the paths there). In the evening 40 kt southwest winds were holding with seas 31 ft over a broad area aimed northeast at 50S 157W (202 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, 203 degs SCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, 186 degs HI). Fetch was fading in coverage from 35 kts Thurs AM (9/1) with 30 ft seas at 54S 158W, then fading.
More swell is likely for Hawaii, California and down into South America.
Hawaii: Swell arrival forecast on late Tues (9/6) to 1.3 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (9/7) at 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft) early. Swell fading on Thurs (9/8) from 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees
South CA: Swell arrival expected Thurs (9/8) at at 6 AM with period 20 secs and size small building to 2 ft @ 19 secs late afternoon (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
North CA: Swell arrival expected Thurs (9/8) at at 8 AM with period 20 secs and size small building to 1.6 ft @ 19-20 secs late afternoon (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 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 another weak low pressure system is to develop in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Thurs (9/8) enhanced slightly by the remnants of what was Hurricane Lester A second low is to be just east of North Japan. Neither is to produce winds of any interest.
For California on Monday (9/5) high pressure at 1028 mbs is to continue ridging into the Central Coast from a point 1400 nmiles west of North CA generating the usual pressure gradient over North and Central CA producing north winds at 20-25 kts focused near Pt Arena generating windswell wand raw conditions down to Pt Conception. The gradient and winds are to fade some on Tues (9/6) down to 20 kts and only 15 kts later from Monterrey Bay southward. The gradient is to refocus over Pt Arena on Wed (9/7) with north winds 25 kts and down to 20 kts over all of Central CA and continuing on Thurs (9/8). Windswell size commensurate with the strength of the fetch.
For Hawaii starting Mon (9/5) Lester is to be tracking northwest and well out of the picture with high pressure north of the Islands starting to take over generating east winds at 15 kts over a small area east of the Islands and continuing on Tues (9/6) resulting in small east windswell at exposed breaks. On Wed (9/7) the high is to ease east at 1032 mbs generating a broader area of east winds extending from 1200 nmiles east of the Islands pushing over Hawaii at 15+ kts resulting in building east windswell and solidifying on Thurs (9/8).
Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast to develop under New Zealand on Tues AM (9/6) producing 45 kt west winds and 38 ft seas aimed east. In the evening it is to fade with winds dropping from 40 kts and seas fading from 33 ft at 54S 175E. Secondary fetch is forecast redeveloping east of there on Wed PM (9/7) at 40 kts generating 32 ft seas at 52S 175E aimed well to the northeast. That fetch is to dissipate in the evening with seas fading from 29 ft at 50S 176W. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
La Nina Continues to Weaken
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 all but gone except for remnants in the upper atmosphere. La Nina is developing but weaker than expected.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wednesday (8/31) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south). Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but light easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak east anomalies were over the KWGA per this model suggestive of the Inactive Phase of the MJO and forecast to continue but weakening slowly but still present a week out on 9/8.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/31 a neutral MJO signal was over the West Pacific. The Statistic model projects that pattern holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/1) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak if not discernible. The forecast projects no change for the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. No affect from the Active Phase of the MJO is forecast.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/1) This model depicts the Active Phase was all but gone the far East equatorial Pacific with an Inactive Pattern developing solidly in the West Pacific. The Inactive Phase builds in the west stating 9/6 tracking east and into Central America on 10/6. A weak Active pattern is to set up in the West on 10/6.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): This model depicts a weak Active MJO pattern all but gone over the KWGA with no real anomalies in.cgiay. A very weak Inactive Phase is to follow 9/7-10/1 offering no real anomalies either. Then an stronger Active MJO signal is to follow 10/2 -11/28 with a more defined west anomaly wind pattern setting up in the KWGA. Overall the MJO signal is very weak now but is to build as we move into Fall with west anomalies taking firmer control contrary to what one would expect with La Nina in.cgiay. There no suggestion of a major pulse of east anomalies developing in the KWGA.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/1) No Change - Actual temperatures are steady in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 163E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching east to only 172W. Cooling has stabilized in the east. Warm anomalies at +1 degs rule from the West Pacific to 170W with weak negative anomalies east of there towards Ecuador. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting near 150W. At depth -3 degs anomalies are no longer present. Peak negative temps are now only -2 degs at 140W. The Kelvin Wave pipeline is still full of modestly cool water pushing east through it. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/26 depicts a pocket of +1-2 deg anomalies building in the West Pacific to 170W. Cool water -3 degs below normal was under the the equator forming a bubble in a broad pocket at 150W and upwelling there, with a second pocket at 100W upwelling there too. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (8/31) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates no cool flow present along the coast of Peru and if anything weak warmer than normal water is present there. A small pocket of cooler water is off Ecuador. Cooler waters then start building in small pockets flowing west from the Galapagos over a thin stream to 105W, but there is equal amounts of warmer water present too. The stream builds in width (8 deg N and 5 degs S) near 110W tracking solidly out to at least 160W with with peak temps -1.0 degs. La Nina is in control of surface waters, but weak, with remnant El Nino warm water holding from 105W and points east of there. Almost no warm water remains anywhere in the Nino 3.4 region, but it has rebuilt in the Nino 1.2 region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/30): A neutral trend is over waters of Chile and Peru. A building warming stream now extends from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 115W. Intermixed pockets of warming and cooling water continue west from 120W to 160W. A major warming trend is developing off Africa.
Hi-res Overview: (8/30) A La Nina cool pool is present in the Central equatorial Pacific from 120W to 170W. A thin cool stream that was tracking west from the Galapagos feeding that cool pool is choking off if not gone. No cool waters exist along Ecuador and Peru suggestive of westward dis
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/1) Today's temps were trending slightly cooler at +0.676 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (9/1) temps were trending upwards at -0.328 degs. Temps bottomed out at -1.0 degs near 7/21-7/26.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/1) Temps are to rise to -0.05 degs in Oct, dipping to -0.2 degs in Dec before starting to rise to neutral in Jan 2017 and up to +0.5 by April and +0.6 by May. This is very interesting with the model continually downgrading the strength of La Nina.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume depicts temps have nearly reached their peak minimum, down at -0.5 to -0.6 by Nov and holding there to Feb, then rising. This is up again from last months peak low temp of -0.7 degs and barely in La Nina territory. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/30): The daily index was up some at +15.29. The 30 day average was down some at +4.42. It transitioned from negative to positive (first time in 2 years) on 5/27. The 90 day average was up some at +3.95, transitioning from negative to positive the first time in years on 7/20. El Nino is gone in all dimensions of the SOI Index now.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (9/1) Today's value was rising some at -0.53. During El Nino this year it peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But after that La Nina took over with it falling steadily dropping as low as -1.5 in early Aug.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker in July than June (as expected with La NIna setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-July) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, +1.43, +0.75 and +0.18.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-July) are: +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03 and +1.25.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive since then. 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.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table