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 Thursday (10/2) in North and Central CA surf was shoulder to maybe head high and fairly lined up coming from the northwest and clean but a bit on the soft side. Nice small Gulf windswell. Down in Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high coming from the southwest and lined up and clean. Summer isn't over just yet. Sunny skies at all locations. In Southern California up north surf was waist high with some bigger sets and clean with east-northeast winds and clean conditions. Down south waves were waist high and clean with light wind and clean. Occasional sets from the south were in the chest high range. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting Kamchatka swell with waves head high with some bigger sets and very clean early. The South Shore was still getting New Zealand swell with waves head high and clean and lined up. On the East Shore tradewind generated windswell was producing waves at thigh to waist high and ruffled but not chopped with weak easterly trades in effect.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
For the North Pacific a small but reasonably strong gale pushed southeast off Kamchatka on Sat AM (9/27) producing 36 ft seas with swell from it passing Hawaii now but expected to produce some small rideable swell from Central CA northward. And the remnants of what was Tropical Storm Kammuri tracked east-northeast off Japan Mon-Tues (9/30) with seas 26 ft and fading. Some small swell expected for Hawaii over the weekend. New Typhoon (Phanfone) was building south of Japan and is forecast barely miss Japan recurving northeast on Mon (10/6) eventually merging with a cold core gale also forecast to be tracking off Kamchatka on Mon (10/6) while producing 28 ft seas aimed east. The merged systems to generate a broad area of wind and up to 24 ft seas over the Northern Dateline region starting mid-week. Something to monitor. And yet more tropical activity is forecast for the West Pacific. In the southern hemisphere a moderate gale tracked under New Zealand on Mon (9/22) producing 41 ft seas fading on Tuesday with seas dropping from 36 ft. Remnant energy regenerated late Wed into Thurs (9/25) producing 28-30 ft seas pushing east-northeast and up to 34 ft on Friday (9/26) while reaching the Southeast Pacific. Swell from this system is fading in Hawaii and is starting to hit the US West Coast. And a gale is producing 37 ft seas in the Tasman Sea targeting Fiji. But beyond no swell producing weather systems are occurring nor forecast to develop. It's all about the North Pacific now.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Jetstream - On Thursday (10/2) the jetstream over the North Pacific was tracking east on the 44N latitude line with a pocket of 140 kt winds pushing off the Kurils and falling into a gentle trough over the Western Gulf of Alaska, then ridging to the north just off British Columbia before falling hard south over the interior Western US states. Remnants wind energy from a previous .cgiit in the jet was still tracking north over the Western Aleutians. There was only limited weak support for gale development in the Western Gulf. Over the next 72 hours the same pattern is to hold but with the .cgiit becoming a bit more pronounced with 60 kt winds tracking north from a point just west of Kamchatka then falling back into the main flow near the Eastern Aleutians. In the main flow over the Pacific a trough is to hold near the Western Gulf, deepening some by Sat (10/4) and getting steeper into Sunday, but also starting to pinch off. Only limited support for gale development possible. But of more interest is to be the development of 190 kt winds pushing east off the Kuril Islands reaching to the dateline. No support for gale development is projected yet. Beyond 72 hours those winds are to spill southeast into the Western Gulf trough on Monday (10/6) providing some support for gale development. But the trough is to quickly moderate/flatten out by Wednesday. A new trough is to start building in the jet over the dateline by late Thurs (10/9) supported by 135 kt winds spanning the width of the North Pacific. And the .cgiit flow is to be gone. Improving support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere.
Surface Analysis - On Thursday (10/2) a weak high pressure cell at 1024 mbs was pushing into British Columbia while low pressure was building in the Northern Gulf of Alaska (remnants of the Kamchatka Gale and Tropical Storm Kammuri - see details below). No swell producing fetch of interest was associated with either. Another weak high at 1220 mbs was off Japan. And Typhoon Phanfone continued developing south of Japan.
Over the next 72 hours weak high pressure is to hold off the Pacific Northwest coast, but no gradient not local fetch is expected to result (meaning no local windswell is forecast). No other fetch is forecast over the greater North Pacific either. A small area of 30 kt northwest winds is forecast 1400 nmiles northwest of Hawaii on Fri PM (10/3) producing 17 ft seas at 42N 175W on the 325 degree path to Hawaii good for maybe some background windswell, but that's it.
A small storm developed from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong just off Kamchatka on Fri PM (9/26) with 50 kt northwest winds and 30 ft seas over a tiny area at 47N 160E targeting Hawaii. This system started fading Sat AM (9/27) with 45 kts northwest winds and seas peaking at 36 ft at 44N 166E targeting Hawaii down the 315 degree track and 2200 nmiles out, a long ways away given this systems footprint. Fetch was fading from 30 kts in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 44N 174E (321 degs HI). 24 ft seas from previous fetch made it to 44N 180W Sun AM (9/28) before fading out. Some swell production is expected relative to Hawaii.
Hawaii: Swell dissipating from 4 ft @ 11 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) Fri AM (10/3). Swell Direction: 315-320 degrees
Tropical Storm Kammuri on Thursday (9/25) was about 900 nmiles southeast of Tokyo Japan with winds 35 kts and drifting north. No fetch was aimed at Hawaii. This system continued on this heading easing a bit to the northwest and slowly accelerated with winds building on Sat AM to 50 kts. On Sun AM (9/28) Kammuri started turning to the northeast with winds fading from 35-40 kts. On Monday (9/29) this system started redeveloping some with 45 kt westerly winds building in it's south quadrant getting traction on the oceans surface by evening producing theoretically a tiny area of 32 ft seas at 37N 155E aimed somewhat at Hawaii up the 303 degree path. By Tues AM (9/30) winds were fading from barely 40 kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 38N 163E (305 degs HI). A quick fade to follow with no additional swell production forecast. 23 ft seas fading in the evening at 39N 169E. A small pulse of swell is possible to result relative to Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Fri (10/3) at sunset with swell 1.8 ft @ 17 secs (3 ft faces). Swell building into Sat AM (10/4) at 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft faces). Swell continues on Sun (10/5) at 3.6 ft @ 12 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then rapidly fading. Swell Direction 303-305 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Tropical Storm Simon was located 125 nmiles west of Manzanillo Mexico tracking west-northwest at 10 kts with winds 35 kts. Simon is to continue on this track while slowly building moving just north of the Island of Socorro on Friday with winds 55 kts and 100 nmiles north of Clarion on Saturday AM (10/4) while reaching hurricane status (70 kts). A turn to the northwest is forecast with Simon at 23N 115.5W Sun AM (10/5) with winds 70 kts and 600 nmiles away from Dana Point on the 168 degree track (just inside the swell window). Assuming this occurs some degree of small 11 sec periods well could radiate up into Southern CA about 36 hrs later. A very quick fade is forecast with winds 60 kts on Mon AM (10/6) and fading fast.
Typhoon Phanfone was developing 300 nmiles north of Guam on Tues AM (9/30) with winds 45 kts (tropical storm status) tracking west-northwest. Steady strengthening continued into Thursday AM (10/2) with winds up to 110 kts positioned 900 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan. Phanfone was tracking northwest. Continued strengthening is forecast into Friday AM (10/3) with winds reaching 125 kts (minimal Super Typhoon status) with Phanfone starting to take a more northerly track. about 700 nmiles south of Kyoto Japan. By Saturday AM (10/4) Phanfone is to turn north with winds down to 100 kts and turning northeast, passing just south (100 nmiles offshore) of Central Japan Sat PM. Phanfone to accelerate while tracking northeast into the open Pacific Monday AM with winds down to 50 kts and forecast to merge with a gale tracking off Kamchatka (see Long Term forecast below).
And another tropical system was developing behind Phanfone but not yet at depression status.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (10/2) high pressure at 1024 mbs was ridging into British Columbia generating a pressure gradient along the North CA coast with north-northeast winds 20 kts and fading fast. The gradient is to be gone by evening. A very small version of that gradient is to re-emerge Sun (10/5) at 20 kts, then fade again later Monday. No real change is forecast until Thurs (10/9) when the gradient is to again develop, but small in coverage, but perhaps reaching down into Central CA waters late. Mainly low pressure in the Gulf is to be suppressing any large scale development of high pressure off the CA coast.
Surface Analysis - On Thursday (10/2) swell from a small gale that tracked northeast from Northern New Zealand was hitting the US West Coast (see New Zealand Gale below). Also swell from a storm that tracked east under New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealand Storm below), faded, then regenerated while tracking east-northeast was fading in Hawaii and starting to hit the US West coast.
Over the next 72 hours no swell production is forecast relative to our main forecast window.
But a gale formed south of Tasmania on Wed (10/1) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building to 37 ft in the evening at 52S 149E (207 degs Fiji) tracking decently up into the South Tasman Sea Thurs AM (10/2) with 35-40 kt southwest winds and 37 ft seas holding and moving to 49S 154E aimed decently up the 206 degree path to Fiji. In the evening 30-35 kt south-southwest winds are to be producing 32 ft seas tracking well up into the Tasman Sea at 43S 160E (207 degs Fiji).
At this point this seems like a sure bet. Swell is expected for Fiji with period starting at 20 secs arriving in Fiji on Sun 00Z GMT (10/5) (noontime local time) peaking near 17Z at 9.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (16.5 ft Hawaiian) (5 AM Monday 10/6 local time). Swell Direction: 206-207 degrees
Stronger New Zealand Gale
A tiny storm started developing southwest of Tasmania on Sun PM (9/21) with 50 kts west winds and seas 39 ft over a small area at 59S 139E (218 NCal and SCal and unshadowed). 45-50 kt west-southwest fetch built in coverage on Mon AM (9/22) while pushing east with 40 ft seas at 58S 150E (218 degs SCal and barely unshadowed, 217 degs NCal and unshadowed). Winds faded to 40 kts in the evening still aimed decently east-northeast with seas 37 ft at 58S 163E (214 degs SCal and shadowed, 213 degs NCal and barely unshadowed and moving into the HI swell window at 200 degs). 40 kt southwest winds held into Tues AM (9/23) with 36 ft seas at 57S 173E (211 degs NCal and partially shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed, 195 degs HI). But the Jason-2 satellite passed right over the core of the storm reporting seas 42 ft with a peak reading to 46 ft where the model suggested only 35 ft seas. You don't see that often. The model was under hyping the storm. Fetch was fading in the evening from 35 kts over a large area aimed northeast with seas fading from 34 ft at 55S 177W (190 degs HI, 208 degs NCal and shadowed, 210 degs SCal and still barely shadowed).
NCal: Swell peaking on Fri (10/3) at 2.4 ft @ 18 secs (4.3-5.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell still decent on Sat AM (10/4) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.8 ft with sets to 4.7 ft). Swell Direction: 211-216 degrees
SCal: Swell peaking on Fri (10/3) at 3 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0-5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell still decent on Sat AM (10/4) at 3.1 ft @ 16 secs (5 ft with sets to 6 ft). Swell Direction: 212-217 degrees
The remnants of this system started regenerating Wed PM (9/24) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas to 30 ft at 77S 168W. Thurs AM (9/25) 35-40 kt southwest winds were building over a decent sized area pushing east with seas 28 ft at 44S 161W (182 degs HI, 206 degs NCal and shadowed, 209 degs SCal and becoming unshadowed). 40 kt southwest fetch built into the evening with 32 ft seas at 43S 151W and moving out of the Hawaii swell window (201 degs NCal and unshadowed, 203 degs SCal). 40 kt west-southwest fetch covered a better area Fri AM (9/26) with 34 ft seas at 42S 140W (193 degs NCal, 194 degs SCal). In the evening fetch was tracking flat east with west winds 40 kts and 34 ft seas fading at 42S 134W (188 degs NCal, 189 degs SCal). More 16-17 sec period backfill energy possibly radiating north.
North CA: Swell arrival expected on Friday afternoon (10/3) peaking on Sat AM (10/4) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.8 ft with sets to 4.7 ft). Swell Direction 188-210 degrees focused on 198 degrees.
Southern CA: Swell arrival expected on Friday afternoon (10/3) peaking on Sat AM (10/4) at 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.1 ft with sets to 5.2 ft). Swell Direction 189-212 degrees focused on 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 a new gale is to start developing over Kamchatka on Sun (10/5) producing a solid area of 40 kt west winds in the evening over a decent sized area and moving over open waters south of the Western Aleutians reaching to the dateline and getting decent traction on the oceans surface. 28 ft seas building at 47N 165E (319 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). Fetch to build to near 45 kt in the evening then fading from 40 kt Mon AM (10/6) with seas building to 30 ft at 47N 169E (327 degs HI, 304 degs NCal). The gale is to collapse in the evening with no more sea production of interest forecast. If this were to occur some form of modest sized swell could result for Hawaii and the US West Coast. It's something to monitor.
The remnants of Typhoon Phanfone are to also be racing northeast and are to merge with the remnants of the Kamchatka Gale (above) starting Tuesday evening with 30-35 kt northwest winds extending from the Norther Kuril Islands to a point a bit east of the dateline with a core of 45 kt winds on the leading edge of this charge on the dateline. Seas building from 25 ft at 43N 179W targeting Hawaii. That fetch is to hold on Wed AM (10/8) with the leading fetch still at 45 kts pushing east generating a tiny area of 36 ft seas at 46N 173W (mostly bypassing the 336 degree route to Hawaii but targeting NCal well down the 300 deg great circle path). The leading fetch is to fade in the evening but 30-35 kt west fetch is to be covering large area from 170E to 168W near 44N with 25 ft seas at 44N 175E (314 degs HI) and 28 ft seas from previous fetch still up at 48N 168W (303 degs NCal). The 35 kt fetch is to hold near the dateline into Thurs AM (10/9) with 25 ft seas at 43N 178E (322 degs HI, 296 degs NCal) and continuing in the evening while falling southeast. If this were to occur some decent sized 14-15 sec periods well could result for Hawaii and less size for the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
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).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) On Thursday (10/2) the daily SOI was down to -4.45. The 30 day average was down some at -6.68 and the 90 day average was stable at -6.51. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a fading Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a fading Active Phase of the MJO. A high pressure regime has taken control south of Tahiti but is expected to fade on Sun (10/5) holding into late-Mon (10/6) with the daily SOI likely falling some.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated moderate west anomalies over the Maritime Continent turning neutral on the dateline and then light easterly from a point south of Hawaii to a point mid-way to the Galapagos. Neutral anomalies were east of there. A week from now (10/10) strong west anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent but up at 10N, with modest east anomalies on the equator reaching to the dateline dateline and holding south of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies to continue from there to the Galapagos. The current westerly anomalies co.cgied with a new wave of tropical development in the West Pacific suggests a westerly wind burst is occurring in the West Pacific. It started 9/28 and is projected holding to 10/9 near 130-150E. This is good news. The TOA array indicated moderate west anomalies over the western equatorial Pacific. It is presumed an Active Phase of the MJO is in control there. CDAS winds indicate westerly anomalies in the far West Pacific have been in.cgiay near 140E since at least 9/20 and are likely peaking now.
Looking at the trend over the past few months there has not been a extended period of enhanced trades so far this year, and we're over 268 days into the year. The trend is clearly towards westerly anomalies (suppressed trades) which suggests a bias towards El Nino. Big westerly wind bursts occurred Jan-April, followed by a neutral period May into early June. The TOA array surface sensors (the ground truth) indicated moderate westerly anomalies re-developed west of the dateline 6/25-7/6, then again 7/11-7/20, building into a WWB and holding through 8/10. Light westerly anomalies developed again 8/20-8/22, 8/29-9/2 and 9/10-9/17, and stronger 9/20-present west of the dateline. Neutral anomalies filled the gaps. Another Kelvin Wave (modest at this point) is in-flight associated with westerly anomalies during June, July into mid-August and continues to be fed up to the current date. Compared to La Nina where enhanced trades (20+ kts) would be blowing non-stop, we're in great shape and have been all year. No easterly anomalies of interest have occurred all year. It would be hard to make a case stating some flavor of weak El Nino was not in.cgiay at this point.
See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here .
The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 9/30 are generally in sync. They both suggest a weak Active MJO pattern over the West Pacific. The Statistic model depicts that Active Phase fading 10 days out and turning neutral while the Dynamic model suggests the Active Phase building to moderate strength 10-15 days out. We suspect the strength of this active Phase is likely a bit overhyped by the Dynamic model. The ultra long range upper level model run 10/2 depicts a moderate Active Phase over the West Pacific and forecast to push east through 10/22. A weak Inactive pulse to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/17 reaching the East Pacific 11/6. Another weak Active Phase to follow starting 11/6. Recent experience this year suggests this model overhypes any projected Inactive Phases. The models are calibrated assuming a neutral global weather pattern, and typically either overcall weather events during La Nina and undercall then during El Nino in the Pacific Basin. This suggests that warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some gentle guiding impact on the atmosphere above. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.
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. As of the most recent low res imagery (10/2) a moderately warm water regime remains in control of the equatorial East Pacific, down some from the peak of the Kelvin Wave eruptions in late June in the east, but up some since early Sept. TAO data suggests 1.0 deg C anomalies present from Central America to 115W fading to 0.5 deg out to 130W, and then 0.0-+0.5 degs above normal between 130W-180W, down some from last week. This is curious, but high res imagery also indicated the downturn in temps in the heart of the NINO 3.4 area. +1.0 deg anomalies held near 160E (Kelvin Wave Generation Area), suggesting more warm water is poised to track east. Contrary to expectation, warm water is NOT building on the surface in the NINO 3.4 region at the moment. But a new Kelvin Wave is poised to erupt over the Galapagos. Mixed signals continue.
Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water. There are virtually no signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California as would be expected this time of year. And serious warm water is entrenched along the California coast and building in coverage, the exact opposite of the trend of the past 3+ years. Waters temps in San Francisco are 62 degrees and holding solid. Very rare. But this is expected if El Nino were in.cgiay. This is significant in that is suggests the Gulf of Alaska High pressure system is much weakened relative to normal years, with north winds and upwelling much suppressed. The South Pacific is mostly normal/neutral except for cool water streaming off Southern Chile pushing west reaching up to the equator just south of Hawaii. But even the areal coverage of that pocket is in decline, suggesting a warm regime is getting the upper hand over the entire Pacific Basin. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific remains most impressive, while the South Pacific is starting to trend in the same direction.
Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator continue solidly warm. As of 10/2 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with an embedded pocket of +2-3 deg anomalies at 100-140W pushing up towards the Galapagos. This is great news indicating the pipe is open and a Kelvin Wave is in flight. The leading edge of this new Kelvin Wave is making quick advances now reaching the Galapagos. Satellite data from 9/25 depicts a broad area of +5 cm anomalies are covering the dateline region and tracking east reaching the Galapagos, indicative of a Kelvin Wave starting to impact that area. This is right as predicted. Other models collaborate the presumption of Kelvin Wave genesis. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (9/25) indicates this modest Kelvin Wave is developing in the west reaching east to 105W, with the cool upwelling Phase of the previous Kelvin Wave gone. Even better, a new Kelvin wave is building back at 145E-175W, in sync with the satellite data. It is assumed the light westerly anomalies and the recent WWB of late in the West Pacific are feeding more warm water into the pipe. At this time we are well over the proverbial 'hump'. As the first Kelvin Wave arrives at the Galapagos (~Sept 30), more warm water will reinforce the existing warm pool theoretically pushing things into minimal El Nino territory. And if a second Kelvin Wave is in development, then we are set into January. Of course that cannot be declared until the first Kelvin Wave hits, but everything is lining up. The quandary now is whether this will be a one year event, or something longer.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 9/26 suggests an unchanged pattern. The current is pushing west to east over the entire Pacific on and north of the equator focused on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) reaching into Central America. on and just south of the equator the current was generally pushing east to west. West anomalies were just north of the equator over the width of the equatorial Pacific strongest between 130-180W and increasing coverage. East anomalies were confined to the equator from mainly right at 180W. This data suggests a mixed picture but slightly better than the last update and improving incrementally. But it appears the easterly current is no longer overtaking the westerly component. A slight improvement.
Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 10/2 are stable and in an interesting way. It suggests water temps have built to +0.5 deg C and are to hold to early Oct then start increasing building to +1.0 deg C in mid-Nov (down from the +1.75 deg C predicted in May and then revised down to +1.55 deg C predicted in early July). But the real interesting part is that water temps are hold decently still at +0.9 into June 2015. This suggests that perhaps we are moving towards a multi-year warm event. See the chart based version here - link.
Analysis: A series of downwelling Kelvin Waves have been generated starting in Aug 2013, followed by a stronger one in Oct-Nov, and a massive one in Jan-April 2014. And now a weaker one is in flight starting July and continuing non-stop through the present date. The only interruptions have been when the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle took over. Water temps in the Galapagos-Ecuador-Peru triangle have held remarkably consistent from May-June 2014 onward, event during upwelling phases. Continued suppressed trades with embedded weak westerly anomalies developed in the West Pacific in July and have held through present time producing the latest Kelvin Wave with +3 degs C in flight now. Water temps have held in the Galapagos triangle in the +1.5 degree range for several months now. Certainly there is nor has been any signs of easterly anomalies or a shut down of the Kelvin Wave pipe for better than a year now. This is a huge step forward.
Assuming westerly anomalies continue in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (west of the dateline), more warm water will migrate east. This seems reasonable seeing how there has been virtually no easterly anomalies for the first 9 months of this year. And trades tend to weaken during Fall months in the northern hemi, meaning we're just now starting to reach the point in time where Westerly Wind Bursts should have the best support for development. Most El Nino's do not develop till the Fall, including the Super El Nino of '83/83. Only a few (namely the '97 Super El Nino) developed and survived strong through the summer and over the span of an entire year. A more 'normal' development life cycle would favor the alternating 'downwelling/upwelling' Kelvin Wave cycle. See currently Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here . Notice the alternating eastward migrating 'cool' and 'warm' cycles (upwelling/downwelling Kelvin Waves). Also note the CFSv2 model accurately depicted the upwelling Kelvin Wave Phase, with water temps in Nino1.2 fading in August then redeveloping in September.
Finally, there's the 'feedback loop' consideration. As far as we're concerned it is in.cgiay. The largest argument in favor of that is the total breakdown of the Gulf of Alaska high pressure system, resulting in very high water temps off California. Also the early season recurving of mult.cgie tropical low pressure systems tracking northeast off Japan bound for the dateline. And the pulse of tropical activity near Hawaii on the week of 8/4 and those systems continued evolution in the West Pacific is most telling. And then the near record pulse of tropical activity off Mexico (8/18-9/20) resulting in Lowell, Super Hurricane Marie, followed by Odile and Polo (though these last 2 produced no swell) and now Rachel. And then even a few inches of snow in the Sierra on Sept 27. The last time any of this happened was during the '97 and '83 El Ninos. The only argument against the feedback loop now is a west moving Pacific Counter Current.
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 can result. 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 from our perspective. 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. We have passed that threshold. As of 9/2, all the arguments against a feedback loop being in.cgiace were gone except the Pacific Counter Current.
Note that what we consider 'teleconnected' and what NOAA considers threshold El Nino conditions are two different things and serve different purposes. We are focused on monitoring weather events that contribute to the production of open ocean storms mainly in the Pacific Basin that may or may not have the same impacts as a full blown El Nino. So our criteria is certainly less than the threshold of NOAAs. That said, considering the size and duration of the westerly wind bursts in Jan-April, and the Kelvin Wave that preceded it, it seem hard to believe that at least some Pacific Basin wide 'change' was not already well entrenched even early this year, and had been developing since perhaps as early and Aug of 2013 (when the first Kelvin Wave of the series started taking shape). Monitoring the number, location and track of tropical systems in the North Pacific over October will help to put the final nail in coffin, though given the current track record, it is only a formality at this time. We will continue monitoring westerly wind anomalies and warm subsurface water buildup in and under the Kelvin Wave Generation area. Also monitoring of the NPac jetstream (which has already been productive) and Atlantic hurricane activity (which is nonexistent) are key. But at this time odds continue stacking up in favor that a global teleconnection is now established. If that's true, the focus then becomes estimating how deep the ENSO cycle will become, or whether it will stay shallow but transition into a multi-year event. At this time we're predisposed to the multiyear, Midoki scenario. And that is actually the better of all options.
At a minimum the ocean is well past recharge mode, with cold water from the multiyear 2010-2013 La Nina cycle dispersed and temperatures on the rise. Officially we are still in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern, with no El Nino in.cgiay. But given all current signs, from a winter storm and swell production perspective, atmospheric transition is well underway. Even if we never reach official El Nino status this is a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. Still lingering concerns about what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998) will temper our forecasts. .
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13
Beyond 72 hours no swell production is forecast.
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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Greg Long - To the Edge and Back, a Big Wave Journey: An edge-of-your-seat lecture tour of the world of gigantic waves, predator encounters, remote e.cgioration, high seas adventure and more, woven into a true-life saga celebrating a remarkable journey through life. Historic Cottage, San Clemente State Beach Campground, 225 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente, CA 92672. September 16, 2014 Lecture at 7:00 p.m., reception 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m and September 17, 2014 Lecture at 7:00 p.m., reception 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door. LIMITED SEATING Purchase Online: Tuesday, Sept. 16 th : www.greglong2.eventbrite.com Wednesday, Sept. 17th: www.greglong.eventbrite.com Seating on the Historic Cottage patio, under the stars. Parking included with lecture ticket price.
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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
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!
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table