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 Saturday (11/1) in North and Central CA surf was surf was 3 ft overhead and a bit warbled but semi-lined up, coming from the Gulf, but lumpy and raw even though wind was near calm nearshore at the moment. Down in Santa Cruz surf was head high and reasonably clean, but gutless and unfocused. In Southern California up north surf was knee high on the sets and nearly unrideable looking like pure windswell. Wind was calm and conditions clean but there was alot of bump in the water. Down south waves were waist to chest high and disorganized with alot of lump and bump in the water with near chop starting to develop coming from the northwest. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Gulf sideband windswell from the north with waves 2 ft overhead and clean but with tradewind generated cross-warble in it. The South Shore was near flat and clean. On the East Shore was getting the Gulf sideband swell too with waves shoulder to head high and chopped by easterly trades. .
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
Unfocused short period swell from a weak gale that fell southeast through the Gulf of Alaska Wed-Fri (10/31) generating 20-24 ft seas was hitting California with sideband energy hitting Hawaii. Nothing remarkable though. Another gale was tracking east through the Northern Gulf Fri-Sat (11/1) with seas peaking at 24 ft aimed mainly at Central Canada. Sideband swell is expected to result for CA with more direct energy for the Pacific Northwest. Longer term a gale is forecast off Kamchatka on Wed (11/5) with 23 ft seas pushing into the Western Gulf on Fri (11/7) with 22 ft seas fading but being reinforced by another Gulf developing on the dateline-Western Gulf by the weekend with 26-28 ft seas. And the tropics in the West Pacific are stating to turn active again. It appears the MJO is coming out of it's it's Inactive state offering a better pattern to look forward too.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Jetstream - On Saturday (11/1) the jet was not .cgiit but not exactly cohesive either, running flat east over a broad area on the 45N latitude line from North Japan to North CA with a trough pushing directly over San Francisco early. Otherwise winds were peaking at up to 110 kts over the Western Gulf with no troughs or support for gale development indicated. Over the next 72 hours winds to build to 150 kts over Japan ridging northeast pushing to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians then falling hard south forming a steep trough in the Western Gulf on Tues AM 911/4) with 160 kts winds falling into that trough offering decent support for gale development. 160 kt winds to be ridging some out of the trough pushing up into Vancouver Island. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to start pinching off while pushing east on Wednesday but with the ridge near the dateline collapsing, with 160 kts winds pushing flat east off the Southern Kurils falling into a broad and weak trough in the Gulf. Winds to build to 180+ kts early Friday (11/7) feeding the developing trough in the Western Gulf, but then almost pinching off on Saturday while pushing east, but with another pocket of 160 kts winds pushing east over the dateline likely starting to form yet another trough in the Gulf. Decent support for gale development possible.
Surface Analysis - On Saturday (11/1) swell from a gale that tracked trough the Gulf earlier in the week was hitting California (see Gulf Gale below).
A new gale developed in the Eastern Bering Sea on Thurs PM (10/30) with a small area of 45 kts west winds on the intersection of the dateline and just south of the Aleutians generating a tiny area of 26 ft seas at 49N 178W (334 degs HI, 306 degs NCal). On Fri AM (10/31) the core of the gale lifted north into the Bering Sea with 30-35 kt west winds barely getting exposure south of the Central Aleutians generating a small area of 24 ft seas up at 52N 170W (308 degs NCal). This fetch pushed east in the evening with 35 kt west winds covering a better area south of the East Aleutians generating a broad area of 20-22 ft seas at 52N 170W (310 degs NCal). By Sat AM (11/1) 35 kt west winds were holding while pushing quickly east with 24 ft seas at 52N 160W (310 degs NCal, 358 degs HI). A quick fade to follow with winds 30 kts in the evening and 23 ft seas at 52N 151W (312 degs NCal). Small swell is already in the water pushing towards Hawaii and California.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (11/4) with pure swell building to 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft) later. Swell fading on Wed AM (11/5) from 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (5 ft). Swell Direction:320-330 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on late Monday (11/3) after sunset with swell building from 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces). Swell to peak on Tues AM (11/4) near 5 ft @ 14 secs (7 ft faces) but shadowed in the SF Bay area. Residuals fading on Wed AM (11/5) from 5.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (6 ft faces). Swell Direction: 308-310 degrees
A new gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Tues AM (10/28) with 30 kt winds building over a solid area and falling southeast with seas 20 ft at 50N 161W (357 degs HI, 307 degs NCal). Winds built in the evening to 30-35 kts falling further south with 19 ft seas at 48N 161W (360 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). On Wed AM (10/29) 35-40 kt northwest winds started falling into the Northern Gulf with seas up to 23 ft in the Northwestern Gulf tracking southeast at 50N 156W targeting Hawaii (360 degs) and the US West Coast (NCal 308 degs). More of the same occurred in the evening with 30-35 kt northwest winds falling southeast and 24 ft seas at 48N 152W (306 degs NCal). 30-35 kt northwest winds continued moving more to the Central Gulf on Thurs AM (10/30) with 23 ft seas at 45N 145W (302 degs NCal). A small area of 30 kt residual northwest winds to hold in the evening off North CA with 21 ft seas at 43N 142W (296 degs NCal). By Fri AM (10/31) the gale is to be dissolving off Cape Mendocino with 25 kt northwest winds generating 19 ft seas at 40N 136W (290 degs NCal, 300 degs SCal). 25 kt northwest winds to push to within 400 nmiles of Central CA in the evening with 17 ft seas at 38N 132W (295 degs SCal). The remnant low is to move inland over North CA late Friday into Sat AM (11/1). Raw local swell possible for North and Central CA on Saturday (11/1).
NCal: Residual swell fading on Sun AM from 7 ft @ 11-12 secs (7.5-8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297-306 degrees
Southern CA: Swell peaking Sun AM (11/2) at 3.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft faces). Residuals fading Mon AM (11/3) from 3.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 295-300+ degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Tropical Depression Vance was located 300 nmiles south of Acapulco Mexico on Thurs AM (10/30) tracking west with winds 30 kts. By Saturday AM (11/1) this system was at minimal tropical storm status (35 kt winds) and ill defined tracking northwest. Vance is to theoretically build over the coming days to hurricane status by Mon AM (11/3) with winds 65 kts and turning north at 14.5N 111W Mon AM (11/3) with winds 65 kts and positioned 1200 nmiles from Pt Dume and on the 158 degree track. It is to be barely east of the swell window for Dana Point assuming all this comes to pass. Vance to then accelerate to the northeast moving out of the swell window and into Manzatlan Mexico Thurs (11/6) at depression status.
Tropical Storm Nuri was in the far West Pacific about 600 nmiles east of the Central Philippines with winds 60 kts tracking northwest. A turning to the north is expected in the next 24 hours with winds building to typhoon force. Nuri is forecast building through Monday peaking then with winds 115 kts off the Northern Philippines. A steady track to the north-northeast is expected with Nuri 300 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan on Thurs AM (11/6) with winds 75 kts. From there a quick recurve to the east-northeast is forecast with Nuril turning extratropical and building quickly on the dateline on Sat (11/9). Something to monitor.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (11/1) low pressure was pushing into North and Central CA with high pressure queued up behind it. Low pressure was in the Northern Gulf. 6-8 inches of snow fell in Tahoe associated with low pressure moving inland. On Sunday high pressure is to be ridging into the North CA coast with north winds 15-20 kts along the North and Central coast. Those winds to fade through the day Monday down to 10-15 kts limited to Central CA on Tuesday. An offshore flow is to set up on Wednesday while low pressure builds off the North Coast lifting north. Light winds to continue early Thursday but then building to north winds at 15 kts Friday. Winds to die back to calm Saturday Coast from Snow is forecast for the Sierra starting Fri 11 PM continuing into Sat evening (1 ft to 18 inches above 7,000 ft). High pressure and north winds to build behind starting Sat AM for all of Central CA in the 15-20 kt range continuing into Mon AM (11/3). High pressure is to start pushing inland over North CA Tues AM (11/4) with winds fading and holding through Thurs (11/6).
Surface Analysis - A gale with 40 ft seas at 44S 150E (213 degs Fiji) was tracking under Tasmania on Tues AM (10/28) then pushing east-northeast reaching the mid-Tasman Sea in the evening with 34 ft seas at 41S 159E (210 degs Fiji), then quickly faded. Swell hit Fiji on Fri-Sat (11/1). Limited filtered background energy to reach Hawaii too starting late Tues (11/4) at 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) continuing Wed (11/5) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft) from 216 degrees.
And a second system developed right behind with 40 ft seas southwest of Tasmania on Wed AM at 55S 141E (2600 nmiles from Fiji on the 211 degree path). It tracked east with seas fading from 36 ft Wed PM at 54S 151E (2350 nmiles from Fiji on the 208 deg path). A quick fade followed. Another small pulse of smaller swell to result for Fiji arriving noon on Sun (11/2) with period 20 secs and size tiny peaking near 8 AM Mon (11/3) at 4.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (7.5-8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 208-209 degrees. Limited size expected for Hawaii starting Thurs (11/6) at 1.1 ft @ 17-18 secs (2 ft) continuing on Fri (11/7) at 1.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a new cold core gale is to be developing in the North China Sea with fetch easing east reaching the open Northwest Pacific Tues PM (11/4) with west winds 35 kts and seas building from 23 ft at 47N 160E. Winds to build to hold at 35 kts easing somewhat east off the Kamchatka Peninsula Wed AM (11/5) with 23 ft seas over a solid area at 48N 165E (323 degs HI, 307 degs NCal). Fetch is to be pushing into the Central Aleutians bound for the Bering Sea at 30 kt in the evening with 23 ft seas at 51N 172E (330 degs HI, 307 degs NCal).
A new gale is to develop on the dateline on Thurs AM (11/6) from the remnants of the Kamchatka gale forming a solid fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii and California well. Seas building from 22 ft generally at 47N 175W. 30-35 kt northwest winds to persist in the Western Gulf in the evening with 23 ft seas at 47N 168W (340 degs HI, 300 degs NCal). Fetch to fade Fri AM (11/7) from 35 kts with seas fading from 22 ft at 45N 162W (296 degs NCal).
Yet a stronger and broader gale is to form just south of the Aleutians west of the dateline on Friday AM (11/7) in association with the developing extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nuri with winds to 40 kts from the west and seas on the increase. Northwest winds to build to 45 kts over a broad area imbedded in a large area of 30-35 kt northwest winds on the dateline moving to the Western Gulf with seas 24 ft and building quickly. On Sat AM (11/8) a solid are of 45 kt northwest winds is forecast aimed well at the US West Coast with sideband energy at Hawaii producing 36 ft seas at 47N 175W (301 degs HI). 50 kt west winds to build in the evening just south of the Aleutian in the Western Gulf generating 40 ft seas at 51N 168W (308 degs NCal). 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 Saturday (11/1) the daily SOI was up some at 3.37. The 30 day average was holding at -7.98 and the 90 day average was steady at -8.47. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a steady weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady-state Active Phase of the MJO. A weak low pressure cell was starting to develop south of Tahiti on Sat (11/1) and is forecast building/holding into Fri (11/7) with 30 day average SOI numbers expected to hold.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated westerly anomalies over the far west Maritime Continent with east anomalies over the eastern Maritime Continent extending to the dateline. Light east anomalies were on the dateline then turning neutral south of Hawaii continuing to the Galapagos. A week from now (11/9) light east anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent fading to neutral over the dateline holding south of Hawaii with light westerly anomalies from there into the Galapagos. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated a small area of west anomalies at 160E but likely fading. It started 10/16 and was holding through 10/31. It is presumed an Active Phase of the MJO was all but gone supporting west anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area, ar least for the moment.
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 304 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, 9/10-9/17, and stronger 9/20-10/8 (a WWB) west of the dateline with another 10/12-10/31 on the dateline. Neutral anomalies filled the gaps. A modest Kelvin Wave is impacting the Galapagos associated with westerly anomalies during June, July into mid-August. And another Kelvin Wave is developing in the dateline region being fed by westerly anomalies in October there. That's two WWBs over the past 20+ days. 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 10/31 are generally in sync. They both suggest a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO pattern over the far West Pacific. The Statistic model depicts this pattern fading to dead neutral 5 days out and holding for the next 15 days. The Dynamic model has an Inactive Phase rebuilding 5 days out and building 15 day out. The ultra long range upper level model run on 11/1 depicts a weak Active pulse in the far West Pacific pushing east through 11/26. A dead neutral pattern to follow through 12/11. 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 (10/30) 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 and still building slowly. Warm pockets are building from 100W to 140W, likely the result of the first of a pair of Kelvin Waves impacting the Galapagos region (as expected). TAO data suggests 0.5-1.0 deg C anomalies present from the Galapagos to 140W, fading to just below 0.5 degs west from there to the dateline. +1.0 deg C anomalies are present west of the dateline. Hi res data suggests a string of pockets of +2.0 deg anomalies from the Galapagos to 125W (the new Kelvin Wave erupting there) with some now to nearly +4 deg C (10/27), and then 1.25-1.5 deg pockets from 155W to well west of the dateline (Kelvin Wave Generation Area), suggesting more warm water is poised to track east. It now appears warm water is building on the surface in the NINO 3.4 region based on TAO and hi res imagery.
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. 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.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 near 140W. The significant feature of late is that this pocket is in rapid decline and being r.cgiaced with normal if not slightly warmer than normal waters. Given this situation, it suggesting a warm regime is getting the upper hand over the entire Pacific Basin, rather than isolated only to the North Pacific as it has been most of this year. 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 11/1 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with one embedded pocket of +4 deg anomalies at 170W with a steady stream of +2.0 deg anomalies pushing east from there into the Galapagos. This is good news in that it indicates the pipe is open and at least one if not two Kelvin Waves are in flight. The leading edge of the first Kelvin Wave is almost fully erupted over the Galapagos. Satellite data from 10/25 depicts a broad area of +5 cm anomalies are covering the entire equatorial Pacific from New Guinea to the Galapagos, indicative of mult.cgie Kelvin Waves in flight pushing east. Other models collaborate the presumption of Kelvin Wave genesis. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (10/25) indicates the first modest Kelvin Wave has developed in the west reaching east to 100W but is making no easterly headway and now confirmed to be erupting to the surface there. A bit of a cooling followed (the presumable upwelling phase) and a new Kelvin wave started building back at 145E-160W in Sept and is now pushing east reaching to 160W (10/25). It is assumed steady light westerly anomalies and 2 recent WWBs events over the past 20 days are feeding more warm water into the pipe. At this time we are well over the proverbial 'hump' and some sort of warm event is underway. As the first of the pair of Kelvin Waves arrives at the Galapagos now, more warm water will reinforce the existing warm pool theoretically pushing things into minimal El Nino territory. And when the second Kelvin Wave pushes east (about 3 months from now or Jan 20) then we are set. Of course what is good enough to feed storm develop and what constitutes an official El Nino are two different things. We are focused on the former. The quandary now is whether this will be a one year event, or something longer.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 10/6 suggests an unchanged pattern. The current is pushing west to east over the entire Pacific north of the equator focused on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) reaching into Central America. If anything it's moving into the moderate to strong category from the West Pacific to a point south of Hawaii. On and just south of the equator the current was generally pushing east to west in the moderate category. Anomaly wise - west anomalies were just north of the equator over the width of the equatorial Pacific strongest between 130E-170E and in pockets reaching to the Galapagos. There were no significant east anomalies indicated. This data suggests a somewhat mixed picture but continued slightly better than the last update and improving incrementally
Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 11/1 are stable. It suggests water temps are +0.5 deg C and are to hold between there and +0.65 degs through April 2015. But the real interesting part is that water temps are to start building from +0.8 degs in May 2015, pushing +1.5 degs C by July. This suggests that perhaps we are moving towards a multi-year warm event. See the chart based version here - link.
Analysis: A downwelling Kelvin Wave was generated and pushed east starting in Aug 2013, followed by a stronger one in Oct-Nov, and a massive one in Jan-April 2014. A weaker one followed in July with yet a modestly stronger one building under the dateline in October. 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, even 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. Evidence of such includes a 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 finally Rachel. And then even a few inches of snow in the Sierra on Sept 27 and again on Oct 15 and again in late Oct. The last time any of this happened was during the '97 and '83 El Ninos. And mult.cgie recurving tropical systems pushed off Japan reaching the Gulf of Alaska in October (Fengshen and Vongfong). The only argument against the feedback loop now is a weak west moving Pacific Counter Current (rather than flowing east).
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 producing fetch of interest 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table