Thursday, November 9, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.4 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.6 ft @ 10.5 secs from 24 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.8 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 12.6 secs from 217 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-10 kts. Water temperature 67.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.6 ft @ 11.9 secs from 274 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.6 ft @ 18.8 secs from 189 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.7 ft @ 18.8 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 0.9 ft @ 17.6 secs from 196 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.2 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 7.1 ft @ 10.5 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 6-8 kts. Water temp 60.1 degs.
Notes: Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
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.
On Thursday (11/9) in North and Central CA swell coming from the Gulf of Alaska was producing waves in the 2-3 ft overhead range and a bit on the weak side and warbled from southerly winds. Protected breaks were up to head high and clean but weak. At Santa Cruz surf was up to head high and gutless and warbled from southerly wind. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh to maybe waist high and clean and weak. In North Orange Co set waves were thigh high and clean and breaking on the beach. In San Diego surf was thigh high and clean and pushing from the south. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at knee to thigh high and nearly chopped early from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (11/9) swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska that fell south-southeast Mon-Thurs (11/9) producing 26-28 ft seas was hitting California but unimpressive. Down south a gale formed in the Central South Pacific on Wed (11/1) producing 27 ft seas aimed northeast then rebuilt Thurs (11/2) producing 34 ft seas over a small area aimed northeast towards California. That swell is poised to hit California starting later today. A small gale is forecast just west of the dateline on Sat (11/11) producing up to 23 ft seas aimed southeast towards Hawaii. Another gale is forecast to fall southeast through the Gulf Mon-Tues (11/14) producing barely 20 ft seas targeting the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA with secondary energy behind possibly generating a larger area of 23 ft seas on Thurs (11/16) just off Southern Oregon. Otherwise an unseasonably calm pattern is in control both north and south driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO and is expected to hold for the next several weeks.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (11/9) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan with winds to 110 kts reaching half way to the dateline then splitting with the northern branch ridging hard north up into the West Bering Sea then turning east tracking into Alaska and over the Alaska Coast before fully moving inland over Canada. The southern branch was weak and meandering east on the 28N latitude line eventually pushing into Central CA offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Sun (11/12) more of the same is forecast with the jet very weak and the split point holding its position with the northern branch entirely encased north of the Aleutians. But a backdoor trough is to develop in the northern Gulf on Fri (11/10) falling south while being fed by 100 kt winds pushing into North Oregon on Mon (11/13) possibly fueling low pressure development in the Northeastern Gulf. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with another backdoor trough forecast forming off Northern Canada falling south Mon-Wed (11/15) being fed by 120 kt northerly winds offering somewhat better support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere but mostly tucked up along the Canadian coast limiting exposure of the resulting fetch. Also on Tues (11/14) a steep trough is forecast developing just west of the dateline diving south to 23N while nearly pinching off on Wed (11/15) being fed by 120 kt winds offering very limited support for gale development targeting maybe Hawaii. But that trough is to fully pinch off and become cut off on Thurs (11/16) with support for gale development dissipating. A return to a split pattern looks to follow.
On Thursday (11/9) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in effect other than low pressure that was fading just off the Pacific Northwest Coast associated with a backdoor gale (see Backdoor Gulf Gale).
Over the next 72 hours another weak backdoor trough/low pressure system is to develop in the Northern Gulf on Sat AM (11/11) producing 30 kt northwest winds over a small area falling southeast. that fetch is to continue into the evening while falling south to a point well off Oregon with 19 ft seas at 46N 149W aimed midway between Hawaii and California. This system is to fall southeast on Sun AM (11/12) while dissipating with north winds 25-30 kts and seas fading from 17 ft at 41N 147W aimed like before. Maybe some sideband windswell to result for Hawaii and California.
Also on Fri PM (11/10) a gale is forecast developing in the West Pacific just west of the dateline and pretty far south generating 35 kt northwest winds aimed decently at Hawaii with 18 ft seas building at 35N 167E. On Sat AM (11/11) 30-35 kt northwest winds are to build aimed well west with 22 ft seas over a small area at 36N 167E. In the evening 35 kt west winds to fall southeast with 23 ft seas moving east to 33.5N 172E still targeting Hawaii. Fetch is to dissipate Sun AM (11/12) with 20 ft seas fading at 34N 175E. Small swell is possible moving towards Hawaii.
Backdoor Gulf Gale
A small gale started developing in the extreme Northern Gulf of Alaska on Mon AM (11/6) generating a tiny area of 40 kt north winds with seas building. In the evening the gale built some more producing a broader area of 40 kt north winds while falling south with seas to 26 ft at 51N 148W (316 degs NCal). On Tues AM (11/7) north winds were 35-40 kts over a better sized area off British Columbia with 28 ft seas at 49N 148W (311 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to continue falling south-southeast at 40 kts and a bit better organized with seas building to 28 ft at 46N 147W (306 degs NCal). The gale is to be off the CA-Oregon border Wed AM (11/8) tracking east with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 27 ft at 42N 144W (294 degs NCal). The gale is to fade from there with west winds 30 kts in the evening just off North CA and 23 ft seas at 39N 136W (288 degs NCal). Possible northwest angled swell to result for Oregon down into CA late in the workweek but likely accompanied by weather. Sideband swell is possible for Hawaii late in the workweek too. Something to monitor.
Hawaii (Oahu): Expect swell arrival on Thurs (11/9) pushing 3.0 ft @ 16 secs at sunset (4.8 ft). On Fri (11/10) swell is to peak mid-morning at 5.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (7.0 ft) holding decently through sunset. Swell fading Sat AM (11/11) from 3.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (11/12) fading from 3.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 10-15 degrees.
North CA: Swell arrived on Thurs (11/9) and is to peak mid-day pushing 8.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (10 ft) from 310 degrees and lesser period energy from 290 degrees. Swell fading Fri (11/10) from 6.2 ft @ 11-12 secs (7.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (11/11) fading from 4.8 ft @ 10 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction 287 & 310 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/9) low pressure at 990 mbs was 300 nmiles west of the Oregon-Washington border generating a modest 15 kt southwest flow from Pt Arena northward and mostly 10 kts from Big Sur north to Pt Arena and forecast holding through the day. Light rain was possible in patches from Morro Bay northward retreating northward through the day. Light snow only for the highest elevations of the Tahoe area. The low is to move onshore over Central Oregon on Fri (11/10) with a weak westerly flow continuing mainly north of the Golden Gate and fading below 15 kts for Cape Mendocino by 10 AM. Light rain possible from the Golden Gate northward clearing at sunset. High pressure is to be getting a toe in the door in Southern CA with northwest winds 15 kts in patches mostly outside the Channel Islands. A light wind pattern is to set up Saturday (other than north winds 15 kts for Pt Conception), then south winds again start building to 20 kts for Pt Arena northward early Sun (11/12) as another low and associated front builds just off the coast. Rain building southward over North CA through the day into the evening reaching San Francisco Monday AM (11/13). Southwest winds continue at 15 kts for North CA from Pt Arena northward and very light south winds from the Golden Gate to Pt Arena. Light rain pushes south Monday to Monterey Bay in the afternoon. Light snow for the higher elevations of Tahoe start mid-morning Monday continuing through early evening. Tuesday (11/14) another front stalls over the Oregon-Ca border with south winds for Cape Mendocino at 15+ kts and north winds 20 kts for Pt Conception building north to Monterey Bay at 15 kts late afternoon. No rain for the state but light rain for Cape Mendocino builds Tuesday evening. Wednesday the front pushes south from Cape Mendocino to Big Sur late afternoon with south winds 15 kts followed by north winds behind the front at 15-20 kts. Rain builds south Wednesday from Pt Arena to Pt Conception at sunset. A more solid snow event is possible for the entire Sierra Wednesday evening then clear by sunrise Thursday (11/16). High pressure is to be ridging weakly into North CA with north winds 20 kts for Pt Conception up to Monterey Bay and light winds from SF up to Pt Arena. 15 kt south winds north of there. Light rain early for Cape Mendocino and fading.
On Thursday (11/9) small swell from a gale that tracked through the South Central Pacific was radiating north poised to hit California (see South Central Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast. That said a small gale was tracking south of New Zealand Thurs AM (11/9) with 40 kt southwest winds and 32 ft seas over a tiny area at 52S 168E barely in the HI swell window. By evening fetch and seas area to dissipate. Low odds of tiny swell resulting for Hawaii a week out.
South Central Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Tues PM (10/31) producing a small area of 40 kt southwest winds with seas starting to build. On Wed AM (11/1) south winds built in coverage at 35-40 kts aimed north with seas to 26 ft at 48S 150W over a small area. Fetch is to track east in the evening at 35 kts with 26 ft seas moving to 46S 143W. On Thurs AM (11/2) fetch was rebuilding with south winds near 50 kts and seas 27 ft over a building area at 48S 135W targeting California well. Fetch is to be falling southeast and having less coverage in the evening at barely 45 kts with seas 33 ft over a tiny area retreating from 50S 130W. On Fri AM (11/3) secondary fetch of 30-35 kts is to be feeding into the gales core from the southwest and seas building to 24 ft at 47S 130W aimed northeast well. In the evening that fetch is to build to 45 kts well to the north over a tiny area with seas 30 ft over a small area at 40N 130W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (11/4) a tiny area of 45-50 kt west winds are to hold while tracking east with seas building to 31 ft over a small area at 42S 118W and starting to move out of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. Beyond this system is to be tracking east and out of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile. Something to monitor.
Southern CA: Small swell is to be building starting Thurs (11/9) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4.0-4.5). Swell to continue Fri (11/10) at 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell continues on Sat (11/11) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (11/12) from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (11/13) from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
North CA: Swell is to be building starting Fri (11/10) pushing 2.2 ft @ 18 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell to continue Sat (11/11) at 3.1 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (11/12) from 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). swell fading Mon (11/13) from 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 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 yet another backdoor gale is forecast in the Northeastern Gulf on Mon AM (11/13) producing a broader area of 30-35 kt northwest winds with seas building. In the evening 30-35 kt northwest winds are to be filling the area from Alaska southeast to Oregon with seas 18-19 ft at 47N 140W tracking southeast. On Tues AM (11/14) 30 kt northwest winds to hold over the Pacific Northwest (off Oregon) with 20 ft seas at 44N 133W (315 degs NCal). This system to fade from there. But a secondary pulse of wind energy is forecast building in the same area Wed AM (11/15) with winds almost 30 kts building in the evening to 35 kts solid targeting Southern Oregon and North CA with seas building from 18-21 ft at 43N 135W before moving inland over South Oregon Thurs AM (11/16). Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
The models suggest a gale forming southeast of New Zealand on Tues (11/14) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas 29 ft at 59S 178W tracking east-northeast. The gale is to continue in the evening with winds 40 kts over a small but decent sized area aimed northeast with seas 30 ft over a tiny area at 55S 160W. More of the same is forecast into Wed PM (11/15) with 30 ft seas fading at 52S 140W. Something to monitor but not believable.
More details to follow...
La Nina Pulsing - Cool Pool Well Entrenched
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 equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing 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, 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 in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (11/8) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light over the East Pacific but moderate easterly from 140W extending over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (11/9) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA but focused mainly over the East KWGA. Anomalies are to hold in the strong category till 11/10 then slowly moderating some but still present through the end of the model run on 11/16. The first Active Phase of the MJO in months is gone and the Inactive Phase is solidly in control.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 11/8 a weak Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was over the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase fading 8 days out on the dateline while a modest Active Pattern builds over the far West Pacific taking over at the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/9) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the East Indian Ocean and forecast to hold while tracking east over the West Pacific and stalling there 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests a variant of the same thing but with the Active Phase a little weaker in the West Pacific 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/9) This model depicts a modest Inactive/Dry pattern fading over the East Pacific and is to be gone moving east of Central America 11/14. A weak Active/Wet Phase was developing in the far West Pacific and is to push east into Central America through 12/4. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow moving into the West Pacific 11/29 and pushing east nearly reaching Central America at the end of the model run on 12/19. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/9) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO exiting the KWGA to the east and the Inactive Phase building over the West KWGA with east anomalies in control of the core of the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to build east and hold through 12/19 with east anomalies fading and gone by 11/12 followed by mostly neutral anomalies taking root after that. Finally the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/14 and building with west anomalies in the KWGA 12/25 and holding earnest through 1/28/18. After that the Inactive Phase is to again develop 1/25 and building east through the end of the model run 2/6. The low pass filter indicates a modest El Nino/low pressure signal over the extreme west KWGA and it is to ease east filling the KWGA by Jan 28. A La Nina/high pressure signal is over the East KWGA at 170E and is to move east into the East Pacific and no longer in the KWGA by Jan 1. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. This suggest that as winters builds (typically the peak of La Nina in the jan timeframe), support for La Nina will be fading. But it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond to whatever happens in the atmosphere, so this winter is lost to La Nina regardless of what the low pass filter indicates. No significant oceanic change is expected until likely early April 2018. Even at that it will take about 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops. So a neutral ENSO pattern is likely to develop.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/9) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 degs centered at 160E with a hint of 30 degs temp creeping in from the west. The 28 deg isotherm line is retrograding west slightly to 167W. The 24 deg isotherm is weak at 130W today and shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to weakly negative temperatures at the surface and down to -3 degs C down 100 meters at between 130-150W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool at 150W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/4 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between 90W to 160W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/4) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 150W.
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: (11/8) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed. Upwelling continues solidly along Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to 140W. The cool pool continues west from there. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/8): A neutral trend was along Peru. But a building cool trend is indicated starting just off the Galapagos continuing west to 140W. It looks like La Nina is pulsing.
Hi-res Overview: (11/8) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru and building in coverage, then turning northwest off Ecuador tracking west over the Galapagos and building out to 150W and stronger than days past. Weak cool anomalies continued west from there out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/9) Today's temps were rising slightly to -1.547, warmer than the -2.248 low point reached 3 days ago (11/5) and that was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/9) temps were steady at -0.829 a little above the lowest temp reached so far at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a steadying pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/7) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.5 in early Oct to -1.1 in late Dec and holding through Jan. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.35 in April and 0.0 degs in July 2018. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (10/13) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume updated (11/7) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.7 degs in Oct and holding through Dec, then slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.85 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/9): The daily index was rising at 10.69. The 30 day average was steady at 7.87. The 90 day average was rising at +8.22. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/9) The index was falling slightly at -1.14 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is stable for now. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). 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 strongly suggests that could be a possibility. 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