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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2023 1:31 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.1 - California & 2.2 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 11/27 thru Sun 12/3
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

North Dateline Storm Up First
Strong Gulf Storm to Follow

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 8.0 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 15.8 secs from 251 degrees. Water temp 79.0 (Barbers Pt), 78.4 (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 9.1 secs from 93 degrees. Water temp 78.8 degs
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 9.0 secs from 67 degrees. Water temp 78.6 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 12.7 secs from 270 degrees. Wind west at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 62.8 degs, 61.9 (Harvest 071), 62.4 (Topanga 103), 63.0 (Long Beach 215), 62.6 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 61.9 (Del Mar 153), 63.0 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.4 ft @ 12.2 secs from 288 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 3.2 ft @ 12.7 secs from 275 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 12.5 secs from 256 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.2 secs from 245 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.5 ft @ 13.6 secs from 275 degrees. Water temperature was 62.4 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 10.5 secs from 275 degrees. Wind east at 20-23 kts (46026) and east-southeast at 19-22 kts (1801589). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 58.8 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 56.3 (San Francisco 46026), 56.1 (SF Bar 142), 60.1 (1801589) and NA (Monterey Bay 46042).

See 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Wednesday (11/29) in North and Central CA waves were head high but up to 2 ft overhead on the peak at top spots on the sets and lined up and clean but soft with some gentle warble running through it. Protected breaks were shoulder to head high and lined up with decent form and clean but soft. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high on the sets and lined up but real soft and warbled from wind off the coast. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to chest high and lined up with decent form and clean but soft. Central Orange County had sets at chest to head high and lined up and clean with decent form with calm winds and clean early. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at waist to maybe chest high and lined up and clean but very soft. North San Diego had sets at shoulder to head high and lined up with decent form when they came and clean but soft. Oahu's North Shore had waves at waist to maybe chest high and lined up and super clean but soft and inconsistent. The South Shore was flat and wind blown with south winds. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at thigh to waist high and clean from south wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (11/29) local windswell was hitting exposed breaks in California originating from low pressure just off the coast. Hawaii was getting no swell of interest. Another gale is to develop off Kamchatka tracking east Wed-Thurs (11/30) with up to 45 ft seas aimed east barely making it to the dateline. Perhaps a small system to develop in the Northern Gulf on Fri (12/1) with 26 ft seas over a tiny area aimed southeast. And a stronger system is to possibly develop while moving east through the Central Gulf Sat-Mon (12/4) producing up to 42 ft seas aimed east. And yet maybe more is possible pushing off Japan beyond. The El Nino base state is slowly and steadily becoming more productive.

See all the details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

On Wednesday (11/29) the jet was consolidated pushing east-northeast off Japan with winds 150 kts ridging gently up to a point just south of the Central Aleutians then falling hard south to a point just west of Hawaii forming a trough but also losing alot of energy likely not doing much to support gale development. Form there the remnants limped east pushing over Baja. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to continue pushing hard east reaching the Gulf of Alaska and poised to move inland over South Oregon on Fri (12/1) with winds 130 kts and up to 160 kts off Japan. The little trough west of Hawaii is to become cut off from the main flow offering nothing but local weather for the Islands and then dissipating on Sat (12/2) as the main flow to the north takes over. But still not troughs are forecast in that flow. Beyond 72 hours finally a trough is to form in the flow in the Northwestern Gulf later Sun (12/3) being fed by 150 kts winds building to 180 kt winds early Tues (12/5) offering great support for gale development. And another trough is to develop then just west of the dateline with a third developing over Japan. All 3 are to track east into Wed (12/6) embedded in a healthy consolidated jetstream flow tracking west to east the whole way across the Pacific running generally on the 35-40N latitude line. It looks like a definite hint of an El Nino fueled jetstream flow.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (11/29) no swell of interest was hitting our forecast locations (Hawaii and California).

Over the next 72 hours a broad system is to be building while pushing off the Kuril Islands on Wed AM (11/29) with 45 kt west winds and seas 26 ft at 47.5N 161.5E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to rapidly build to 60-65 kts pushing east half way to the dateline with seas 44 ft at 49.75N 168.5E aimed east. Thurs AM (11/30) fetch fades from the west at 45 kts just south of the Central Aleutians with seas 43 ft at 51N 176.5E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts over a broadish area on the North Dateline with seas 33 ft at 50.5N 176.5W aimed east. On Fri AM (12/1) residual fetch is to be fading from 35 kts on the North Dateline region with seas fading from 27 ft at 51.75N 170.75W aimed east. The gale to fade out from there. Maybe some longer period swell to result for Hawaii starting Fri (12/3) and Sat (12/4) for the US West Coast (but small).


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Thurs AM (11/30) high pressure arrives with northwest winds 15 kts for North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds build to 20 kts for both North and Central CA and 15 kts for Southern CA. Rain for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon building south to Pt Reyes in the evening. Light snow for Tahoe in the afternoon and evening.
  • Fri AM (12/1) northwest winds continue at 10-15 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA but 25 kts south of Monterey Bay early. In the afternoon high pressure is to fall south off Central CA with northwest winds 10 kts for North CA but 20-25 kts for Central C south of Monterey Bay. Light cold rain for Cape Mendocino through the day then clearing in the evening.
  • Sat AM (12/2) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts for North and Central CA early but 10 kts south of Big Sur. In the afternoon winds continue light for North CA at northwest at 5 kts but still 15 kts south of Monterey Bay. Light rain for Cape Mendocino through the day building in the evening.
  • Sun AM (12/3) light winds continue for most of North and Central CA early but northwest 10-15 kts south of Monterey Bay and south 15-20 kts for North Cape Mendocino. In the afternoon no real change is forecast. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino early building only down to Pt Arena and holding.
  • Mon AM (12/4). More of the same early but with south winds 15 kts for Cape Mendocino but calm from Pt Arena south to Monterey Bay and northwest 10-15 kts south of there. No change in the afternoon. No precip forecast.
  • Tues AM (12/5) northwest winds to be 10 kts for North Ca and 10-15 kts south of Monterey Bay early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA.
  • Wed AM (12/6) south winds to be 15 kts for North Cape Mendocino but otherwise northwest at 5 kts for the rest of North and Central CA but 10-15 kts from Big Sur southward. In the afternoon south winds to be 5 kts for most of North CA and northwest 5 kts for Central CA but 15 kts from Big Sur southward. rain for Cape Mendocino through the day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 8, 9, 6, and 1 inches respectively all on Thurs Nov 30-Sat Dec 2.

Freeze Level for Tahoe Ski Resorts: Freeze Level 6,500 ft on 11/29 dropping to 5,500 ft on 11/30 and 4,000 ft 12/1 then starting to rise 12/3 building to 12,000 ft 12/5 only to fall to 7,000 ft on 12/7 and holding.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell of interest coming from the Southern Hemisphere was hitting Hawaii or California. Summer is over.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a small gale is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf Thurs AM (11/40) producing 35 kts west winds with seas building from 22 ft at 50N 168W aimed east. In the evening west winds are forecast at 35-40 kts in the Northern Gulf with seas 28 ft at 53N 153W aimed east. On Fri AM (12/1) west winds to be 35-40 kts over a tiny area aimed east with seas 27 ft over a tiny area at 51N 144.5W aimed east. Fetch fading out in the evening. Something to monitor.

And a stronger gale is to be developing on the dateline Sat PM (12/2) producing 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 19 ft at 37N 176E aimed east. On Sun AM (12/3) winds are to be building from 45-50 kts from the northwest moving into the Western Gulf with 26 ft seas at 39.5N 166.75W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status in the Central Gulf with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 35 ft at 43.25N 161W aimed southeast. The gael is to be lifting northeast Mon AM (12/4) with 50 kts west winds and seas 42 ft at 45.5N 152.75W aimed east. In the evening the gael is to be fading with 40 kts west winds filling the Northern Gulf and seas 39 ft at 48.75N 146.25W aimed east. On Tues AM (12/5) the gale is to slowly be fading with 30-35 kts northwest winds filling the Northern GUlf and seas up to 28 ft at 50N 143W aimed southeast but 20+ ft seas covering a large area aimed southeast. Fetch fading in the evening from 30 kts from the northwest with 23 ft seas fading over a large area at 45N 150W. The gale is to fade out from there. Fairly impressive if it develops as forecast. Something to monitor.

And yet another gale is forecast developing on the dateline Wed (12/6) with 35 kts northwest winds and 23 ft seas on the dateline with another just off Japan with 45 kt west winds and 36 ft seas. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


El Nino Steadily Building
Kelvin Waves #7 Building - NINO3.4 SST Anomalies Reflect a Strong El Nino
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd and 4th in March-April, a 5th in May and a 6th in August. But after the last Active MJO in mid-to-late May (resulting in Kevin Wave #5), the MJO stalled. Finally the Active Phase restarted in later July Producing Kelvin Wave #6 which is erupting off Ecuador now. Another Active Phase of the MJO and 3 associated Westerly Wind Bursts developed early Oct thru later Nov producing Kelvin Wave #7 which is pushing east now and poised to erupt in the next month. All these Active MJO/Kevin Wave pairs are backfilling warm water off Ecuador and helping push the atmosphere towards El Nino. And El Nino is finally starting to be evident in the atmosphere as evidenced by the SOI, OLR. ocean current, and wind anomalies.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. That pattern continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing. But it was not coupled with the atmosphere as of 7/20/2023.

Winter 2023 = 7.7 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 6 Active MJO's produced 6 Kelvin Waves over early to mid 2023 with Kelvin Wave #7 in August building over the West Pacific and the 4th, 5th and 6th backed up off Ecuador now (10/20/23). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias moving over California now filling the Pacific. We are now under an El Nino status. We are moving into a period of enhanced storm production (starting late Sept 2023) and beyond, getting intense come late Fall and early Winter. This should result in an above normal level of swells, with swells being longer than normal duration from here forward as El Nino gets a stronger footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is a well above normal number of swells with above normal size and duration (i.e 15 significant class swells perhaps). Last year there were 0 and year before 5 or less.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (11/28) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate east over the Central Pacific and light west over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral to light east over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and modest west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (11/29) East anomalies were modest over most of the KWGA today. The forecast indicates east anomalies are hold lightly over the KWGA till 12/6 then dissipate quickly with west anomalies returning 12/7 building in strength and coverage reaching strong status on the dateline 12/8 through the end of the model run on 12/15. East anomalies are to dissipate in the Indian Ocean on 11/29 and not return (Indian Ocean Dipole).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/28) The Inactive Phase of the MJO (dry air/cloud free skies) was modest over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive MJO (dry air/cloud free skies) is to be fading on day 5 of the model run and all but gone on day 10 turning neutral and holding on day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with a weak Active Phase (wet air/cloudy skies) developing weakly over the KWGA on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (11/29) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over the Central Indian Ocean today. The forecast indicates it is to move to Maritime Continent 15 days out and very weak. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal tracking east over the West Pacific 2 weeks out and weak.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (11/29) A weak Active MJO pattern (wet air) was indicated trying to develop over the KWGA. The forecast has a weak Active signal (wet air) pushing through the KWGA into 12/14. Then another Inactive (dry air) pattern sets up moving east over the KWGA 12/19 filling the KWGA through 1/3. On the last day of the model run 1/8 a weak wet air pattern returns to the far West KWGA.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/28)
Today the Inactive Phase of the MJO was peaking over the KWGA with east anomalies filling 80% of the KWGA. East anomalies and the Inactive MJO are forecast tracking east over the KWGA through 12/5 then fading. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are to return to the KWGA 12/5 and filling the KWGA 12/6 through the end of model run on 12/26 getting strong on the dateline starting 12/12. Of note: Moderate east anomalies started building over the Indian Ocean on 9/2 holding at strong status 11/15 then moderating starting 11/21. They are forecast to get weak 11/28-12/12 as the Active Phase passes over that area then returning to strong status through the end of the model run. That coupled with strong west anomalies in the West Pacific suggest massively falling air occurring near 120E (Maritime Continent), likely the downward branch of the Walker Circulation. The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently strong positive and building (the falling branch of the Walker Circulation). We're into a real El Nino pattern according to this model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(11/29) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Inactive Phase and east anomalies were building over the KWGA and forecast holding to 12/15. But west anomalies are to start building in the KWGA on 12/6 with the Active Phase developing 12/8 holding filling the KWGA through 1/7. After that a weak Inactive Phase develops 12/27 in the far west KWGA and filling it through 2/9 with east anomalies over the Western half of the KWGA starting Jan 6th and west anomalies over the western half. Perhaps another Active Phase to develop 2/1 holding through the end of the mode run on 2/26 but with only weak west anomalies over the dateline. Note: East anomalies started building at 70E (West Indian Ocean) on 9/7 and peaked 10/10-11/5 and are to hold into 11/29, then moderating while pushing hard east on 1/8-2/1 into the West KWGA then dissipating. This strong east and west anomaly pattern looks very much like falling air centered over the Maritime Continent (120E) associated with the downward branch of the Walker Circulation/+IOD. Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) suggests cloud activity took over the KWGA weakly on 6/24 and started building in earnest then more solid starting Sept 15, It started building strongly on 10/16 and is continuing to build, strongly starting on 11/1 and continuing today. It is forecast building strongly from here forward while easing east to 140W on 1/11 then holding through the end of the model run. Conversely clear skies started building over the Maritime Continent in mid-May and have continued solidifying today and are forecast building to Jan 2, then fading while moving east to 150E in early January. This also suggests a rising air pattern associated with the upward branch of the Walker Circulation developing today on the dateline and moving east to 140W in January. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 175W with a 4th contour line (starting 11/5). A 5th contour line has dissolved from the model. The fourth contour line is to dissipate on 2/1. The high pressure bias started to build over the Maritime Continent on 10/2. A second high pressure contour has faded from the model. It appears a strong El Nino is finally starting to develop in a classical sense and is to move east over the next 3 months.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/29) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was steady at 163W (previously 169W). The 29 degree isotherm was backtracking from 150W to 152W. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 130W (previously 145W). The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific and deeper at 38m (25m earlier but at one point down to 65m). Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C started in the far West Pacific at 174E associated with newly developing Kelvin Wave #7 with a building core of up to +5 degs anomalies centered at 166W pushing east in a continuous stream (at +3 degs) feeding into Kelvin Wave #6 and other previous Kelvin Waves that have formed a broad pocket of +4-5 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting from 140W (previously 136W). The warm pool in the east (originating from Kelvin Waves #6, 5, 4...) is discharging to the surface while being backfilled by more warm water/Kelvin Wave #7 and growing in coverage some. The leading edge of Kelvin Wave #7 is at 145W per TAO. There's about 3.5 months of warm water backed up off the Ecuadorian Coast with a stream of warm water backfilling into it. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/24 indicates a large very warm stream of +1-2 degs anomalies extending west to east starting at 170E and over a large section of the subsurface equatorial Pacific (Kelvin Wave #7) and building while tracking east with 3 deg anomalies from 165W with embedded +4 deg anomalies and points east of there and +4-5 degs anomalies from 120W and points east of there originating from Kelvin Waves #6, #5 and #4 erupting into Ecuador. A thin stream of +0.5 degree anomalies were falling off the Maritime Continent merging with the preexisting warm stream. The leading edge of Kelvin Wave #7 was indicated at 125W per GODAS. A steady flow of warm water tracking east from the Maritime Continent. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/24) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific starting at 170E (previously 165E) at +0-5 cms extending east into Ecuador. 10 cm anomalies covered from 175W to 120W (Kelvin Wave #7) with +5 cm anomalies to 100W and positive anomalies into Ecuador. Positive anomalies also extended north into Central America and south to Peru. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram (11/24) warm water is building at +0.5 degs from 172E to Ecuador with a pocket of +1.00-1.50 deg anomalies between 178E to 105W and building. The leading edge of Kelvin Wave #7 per this chart is at 105W. The full development of El Nino is starting with cooler water developing over the West Pacific and warm water building in the east and pushing east with a new Kelvin Wave in flight. But the demise of the warm pool in the west signals an eventual turn to La Nina (sometime next year).

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.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (11/28) The latest images depict a strong warm stream from Ecuador uniformly covering the area on the equator from Ecuador to the dateline. Pockets of stronger warming were developing/reappearing from Ecuador west out to 120W (previously 115W) though it now looks like east anomalies might again be buffeting them. The warm pool is looking solid and consistent from Ecuador to the dateline and building. Heat also extends north up to Southern Baja and south down into Central Chile. There is a very clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place and building towards a strong status.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/28): A few pockets of warming and cooling waters were on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 100W. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 2022 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (11/28) Warmer than normal waters are filling the Equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to the dateline and building in intensity while extending north up to Mexico and south to Chile. The classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably over the equator west to the dateline. Everything is now looking like El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/29) (The official OISST temp record runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps are falling some at +1.624 after building to +1.715 (11/27) and down at +1.0630 (11/20) after being at +1.657 (11/13) and up to +2.001 (11/6-11/10) then generally steady in the +1.9 degs range 9/28-11/9. Previous temps were down at +1.755 (10/22), down to +1.527 (10/6), up to +2.10 (9/17) and have been falling since 8/31 when they were up to +3.073 after rising to +3.164 (8/18) after being up to +2.925 on 8/10 after rising at +3.074 degs (8/7) after being up to +3.391 (on 7/20) and had been rising from +2.906 (starting 7/3) rising from +2.451 after peaking at +2.7926 on 6/13 and have been up in the +2.0 to +3.0 degs range since 4/1 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/29) (OISST runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps were steady at +1.546 after being up to +1.717 (11/22) after falling into +1.236 (11/16) after being up to +1.449 on 11/2 and +1.300 on 10/20 after falling down to +1.149 (10/11). Weekly OISST are up to +2.1 and were up at +1.9 (the highest so far the previous week) after being +1.8 degs (2 weeks running), and +1.6 the previous 2 weeks (10/18 & 1025), +1.5 the 3 weeks previous (through 10/11) after being up to +1.7 degs the week before and +1.6 degs 3 weeks in a row prior (starting 8/30) putting us in minimal strong El Nino status. Temps first time above +1.0 degs was on 8/7 after being up to +0.967 (8/1) up from +0.873 degs (7/25) after peaking at +0.985 (7/18). Previously temps were rising slightly at +0.882 (7/9) after being steady at +0.794 4-5 days and that after being steady at +0.895 (3 days near 6/25) after being in the +0.712 range the previous 9 days after previously rising to +0.975 on 6/9. We are now 31 days into a trend of being above the El Nino threshold (for the 2nd time). Temps reached the El Nino threshold for the first time on 5/17 at +0.507 then quickly fell over the next 10 days down to +0.378 (5/26). Previous peaks of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. They had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

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CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps bottomed out at at -1.25 degs in early Nov 2020, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, and +1.05 mid July reaching up to +1.30 degs early Aug, +1.6 degs in Sept holding in Oct and , +1.95 in Nov.
Forecast (11/29) - Temps to are to fade to +1.75 degs into early Dec, then rising to +1.80 degs in mid- Jan and solidly in strong El Nino territory before starting a steady fade thereafter. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast falling to +1.60 degs in mid-Dec and holding at +1.60 degs in Jan before starting to fall. According to this version of the model we are building into a mid to upper level strong El Nino.
IRI Consensus Plume: The November 20, 2023 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.897 degs today and it's the 8th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward up to +1.839 degrees in December (that's a 3 months running mean) then fading from there. The dynamic model suggest temps peaking at +2.014 in Nov/Dec/Jan and are forecast at +2.016 in Dec/Jan/Feb before falling while the statistic models show +1.647 Nov/Dec/Jan and +1.462 degrees Dec/Jan/Feb before falling. The dynamic models are running a bit hotter than the statistic models and are likely more accurate. The CFS model is on the low end of the dynamic model range with 7 of 17 models above +2.0 degrees.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (11/29) the Daily Index was falling at -0.89 but had been positive the previous 3 days. It was negative the previous 5 days after being neutral 3 days previous but was negative the previous 12 days, Previously they were toggling between weakly positive and negative for 12 days (starting 10/24), but were solidly negative for 65 days prior (starting 9/16). It was positive the previous 7 days, then negative the previous 29 days (7/14-8/11) with a peak down to -37.30 on 7/25.The SOI has effectively been negative since 7/12. It was positive the previous 21 days then was negative 11 days prior and positive 5 days previous then negative for 27 days previous ending 6/6 with a peak down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling at -8.33 after being down to -10.43 on 11/16 and up to -5.75 on 11/5 and previously down to -15.70 on 9/23. It fell below the neutral point on 7/26. It rose above positive 7/3-7/25. It previously fell to -19.64 on 6/5 had been falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was rising some at -9.77 and turned negative the first time in years on 5/12. Recent max lows were -11.14 on 11/17, -11.85 on 10/15, -8.90 on 8/8 and -7.57 on 6/6. It previously peaked at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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