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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015 9:41 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
Swell Potential Rating = 2.0 - California & 2.0- Hawaii
Using the 'summer' 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 5/18 thru Sun 5/24

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   

2 Small New Zealand Swells Heading Northeast
Modest Southeast PAcific Swell Too For CA

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

On Thursday, May 21, 2015 :

  • Buoy 51201 (Waimea): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 13.2 secs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 5 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 12.6 secs. Wind northwest 8-12 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 1.0 ft @ 10.3 secs from 259 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 225 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.0 secs from 226 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 12.9 secs. Wind south 7 kts nearshore. Water temp 55.2 degs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (5/21) in North and Central CA Gulf Gulf swell was producing surf at waist high or so and textured. Down in Santa Cruz no real swell of interest was hitting with waves thigh high on the sets and clean. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high on the sets and weak and textured. Down south waves were near flat and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was thigh high on the sets and clean. The South Shore was near flat with waves occasionally thigh to waist high and textured coming from the Tasman Sea. The East Shore was getting bare minimal east windswell at thigh high and chopped from easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific no swell is in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast. Windswell wise trades are suppressed relative to Hawaii and are forecast to remain that way while no north winds are occurring nor forecast relative to the US West Coast. From the southern hemisphere a small gale passed under New Zealand on Fri (5/16) generating 34 ft seas aimed east. Small swell to result for HI and CA mid-next week. Also a small gale developed on the edge of the South CA swell window on Sat-Sun (5/17) producing 26-28 ft seas aimed well north.  Small swell possible late in the Memorial Day weekend. Then another gale developed pushing under New Zealand on Mon (5/18) with seas to 44 ft, but quickly fading. More swell for HI and CA next week. And the models suggest another small system developing Southeast of New Zealand on Mon (5/25) perhaps generating 36-38 ft seas aimed north-northeast. So more but smaller swell is possible.   

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview 
Surface Analysis
On Thursday (5/21) a weak pressure pattern was in control of the Northeast Pacific offering no winds production in excess of 15 kts. No trades capable of generated east windswell for Hawaii were indicated and no north winds or pressure gradient was present along the California coast meaning no local north windswell was being produced. The remnants of Typhoon Dolphin had been absorbed in a cold core low just east of Kamchatka no longer generating any fetch of interest aimed at our forecast area, though 40 kt south winds were passing over the Aleutians bound for the Bering Sea. 

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to build slightly along the California coast on Sun (5/24) generating a tiny gradient and north winds at 25 kts over Cape Mendocino perhaps setting up minimal north windswell but then fading rapidly by Mon AM.  Relative to Hawaii a tiny cutoff low is to form 750 nmiles north-northeast of the Islands generating a tiny fetch of 30-35 kt north winds on Fri PM (5/22) targeting Hawaii generating 15 ft seas.  Maybe some windswell to result (will be documented in the QuikCASTs).    

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

 

Tropical Update
Super Typhoon Dolphin had sustained winds up to 140 kts on Sat AM (5/16) tracking northwest positioned 900 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan. Dolphin held into the evening with winds to 140 kts (161 mph) turning north.  By Sun AM (5/17) winds were down to 125 kts tracking north and then northeast by Mon AM (5/18) with winds fading from 90 kts and seas 42 ft at 23N 139E. Dolphin started accelerating in the evening with winds getting less traction and seas fading from 35.9 ft @ 24N 140W. Dolphin is to steadily become absorbed by a broad low pressure system tracking off the Kuril Islands and North Japan on Wed (5/20) and loosing identity 24 hours later about half way to the dateline. There is some odds of small swell pushing towards Hawaii from a very westerly direction. But by Fri (5/22) this system is to be in the Bering Sea and fully shadowed by the Aleutian Islands and eventually fading out there.

Hawaii: Perhaps small swell to result starting Sun (5/24) with swell 2 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.5 ft faces) but shadowed at only the most exposed breaks from 294 degrees.  Swell Peaking on Mon (5/25) at 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft).  Residuals fading on Tues (5/26) from 2.4 ft @ 13 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction moving from 294-304 degrees  

North CA:  Swell swell to start arriving on Tues (5/26) at 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 294 degrees. Swell building on Wed (5/27) at 3 ft @ 15 secs late (4.5 ft faces). Residuals on Thurs (5/28) fading from 3 ft @13 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 294-298 degrees

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/21) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was in the Northeast Gulf of Alaska ridging south and down to 1020 mbs off Southern CA. It was doing nothing in terms of wind production with a light wind pattern along the entire California coast.  High pressure is to get a bit better footing on Fri (5/22) at 1026 mbs off the coast with north winds 15-20 kts for North CA and 15 kts in patches for Central CA, building to 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA on Saturday holding Sunday and up to 25 kts over North CA early. But high pressure is to be fading Monday with north winds barely 20 kts for NCal and 10 kts for Central CA. North winds forecast at 10 to barely 15 kts for the North and Central coasts Tues (5/26) holding Wednesday. More high pressure at 15 kts north winds forecast for the entire coast except protected breaks in SCal on Thurs (5/28).    
   

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (5/21) the jet was well split with the southern branch trying to form a weak trough under New Zealand with 100 kts winds flowing up into it, then falling hard south east of there into Antarctica and tracking east over land the whole way into the far Southeast Pacific, finally lifting north over ice free waters just off the southern tip of South America. The northern branch was tracking east and positioned north of New Zealand on the 30S latitude line eventually running into Chile. The jet was providing no support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours the trough south of New Zealand is to slowly but steadily build in areal coverage with winds up to 110 kts by Sat (5/23) while easing east moving into open waters of the Southwest Pacific offering limited support for gale development down in lower levels of the atmosphere. But the trough is to collapse a bit 24 hours later.  Beyond 72 hours this trough is to start redeveloping some on Mon-Tues (5/26) opening up space under it, but still weak with winds only 100 kts feeding it. Limited support for gale development possible. By Thurs (5/28) the trough is to continue east to the Central Pacific with a new ridge building under New Zealand likely shutting gale production down in that area. 


Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (5/21) swell from a previous gale in the Tasman Sea was hitting Hawaii, but minimal (see Tasman Sea Gale below). Swell from a weak gale previously under New Zealand was tracking towards HI and CA (see Small New Zealand gale below).  Swell from a broad but weak gale that previously was in the Southeast Pacific was tracking towards CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a stronger storm previously south of New Zealand was pushing towards Hawaii and California (see Stronger New Zealand Storm below). Otherwise westerly fetch at 30-35 kts was pushing under New Zealand and not producing any seas of interest. No other swell producing fetch was in play.  

Over the next 72 hours another fetch is forecast setting up under New Zealand starting Fri PM (5/22) generating 35-40 kt southwest winds but having a hard time getting traction. But by Sat AM (5/23) that fetch is to become more defined with a solid area of 40 kt south-southwest winds developing generating 32 ft seas aimed northeast over a modest sized area at 53S 164E. 45-50 kt south winds to continue in the evening lifting north with seas building to 36 ft over a tiny area at 54S 167E. On Sun AM (5/24) fetch is to be fading from 40-45 kts over a broad area aimed due north with 35 ft seas at 47S 173E. In the evening a secondary fetch is to build in the lows south quadrant at 50 kts aimed north with 34 ft seas redeveloping a bit to the south at 52S 180W. On Mon AM (5/25) fetch is to be building from there up to 55 kts from the south with seas to 41 ft at 53S 176W. Winds to be fading from 45 kts in the evening with seas fading from 43 ft at 47S 171W. On Tues AM (5/26) winds are to be dropping from 35 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 38 ft at 46S 161W aimed northeast. This is one to monitor.  


Tasman Sea Gale
In the Tasman Sea on Wed AM (5/13) a modest sized gale developed with 40 kt south-southwest winds aimed northeast generating 30 ft seas at 45S 151E targeting Fiji. Winds held at 40 kts aimed north-northeast in the evening with 28 ft seas over a tiny area at 46S 158E. Thurs AM (5/14) 40 kt south winds were pushing due north with seas 30 ft at 42S 159E. And yet more 40 kt south winds held into the evening pushing north with 32 ft seas fading at 37S 163E. Fetch faded from 40 kts Fri AM (5/15) with seas fading from 26 ft at 32S 169E targeting Fiji well and only 750 nmiles away. 

Hawaii: Swell to continue on Fri (5/22) at 2.1 ft @ 15 secs early (3 ft). fading some later. Swell gone by Sat (5/23). Swell Direction: 215 degrees 

Small New Zealand Gale
On Fri AM (5/15) a small gale developed southwest of New Zealand producing 50 kt west winds with seas building from 32 ft at 58S 151E (218 degs CA but shadowed by New Zealand relative to HI). The Jason-2 satellite passed over the core of the fetch reporting a 15 reading average of 31.4 ft with a single reading to 36 ft where the model indicated 31 ft seas should be.  The model was right on track. In the evening the gale was fading fast with winds down to 45 kts from the west-southwest winds seas peaking at 35 ft at 58S 164E (215 degs CA and unshadowed, 200 degs HI). The satellite passed over the south edge of the fetch at 06Z Sat (5/16) and reported seas at 31.5 ft with one reading to 35.8 ft where the model suggested seas should be 30 ft. Again the model was on track.  Very small and inconsistent swell to result from HI and CA. 

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected on Sat PM (5/23) with swell to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (5/24) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Residuals fading on Mon (5/25) from 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190-200 degrees

California:  Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (5/26) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs by noon (2.5-3.0 ft).  A little more size expected on Wed (5/27) with swell to .  2.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/28) fading from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215-216 degrees

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Fri PM (5/15) a broad gale started building in the far Southeast Pacific as it interacted with strong high pressure at 1036 mbs located over the upper reaches of the Central South Pacific producing a gradient. 35-40 kt southwest winds were indicated with seas on the increase from 25 ft at 60S 130W.  35-40 kt southwest winds continued on Sat AM (5/16) with 28 ft sea indicated at 58S 123W aimed north-northeast. Fetch fading from 30-35 kts over a broad area aimed north in the evening with 26-28 ft seas lifting north from 53S 119W (barely in the SCal swell window at 180 degrees, 176 degs relative to NCal). 35 kt south winds continued Sun AM (5/17) producing 25 ft seas at 43S 115W (mainly targeting Southern CA 177 degs). Fetch started fading from 35 kts but aimed north and tracking due north with 27 ft seas at 42S 110W. A quick fade followed. 

SCal: Expect swell arrival on  Sun AM (5/24) building through the day to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4 ft). Swell to peak on Mon (5/25) at 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (5/26) from 2.5 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft).  Swell Direction: 173-181 degrees

NCal: Expect swell arrival only at the most exposed breaks starting Sun AM (5/24) building through the day to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft) and likely overstated. Swell to peak on Mon (5/25) at 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (5/26) from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.5 ft).  Swell Direction: 171-180 degree     

Stronger New Zealand Storm
A gale started developing south of the Tasman Sea Sun AM (5/17) producing 50 kt west winds and 35 ft seas at 55S 156E (shadowed relative to HI by New Zealand, 221 degs CA). In the evening winds were up to 55 kts out of the southwest aimed northeast with seas building to 44 ft at 55S 166E (201 degs HI, 215 degs CA and unshadowed by Tahiti). At 06Z Mon (5/18) the Jason-2 satellite made a pass over the core of the fetch reporting a 15 reading max average of 44.7 ft with a single reading to 54.1 ft where the model projected 43 ft seas. If anything the model understated reality. By Mon AM (5/18) winds were fading fast but aimed well north-northeast at 40-45 kts with 39 ft seas at 52S 174E (196 degs HI, 215 degs NCal/SCal and unshadowed). Fetch was gone in the evening with seas from previous fetch fading from 32 ft at 52S 178W. The Jason-2 satellite made another pass at 06Z Tues(5/19) reporting seas at 32.0 ft with one reading to 37.2 where the model projected 29 ft seas. Again the model was on the low side. 

Hawaii:  Swell expected arriving in Hawaii on Sun (5/24) building through the day, perhaps reaching 1.6 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell building some on Mon (5/25) pushing 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft). On Tues AM (5/27) swell holding at 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft), then fading. Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees. 

California:  Expect swell arrival late on Tues (5/26) with period 20 secs and size tiny if even rideable (1.2 ft @ 20 secs - 2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Wed AM (5/27) with period slowly dropping to 18 secs by 2 PM. Swell 1.7 ft @ 17-18 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell peaking Thurs AM (5/28) at 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees (218 degs SCal)  

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell generation is forecast. Trades to remain suppressed in Hawaii and no north winds exceeding 15 kts are forecast along the California Coast suggesting no real high pressure is forecast. A series of weak low pressure systems are forecast to be migrating east from Japan over the North Pacific but no real development is expected from them.

MJO/ENSO Update
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 planet. 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 split 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).

(1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data. 2nd paragraph where present is analysis data and is updated only as required).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)As of Thurs (5/21) the daily SOI was still negative but less so than previously at -6.60. The 30 day average was steady at -16.05 (the most negative in years) and the 90 day average was falling from -9.75. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of steady Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady state Active Phase of the MJO or a building El Nino. A neutral pressure pattern was over Tahiti with stronger high pressure at 1032 mbs building just under South Australia forecast lifting northeast Sat (5/23) and holding into Mon (5/25). A falling SOI is possible then. No change is forecast relative to Tahiti. This is starting to looks like the typical El Nino setup relative to Australia as high pressure digs in there (perhaps setting up drought and wild fires long term). This high also sets up a gradient and steady west winds under New Zealand making for steady swell production relative to the US West Coast from the Southwest Pacific (typical of the later phases of El Nino). The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator.   

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak to modest westerly anomalies in play over the Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline then fading to neutral but redeveloping as westerly anomalies south of Hawaii building to the strong category at 140W,  then dissipating east of there with neutral anomalies over the Galapagos. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated modest westerly anomalies over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area to the dateline. Anomalies held to a point south of Hawaii. A week from now (5/28) a weak westerly wind anomaly pattern is to set up be over the Eastern Maritime Continent continuing over the dateline the rest of the way into the Galapagos.  This suggests the Active Phase (or at least continued westerly anomalies) are migrating east. We've had a huge WWB in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May and now more west anomalies continue east of there and forecast pushing into the East equatorial Pacific. There has been zero easterly anomalies so far this year. This is a good sign. But more is needed.  

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/20 suggests a dead MJO signal was in play over the equatorial Pacific. But a modest Inactive Phase was over the Indian Ocean easing east. The Statistic model suggests the modest Inactive Phase bottled up in the Indian Ocean is to try and ease east, moving into the far West Pacific 8 days out and continuing east while fading 15 days out. The Dynamic model suggests the exact same thing with the Inactive Phase moving from the Indian Ocean to the Weest Pacific and starting to dissipate there 15 days out.  For now the models are generally in sync. The ultra long range upper level model run on 5/21 depicts the same thing with a strong Active MJO pulse over the extreme East Pacific moving east and over Central America on 5/26. A moderate Inactive Phase is building over the far West Pacific and forecast pushing steadily east and fading as if hits Central America on 6/15.  A weak Active pattern is to track east starting 6/15 reaching the East Pacific on 6/30. 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 (5/21) a modest but more defined and building warm water/El Nino-like regime continues developing over the entire equatorial Pacific, getting a better grasp with each update. Warmer water is building over Ecuador and the Galapagos, steadily per the last 5 updates, the likely result of a new strong Kelvin Wave impacting the coast there. But it's development is still not striking, but getting closer. Warm water is also building solidly along the Peruvian coast pushing north up to the equator. Warmer water extends west from the Galapagos along the equator but only reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator until it reaches the dateline, then expanding in areal coverage. In comparison to last years massive Kelvin Wave which was hitting at this same time, the warming this year is looking much stronger. Compared to '97 (a super El Nino), it is similar if not slightly warmer near the Galapagos. TAO data indicates +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years. +1.5-2.0 deg anomalies are depicted advecting west from the Galapagos. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps are plunging, up to +1.25 degs on 5/16 and now down to 0.75 degs. One would expect this area to start warming markedly as the big Spring Kelvin Wave starts erupting and advecting west, starting about 5/28. Will be monitoring for this. 

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline are warming again, up to +2 degs C, the result of a WWB earlier in May. And more warm water is falling down into it from the surface. But the big story remains very warm anomalies under the equator in the East Pacific pushing up and east into the Galapagos and Ecuador. As of 5/21 this large pocket of +4-5 deg anomalies were impacting the Galapagos Islands driven by the extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 and additional strong westerly anomalies in March, feeding even more warm water into that Kelvin Wave. This Kelvin Wave was expected to start erupting over the Galapagos on roughly 5/1 peaking on 6/10. Actual data suggests it hit on 4/28 and started to erupt on the surface (5/7). Peak water temps (anomalies > 4 degs C) still extend westward to 138W, meaning there is 3.5 weeks of peak warm water still in the pipe (into 6/15). Also of interest is the apparent downwelling of more warm water on the dateline , the result of non-stop westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Satellite data from 5/13 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 160E (expanding west some) with a core to +10 cm from 140W to the Galapagos but with 2 small breaks, indicative of an open pipe with an embedded solid Kelvin Wave. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (5/13) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 170E and the Ecuador coast (expanding some) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 155W eastward and +1.5 deg anomalies from 147W eastward. And a core of 2 deg anomalies are indicated from 95W eastward with a small pocket of 2.5 degs anomalies at 92W. This also suggests the peak of the Kelvin Wave is just offshore and starting to erupt. In short, a strong Kelvin Wave is in flight and impacting the Galapagos, and likely to peak in the next 2-3 weeks. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

It is do or die time. Either the ocean temps will warm significantly enough to kick off some degree of real El Nino, or it's more Modoki El Nino. We'll know more as we move into the expected peak warming, June 1-10. The good news is more westerly anomalies are building over the dateline, complete with associated tropical development north of the equator, suggestive perhaps of developing coupling between the ocean and the atmosphere (in the classic El Nino sense). Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 5/17 continues to improve. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire equatorial Pacific with strongest velocity in the heart of the Kelvin Wave generation Area. Weaker velocities extended from the dateline to 110W, turning neutral near the Galapagos. A very weak easterly current was positioned 2-3 degrees south of the equator. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific reaching to the equator, then moving just north of the equator and continuing modestly to 110W. A pocket of easterly anomalies was present on and just south of the equator from 145W-170W. This continues to look like El Nino is setting up.

This data suggests a general west to east bias in the current suggesting warm water transport to the east. 

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 5/21 for the Nino 3.4 region remain off the chart but have and continue to settle down slightly. It suggests water temps are at +1.1 deg C and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.9 degs C, and continuing to +2.6 degs by Oct and +2.85 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests that perhaps we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to perhaps a full blown El Nino, and strong at that. But it is too early to believe just yet. The same thing happened last year. The model is likely just picking up on the Kelvin Wave in flight, and will settle back down in July after it erupts over the Galapagos. Much more warm water would need to be transported east over the coming 6 months for a legit El Nino to develop (including surface warm water currently locked over the dateline), especially of the magnitude projected by the model (rivaling the all time great '97 El Nino). The mid-March consensus Plume suggests a continuation of Modoki ENSO, though some models are now suggesting something more. See the chart based version here - link. 

Analysis: Multiple downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts occurring late 2013 though 2014 in the West Pacific. Those Kelvin Waves warmed waters over the Eastern equatorial Pacific, but not sufficiently to declare an official El Nino until Feb 2015, and then very weak at that. Still some degree of teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere was in play with some greater force dictating the pattern (possibly the PDO).  The focus now becomes whether this warming and resulting teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). The real teller will be during the month of June. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are expected to be quite warm due to the arrival of a large Kelvin Wave currently in flight (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, then continued westerly anomalies and WWBs should continue through July-Sept and beyond, with a full scale El Nino developing. But if the cool upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle develops in mid-June, then it will likely be another year of the Modoki El Nino cycle. The real interesting thing is westerly anomalies and a certified WWB developed in early to mid May over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area indicating another Kelvin Wave is in development, much different than what occurred last year. The June to early July timeframe will either make or break development of a legit El Nino. Perhaps a true El Nino teleconnection is developing. But again, the real indicator will occur in June (see above).    

We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming East Pacific equatorial waters for the 2015 (meaning enhanced support for the jetstream and storm development in Fall/Winter 2015-2016). 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours residual energy from a gale tracking east through the Southwest Pacific is to theoretically redevelop in the Central Pacific on Thurs (5/28) producing a small area of 50 kt southwest winds and 34 ft seas at 47S 150W aimed northeast. A tiny area of 55 kt southwest winds to build in the evening with  46 ft seas forecast at 46S 143W aimed mostly east. Something to monitor. . 

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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Local Interest

Updated - Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (5/10): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSd-qdJW688&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .xml

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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