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.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
- Buoy 165 (Barbers Point): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.3 secs from 192 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 16.0 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 16.5 secs. Wind west 2-4 kts early. At Santa Barbara swell was 1.0 ft @ 16.9 secs from 230 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.2 ft @ 16.7 secs from 205 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.4 ft @ 16.2 secs from 205 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 15.7 secs. Wind south 10-14 kts. Water temp 62.1 degs.
On Wednesday (7/29) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the chest high range at exposed breaks and heavily textured if not lightly chopped from south winds. Down in Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was producing surf at head high and up to 2 ft overhead on the sets but a bit warbled from intermixed northwest windswell. Conditions were clean and gray. In Southern California up north surf was looking decent with sets in the chest high range and clean and lined up. Down south waves were in the chest high range and lightly textured with light west wind coming up. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was still getting residual New Zealand swell with waves chest high and clean. The East Shore was getting tradewind generated east windswell with waves waist high and chopped from trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
For the North Pacific no swell producing weather systems were in play or forecast. Regarding windswell, trades were in control over and east of Hawaii and forecast to continue with possible tropical swell adding to the mix late in the weekend. Relative to California high pressure was in control of the Gulf of Alaska generating a weak version of the usual summer time pressure gradient resulting in locally generated north windswell that is expected to slowly fade but still be present through Sat (8/1). For the southern hemisphere a modest gale tracked through the eastern edge of the California swell window on Mon (7/27) producing 29 ft seas aimed northeast offering some hope for small swell for CA longer term. Another smaller gale was producing 29 ft seas in the same area Wed AM (7/29) again offering hope for small south angled swell for CA. Beyond no swell producing weather system are charted.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday (7/29) no swell producing fetch was occurring over the greater North Pacific. Weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was in the Western Gulf of Alaska ridging east into Canada and generating the weak version of the usual summer time pressure gradient over North California producing 20-25 kt north to northeast winds resulting in small north angled windswell at exposed breaks down into Central CA. Relative to Hawaii the high was also generating trades at 15 kts starting to push east over the Islands. No other swell source was indicated.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure relative to California is to fade some with the local pressure gradient and north winds weakening mainly north of Cape Mendocino at 15-20 kts into early Thurs (7/30) resulting in modest north windswell radiating down into Central CA with relatively light south winds in control locally. That fetch is to fade out by late Sat (8/1) with windswell dissipating then. Relative to Hawaii trades to hold east of the Islands at 15+ kts into the weekend with increasing odds for small windswell to result. A tropical system might develop too embedded in that fetch moving closer to the Islands by Mon (8/3).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
An area of tropical low pressure was midway between Mexico and Hawaii tracing east at 8N 122W. The GFS model suggests it is to track east and develop more perhaps reaching tropical storm status over the weekend and 500 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island on Sun PM (8/2), stalling and turning north while forming a gradient with high pressure to it's north. Possible northeast windswell to result for exposed breaks on all islands if this plays out as forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday (7/29) high pressure at 1026 mbs was pushing into British Columbia generating a weak gradient and northwest winds at 20-25 kts over extreme North CA with an eddy flow over most of the state. More of the same is forecast but with the gradient starting to fade some Thurs, with winds down to 15 kts late. The gradient is to hold over only extreme Northern CA and mainly South Oregon into Saturday with north-northeast winds at 20 kts, then dissipating. Perhaps northwest winds to 15 kts to develop for Pt Conception Sun-Mon (8/3). High pressure is to return on Wed (8/5) with north winds 15 kts over most of the state and up to 25 kts over North CA
On Wednesday AM (7/29) the jetstream was split with the southern branch tracking east-southeast displaced down at 65S tracking over Antarctic Ice continuing to 110W or just on the eastern edge of the Southern California swell window before starting to track north, forming a trough there with 110 kt winds offering only some support for gale development down in lower levels of the atmosphere. The northern branch of the jet continued tracking east just north of Northern New Zealand on the 33S latitude line at 170 kts , then fading while holding an eastward heading the whole way to Chile. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the southern branch of the jet is to only build pushing further south into Antarctica and building to the east, totally shutting down any hope for support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Beyond 72 hours the ridging pattern is to hold south of New Zealand into the Southeast Pacific returning to ice free waters only off off Southern Chile, but with no velocity even there till Wed (8/5) when a trough is to develop there with 140 kts south winds building possibly aiding gale formation targeting South America. Also a steep trough is forecast building south of Tasmania on Sun (8/2) with 100 kts winds pushing due north, offering some support for gale development limited to the Tasman Sea and holding into Wed (8/5).
On Wednesday AM (7/29) high pressure at 1024 mbs was locked between the split jetstream flow well southeast of New Zealand ridging south to 60S and building preventing gale development over the core of the South Pacific. Swell from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific on Mon (7/27) was tracking north (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Swell from a second gale that developed in the same location Wed AM (7/29) was also tracking northeast (see Second Southeast Pacific gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Southeast Pacific Gale
Second Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sun PM (7/26) a gale started building in the far Southeast Pacific with pressure 972 mbs and winds building from the southwest at 40 kts with seas building from 28 ft at 56S 138W. Fetch was fading from 35-40 kts Mon AM (7/27) aimed northeast with seas peaking at 29 ft at 54S 126W targeting Peru and Northern Chile with sideband energy into California. This system was gone after that. Swell arrival in Southern California targeted for Mon (8/3) late with swell reaching 1.6 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.5 ft and likely overstated). Swell to peak Tues (8/4) near 11 AM at 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft), continuing on Wed (8/5) at 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft) early. Swell Direction: 185 degrees.
Another gale formed in the extreme Southeast Pacific Tues PM (7/28) generating a small fetch of 45 kt southwest winds pushing northeast and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Wed AM (7/29) those winds stalled holding at 35 kts over a larger area aimed due north generating 28 ft seas at 52S 126W targeting mainly Southern California. In the evening fetch is to be shrinking and tracking east at 35 kt from the south with 25 ft seas fading at 50S 118W aimed well to the northeast. That fetch is to fade Thurs AM (7/30) and outside of the SCal swell window. Another small pulse of swell is possible for Southern CA down into Mexico and Peru. Swell arrival in SCal is possible late Wed (8/5) with minimal size and period 18 secs peaking on Thurs (8/6) with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 185 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 high pressure is to fade in the Gulf of Alaska by Sunday (8/2) with no north winds or windswell in play. High pressure to return on Wed (8/5) with the gradient over North California rebuilding and north winds back to 20-25 kts, possibly generating new north windswell. Relative to Hawaii trades to hold at 15 kts turning more northeast by Mon (8/3) with a possible tropical system 500 nmiles east of the Big Island tracking to the north and stalling setting up northeast windswell for exposed breaks beyond.
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 Wednesday (7/29) the daily SOI was falling at -31.70. The 30 day average was falling slightly from -13.24 and the 90 day average was falling from -12.12. The near term trend based on the daily average was indicative of building Active Phase of the MJO (though no Active Phase was present). The 30 day SOI has rebounded some from it's lowest in years reached on 7/18/15 at -20.49. The longer term pattern was indicative of a modest Active Phase of the MJO or a slowly building El Nino base state. High pressure at 1028 mbs was fading over Southeast Australia and tracking east out of the picture with lower pressure south of Tahiti, and expected to hold in some fashion for the coming week. High pressure to rebuild into Southeast Australia on Mon (8/3). the net results is to be perhaps a slightly rising SOI over the weekend then diving negative early next week. We've seen mixed evidence of a high pressure regime over Northeast Australia that would aid the Southern Hemi Booster Index (and therefore supercharge the developing El Nino). The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis per 850 mb charts (~4,500 ft up) indicated southeast anomalies building up the east coast of Australia (SHBI candidate) turning to moderate west anomalies in the heart of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) fading to modest strength on the dateline and continuing south of Hawaii and eventually into the Galapagos. These west anomalies are the result of the interaction of an El Nino base state and an equatorial Rossby Wave. These anomalies have remained virtually unchanged for the past 11 days and followed a very strong WWB burst that was associated with a robust Active Phase of the MJO (historically strong) 6/24-7/17. Down at the surface the TOA array (hard sensors reporting with a 24 hr lag) indicated a similar picture with moderate west winds (not anomalies) between 155E-170W in the core of the KWGA. West anomalies were expanding and moderate to strong from 155E to a point southeast of Hawaii. Most impressive. Though we are in the supposed Inactive Phase of the MJO, a solid WWB is still occurring, and following directly on the heals of a massive WWB in early July. all this is suspected to be attributable to a building El Nino base state. A week from now (8/6) weak to modest west anomalies are to be in the west Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) turning to weak strength on the dateline then then rebuilding to modest strength south of Hawaii continuing 1/2 way to the Galapagos Islands.
A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May with weaker but still solid west anomalies continuing after that through 6/10. Anomalies faded to neutral for 8 days through 6/18 as the Inactive Phase of the MJO interfered with the pattern, then weak westerlies started again on 6/18. A significant WWB, the strongest of the year so far, starting on 6/26 peaking near 7/4 but holding nicely through 7/17. A moderate westerly anomaly flow redeveloped thereafter and is holding to this date. The major June-July WWB effectively held for 26 days and is to result in a strong Kelvin Wave. Still more westerly anomalies are needed into Sept if a strong El Nino is to develop. The CFSv2 model calls for non-stop westerly anomalies at least into 8/23, the likely result of a developing El Nino base state and occasionally enhanced for short periods of time by equatorial Rossby Waves. The next active Phase of the MJO is forecast mid-Sept into late Oct.
See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.
The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 7/28 indicate a modest Inactive MJO signal over the far West Pacific. The Statistic model suggests the Inactive Phase is to fade 5 days out with a dead neutral pattern taking hold there after to 15 days out. The Dynamic model is onboard with that prognosis too. Phase Diagrams from the ECMF and GEFS suggest the Active Phase of the MJO has collapsed in the West Indian Ocean but might retrograde and redevelop weakly in the far West Pacific 8 days out. As of right now, there are no signs of the upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave lifecycle. Instead major amounts of warm water are already in motion and falling to depth on the equator and will continue for the next few weeks courtesy of the large WWB that started late June into mid-July with additional westerly anomalies behind that occurring up to today and forecast to continue beyond. Just the same, a well entrenched westerly wind anomaly pattern is required during the Aug-Sept timeframe if something that wants to rival the '97 El Nino is to develop. If easterly anomalies develop for any length of time, hopes for a Super El Nino will be severely impeded. But as of right now the models seem pretty well consolidated on a continuation of westerly anomalies No easterly anomalies are forecast. Still, we'll remain cautious. 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 (7/27) first impressions continue indicating a moderate and well defined El Nino pattern in-place and building over the entire equatorial Pacific. It's solid for late-July. It depicts a generalized stabilization of coverage near the Galapagos over the last 15 days extending west and trying to build into the NINO 3.4 region, making some limited progress while simultaneously backfilling down the Peruvian Coast and up into Central America. Temperatures in the NINO1.2 region do not appear to be getting warmer, and if anything are getting a little cooler. Along the West African Coast, cool water continues there, building some over the past 10 days. Compared to the '97 Super El Nino on this date, this years event compares in terms of overall coverage, but the water temps aren't even close. '97 had a much more solid and robust warm water signature. This is a bit of a downgrade. The issue is an apparent drop-off of NINO 1.2 water temps appears to be occurring, likely the result of a pause in upwelling of warm water in that region. Still, there appears to be plenty of water poised to upwell. Still our suspicions are that weaknesses in this years event are to continue over time compared to '97, mainly due to the comparative weakness in terms of duration of the WWBs earlier this year compared to 97. But with the strength of the most recent WWB (late June), maybe some of that ground will be made up in October when the resulting Kelvin wave hits. The fact that we're even comparing this years event to '97, and not finding huge differences, is a testament to the strength and magnitude of the oceanic change in play.
TAO data indicates +1.5 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years, presumably advecting west from the Galapagos covering the entire area west to the dateline. There is an embedded area of +2.0-2.5 deg anomalies expanding from the Galapagos to 132W (steady) but clear signs of nearly +1.5 deg anomalies reach to 177E (expanding westward). Overall the warm water signature continues to grow.
The most recent hi-res data (7/28) indicates we are past the peak temps experienced between the Galapagos and Ecuador on 7/14. Warm anomalies are holding along the immediate coast of Northern Chile up into Peru and the Galapagos but have faded some between there and the Galapagos, with pockets starting to show less than +2.25 degs, where on 7/22 the anomalies exceeding 2.25 degrees were continuous there. But this situation is not getting any worse as of today. A peak station reading at the Galapagos occurred on 5/23 at +4.59 degs suggesting the first Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-Mar had maxed out, then built to +5.45 degs on 6/14. Temps faded slightly down to +4.1 degs in late June then rebuilt up to +4.94 on 7/17. Since then a steady fade has set in, down to +3.5 degs as of 7/27. This is interesting because much more warm water is pushing east at depth from the dateline (see below). Given the current pause in warming near the Galapagos, no additional expansion of the warm pool is expected. This is not consistent with what one would expect if a significant El Nino were in play. The CDAS Nino 1+2 index hovered at +2.1 degrees since late May then spiked reaching +3.0 degs on 7/3, retreated to +2.0 degs, then spiked again on 7/13 at +3.0 degs. It fell to +1.9 degrees on 7/27 and is now rebuilding at +2.2 degs today. today. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index indicates water temps have held in the +1.0-1.3 deg range since mid-April, then started building pushing +1.5 degs on 6/30 and generally held there while creeping up. It's currently pushing up, at +1.72 degs today, the highest of this event so far. Hi-res satellite images clearly depict unbroken +2.25 degs anomalies have encroached westward from the Galapagos to 133W as of 7/16 and are holding there today. Given the current at least temporary cooling in the NINO1.2 region, this might eventually advect west and impact NINO 3.4. This is the exact opposite of what is required.
Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline (160-180W) are rebuilding extremely fast with +2.0 degs anomalies fully bulging from the dateline eastward and +4 deg anomalies taking root, the direct effects of the July massive WWB. Warmer water is also tracking east reinforcing a large warm reservoir at +5.0 above normal erupting into Ecuador. So the pipe is open with more warm water rushing in and more poised to erupt into the Galapagos. The reservoir is holding coverage with +5 degs anomalies centered at 110W with +5 deg anomalies pushing east from 130W to Ecuador, a significant expansion from our last update, which was an expansion from the previous update. This pocket is a mixture of warm water driven by an extended WWB that occurred Jan-March plus water from an additional WWB in early May. This suggests there 2-3 months of warm water in this reservoir (till Sept 10). And more warm water continues downwelling on the dateline. The current Kelvin Wave impacting the East Pacific we believe has already peaked (earlier than the Aug 1 date we targeted), with a third starting to build now, possibly impacting the Galapagos on 10/2. This is still a great setup.
This is exactly how the '97 El Nino played out, with not individual Kelvin Waves impacting the coast and then falling into an upwelling period , but a huge pool of warm water developing at this time of year in the East Pacific creating continuous upwelling of warm water off Ecuador, with continuous westerly anomalies in the KWGA feeding yet more warm water into that subsurface pool for 6+months. This is a significant development.
Satellite data from 7/22 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific starting at 170E with a core at +10 cm from 170W eastward (major expansion) and a pocket of 15 cm anomalies at 125-130W. All this is indicative of a wide open pipe with embedded and merging Kelvin Waves combining into a large subsurface reservoir. This is a classic major El Nino setup, not a standard El Nino.
The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (7/22) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 176E and the Ecuador coast (easing east). +1.0-1.5 degs are from 175W eastward (a major westward expansion). +1.5 deg anomalies are doing the same easing east from 170W. All theses sectors are increasing in size. And a new pocket of +2.0 degs anomalies are at 145W-115W. A Kelvin Wave impacted the Ecuador Coast in May-June and a second one impacted it in June. And now a third is setting up. The pause in warming near Ecuador is evident in this chart, suggestive of nothing more than a break between successive strong Kelvin Waves. There is no indication of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. This is a very good sign with yet more westerly anomalies holding on the dateline. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 7/12 continues solid. The current is pushing moderately strongly west to east over the west equatorial Pacific filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area reaching to 160W with modest current reaching south of Hawaii only on the north side of the equator and fading out at 130W. Modest easterly current was on the equator from the Galapagos reaching a point south of Hawaii. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific to 160W, then dissipating. Easterly anomalies were in 2 pockets, one south of Hawaii and the other over the Galapagos. Compared to the '97 El Nino at this time, there is not much of a comparison. In '97 west velocities were strong in the far West Pacific with strong anomalies at 120W-160W. Suspect all this data is heavily influenced by local wind, and therefore WWBs. Still, the data suggests there was more and larger WWBs in '97.
Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model (PDF Corrected) run 7/29 for the Nino 3.4 region have backed off 0.05 degs. It suggests water temps are at +1.6 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm continuing to +2.00 degs by Oct peaking at +2.1 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. Peak temps have stabilized in the +2.1 deg range. This suggests we are now firmly moving towards a strong El Nino, with a running 3 month average right at 2.0 degs. Any immediate thought that the Inactive Phase of the MJO could somehow usher in the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin wave Cycle seem remote at best at this time. Still much more warm water is needed to be transported east over the coming 3.5 months for a Super El Nino to develop (including surface warm water currently locked over the dateline). The mid-July consensus Plume suggests development of a strong El Nino with peak temps (depending on model type) spread between 1.5-2.0 degs above normal. See the chart based version here - link.
Also see the CFS 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds and MJO with analysis here
Recirculation Theory here New! (7/15/15) just for fun.
Analysis: In late 2013 into 2014 multiple downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts 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. Those were in effect primers to help move the atmosphere out of a perpetual La Nina biased pattern that had been in play for the past 15 years. Still some degree of teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere was in play with some greater force dictating the change from a cool regime to warmer pattern (likely the PDO). The focus now becomes whether this warming and teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region have been warming solidly through July due to the arrival of the first of two Kelvin Wave (see details above) and advecting west over the entire equatorial Pacific into the Nino 3.4 region. Water temp anomalies there are well within El Nino parameters. Westerly anomalies, which stalled for 8 days in mid-June due to the passage of the Inactive Phase of the MJO, raged at WWB strength in late June into mid-July and are forecast to hold at something less than WWB strength for the foreseeable future. There are no concerns about a possible appearance of the cool upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle at this time. A large warm reservoir lodged just west of the Galapagos continues erupting and being fed by more warm water moving east (third Kelvin Wave). At this point we believe warming in the equatorial Pacific has started the classic El Nino feedback loop, evidenced by cooling temps off Africa and Australia, and solid North Pacific jetstream pattern (when there should be none).
Previous concerns about a possible fall-back to a Modoki El Nino pattern have passed. A simple glance a the SST Anomaly charts can tell that. The hot topic then becomes how strong this developing El Nino will become. And that is purely a function of the strength and duration of westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. We survived the June Inactive Phase of the MJO with no easterly anomalies developing (and in reality, no trades at all). And it appears an evolving base El Nino state is building. which should dampen any future Inactive Phases of the MJO cycle. This is required for a major El Nino to develop. On queue a major WWB developed late June/early July which should only enhance the base El Nino state more. At the same time we are monitoring a pause in warming in the Nino 1.2 region and previous warm waters advecting into the Nino3.4 region..
As things currently stand, we appear to have crossed over the El Nino threshold, with no anticipated impact expected from the current Inactive Phase of the MJO. But we'll remain vigilant. If the Inactive Phase continues to be a non-event, much like the mid-June one, then a significant El Nino event would become more likely. If it somehow shuts down westerly anomalies, and a upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle develops, all bets are off. But the odds of shutting down the Kelvin Wave cycle seem remote, given the rapid expansion of subsurface warm waters currently occurring now under the dateline. Assuming that does not happen, how will this years event be compare to '97 or '82? A wild guess says somewhere between the two. We're not seeing the strength and duration of westerly anomalies this year as compared to '97 (see analysis here). But the latest WWB could help nudge this years event towards a stronger status. Conversely the '82 event didn't even really get going till the June-July timeframe. We're way ahead of that, but not quite seeing the vigor of '97 at this point in time. Interestingly, the amount of warm water in play on the equator at the start of this year (the results of 2014's failed El Nino bid) actually gave us a starting base state well ahead of '97 (and likely some atmospheric bias in favor of El Nino), somewhat negating concerns about weaker WWBs this year. Still we're guessing we're somewhere between the 82' and '97 event, with very good atmospheric momentum in play, and that's a good place to be unless you own beach front property in California.
We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming of East Pacific equatorial waters for Sept-Dec 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
Beyond 72 hours a broad gale is forecast developing south and southwest of Tasmania on Sat (8/1) and impacting Tasmania. Weaker fetch and seas to 28 ft could possibly start sneaking east under Tasmania targeting Fiji Sun-Tues (8/4). Otherwise no swell production is forecast for the greater South Pacific.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table