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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 9:22 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 = 4.2 - California & 2.5 - 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 5/4 thru Sun 5/10

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   

Swell #2S Fading in California
Small Swell From New Zealand Behind/Another Gale Forecast

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 Tuesday, May 5, 2015 :

  • Buoy 51201 (Waimea): Seas were 4.8 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 8.1 secs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 17.0 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 16.9 secs. Wind southwest 2 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 1.1 ft @16.8 secs from 175 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 3.7 ft @ 17.0 secs from 192 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 4.4 ft @ 16.4 secs from 185 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 14.7 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 6.9 ft @ 14.5 secs. Wind northwest 12 kts nearshore. Water temp 52.2 degs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/5) in North and Central CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead on the sets coming from the Gulf and mixed with local windswell and chopped by northwest wind. Down in Santa Cruz surf was 1-2 ft overhead and inconsistent with near chop in control coming from the south. In Southern California up north local southern hemi swell was waist to chest high with head high sets st top peaks and clean with decent form though soft. Down south waves were 2-3 ft overhead at better breaks and fairly clean but swamping many breaks with too much period and size. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell producing head high surf at top breaks and clean. The South Shore was small with waves thigh high or less and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell shoulder 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 relative to Hawaii generic tradewind generated east windswell is expected to continue for the next week. No North Pacific swell of interest is forecast. Relative to the US West Coast, windswell is building and to continue into late Thursday (5/7) then fading only to redevelop on Mon (5/11).  A small gale developed in the Gulf on Sat (5/2) generating 26 ft seas aimed east over a tiny area targeting Central CA northward. Swell from it is hitting CA.  Swell #2S was starting to fade over California. Another small but fairly strong gale developed tucked up along the east coast of New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (4/30) with seas to 38 ft aimed northeast. Some small swell is expected to result for Hawaii by Wed AM (5/6) with much less for the US West Coast by the weekend. Another small but fairly potent gale is forecast for the Southeast Pacific on Wed (5/6) with up to 42 ft seas forecast building Thurs AM (5/7) with 44 ft seas in the California swell window but mainly aimed east, then moving outside the CA swell window and dissipating. And yet another small gale is forecast for the Southeast Pacific on Sun (5/10) with seas building to 37 ft aimed mainly east-northeast.   

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

North Pacific

Overview 
Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (5/5) high pressure at 1028 mbs was 800 nmiles west of Central CA ridging east and starting to form a pressure gradient along the coast with northwest winds building from 25 kts. Windswell was starting to be produced. Also swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska was hitting (see Gulf Gale below). Residual low pressure associated with a gale previously over the dateline was fading still on the dateline.  Small swell is pushing towards Hawaii (see Dateline Gale below).   

Over the next 72 hours the usual summer time Cape Mendocino pressure gradient is expected to hold with north winds to 30 kts centered near Pt Arena extending south down to Pt Reyes and continuing into Thurs AM (5/7) resulting in increasing north local short period windswell. The gradient is to weaken some later Thurs (5/7) with windswell starting to fade and all but gone by Sat (5/9). Trades relative to Hawaii are to continue from the east in the 15+ kt range. Short period east windswell expected for exposed east facing shores.

Gulf Gale
On Fri PM (5/1) a small gale started building in the Gulf of Alaska  generating 40 kt northwest winds with seas on the increase. The gale tracked east Sat AM (5/2) with west-northwest winds holding at 40 kts with seas 26 ft over a tiny area at 47N 157W. Fetch started fading from 40 kts in the evening with seas holding at 26 ft at 47.5N 152.5W.  This system quickly dissipated after that.

Small and limited 14 sec period swell could result for North CA starting Tues AM (5/5). Maybe 4 ft @ 13-14 secs (5 ft faces) from 301 degrees and shadowed in the SF Bay Area.   This swell is to be overrun by local windswell on Wed (5/6).

Dateline Gale
On Sun AM (5/3) a new broad gale organized over the dateline with 35 kts northwest winds resulting in barely 20 ft seas at 45N 178E in the late evening to Mon AM (5/4) targeting Hawaii down the 327 degree path. A quick fade followed.

Perhaps small swell to result for Oahu on Wed night (5/7) peaking Thurs AM (5/8) at 3 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). 

No other swell producing fetch is forecast.

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

 

Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Noul was centered directly over the Island of Yap on Tues AM (5/5) with winds 60 tracking west. Slow strengthening is forecast over the next 5 days with winds pushing 120 kts on Sat (5/9) positioned 200 nmiles off the Northern Philippines with the track turning progressively more northwest. Noul is to be just east of Taiwan on Mon AM (5/11) when it finally turns northeast and starts tracking 125 nmiles south of Southern Japan. It is doubtful, even if this does happen that any swell will result in the North Pacific. It's just too late in the season. Still, this is an interesting scenario and something worth monitoring.

Theoretically another tropical systems is to be right behind too.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/5) high pressure at 1030 mbs was 800 nmiles east of Central CA and was ridging east forming the usual pressure gradient over the North CA coast. North winds near Cape Mendocino were building to 25 kts and up to 20  kts pushing south to near Pt Conception.  The gradient to building on Wednesday with northwest winds to 30 kts with 25 kts over most of Central CA nearshore, then fading from 25 kts Thursday (5/7). Perhaps an eddy flow to set up nearshore for Central CA on Fri (5/8) with north winds still 25 kts off Cape Mendocino. A light wind pattern is forecast on Saturday rebuilding from the northwest at 15 kts on Sun (5/10) for all of North and Central CA. Round #2 of high pressure starts Mon AM (5/11) with northwest winds 20 kts for all of North and Central CA continuing Tuesday.    

   

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream- On Tuesday AM (5/5) the jet was split and incoherent over most of the Southwest Pacific with the southern branch tracking flat east down at 60S pushing under New Zealand then trying to lift northeast some over the Central Pacific forming a bit of a trough there and almost merging with the northern branch of the jet with barely 120 kts winds feeding up into it, offering minimal support for gale development. East of there the jet again split with the southern branch falling south forming a ridge shunting support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to develop better on Wed (5/8) in the same area with 140-150 kt winds feeding the trough continuing into Thurs (5/7) while pushing east and out of the California swell window. Good support for gale development possible. Beyond 72 hours a generally zonal (flat) flow is expected tracking west to east on the 55S latitude line offering no support for gale development. But on Sun (5/10) perhaps a new small trough is to start building in the far Southeast Pacific feed by 150 kt winds tracking east and out of the swell window while dissipating later Mon (5/11). Some hope for gale development there down at the surface.


Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (5/5) solid mid-period swell from Storm #2S was hitting California, but past it's peak (see Storm #2S below). A gale also had formed just east of New Zealand on Tues (4/28) with swell from it pushing northeast (see New Zealand Gale below). Otherwise high pressure at 1032 mbs was east of northern New Zealand generally pushing the storm track south there. But no high pressure was over the Southeast Pacific, opening a small window to support potential gale development there. 

As a result a new gale briefly formed in the Central South Pacific on Mon PM (5/4) generating a  broad area of 30-35 kt southwest winds with 26 ft seas at 55S 147W. By Tues AM (5/5) southwest winds are to be holding at 35-40 kts and tracking east with seas still 26 ft at 55S 145W. Fetch is to fade from 30-35 kts in the evening with a new fetch building well west of it with winds 45 kts over a tiny area aimed east. By Wed AM (5/6) 50 kt southwest winds are to start building in the South Central Pacific aimed well to the northeast with seas building from 29 ft over a tiny area at 54S 144W. A solid area of 50-55 kt southwest winds to develop in the evening with seas building to 42 ft at 55S 133W aimed east-northeast. By Thurs AM (5/7) 50-55 kt southwest winds are to be on the edge of the CA swell window and fading in coverage with 43 ft seas at 53S 122W and aimed 45 degs east of the 180 degree track to Southern CA. Fetch is to be fading in the evening aimed almost east with seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 42 ft at 56S 117W targeting Chile and east of the California swell window. This system to dissipate by Fri AM (5/8). Assuming all goes as forecast some degree of respectable sideband swell could result for California, but with the lions share of the fetch targeting Central America down into Northern Chile. Something to monitor.

South Pacific Storm #2S
On Sat PM (4/25) a small but potent storm started developing southeast of New Zealand with 60-65 kt west winds and seas building from 40 ft seas at 60S 166W (183 degs HI, 202 degs SCal, 200 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). The Jason-2 satellite passed near the core at 06Z Sun (4/26) reporting seas at 43 ft with one readying to 46.4 ft where the model suggested seas should be 44-45 ft. The model was doing a good job. Fetch built in areal coverage aimed more east-northeast Sun AM (4/26) at 60 kts with seas 50 ft at 60S 150W (195 degs SCal, 193 deg NCal). The Jason-2 satellite passed over the outer periphery of this storm and reported seas 36.3 ft with one reading to 42.7 ft where the model was projecting 36-38 ft seas. In the evening winds held at 55 kts over a solid area aimed north-northeast and lifting east-northeast with seas building to 54 ft at 55S 137W targeting Chile, Peru and up into Central America with sideband energy tracking up into California (189 degs SCal, 187 degs NCal). The Jason-2 satellite made a pass near the core at 05Z Mon (4/27) and confirmed seas at 47.1 ft with one reading to 53.9 ft where the model was projecting 48-49 ft seas. On Mon AM (4/27) fetch was fading from 50 kts with 45 kt winds over a solid area all from the south-southwest pushing well northeast with 52 ft seas at 53S 126W (183 degs SCal, 181 degs NCal). The Jason-2 satellite made 2 passes over the north and south periphery of the storm. It reported 41.2 ft seas with one reading to 48.7 ft where the model suggested seas should be 39-40 ft. The model was on the money. In the south quadrant it reported seas to 30-32 ft where seas should have been 29 ft. Fetch was fading in the evening from barely 40 kts with 43 ft seas at 50S 117W and outside the CA swell window but aimed well north and targeting Chile and Peru well (sideband swell for SCal on the 179 degree track, 177 degs NCal). The Jason-2 satellite passed directly over the core of the storm at 03Z Tues (4/28) and reported seas at 42.2 ft with one readying up to 50.6 ft where the modeled suggested 41 ft seas should be. Again, the model was spot on.

This storm has completed it's lifecycle and was strong and impressive. Jason-2 satellite data has confirm what the model has been projecting, with a good correlation between all the data points. Most energy was aimed east-northeast at Chile up into Peru, but solid sideband energy is forecast radiating up into Central America and the US West Coast. A solid long period swell is in the water.

South CA: Residuals on Wed (5/6) with swell 3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft). dribble on Thurs (5/7) fading from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 185-195 focused on 190 degrees

North CA: Residuals on Wed (5/6) with well fading from 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). dribbles on Thurs (5/7) fading from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft). Swell Direction: 183-193 focused on 188 degrees

 

New Zealand Gale
A small gale started developing south of New Zealand on Tues PM (4/28) generating 45 kt south winds with seas building from 26 ft seas at 51S 163E. By Wed AM (4/29) a tiny fetch of 55 kt south winds is to be in-play lifting northeast with seas on the increase from 32 ft over a tiny area at 49S 172E. In the evening winds were tracking northeast and fading from 45 kts with seas building to 38-39 ft over a tiny area at 45S 180W. Winds were fading from 40 kts Thurs AM (4/30) with seas fading from 34 ft up at 41S 176W. This system is to be fading by evening with winds 35 kts and seas mostly from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 40S 167W. Additional 40 kt southwest fetch to build on Fri AM (5/1) with seas 29 ft at 44S 160W. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts in the evening and turning more purely westerly with seas to 32 ft at 42S 152W. Fetch is to be fading fast Sat AM (5/2) with winds barely 30 kts and no additional sea production of interest forecast. The bulk of the swell production has already occurred. Secondary 15-16 sec period energy is possibly going to be added if the models verify. Swell from the initial pulse is unshadowed by Tahiti relative to California. Something to monitor.

Hawaii:  Expect swell arrival late Tues (5/5) with swell maybe 1.5 ft @ 18-19 secs (2.5 ft). Swell to peak on Wed (5/6) mid-day at 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (5/7) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residual energy continuing on Fri (5/8) from a more southerly direction.  Swell Direction: 194-197 degrees

California:  Rough data suggests swell arrival on late Thurs (5/7) with period 20 secs and size tiny. Swell building Fri (5/8) to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) peaking on Sat (5/9) at 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell pushing 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft) on Sun (5/10).  Swell Direction: 216 degrees   

 

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 high pressure is to start rebuilding ridging into the US West Coast by Sun (5/10) with northwest winds 20 kts late over North and Central CA and continuing in the 20 kt range into Tues (5/12). Local short period windswell expected. Relative to Hawaii the coverage of trades is to shrink and fall south with winds 15 kts from the east starting Fri (5/8). But by Tues (5/12) coverage is to start shrinking more, still at 15 kts. Steadily reduced size and period of that windswell expected.   

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 Tues (5/5) the daily SOI was falling at -8.70. The 30 day average was falling at -4.23 and the 90 day average was falling from -4.71. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of a weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a weakening Active Phase of the MJO. As of Tuesday (5/5) low pressure was building just south of New Zealand and is expected to continue build into Thurs (5/7) with perhaps a full on subtropical low developing, suggestive of falling SOI numbers. And another low to follow in the same area over the weekend into Mon (5/11). The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator.   

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated moderate westerly anomalies continued in play over the Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline then turning neutral and continuing unchanged into the Galapagos Islands. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated moderate westerly winds (not just anomalies but a reversal of trades) over the western Kelvin Wave Generation Area with anomalies holding to a point south of Hawaii, then turning neutral to the Galapagos. A week from now (5/13) moderate westerly anomalies are to start at 125E (over the Maritime Continent) holding to 160E, then fading to neutral just east of the dateline. Neutral anomalies are forecast east of there to the Galapagos. This suggests the Active Phase (or at least westerly anomalies if not a short lived WWB) are to hold if not build a week out (a good sign) and positioned well in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area.  

A moderate Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) developed from 1/15-2/20 then regenerated 2/25 building steadily into the strong category by 3/7, before peaking 3/10 holding to 3/17. A more modest version of it continued into 3/27 then slowly faded into 3/30 but not out even to 4/17. And now it appears to be rebuilding again. This was already a decent event attributable to the Jan-Feb anomalies, before it raged in mid-March. Not a hint of easterly anomalies all year so far. See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/4 suggests a dead MJO signal was in play. No anomalies were occurring over the Pacific. A modest Inactive Phase (or at least high pressure and dry conditions) were over the Indian Ocean. The Statistic model suggests a continuation of the same for the next 15 days while a very weak Active Phase tries to develop in the Indian Ocean but making no headway east. The Dynamic model suggests a dead neutral pattern but with a weak Active Phase building over the West Pacific and the Inactive Phase in the Indian Ocean and holding for the next 15 days. For now the models are generally in sync. The ultra long range upper level model run on 5/5 depicts a moderate Active MJO pattern in play over the West Pacific and is to ease east reaching Central America on 5/20 and all but gone then. A modest Inactive Phase to build in the far West Pacific 5/15 pushing steadily east and fading as if hits Central America on 6/2.  A weak Active Phase is to set up after that in the West Pacific on 5/28 pushing east and into Central America on 6/14. 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 (5/4) a weak warm water/El Nino like regime continues in control of the entire equatorial Pacific perhaps getting a better grasp. Warmer water is trying to get traction along the Chilean and Peruvian coasts pushing north up to the equator, with a small but building warm pocket depicted between the Galapagos and the mainland, building some in the latest image. This pocket started forming on 3/28, faded some, and has been trying to rebound since, but with only limited success. As of 5/4 it is building some. Warmer water extends west from there but only reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator until it reaches the dateline, then expanding in areal coverage.In reviewing last years data at this same time, things are not a whole lot different.   TAO data indicates +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years. +2.0 deg anomalies are now depicted advecting west from the Galapagos. Also the pocket of 1.5 deg anomalies that had been on the dateline has rebuilt. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps warmed some, currently at +1.1 degs, up 0.1 degree from 4/25. One would expect this area to start warming after the big Spring Kelvin Wave starts erupting and advecting west, starting maybe a month out (5/28).

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator are no longer warming but are pushing hard east. As of 5/5 a +2.0 C anomaly flow was in control under the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up. And a large pocket of +5-6 deg anomalies was now starting to impact 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 4/23 and is now starting to peak. Another model suggest the peak water temps still extend westward to 140W, meaning there is a month of peak warm water still in the pipe. Satellite data from 4/28 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 175E with a core to +10 cm from 145W to the Galapagos indicative of an open pipe with an embedded solid Kelvin Wave. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (4/28) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 175E-80W with +1.0-1.5 degs from 170W-80W and +1.5 deg anomalies from 152W-55W. And a building core of 2 deg anomalies are indicated between 143W-85W. This also suggests the peak of the Kelvin Wave is still offshore a bit. In short, a strong Kelvin Wave is in flight and starting to impact the Galapagos. 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 El Nino Modoki. We'll know more by June 1.

Pacific Counter Current data as of 4/17 is steadily improving. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire northern equatorial Pacific and with a strong pulse west of the Galapagos on the equator. A very weak easterly current was positioned 2-3 degrees south of the equator. Anomaly wise - modest west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific north of the equator and building to the strong category and positioned directly over the equator in the east (130W to Ecuador). Sure looks 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 5/5 for the Nino 3.4 region are steady. It suggests water temps are at +1.1 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +2.25 degs C, and continuing to +2.8 degs by Oct and 3.1 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 a statistic model and is just picking up on the Kelvin Wave in flight, and will settle back down 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 off the Kelvin Wave cycle develops in mid-June, then it will likely be another year of the Modoki El Nino cycle. The June to early July timeframe will either make or break development of a legit El Nino. Of note: The eastward migration of warm surface water from the dateline now positioned south of Hawaii is typical of a classic variety of El Nino, which did not occur at any point in time last year. 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 there hints of perhaps another gale developing in the Southeast Pacific on late Sat (5/9) with a tiny area of 50 kt southwest winds generating 36 ft seas at 45S 140W. 45 kt southwest winds to build Sun AM (5/10) producing a tiny area of 41 ft seas at 52S 130W aimed mainly east. 40 kts west winds to be fading in the evening generating 39 ft seas at 52S 119W and moving out of the Southern CA swell window.  Varying degrees of 33-37 ft seas to track east-northeast from there into mid-Tues (5/12) targeting Southern Chile up into Peru. Limited sideband swell possible for Southern CA with better energy down into mainland Mexico and Central America.   

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

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