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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, January 1, 2022 4:08 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.8 - California & 2.3 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 12/27 thru Sun 1/2

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   

Gulf Gale Developing
Weak Gale for Dateline - Stronger One to Follow


On Saturday, January 1, 2022 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 13.5 secs from 257 degrees. Water temp 75.9 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 76.3 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 9.6 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 8.0 ft @ 9.6 secs from 53 degrees. Water temp 76.8 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 10.0 secs from 252 degrees. Water temperature 56.1 degs, 57.7 (Topanga 103), 57.2 degs (Long Beach 215), 59.0 (Del Mar 153), 59.7 (Imperial Beach 155). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.4 ft @ 12.2 secs from 313 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.8 ft @ 6.4 secs from 265 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 8.4 secs from 268 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 5.1 ft @ 9.5 secs from 280 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.7 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 10.5 secs from 320 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northeast at 10-12 kts. Water temp NA (Pt Reyes 029), 52.9 (46026), 51.4 degs (SF Bar 142), and 53.1 (Santa Cruz 254).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Saturday (1/1) North and Central CA had set waves at about chest high and and somewhat lined up and clean with light offshore winds but soft. Protected breaks were chest high on the sets and lined up and fairly clean but weak. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and reasonably clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high and weak but clean. Central Orange County had sets at chest to shoulder high and lined up when they cam and peeling coming from the north and clean with offshore winds. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh high and somewhat lined up and clean but weak. North San Diego had sets at chest high and lined up with decent form and offshore winds. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves head high or so and clean and peeling nicely though a little soft. The South Shore was knee to thigh high and blown out from southeast wind. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at 1-2 ft overhead and fairly clean from brisk south wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (1/1) North and Central California was getting minimal locally generated northwest windswell originating from local low pressure that fell south inland of the US West Coast coast and high pressure offshore. And Hawaii was getting easterly windswell from solid east trades. Looking forward a gale is starting to develop in the Northern Gulf expected to fall southeast Sun-Tues (1/4) producing 28-30 ft seas targeting the US West Coast well. Raw swell possible. And maybe a weak but broader gale is to form west of the dateline Sun-Tues (1/4) producing 26-28 ft seas aimed east. And a stronger one is to follow Wed-Sat (1/8) tracking east and over the date4line to a point north of Hawaii generating up to 38 ft seas. There's hope! It appears the Active Phase of the MJO is to finally push east dragging the split point in the jet from the dateline to the Gulf of Alaska if not eliminating the split entirely, finally opening up the storm door for some semi-legitimate swell production, if one is to believe the models.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (1/1) the jet was pushing east off Japan reaching the dateline with winds to 180 kts forming a trough offering some support for gale development then splitting heavily as it has for the past several weeks with the northern branch ridging hard north up into the North Bering Sea then starting to fall southeast sagging down over the Northern Gulf with winds to 130 kts forming a trough and starting to offer support for gale development there too. Over the next 72 hours starting Sun (1/2) winds to build in the jet to 200 kts pushing off Japan on Mon (1/3) with the split point in the jet moving to a point almost north of Hawaii. And the trough over the Northern Gulf is to continue falling southeast to a point off Oregon on Mon (1/3) supporting gale formation. Beyond 72 hours starting Tues (1/4) the jet is to build with winds 210 kts pushing off Japan with the split point holding just a bit northeast of Hawaii and a trough developing on the dateline Wed (1/5) moving east to a point north of Hawaii on Fri (1/7) offering support for gale development before pinching off in the Western Gulf. But the jet is to remain solid and consolidated into Sat (1/8) easing east a little more possibly offering support for more gale development with luck. Perhaps a better pattern is shaping up.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (1/1) windswell from a local gradient was pushing into North and Central CA. Also east trade wind generated windswell was hitting Hawaii. Take what you can get for now.

Over the next 72 hours starting Sat PM (1/1) a gale is to continue developing in the Northern Gulf generating northwest winds at 40-45 kts and seas building from 28 ft up at 54N 153W aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/2) a broader fetch of northwest winds at 35-45 kts is forecast locked over the Northern Gulf with 29 ft seas at 50N 150W aimed southeast. In the afternoon a defined closed isobar low is to be falling south off of British Columbia producing 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas 29 ft at 45N 145W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/3) northwest fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts off Oregon pushing into Cape Mendocino CA with seas 25 ft at 42N 136W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to be 25 kts well off Oregon and North CA with seas 22 ft at 40N 130W aimed southeast and positioned just off Cape Mendocino. Fetch is to be gone after that. Some form of raw northwest swell is expected for the Pacific Northwest sweeping down into North and Central CA from a rather steep northerly direction. Something to monitor.

Also on Sun AM (1/2) a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds is to be develop just west of the dateline generating a decent sized area of seas at 23 ft positioned at 33N 165E aimed east. That fetch is to push east in the evening at 30-35+ kts with seas to 25-25 ft at 38N 169E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/3) the fetch is to be lifting northeast producing northwest winds at 35-40 kts with 26 ft seas at 38N 175E aimed southeast. More of the same in the evening with 29 ft seas at 42.5N 177.75E aimed southeast. On Tues AM (1/4) northwest fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts on the dateline with 29 ft seas at 42.5N 179E aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 43N 175W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell to result for Hawaii.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Sun (1/2) morning south winds to set up at 5 kts early for Morro Bay northward and 15 kts for Cape Mendocino. In the afternoon a front is to be pushing south down the North CA coast to Pt Arena with south winds 30 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 15 kts down to Pt Arena and 5 kts down to Morro Bay. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino late evening.
  • Mon (1/3) AM the front holds with south winds 25-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 15 kts down to the Golden Gate and south winds 5 kts south to Monterey Bay. In the afternoon the front sags south with south winds 15+ kts from the Golden Gate northward and south winds 5 ks from Monterey Bay down to maybe Morro Bay. Light rain for Pt Arena northward early reaching the Golden Gate in the afternoon and Santa Cruz later in the evening and heavy for Cape Mendocino in the evening. Snow developing and building south to Tahoe late evening.
  • Tues (1/4) the front evaporates with west to southwest winds 10 kts from the Golden Gate northward maybe pushing 15 kts over Cape Mendocino. Light winds for Central CA. Winds turning southwest at 10 kts in the afternoon for all of North CA and northwest 10 kts for Central CA maybe to 15 kts near Pt Conception. Light rain for the Golden Gate northward early with light snow from Tahoe northward. In the afternoon rain is to be isolated to Cape Mendocino. Light snow fading for Tahoe late afternoon.
  • Wed (1/5) light northwest winds are forecast for North CA building to 10-15 kts for Monterey Bay southward. In the late afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Monterey bay southward. Rain limited to Pt Arena early then evaporating in the afternoon. No snow forecast.
  • Thurs (1/6) AM no change is forecast. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA building to 15 kts from Monterey Bay southward. No real precip forecast.
  • Fri (1/7) a new local gale is forecast off North CA early with south winds 25-30 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 10 kts down to the Golden Gate. Northwest winds 10+ kts for Central CA. In the afternoon a front is to push into all of North CA with southwest winds 25kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts down to Monterey Bay. Rain developing fro Cape Mendocino early pushing south fast to Big Sur in the afternoon with snow developing for Tahoe pushing down the Sierra overnight.
  • Sat (1/8) early southwest winds are forecast for Cape Mendocino at 15 kts and west to northwest winds 10 kts for the rest of North and Central CA. Light rain early for North CA and perhaps very limited down into Central CA. Snow continues from Yosemite northward.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 28, 36, 21, and 1 inches. A spurt late on Jan 3 (5 inches) and then the rest on Jan 7-8 isolated mainly for Tahoe.

Freezing level at 8,000 ft today (1/1) only to fall back to about 3,000 ft 1/2 then building steadily to 5,000 ft on 1/3-1/4, building to 10,000 ft on 1/6 falling back to 5,000 ft on 1/7 before rebuilding to 10,000 ft on 1/9-1/10.

Hindcast - The recent Siera storm (Wed 12/22-Sat 1/1/2022) was forecast to produce anywhere from 105 to 145 inches of snow (a variety of model runs 72 hours to 24 hours prior to the storm start) at Olympic Valley CA. In the end 126 inches fell, which was right in the middle of the range from the various earlier projections. Impressive.


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

Snow Models: (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred of is forecast.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is projected developing off Japan on Wed AM (1/3) with 30-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 31 ft over a tiny area at 37N 156E aimed southeast. In the evening a far broader fetch of 40-45 kts west winds are forecast pushing east with seas to 32 ft at 35N 165E aimed southeast and moving east. On Thurs AM (1/6) northwest winds to build in coverage at 40-50 kts on the dateline with seas to 35 ft at 37.5N 166.25E aimed southeast and with good coverage. In the evening fetch is to move to the dateline at 35-40 kts with seas 35 ft at 34.5N 176E aimed east. On Fri AM (1/7) the gale is to plod east from there with 30-35 kt west winds and seas 29-31 ft at 35N 177W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts located northwest of Hawaii with seas fading from 29 ft at 37N 173W aimed east. Fetch fading Sat AM (1/8) from 30 kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 35.5N 165W aimed east. Perhaps the first semi-real gale of the season is to develop.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Peaking as Primary SubSurface Cool Pool Discharges - Active MJO Still In Control
Summary - Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, beating last years volume, and now is discharging to the surface while fading and easing east. But a second cool pool is developing. A stronger than expected Active Phase of the MJO today is producing west anomalies forecast to hold over the KWGA into mid-January filling 75% of the KWGA as the low pressure bias slowly builds in from the west. A return to a more normal cadence of Active and Inactive MJO phases is starting now. It appears surface and subsurface water temps have bottomed out. With that it seems the the peak of this years La Nina event is already behind us. But the atmosphere will be slow to respond.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

Fall /Winter 2021-2022 = 1.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina made a strong return by the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen. A full double dip La Nina pattern took hold as we moved into November with this second La Nina dip being nearly as strong as the previous one. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern at that time and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Jan. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter. But by later in Feb 2022 perhaps a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. But it will be too little too late. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct-Feb 2022, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by March 2022, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/31) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest east over the East equatorial Pacific and modest east over the Central Pacific and weak east to neutral over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/1) a mix of weak east anomalies were over the west KWGA and strong west anomalies were on the dateline. The 7 day forecast calls for more of the same.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/31) A moderate Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA today. The statistical model suggests the Active Phase is to slowly lose strength while moving east and east of the KWGA on day 10 of the model run the a solid Inactive Phase building over the West KWGA on day 10-15. The dynamic model projects the Active MJO backtracking on days 5-10 of the model run with the Active Phase filling the KWGA moderately on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/1) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the East Pacific and is forecast tracking over Africa at day 15 of the model run and very weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase holding over the East Pacific the next 10 days then slowly weakening and moving to the Atlantic on day 15 of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/31) A weak Active MJO signal (wet air) was over the East Pacific today. The forecast indicates the Active Phase (wet air) tracking east pushing into Central America 1/25. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start developing over the West Pacific on 1/5 and weak moving to the Central America at the end of the model run on 2/9. A new Active Phase (wet air) is forecast starting to build over the far West Pacific on 1/25 moving east to the Central Pacific from there.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/31) This model depicts the Active Phase was locked over the Central KWGA today with west anomalies building to strong status mostly filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal holding over the KWGA through 1/12 positioned just west of the dateline with west anomalies solid on the dateline through 1/7 then fading but still holding control of the central KWGA through 1/12. After that weak east anomalies are to take over with the Inactive Phase of the MJO forecast developing 1/20 in the western KWGA with east anomalies building in strength filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/28 with no west anomalies in sight.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/1 - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day): Today the Active Phase of the MJO was still filling the eastern 50% of the KWGA with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO is to continue moving over the KWGA through 1/3 with west anomalies filling the KWGA during that window and stronger through 1/8 then gone on 1/15. The Inactive Phase is already building over the West KWGA though not particularly strong or impactful till 1/15 with weak east anomalies building over the KWGA then peaking on the dateline on 2/2-2/26. A moderate Active Phase is to develop on 1/25 pushing east through the KWGA through 3the end of the model run on 4/1 with moderate west anomalies during that window. An Inactive Phase is to follow starting 3/10 through the end of the model run. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines was centered over the dateline and is to hold till 1/31, then nudge east with its western perimeter on or near the dateline. The second contour is to fade out on 1/16 then redevelop 2/6. A broad single contour low pressure bias is established centered over the Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 125E and barely in the KWGA and is forecast starting to move east further into the KWGA to 150E on 2/2 filling 50% of the KWGA and building further east to nearly the dateline at the end of the model run. Today a solid east anomaly pattern that has been in control of KWGA since early July is being significantly challenged by west anomalies from the current Active Phase of the MJO. A return to a more normal MJO alternating pattern is forecast moving forward. This could signal the demise of La Nina as we get deeper into Winter. That said, there is only one more Active MJO forecast for this winter, in the late-Jan to early March timeframe.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/1) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was pushing east to 171E and solid. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 178W. The 24 deg isotherm was steady hovering near 125W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +4 deg C were building with their leading edge at about 155W but maybe showing signs of drifting east some. All sensors are down at 140W. Cool anomalies were rebuilding at -5 degs C 75 meters down at 125W and tracking east while rising near the surface near 95W. No Kelvin Waves were obvious and cool water was in control in the east at depth but definitely less of a force than weeks and months past with warm water building in the west. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/24 indicates no warm water east of 155W at depth with a bubble of cold water at -4C below normal east of there extending upward to the surface off Ecuador and rebuilding compared to weeks past. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/24) Sea heights were negative over the East equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to 155W at -5 to -10 cms now with a building pocket of -15 cms anomalies between 110W and 145W. -10 cms anomalies cover a broad area between 80W to 150W. Positive anomalies were creeping east from 178E previously to 175W today. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern appears to be losing definition in the West Pacific. La Nina made a return and stronger than last year, but now appears to be in decline, at least from the subsurface water temp perspective. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram La Nina subsurface cold temperatures peaked in coverage in mid-Oct, far broader than last year (-2.5 degs C), but as of 12/19 that coverage is gone but a second cold wave was developing between 150W to 110W. It appears a second cold water Kelvin Wave (upwelling Kelvin Wave) was developing under the Central Pacific while the primary one was erupting just west of the Galapagos and warm water builds in the far West Pacific reaching east to 165W. .

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (12/31) The latest images depict a broad stream of cool water on the equator and extending north from Chile up to Peru then turning west and peaking from the Galapagos east to 110W then weaker but still solid west of there to at least the dateline. A classic La Nina pattern was evident. But the coolest part of that flow is warming compared to a week ago. A previous pocket of warming water depicted at 130W was fading while there were some signs of warming along the coast of Chile and Ecuador. An area of warm water was holding just north of the equator from Ecuador west to 150W and up along Central America into Southern Baja. Overall this indicates the return of cold water temps in the Central Equatorial Pacific indicative of La Nina, at least for now.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/31): Temps were warming dramatically along Chile and Peru. A few small pockets of cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 140W. A cold water Kelvin Wave is erupting at the surface in the East equatorial Pacific resulting from the discharge of subsurface water below it.
Hi-res Overview: (12/31) No real change though the magnitude of the coolness appears to be fading some. A broad stream of cooler than normal water was aligned on the equator from Ecuador to 110W then weaker but still solid out to 180W. Cooler than normal waters were also south of that line down to 20S. Warmer than normal waters were limited to a line north of the equator up to Mexico and along the US Coast up to Pt Conception. A previous cool outflow from South California southwest to the a point over Hawaii's Big Island was gone. La Nina is solid but not building anymore focused over the equatorial Central Pacific.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/1) Today's temps were down some at -1.582 after rising to -1.319 on 12/30 after falling hard to -1.954 on 12/18, the lowest this year so far. Previously temps rose to -1.432 on 11/29 and that after dropping on 11/24 at -1.700, the lowest in months after previously toggling steady at about -0.6 degs from mid Aug to Oct 6, then falling from there. Before that temps were toggling around neutral 6/13-8/5 except for one dip to -0.411 on 7/8. Prior to that temps peaked on 3/16 when they briefly hit +0.714 degs. Last year temps bottomed out at -2.138 on 8/13/20. The longterm trend has been steadily downward.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/1) Todays temps were falling as part of a slow steady downward trend down to -1.070 after creeping up to -0.685 on 11/9, and that after bottoming out at -1.080 on 11/2, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/1) - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June then fading to -0.3 degs through Aug and to -0.75 degs in mid Oct and -1.0 degs in mid-Nov. The forecast indicates temps steady from here to mid-Jan at -1.05 then pushing up to -0.25 degs in July 2022. This model suggests a return of La Nina conditions and strongly so this Fall and Winter. There is no indication that El Nino will develop. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps have already bottomed out at -1.05 in mid-Dec, rising in mid-Jan to -1.0 degs then starting a slow steady rise to -0.20 degs in July. This is an upgrade from 1 week ago when temps were predicted to fall to -1.30 degs and that an upgrade from lower temps months before. At this point it is safe to say peak La Nina has been reached.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Dec 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -1.032 degs today and have bottomed out. They are to warm to -0.47 degrees in March, then rising to -0.00 degs in July and neutral after that. A solid return of La Nina is expected peaking about now then warming thereafter.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator):
Today (1/1) the daily index was positive at 3.82 after peaking at +46.71 on 12/26. The trend has been towards positive readings with previous notable peaks at +30.98 on 11/26, +36.90 on 9/28, +27.75 on 9/13 and +37.86 on 7/15.
The 30 day average was steady at +12.84 after peaking at 13.07 on 12/31 (the highest in a year) after previously falling to +6.06 on 11/6 after peaking at +11.58 on 10/22. Before that it fell to -3.36 on 6/22, the lowest in a year. It peaked at +19.51 on 1/14.
The 90 day average was steady at +10.62 today after previously peaking at +10.90 on 12/26, falling to +7.10 on 11/1. It previously peaking on 9/21 at +9.80 after falling to it's lowest point in a year on 6/9 at +1.06. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative every since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'). If anything it appears more likely we are still in the cool phase of the PDO.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

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

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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