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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, January 3, 2022 2:07 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
2.7 - California & 2.8 - 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 1/3 thru Sun 1/9

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   

Small Gulf & Dateline Swells Coming
Series of Gales Forecast Tracking Over Dateline - Winter To Start

Next Forecast Update Sun (1/9)

On Monday, January 3, 2022 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 12.9 secs from 277 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs (Barbers Pnt), NA (Lani 239), 73.0 (Pearl Harbor 233).
  • Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 8.7 secs from 102 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.7 secs from 242 degrees. wind north at 8 kts. Water temperature 58.1 degs, 57.7 (Topanga 103), 57.0 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.8 (Del Mar 153), 59.0 (Imperial Beach 155). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.2 ft @ 13.5 secs from 274 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 14.6 secs from 241 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.4 secs from 215 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.5 secs from 232 degrees. Water temp 59.4 degs.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 15.0 secs from 279 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 16-20 kts. Water temp NA (Pt Reyes 029), 52.7 (46026), 52.3 degs (SF Bar 142), and 53.4 (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 Monday (1/3) North and Central CA had set waves at about chest high and and somewhat lined up but starting to get tattered by south wind and lump. Protected breaks were flat with a few stray waist high sets and clean breaking mostly on the beach and swamped by tide. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and warbled and swamped by tide. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high and weak but clean. Central Orange County had sets at waist high and lined up when they came and clean but breaking nearly on the beach. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh high and clean and very weak. North San Diego had sets at thigh high and clean but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some swell with waves to head high and clean with decent form though soft. The South Shore was thigh to maybe waist high and clean but weak and muddy. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at waist to chest high and ruffled from southeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (1/3) North and Central California was getting no real swell of interest. Hawaii was getting easterly windswell from east trades centered a bit east of the Islands. Looking forward a gale is falling south through the Northern Gulf through Tues (1/4) producing 28-30 ft seas targeting the US West Coast well. Raw swell expected. And a weak but broader gale is developing west of the dateline Sun-Tues (1/4) producing 26-30 ft seas aimed east mainly at Hawaii. Of more interest is a stronger one expected Wed-Sat (1/8) tracking east and over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii generating up to 32 ft seas. And another is to be right behind developing in the Central Gulf Sun-Mon (1/10) producing 26-29 ft seas aimed east. So there's hope! The Active Phase of the MJO is finally pushing 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. Whatever sort of a Winter we're going to have - It's setting up to happen right now.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Monday (1/3) the jet was pushing east off Japan and pushing a bit east of the dateline with winds to 190 kts trying to form a trough on the dateline offering some support for gale development. East of there the jet split heavily as it has for the past several weeks with the northern branch ridging hard north up into the North Bering Sea then falling southeast equally as hard sagging down over the Northeastern Gulf with winds to 160 kts forming a trough and offering support for gale development before pushing inland over the OR-CA border. Over the next 72 hours starting Tues (1/4) winds to build in the jet to 200 kts pushing off Japan with the split point in the jet moving progressively east to a point almost north of Hawaii on Thurs (1/6). The trough over the Northern Gulf is to be gone by Tues (1/4) no longer offering support for gale development. But a new broader trough is forecast developing in the energized jetstream flow near the dateline pushing east to a point northwest of Hawaii being fed by 190 kt winds offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (1/7) the jet is to be solid streaming from Japan to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii with winds 190 kts over a good portion of that distance with a broad generic trough straddling the dateline offering good support for gale development. That trough is to dig deeper by Sat (1/8) offering a bit better support then flattening some beyond but the jet still stable and solid through the end of the forecast run on Mon (1/10) with 180-190 kts winds from nearly Japan to the split point located just 900 nmiles off Pt Conception. Good support for gale development forecast and this is to be the best hope so far this Winter.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (1/3) no swell was hitting California. East trade wind generated windswell was hitting Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours swell from a gale over the dateline is to be radiating towards Hawaii (see Small Dateline Gale below). Also swell from a small gale in the northern Gulf of Alaska is to be radiating towards California (see North Gulf Gale below).


Small Dateline Gale
On Sun AM (1/2) a fetch of 30-45 kt northwest winds developed just west of the dateline generating a decent sized area of seas at 23 ft positioned at 33N 165E aimed east. That fetch pushed east in the evening at 35-40 kts with seas to 25-26 ft at 38N 170E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/3) the fetch was lifting northeast producing northwest winds at 35-40 kts with 27 ft seas at 38N 176E aimed southeast. More of the same in the evening with 28 ft seas at 41.5N 177E 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 40.5N 177.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 41N 175.5W aimed east. Lingering west winds at 30 kts are forecast Wed AM (1/5) with seas fading from 23 ft at 40N 172W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell to result for Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (1/6) building to 5.9 ft @ 14-15 secs mid-day (8.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (1/7) from 5.6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (1/8) fading from 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect small swell arriving on Sat (1/8) building to 3.2 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell holding Sun (1/9) at 3.5 ft @ 13-14 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (1/10) from 2.8 ft @ 13 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 285 degrees


North Gulf Gale
On Sat PM (1/1) a gale developed 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 was locked over the Northern Gulf with 29-30 ft seas at 50N 150W aimed southeast. In the afternoon a defined closed isobar low was falling south off of British Columbia producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 29 ft at 46N 148W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/3) northwest fetch was fading from 30-35 kts off Oregon pushing into Cape Mendocino CA with seas 25 ft at 43N 138W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to be 25 kts well off Oregon and North CA with seas 21 ft at 40N 134W 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.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (1/4) building to 8.6 ft @ 14-15 secs mid-AM (12 ft). Swell fading Wed (1/5) from 6.6 ft @ 13 secs early (8.5 ft). Residuals on Thurs (1/6) fading from 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-310 degrees but most energy from 305+ degs


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Tues (1/4) a front evaporates over North CA with west to southwest winds 10 kts from Santa Cruz northward maybe pushing 15 kts over Cape Mendocino. Light winds for Central CA. In the late afternoon winds to be southwest 10 kts for all of North CA and northwest 10-15 kts for Central CA and 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) west winds are forecast at 10 kts 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 15-20 kts for Monterey Bay southward. Rain limited to Pt Arena early holding all day. 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. Light rain possible for Cape Mendocino through the day.
  • 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 northwest winds 25 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 10-15 kts from Monterey Bay south to Pt Conception. Solid rain developing for Cape Mendocino early pushing south fast to Morro Bay in the afternoon with snow developing for Tahoe late AM getting solid in the afternoon and pushing down the Sierra overnight.
  • Sat (1/8) early northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northeast winds are forecast at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino and north to northwest winds at 10 kts for the remainder of North CA down into Central CA. Light snow early for the Sierra from Yosemite northward.
  • Sun (1/9) south to southeast winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA with a massive front a bit off the coast. In the afternoon south winds building to 15 kts for all of North CA and 10 kts for Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Mon (1/10) the front is to glance the North CA coast with south winds 15-20 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA. More of the same in the afternoon. Rain developing for North CA later in the morning.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 21, 25, 15, and 3 inches. A spurt late on Jan 3 (4 inches) and then the rest on Jan 7-8 isolated mainly for Tahoe.

Freezing level at 5,000 ft on 1/3-1/4, building to 12,000 ft on 1/6 falling back to 5,000 ft on 1/7 before rebuilding to 10,000 ft on 1/9-1/10 falling to 7,000 ft on 1/11 and holding.

Hindcast - The recent Sierra 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 23 ft over a fragmented area at 37N 156E aimed southeast. In the evening a far broader fetch of 35-40 kt west winds are forecast pushing east with seas to 26 ft at 35N 164E aimed southeast and moving east. On Thurs AM (1/6) west winds to build in coverage at 35-40 kts on the dateline with seas to 26 ft at 35N 169E aimed southeast and with good coverage. In the evening fetch is to move to the dateline at 30-35 with a core to 40 kts with seas 26-30 ft at 35N 169E aimed east and reaching to the dateline. On Fri AM (1/7) the gale is to plod east from there with 30-40 kt west winds and seas 32 ft at 33.25N 179.25W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts located northwest of Hawaii with seas fading from 27 ft at 31.5N 170.5W aimed east. Fetch fading Sat AM (1/8) from 30-35 kts pushing east with seas fading from 23 ft at 35N 164W aimed east. Perhaps the first semi-real gale of the season is to develop.

Secondary fetch is to develop from the above system on Sat PM (1/8) North of Hawaii producing 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 27 ft at 36.5N 165.5W aimed east. The gael is to push east on Sun AM (1/9) at 45 kts with seas 33 ft over a tiny area aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with west winds 40+ kts and seas 33 ft at 41N 147W aimed east. Remnants to pushing northeast and fade from there Mon AM (1/10) with 35+ kt west winds and seas fading from 29 ft at 44.5N 141W aimed east.

And yet another gale is possible right behind that developing Sun AM (1/9) just west of the dateline producing 45 kt west winds and seas building. In the evening a decent fetch of 40-45 kt west winds are forecast with 27 ft seas building at 35N 165W aimed east. The gael is to build in the evening at 45-50 kts from the west with seas building to 32 ft at 39.5N 157W aimed east. Fetch fading and lifting northeast in the evening at 40-45 kts with seas fading from 36 ft at 41.25N 145.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.

And yet more to be behind that. Winter is starting!


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 (1/2) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific but turning light west over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest east over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and weak west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/3) weak to modest west anomalies were filling the KWGA except with east anomalies over the dateline. The 7 day forecast calls for more of the same unchanged.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/2) 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 and filling the KWGA on day 15. The dynamic model projects the Active MJO backtracking while building on days 5-10 of the model run with the Active Phase filling the KWGA solid on days 10-15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/3) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the East Pacific and is forecast tracking over Africa to the West Indian Ocean at day 15 of the model run and very weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase holding over the East Pacific the next 15 days at modest strength.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/2) A moderate Active MJO signal (wet air) was over the KWGA today. The forecast indicates the Active Phase (wet air) tracking east pushing into Central America 1/27. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start developing over the West Pacific on 1/12 and weak moving to the Central America at the end of the model run on 2/11. A new Active Phase (wet air) is forecast starting to build over the far West Pacific on 2/1 moving east to the Central Pacific from there.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/2) This model depicts the Active Phase was locked over the Central KWGA today with west anomalies at strong status mostly over the dateline. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal holding over the KWGA through 1/12 with west anomalies solid on the dateline through 1/9 then fading. After that weak east anomalies are to take over with the Inactive Phase of the MJO forecast developing 1/22 in the western KWGA with east anomalies filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/30 building to strong status with no west anomalies in sight.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/3 - 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 barely holding control of the eastern 50% of the KWGA with weak to modest west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO is to continue moving over the KWGA through 1/4 with west anomalies filling the KWGA through 1/11. The Inactive Phase is already building over the West KWGA though not particularly strong or impactful till 1/22 when weak east anomalies start building over the KWGA then peaking on the dateline on 2/1-2/20. A moderate Active Phase is to develop on 2/1 pushing east through the KWGA through 3/15 with moderate west anomalies during that window. An Inactive Phase is to follow starting 3/10 through the end of the model run on 4/2. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines was centered over the dateline and is to hold till 1/27, then nudge east with its western perimeter on or near the dateline. The second contour is to fade out on 1/16 then redevelop 2/2 and hold. 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 1/27 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: (1/3) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was pushing east to 174E and solid. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 177W. The 24 deg isotherm was backtracking to 135W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +4 deg C were building with their leading edge at about 150W and maybe showing signs of drifting east some. All sensors are down at 140W so there is some doubt concerning the above statement. Cool anomalies were rebuilding at -5 degs C 75 meters down at 125W and tracking east. 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 12/29 indicates no warm water east of 150W 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: (12/29) 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 145W. Positive anomalies were creeping east from 178E previously to 165W today. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern appears to be quickly losing definition in the West Pacific. La Nina made a return but appears to be getting challenged by warmer water encroaching from the west. 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 with its core between 130W-140W. It appears a second cold water Kelvin Wave (upwelling Kelvin Wave) was developing under the Central Pacific while the primary one was all but done erupting just west of the Galapagos and while warm water builds in the far West Pacific reaching east to 159W.

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: (1/2) 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 (1/2): Temps were warming along Chile and Peru. A few small pockets of cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 140W and building some. 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: (1/2) 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: (1/3) Today's temps were down at -1.871 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:
(1/3) Todays temps were falling reaching a new peak low -1.096 beating the previous low of -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.

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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 -0.35 degs in July 2022. This model suggests we are near the peak of La Nina temperatures this 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 (1/3) the daily index was positive at 1.09 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 falling at +12.00 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 falling at +10.27 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

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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