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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 3:01 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
4.2 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/2 thru Sun 1/8

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   

Large Raw Swell for CA
More Gales to Follow

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Tuesday, January 3, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 14.8 secs from 304 degrees. Water temp 76.8 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.5 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 14.6 secs from 319 degrees. Water temp 77.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 2.9 ft @ 13.6 secs from 280 degrees. Wind east at 21-25 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs, 58.3 (Topanga 103), 57.4 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.8 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 58.5 (Del Mar 153), 58.6 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.5 ft @ 13.9 secs from 299 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.4 ft @ 12.7 secs from 253 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.1 secs from 259 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 13.5 secs from 278 degrees. Water temperate was 58.6 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 13.6 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 10.2 ft @ 13.5 secs from 291 degrees. Wind south at 14-18 kts. Water temp 52.3 (Bodega Bay 46013), 52.3 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 53.6 (San Francisco 46026), 52.9 (SF Bar 142), 53.4 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.2 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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).
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.

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (1/3) North and Central CA had sets at 8-10 ft and pretty warbled early from south wind but lined up and breaking fairly hard with decent form. Protected breaks were 7-8 ft and lined up and closed out but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead and lined up and soft and a bit warbled from south winds over outer waters. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest to shoulder high on the sets and a little bit lined up with good form and clean with offshore wind. Central Orange County had sets at chest high and lined up but warbled and mushed driven by south wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets to waist high and trashed by south wind and unrideable. North San Diego had sets at waist high and lined up and pretty warbled from southerly wind and not particularly rideable. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 3 ft overhead and lined up but warbled with small whitecaps from northerly wind and not really rideable. The South Shore had some waist to chest high sets and soft and super clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell at waist high with modest north winds and pretty ruffled.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (1/3) California was getting the leading edge of swell from a gale that developed over the dateline tracking east into the Central Gulf with 29 ft seas aimed east Fri-Sun (1/1). Hawaii was getting fading energy from this system too. A strong local storm is forecast Wed-Thurs (1/5) off Central CA lifting northeast producing up to 33 ft seas aimed east. A small gael is to track east through the Gulf Wed-Thurs (1/5) producing 47 ft seas aimed east. And another local gale is forecast off North CA on Fri-Sun (1/8) producing 29 ft seas then pushing right into North CA. And perhaps another system is to develop falling southeast through the Gulf Sun-Tues (1/10) producing 26 ft seas aimed southeast at Hawaii the the US West Coast. And another is forecast for the North Dateline Mon-Tues (1/10) producing 45 ft seas aimed east. A busy storm pattern is forecast.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (1/3) the jetstream was fully consolidated tracking due east from Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds 180-190 kts fading some just off California and pushing into the state near Pt Conception. The beginnings of a trough were developing north of Hawaii offering good support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is supposed to rapidly deepen on Wed (1/4) pushing inland over Central CA on Thurs (1/5) likely producing much weather. Remnants of that trough are to hold over California into Sun (1/8) continuing some degree of weather production. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun (1/8) a new trough is forecast developing off Japan and a second north of Hawaii tracking east being fed by 160-180 kts winds offering great support for gale development. The Japan trough is to be in the Northwestern Gulf on Tues (1/10) and fading while the second trough is to be off California and fairly steep if not pinching off with both starting to fade in support for gale development. And the jet itself is to continue raging east on the 33N latitude line with winds to 190 kts. Amazing.


Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (1/3) swell was hitting California and fading in Hawaii from a broad gale that was previously just west of the dateline Fri AM (12/30) then tracking east into the Gulf on Sat-Sun (1/1) with and swell pushing southeast from it (see Dateline-Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours all eyes are to be on a local storm forecast developing just off California. Coastal damage is possible (see Local California Storm below).

Another small gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Fri PM (1/6) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas 33 ft at 42.5N 162.5W aimed east falling southeast. The gale to track southeast on Sat AM (1/7) with 35-45 kts west winds and seas 29 ft at 38N 154W aimed east. Fetch holding in the evening at 35-40 kts just 900 niles west of San Francisco with seas 28 ft at 37.5N 141.25W. Fetch fading on Sun AM (1/8) from 35 kts impacting Central CA with seas 25 ft at 36N 133W aimed east. Maybe more raw swell to result for the US West Coast.

Dateline-Gulf Gale
On Fri AM (12/30) a stronger gale developed west of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 37.25N 165.25E aimed east. In the evening fetch consolidated at 40 kts from the west with seas building to 29 ft at 37N 174.5E aimed east. On Sat AM (12/31) the gale was pushing east of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 38N 175W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading over the Western Gulf from 30-35 kts with seas 26-27 ft over a large area at 41N 158W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/1) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts lifting northeast in the Gulf with seas 25 ft at 44N 152W aimed east. Fetch dissipating in the evening with seas fading from 23 ft up at 46N 150W aimed east.

Oahu: Swell fading on Tues (1/3) from 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (7.5 ft). Dribbles on Wed (1/4) fading from 3.9 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival and building quickly on Tues (1/3) to 8.4 ft @ 15 secs early (12.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (1.4) from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.5 ft),. Windswell takes over after that. Swell Direction: 283 degrees

 

Local California Storm #1
A gale is to develop just 850 nmiles west of Central CA Tues PM (1/3) producing 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 31 ft at 35N 144.25W. On Wed AM (1/4) the gale is to build to storm status while lifting gently northeast off North CA producing 55-60 kt northwest winds and seas building from 43 ft at 37N 139W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to track east positioned 700 nmiles off Central CA with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas 46 ft at 35,25N 134.5W aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/5) the gale is to be fading just off North CA with 40-45 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 37.5N 130.75W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate while lifting north in the evening. Monitor this system closely not so much from a surfing perspective (except for Southern CA) but for a coastal damage perspective for North and Central CA. Large raw seas are likely to inundate the coast.

North CA: For advanced planning purposes expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (1/5) building to 18.2 ft @ 17-18 secs (30 ft) and very raw peaking right at a 5.9 ft high tide. Swell holding through the day. Swell Direction: 270 degrees

Southern CA: Very rough data for advanced planning purposes indicates swell arrival late on Thurs (1/5) late afternoon building right before sunset to 6.5 ft @ 18 secs (11.5 ft). Swell peaking near 10 PM at 8.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (14.5 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (1/6) from 7.6 ft @ 16 secs (12 ft). Swell Direction: 275-280 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (1/4) a new strong storm is to be building well off the coast with south winds 30 kts from Santa Cruz northward early and 20+ kts for the remainder of Central CA and south winds 15 kts for all of Southern CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 30-40 kts for North and Central CA and south winds 10 kts for most of Southern CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early but fading fast. Rain developing for North and Central CA early and very heavy late afternoon from the Golden Gate northward falling southward to Pt Conception overnight. Snow developing late morning for the Sierra then fading some in the evening.
  • Thurs AM (1/5) the storm is to be lifting northeast off Cape Mendocino with southwest winds 35+ kts for Cape Mendocino and southwest 25-30 kts for the remainder of North CA and southwest 15-20 kts for Central CA with the front over Southern Ca and south winds 20 + kts there. In the afternoon southwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino and west 15 kts for the remainder of North Ca and all of Central CA. Northwest winds 10+ kts for Southern CA. Rain for all of North, Central and South CA in the morning moderating some late afternoon north of Pt Conception. Heavy snow for the Sierra through the day moderating in the evening. .
  • Fri AM (1/6) another front is to be just off the coast with south winds 15-20 kts for North CA and south 5 kts early for Central CA. The front is to be impacting the North Coast in the afternoon with south winds 20-25 kts for North CA and south winds 10+ kts for Central CA. Light winds for Southern CA. No rain early except Cape Mendocino but light rain developing along the North Coast late afternoon into the evening. Snow fading at sunrise for the Sierra.
  • Sat AM (1/7) a new front is to be impacting the coast with south winds 40-45 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 20 + kts from Santa Cruz northward. The remainder of Central CA to have south winds 10-15 kts. In the the afternoon southwest winds are forecast at 30+ kts for all of North and Central CA down to Monterey Bay and south winds 15 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Rain expected for North CA early sweeping south to Moro Bay in the afternoon and very heavy for North CA in the evening. Snow developing for Tahoe mid AM covering the Sierra in the afternoon then fading some in the evening.
  • Sun AM (1/8) south winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA. Southwest winds fading in the afternoon to 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early and very heavy for Santa Cruz to Bodega Bay early then starting to fade late afternoon and clear in the evening. Heavy snow for the Sierra focused on Tahoe early moderating through the day pushing to the Southern Sierra then early in the evening.
  • Mon AM (1/9) the next front queues up with south winds 25 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA early. in the late afternoon south winds are to be 30-40 kts from the Golden Gate northward and south 15-25 kts for Central CA. No precip early but rain developing for all of North and Central CA down to Moro Bay late afternoon then isolated to North CA in the evening. Rain snow mixed for the Sierra late afternoon into the evening.
  • Tues AM (1/10) south winds are forecast at 25-35 kts for North CA early and 15 kts down to Monterey Bay but only 10 kts south of there to the Golden Gate. In the afternoon south winds are to be fading from 20-25kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. Rain for North CA early holding and not pushing south.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 75, 84, 70, and 38 inches forecast with it split between Wed-Thurs (1/5) and again on Sat-Sun (1/8) .

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is to be building to 8,500 ft Wed AM 1/4 before falling to 5,000 ft in the afternoon and holding into Sun Jan 8 then rising to 8,500 ft on 1/9 and generally holding in that range beyond.

- - -

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

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water or radiating towards the coast.

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

 

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 starting Sun AM (1/8) another gale is to develop in the Western Gulf with 30-35 kt west winds over a broad area and seas building from 22-24 ft at 42N 158W aimed east. fetch pushing east in the evening at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 40N 155W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/9) fetch is to fall southeast at 35 kts targeting Southern CA and Baja with seas 25 ft at 36N 150W. In the evening fetch is to be impacting North CA with most fetch at 35 kts still off Southern CA with seas 25 ft at 32N 142W aimed east. Fetch fading from there.

And yet a stronger storm is forecast developing over the dateline on Sun PM (1/8) producing 50 kt west winds and seas building from 32 ft at 40.5N 174E aimed east. In the evening the storm is to be lifting east-northeast straddling the dateline with 50-55 kt west winds and seas 43 ft at 44.5N 178W aimed east. The gale is to hold in the evening with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 44 ft at 44.75N 175.5W on the dateline. Fetch is to fade Tues AM (1/10) just east of the dateline from 45-50 kts with seas 43 ft at 46.75N 172.5N over the North Dateline region. Something to monitor.

And it seem likely more are to follow. The flood gates have opened!

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Cool Pool Poised to Collapse
West Wind Anomaly Pattern Building Over the West KWGA
Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, faded in May and June 2022, but rebuilt in late July and hold till mid-Nov, then started to retreat east. La Nina conditions are in control at the oceans surface but appear to be weakening while the foundations of it subsurface collapse. And atmospherically anomalous Westerly Winds are getting steadily more established over the KWGA and are forecast to continue for the foreseeable future, with a total collapse of La Nina near Christmas and water temps steadily rising beyond. The last link in the chain is to see SSTs actually rising and the SOI falling (but that has not happened yet).The outlook is turning optimistic.

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 through the Winter of 2022 and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2022 = 4.0 (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 and a full double dip pattern took hold through the Winter of 21/22. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December 2022 with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern 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 2022. But by later in Jan or early Feb 2023 a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct 22-Jan 23, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by Feb 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after Jan 2023. The swell pattern will be below normal before Jan and above normal after Jan 23 with the average of the two being 'normal'. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early date.

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 moderate to strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1-2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/3) Moderate east anomalies were over the dateline today with moderate west anomalies filling the West KWGA to 150E. The 7 day forecast calls for east anomalies moderate over the dateline through 1/7 then rebuilding to strong status isolated to the dateline. West anomalies are to remain moderate from 150E and points west of there filling 50% of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 1/9 if not building somewhat east of there. The 2 week GFS model is offline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/2) A moderate Active signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active signal slowly pushing east and mostly east of the KWGA on days 10 and 15 of the model run with a strong Inactive MJO developing over the KWGA at that time. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal fading to weak status on days 5-10 of the model run but then rebuilding over the dateline a moderate strength at the end of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/3) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the Central Pacific and is race east to Africa at the end of the model run. The dynamic model indicates a far slower progression with the Active Phase moving to the East Pacific or the West Atlantic at weak status 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/3) A moderate Active MJO (wet air) was over the KWGA today.The forecast has it moving east and into Ecuador on 1/18. A weak Inactive MJO (dry air) is forecast developing over the KWGA on 1/18 tracking east and over the East equatorial to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 2/12 while a weak Active signal (wet air) develops over the KWGA/West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/2)
A weak Inactive MJO signal was all but gone over the dateline today but with the Active Phase of the MJO building over the far west KWGA today with west anomalies from 160E and points west of there filling 65% of the KWGA. East anomalies are fade some at moderate status on the dateline through 1/5 then fading from modest to weak strength on 1/9 and slowly losing ground and density on the dateline though the end of the model run on 1/30. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are to push east to 160E on 1/9 filling 55% of the KWGA then dissipating. Weak west anomalies are to hold over the western KWGA through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(12/31) - 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 building over the KWGA with west anomalies moderate plus strength filling the western half of the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase of the MJO tracking through the KWGA through 1/24 with west anomalies in control of the western half of the KWGA (from 165E and points west of there). Looks like a weak Westerly Wind Burst is to develop (WWB). This is very good news. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop starting 1/14 through 2/17 but with very weak westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to the dateline. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is forecast to enter the KWGA 2/8 through the end of the model run on 4/2 with west anomalies holding filling the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 180W with its western perimeter at 150E today. The second contour is to collapse or push east of the KWGA on 2/4 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 3/8. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 90E with it's leading edge at 130E today and is already slowly pushing east and that is to continue, with a hard push east starting 2/24 and on the dateline at the end of the model run. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next for 2 months now. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is fading with no return in sight, indicating the demise of La Nina is underway.

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 gone again. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 176E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 158W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 deg C were in a broad pocket over the West, Central and now the East Pacific down 150m with it's leading edge in the East Pacific but the core at 150W. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 indicates a Kelvin Wave pushing east to 105W in pockets and far warmer lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 90W near the surface with residual weakly cool waters filling the area above the Kelvin Wave over the entire equatorial Pacific but steadily losing its coolest temps. This indicates the cool upwelling event that has been in play since July was being undercut and is fading. 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 barely negative and rising over the East Equatorial Pacific at -5 cms. A broad pocket of positive anomalies were over the equator in the far West Pacific reaching east to 90W just north of the Galapagos. Only pockets of -5 cm anomalies remain over the east equatorial Pacific. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies were in quick retreat positioned in the East Equatorial Pacific between 105W to Ecuador. It appears the stubborn cool pool is quickly collapsing while a large warm pool builds in the West.

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 generic pool of cool-ish water extending west from Ecuador to the dateline with far weaker and barely cool waters filling the area well south of the equator in a line east to west down at 20S. The coldest stream has collapsed from Ecuador to 140W. And a broad area of cool water south of that stream previously reaching south to 25S was now only north of 20S ad barely that. And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru though a thing cool stream was along the immediate coast of Peru. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/2): A generic stream of weakly warming water extended west from Ecuador to 160W. A broad and fading area of warming water was locked along the coasts of Peru and Chile extending west to 100W. The balance was towards warming.
Hi-res Overview: (12/30) Coolish waters cover a large area from Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from off South America down at 20S with the coolest waters between mainly from 140W to 160E over the equator. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming. Warmer than normal waters were along the coasts of Chile and Peru and now Ecuador. La Nina remains in control over the East Equatorial Pacific for the moment but the density and intensity of the cooling appears to be fading fast and warming water seems to be building.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/3) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were falling at -0.921 degs after rising to -0.775 on 12/29, previously up to -0.695 on 12/22 after rising to -0.750 on 12/18, and that after rising from -1.267 in early Dec and then modestly in the -1.5 degs range late Oct and all Nov. Previously temps were in the -1.0 range since 7/29. Temps were down on 7/20 to -1.6 degs. Previously temps were stable near -1.4 degrees 6/12 through 7/27. Peaks in that time frame were -1.189 (7/7), -1.534 (7/5). Previously temps were at -1.822 on 6/9 after being up to -1.506 (5/21) and that after hovering around -2.0 degs since 4/21/22. Prior to that temps were fading after peaking at +0.760 on 3/18. Temps had been moving upwards since 2/20, and beat a previous high of -0.650 degs on 1/9 and that after being down at -1.871 on 1/3/22 and -1.954 on 12/18/21, the lowest this year so far. Previously temps dropped on 11/24/21 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. That 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) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -0.944 after falling to -1.255 on 12/6 but otherwise have been holding around -1.0 degree since 11/3 and up to -0.900 on 10/18 beating a previous peak of -0.819 on 9/22. In general temps have been in the -1.0 range since 8/16. Temps had fallen since 7/15 reaching La Nina threshold on 7/27 after being more or less steady the previous 3 weeks peaking at -0.25 on 7/14 and -0.275 on 7/5. Previously temps had been on an upward trend since 5/15/22 rising to -0.414 degs (6/19) and -0.493 on 6/9, the first reading above La Nina threshold values since Sept 2021. Temps were down to -0.929 (5/2/22) and that after rising to a peak at -0.704 on 3/27 and had been on a gentle rising trend since falling to -1.012 on 3/8. Previously temps were rising slightly to -0.505 on 2/2 and that after reaching a peak low of -1.096 on 1/3/22 beating the previous low of -1.080 on 11/2/21, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept/21. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1/21 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March 2021. 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 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov.
Forecast (1/3) - Temps are to hold steady at -0.95 degs into mid January then rising quickly reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in late-Feb and up to +0.65 degs in August and in El Nino territory. This model suggests we are going to steadily transition towards ENSO neutral in Jan. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps have bottomed out and to hold steady at -0.90 degs till mid-Jan then rising fast and above La Nina threshold the last week of Jan and rising from there forward to +0.50 degs in July and holding in August. All this is a significant upgrade. According to this version of the model we will hold in weak La Nina conditions through Fall before starting a trend towards neutrality in Dec with momentum towards El Nino in Spring. The surface temp coverage model suggests a temps holding steady through Nov. then a steady erosion of the coldest waters south of Nino3.4 (down at 20S) is to begin. By Dec a clear discharge of La Nina is to begin with near neutral temps prevailing over the entire equatorial Pacific and turning fully neutral in Feb and beyond. The greater equatorial Pacific cool signature looks to hold through mid-Oct then quickly dissolving beyond.
IRI Consensus Plume: The December 19, 2022 Plume depicts temps are -0.661 degs today. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to -0.415 degs in Jan and above the La Nina Threshold and -0.170 in Feb rising to +0.604 in July and +0.648 in Aug. This is an upgrade from the previous run.This model suggests a continuation of minimal La Nina temps through early Dec then transitioning to ENSO neutral. This model is in line with the CFS model.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (12/31) the Daily Index was falling at +19.23 after reaching +55.74 on 12/22 and have been in the +20 range the last 13 days, neutral 5 days before that, but above +10 the previous 13 days and then generally below +10.0 before that (from 11/5-11/27). It was negative for 5 days dropping to -31.05 on 11/7. This was the first negative run in months and suggests that the westerly anomaly wind activity in the West Pacific might be having an impact on the SOI. Previous peaks were +37.19 (10/5), +33.57 (5/24), +40.77 (5/10), +31.44 (4/27), +31.80 (4/6), +27.33 (1/31) and +46.71 (12/26). The trend has been solidly positive. Previous other notable peaks were +30.98 (11/26/21), +36.90 (9/28), +27.75 ( 9/13) and +37.86 (7/15).
The 30 day average was rising at +19.45 after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling at +14.16 previously peaking at +15.61 on 10/25 and previously peaking at +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - 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 ever 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) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

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: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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