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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, January 5, 2019 3:10 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
4.3 - California & 4.0 - 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 1/7 thru Sun 1/13

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   

Multiple Gales Queued Up Off CA
Strong Dateline Storm Forecast

On Saturday, January 5, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.7 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 7.3 secs from 142 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 12.1 secs from 333 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.6 secs from 251 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 60.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 262 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 15.6 secs from 264 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 14.8 secs from 251 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.5 ft @ 12.5 secs from 273 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 16.2 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 13.1 ft @ 8.4 secs from 186 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southeast at 27-35 kts. Water temp 56.3 degs (042).

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 (1/5) in North and Central CA surf was 3-4 ft overhead on the sets and horribly hacked by south chop and fully whitecapped. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high on the sets and clean and weak and inconsistent. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and chopped and unrideable. In Southern California/Ventura surf was chest high on the sets and lined up and clean but inconsistent. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high coming out of the north and clean but breaking on the beach and inconsistent. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets to waist high and very clean and lined up but weak. In North San Diego surf was thigh to maybe waist high on the sets and clean and lined up but soft and inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual West Pacific swell with waves 2 ft overhead at top spots and clean but with northerly lump running through it and lined up and decently organized. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves chest high and chopped with moderate easterly trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (1/5) sideband swell was hitting Hawaii from a gale that tracked north of the Islands on Thurs (1/3) with 27 ft seas. California was getting windswell from a front associated with a developing gale just off the Central Coast. That gale tracked from a point north of Hawaii on Thurs (1/3) pushing east producing 27 ft seas then faded, only to start redeveloping off Central CA on Sat (1/5) pushing east with 27 ft seas just off San Francisco and is expected to impact the coast there late evening. After that another gale is to form 900 nmiles off North CA on Mon (1/8) with seas building to 43 ft aimed east then fading while tracking east on Tues (1/8) and pushing into North CA on Wed (1/9). And yet another is to form on the North Dateline on Sat-Sun (1/6) with 32 ft seas aimed east. And yet another is to form off North Japan Wed-Thurs (1/10) producing up to 53 ft seas aimed east fading while pushing into the Northwestern Gulf on Sat (1/12) with copious 20-30 ft seas backfilling the entire North Pacific at that time, A solid storm cycle is forecast developing aided by the Active Phase of the MJO.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday AM (1/5) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds 190 kts fading some over the dateline then rebuilding an riding northeast some before falling into a steep trough just off Central California being fed by 180 kts and offering good support for gale development before pushing hard inland over Central Ca near Big Sur with 140 kts winds. The jet was well organized to say the least. Over the next 72 hours the trough off California is to push inland Sat PM (1/5) while a new trough starts building north of Hawaii late Sun (1/6) pushing east and poised off Central CA again early Tues (1/8) being fed by 140 kts winds offering great support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (1/9) the trough is to push inland over Central CA later in the evening while back to the west winds build in the jet over Japan to 190 kts forming a new trough mid-way to the dateline, ridging northeast a little in the Western Gulf and forming yet another trough in the Central Gulf. Both troughs are to be supportive of gale development while pushing east. By Fri (1/11) the Gulf trough is to push inland over North and Central CA while the West Pacific trough fades some, then redevelops Sat (1/12) just west of the dateline being fed by a fat flow of 170 kts winds offering great support for gale development. And that flow is to continue east forming yet another trough off California on Sat (1/12) again supportive of gale development and targeting the CA coast. Overall a very solid jetstream forecast is indicated offering great support for gale development for the foreseeable future.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (1/5) sideband swell from a gale that developed north of Hawaii was hitting the Islands. This gale is to redevelop off California producing swell there (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours more gale development is forecast (see below).

Starting Sat PM (1/5) a gale is to be developing off North Japan tracking fast to the northeast with 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 27 ft at 40N 160E. On Sun AM (1/6) the gael is to be approaching the Central Aleutians with 45 kt west winds and 26 ft seas over a small area at 46N 170E aimed east. In the evening west fetch is to be fading from 40 kts just south of the Western Aleutians with seas fading from 27 ft at 50N 175E aimed east. this system to fade from there. Maybe some sideband swell to result for Hawaii at best.

On Monday AM (1/7) a broad gale is to start building in the upper level trough off the US West Coast with 40 kt northwest and west winds building in it's southern quadrant and seas 25 ft at 37N 145W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status with 55 kt northwest winds building just off the California coast with seas building to 40 ft at 38N 141.5W aimed east or 700 nmiles west of San Francisco. On Tues AM (1/8) the gale is to be easing slowly east with 50 kt northeast winds and 39 ft seas at 37.5N 139W targeting San Francisco down to the Channel Islands. In the evening the gale is to be lifting north with 40 kt northwest winds and 33 ft seas at 37N 135W or 600 nmiles off Monterey Bay. On Wed AM (1/9) the gale is to be dissipating with 30 kt west winds off Cape Mendocino and seas fading from 25 ft at 40N 131W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Gulf Gale
A small gale developed 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thurs AM (1/3) producing a small area of 40 kt northwest winds and tracking east with seas 27 ft over a small area at 38N 164W aimed east. The gale dissipated quickly in the evening with no fetch left and seas fading from 21 ft at 37N 156W. Remnants of this gale pushed east fast and redeveloped 400 nmiles off Central CA Fri PM (1/4) generating a area of 40-45 kt north winds with seas building from 25 ft at 35.5N 133.5W aimed south and mostly bypassing any major landmass. On Sat AM (1/5) the gale was tracking east with 40 kt northwest winds just off San Francisco with seas building to 27 ft at 35.5N 130W aimed southeast. The gale is to track northeast and be over Cape Mendocino in the evening with fading 35 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 20 ft at 37N 126W just off Monterey Bay. Raw ragged proto-swell to result.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Sat evening (1/5) building to 12 ft @ 13-14 secs (15 ft) and extremely raw. Swell fading overnight. Raw energy to be fading Sun AM (1/6) from 8.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (9 ft). Swell fading fast. Swell Direction: 265 turning to 280 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (1/5) low pressure is to be centered 270 nmiles off San Francisco producing south winds locally at 25-30 kts from Big Sur northward and 20 kts down to Pt Conception and starting to fade later in the day. Rain building from Big Sur northward and solid through the day while pushing south to San Diego late afternoon. Solid snow for the entire Sierra starting late afternoon and continuing through the night. Sunday (1/6) a new gale is to be building just off the coast with southwest winds building over North CA early at 15 kts and 20-25 kts for Central CA mid-day and down to Pt Conception late at 15 kts. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino early building south to Morro Bay late afternoon with heavy rain for San Francisco at that time. Snow for the Sierra early fading late morning then and starting to build at sunset and heavy near 10 PM continuing solid through the night. Monday (1/7) another broad gale is to be well off the Central and North Coast with southwest winds 10 kts for all of Central CA and northwest 10 kts for North CA turning to southeast at 10 kts mid-day building to 20 kts from the southeast for North CA at sunset. No real rain until late evening focused on Cape Mendocino and light there even then. No snow forecast. Tuesday (1/8) the front from the new gale is to be starting to impact all of North CA with south winds 20 kts from Monterey Bay northward pushing 35 kts up north building to near 45 kts late AM and 30 kts down to Monterey Bay at sunset. Light rain limited from Big Sur northward early building to heavy status for Cape Mendocino late afternoon and moderate into San Francisco late evening. Light snow for higher elevations of Tahoe late evening. Wednesday (1/9) southwest winds to be 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino early and 10 kts down to Morro Bay and fading to 5 kts for the entire North and Central Coast late afternoon. Moderate rain for all of North and Central CA down to Pt Conception early fading steadily through the day. Moderate snow for the Sierra late AM building to very heavy status in the afternoon moderate through the evening. Thurs (1/10) a light south flow is forecast at 5 kts from Pt Conception northward but up to 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early and building south of there to 10 kts later. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early and fading. Friday (1/11) the leading edge of the new low is to start impacting the coast with south winds 20 kts for all of North CA and 15 kts down to Pt Conception early building to 30-35 kts for all of North and Central CA at sunset and building into Southern Ca at 20 kts late evening. Rain building for all off North and Central CA at sunset getting solid overnight. Snow developing for the Southern Sierra late evening. Sat (1/12) south winds to be 15 kts for all of the state fading some mid-day then building again late afternoon and another front approaches. Rain for the entire state early fading through the day. Snow focused on the Southern Sierra through the day with flurries for Tahoe.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for North Lake Tahoe: 52 inches and 13 inches for Mammoth. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO supporting high pressure is fading out today and the Active/Wet Phase is set to push fully onshore immediately.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


South 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 starting Thurs AM (1/10) another gale is to start building in the Central Gulf of Alaska with 45-50 kt northwest winds over a small footprint with seas building form 30 ft at 38N 149W aimed southeast. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds are to be falling southeast with seas 39 ft at 35N 145W targeting Southern CA and Baja well. The gale is to push east on Fri Am (1/11) with 40-45 kt west winds just off Pt Conception with 37 ft seas at 33N 137W aimed east targeting Southern CA well. The gale is to be fading in the evening with 35 kt west winds just southeast of Pt Conception and 30 ft seas fading at 33N 130W well in the SCal swell window. Something to monitor.

On Wed AM (1/9) a broad gale to start building off Japan pushing east with 35-40 kt west winds building with the system pushing towards the dateline. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status growing in size with northwest winds 55 kt from the northwest and seas building from 36 ft over a small area at 40N 170E. On Thurs AM (1/10) the storm is to be approaching the dateline with 60-65 kt northwest winds and seas building to 49 ft at 42N 176E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to stall just west of the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 54-56 ft at 44N 179E aimed east. The gale is to fade Fri AM (1/11) with fetch fading from 40 kts from the west on the dateline with seas fading from 42 ft at 45N 176W. A secondary gale is to be also building in from the west with 30 kt west fetch filling the majority of the North Pacific and 20-25 ft seas extending from the dateline to 155E (over about 2000 nmiles aimed east). In the evening with fetch is to be fading from 40-45 kts from the west with 32 ft seas over a large area in the Western Gulf at 40N 163W pushing east. Possible larger longer period swell to result.

Clearly an active gale cycle is forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Continue to Slowly Fade

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the 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.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough yet to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/23) No update due to partial government shutdown. 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately easterly near the dateline and continuing into the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/5) strong west anomalies were over the dateline with west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast is for strong west anomalies holding through 1/8 then fading in strength some but holding solidly in coverage filling the KWGA through 1/12. Support for storm development appears to be building in the West Pacific.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/4) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was centered in the KWGA. The statistical model indicates the Active Phase is to ease east still filling the KWGA through day 5 of the model run then starting to ease east of the KWGA and out of the KWGA at day 15 with a strong Inactive Phase moving into the West Pacific at that time. The dynamic model indicates the same thing with the Active Phase gone at day 15 but the Inactive Phase far weaker in the KWGA. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/5) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the dateline. It is to race quickly east reaching the Indian Ocean and stalling there at day 15. The GEFS model is contrary suggesting the Active MJO is to be moving slowly west and moderately strong then stalling over the East Pacific 4 days out then retrograding back to the dateline and holding there 15 days out. There is an interesting divergence between the 2 models.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/5) This model depicts a moderate Active Phase of the MJO was already in the East Pacific today moving east and moving over Central America on 1/15. A solid Inactive signal is to set up over the far West Pacific 1/13 tracking east and is to move over the East Pacific and into Central America on 2/2. A modest Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 1/30 tracking east to the Central Pacific at the model run on 2/14.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/4) This model depicts strong west anomalies were over the Central KWGA and dateline. West anomalies are to hold strong over the dateline through 1/13 and building east to California today through 1/11, fading a day or two, then returning. Beyond west anomalies are to hold in the Central KWGA through the end of the model run at modest strength on 2/1 and weak over the entire Eastern Pacific into California.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/5) This model depicts a strong Active Phase of the MJO peaking over the core of the KWGA with moderate to strong west anomalies filling the KWGA and reaching into California. The Active MJO pattern is to build east still filling the KWGA through 1/14 with west anomalies filling the KWGA and continuing east to California through 1/18. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to fade. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow starting 1/17 in the far West Pacific holding and weak through 3/15 near the end of the model run on 4/4. But modest west anomalies are to continue through 2/25, fading then returning as the Active Phase rebuild in the KWGA 3/18 through the end of the model run on 4/4. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through the end of the model run. A third contour line faded 12/17 and to remain suppressed from until 2/8, rebuilding till 3/8, then fading out. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino is in control, but that El Nino itself is not in control. The atmosphere and ocean are trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence of it occurring or any suggestion that it will. Still this pattern is to slowly become more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/24) Not updated due to partial government shutdown. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is steady today back at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific with temps rebuilding in the Central Pacific at +3 degs at 140W (Possible Kelvin Wave #3). Temps are stable at 3 degs east of there the whole way into Ecuador. It appears Kelvin Wave #2 is gone and fully erupted off Ecuador. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 2-3 months with the development and merging of Kelvin Wave #3 with Kelvin Wave #2. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 paints the same picture with the Kelvin Wave #2 fading in the East Pacific with pockets of +3 degs from 125W into Ecuador with +1-2 deg anomalies from New Guinea to the East Pacific. Interesting, but warm anomalies are building in the far West Pacific, perhaps attributable to a new Active Phase of the MJO and westerly anomalies building there. 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) Positive anomalies were building from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east at +5 to +10 cms over the equator north of New Guinea then 0 to +5 cms over the dateline and extending steady into Ecuador, but with one +5 cm pocket embedded near 120W. Perhaps a new Kelvin Wave is building north of New Guinea.

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: (1/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were weakly warm in a Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, but still fading compared to days and weeks past. Warm water that was previously steady along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador continues to fade. weak generic warming was off Central America and Mexico and steady. There is no indications that El Nino is building. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has gained ground, especially off Chile. Overall the pattern looks more like El Nino than La Nina, but not strongly like El Nino. In all this supposed El Nino is weak and becoming more fragile by the day.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/3): A broad area of weak warm water was off Peru. Otherwise no clear indications of warming or cooling was on the equator or in any Nino region.
Hi-res Overview: (1/3) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime. And one could kinda think we are moving towards a El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely only going to move to a minimal warm regime, likely not reaching full El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/5) Today's temps were inching up some after falling hard, now at +0.142, after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/5) Today temps were stable after falling and today at +0.422 after having previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/4) The model indicates temps are to be +1.0 degs on Jan 1 (which wasn't even close to reality - they were actually about +0.6) and forecast holding through March, then falling some to +0.90 degs by April 1 fading to +0.70 in later June and +0.6 later in August 2019. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/5): The daily index was falling at -18.60. The 30 day average was falling some at +5.64 suggesting a fading Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was falling some at +3.97, rising the past 3 weeks and no longer negative and the highest its been in months. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/5) The index has fallen slightly from +0.28 on 12/15 down today to -0.24 and not positive or anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). 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'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational 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.

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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