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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2019 4:29 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
5.1 - California & 5.0 - 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   

Solid Storm #5 Developing Off CA
Strong Storm #6 Forecast West of Dateline

On Monday, January 7, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 2.9 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 11.5 secs from 219 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 10.9 secs from 320 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 14.0 secs from 248 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 14-18 kts. Water temperature 60.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.4 ft @ 9.6 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 248 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 10.4 secs from 261 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 14.9 secs from 272 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.0 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.9 ft @ 9.7 secs from 272 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was east at 10-16 kts. Water temp 55.8 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 Monday (1/7) in North and Central CA surf was 1.5-2.0 times overhead and warbled and washing around and very unruly but with relatively clean conditions. The base sea state was very agitated coming from the south. Protected breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and far cleaner if not clean and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead ad relatively clean but pretty warbled and unrefined. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but soft and inconsistent. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets coming out of the north and clean but inconsistent and nearly breaking on the beach. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets to waist high and clean and semi-lined up but weak. In North San Diego surf was waist to occasionally chest high on the sets and clean but soft and inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was near flat with waist high sets and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell with waves thigh high and heavily textured from modest northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (1/7) residual raw windswell was hitting exposed breaks in North and Central CA from a gale that developed off Central CA on Sat (1/5) pushing east with 27 ft seas just off San Francisco and then impacted the coast on Sun (1/5). Of more interest is a gale developing 1100 nmiles off North CA on Mon (1/8) with seas building to 46 ft early Tues (1/8) aimed southeast then fading while tracking east into early Wed (1/9) targeting Central and South CA well. A stronger storm is to form off North Japan Wed-Thurs (1/10) producing up to 55 ft seas aimed east then fading while pushing into the Northwestern Gulf on Fri (1/11) with copious 20-30 ft seas backfilling the entire North Pacific at that time. And another gale to be right behind producing 32 ft seas just west of the dateline Sat-Sun (1/13). A solid storm cycle remains forecast driven 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 Monday AM (1/7) the jetstream was well consolidated pushing east off Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds building to 170 kts over the dateline then falling into a developing trough in the Central Gulf being fed by 150 kts winds offering good support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough off California is to build and ease east push inland Wed-Thurs (1/10) while a new trough starts building just west of the dateline on Wed (1/9) and being fed by 170 kts winds offering good support for gale development. 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 continuing into Thurs (1/10). And another trough is to start building in the central Gulf on Thurs (1/10) offering support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (1/11) the Gulf trough is to push inland over North and Central CA while the West Pacific trough washes out, only to start redeveloping on Sat (1/12) again just west of the dateline and not a defined but still offering support for gale development. And yet another trough is forecast developing off Central CA on Sat-Sun but steep and pushing inland later Sun into Mon (1/14) mainly offering weather production relative to CA. By Mon PM (1/14) the jet is to still be consolidated pushing flat east from South Japan generally on the 33N latitude line to a point just off Monterey Bay with winds to 160 kts offering good support for gale development assuming another trough forms. Overall a very solid jetstream forecast is indicated offering great support for gale development for the foreseeable future.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (1/7) residual raw westerly local swell from a gale that developed off the California coast Sat PM (1/5) was fading in California. No swell of interest was hitting Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours more gale development is forecast. A small swell from a weak gale that pushed to the Northern Dateline is pushing towards Hawaii (see North Dateline Gale below). Of more interest is a storm forecast just off the Central CA coast (see Gulf Storm #5 below). And finally a strong storm is forecast west of the dateline (see Possible Dateline Storm #6 below).


North Dateline Gale
On Sat PM (1/5) a gale started developing off North Japan tracking fast to the northeast with 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 24 ft at 40N 160E. On Sun AM (1/6) the gale was approaching the Central Aleutians with 45 kt west winds and 29 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 29 ft at 50N 175E aimed east. This system faded from there. Maybe some sideband swell to result for Hawaii at best but will likely be buried in other swell. See QuikCASTs for detail.


Gulf Storm #5
On Monday AM (1/7) a broad storm was starting to build in the upper level trough off the US West Coast with 55 kt northwest winds building in it's western quadrant and seas 30 ft at 40N 149W aimed south and 29 ft seas at 34N 147W aimed southeast. In the evening the storm is to build with 55 kt northwest winds expanding coverage just off the California coast with seas building to 44 ft at 37.5N 144W aimed southeast or 900 nmiles west of San Francisco. On Tues AM (1/8) the gale is to be easing slowly east with 45+ kt northeast winds and 43 ft seas at 35.5N 139W targeting Monterey Bay down to the Channel Islands. In the evening the gale is to be easing east with 40 kt northwest winds and 33 ft seas at 36N 137W or 600 nmiles off Monterey Bay. On Wed AM (1/9) the gale is to be dissipating with 30 kt west winds off all of North CA and seas fading from 27 ft at 38N 133W aimed southeast. Large raw swell possible for CA. Something to monitor.

North CA: Rough data for planning purposes suggests swell arrival Tues (1/8) late evening pushing 14.3 ft @ 17 secs (24 ft) holding till about sunrise Wed (1/9). Swell 13.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (21 ft) mid-day and slowly fading. Swell still present on Thurs (1/10) AM fading from 10.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (14 ft) and raw. Swell Direction: 265-270 degrees

Southern CA: Rough data for planning purposes suggests swell arrival Wed (1/9) near sunrise with period 21 sec and building fast as period hits 20 secs at 10 AM. Swell peaking from then till sunset at 6.2-6.8 ft at 18-19 secs (11.2-12.5 ft). Swell still present on Thurs (1/10) AM fading from 5.6 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft) and raw. Swell Direction: 283-288 degrees


Possible Dateline Storm #6
On Wed AM (1/9) a broad gale to start building off Japan pushing east with 40-45 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 55-60 kts from the northwest and seas building from 38 ft over a small area at 42N 168E. On Thurs AM (1/10) the storm is to be approaching the dateline with 60-65 kt northwest winds and seas building to 56 ft at 43N 174.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to stall just west of the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 53 ft at 44N 178.5E aimed east. The gale is to fade Fri AM (1/11) with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west on the dateline with seas fading from 41 ft at 47.5N 180E.

A secondary gale is to be building in from the west on Fri PM (1/11) with a core of west winds at 45-50 kt building west of the dateline with seas building to 32 ft at 42N 164E with seas from previous fetch 20-30 ft filling a huge area from the Western Gulf to a point just off the Kuril Islands pushing east (over about 2000 nmiles aimed east). On Sat AM (1/12) fetch is to consolidate at 40 kts from the northwest positioned mid-way between North Japan and the dateline with seas 32 ft over at 40N 170E. Fetch is to hold steady in the evening at 40 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 31 ft at 40N 172E aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/13) fetch is to move east at 40 kts with seas 32 ft at 39N 172E aimed southeast. More of the same in the evening with 31 ft seas at 38.5N 178.5E aimed well at Hawaii. The gale to fade from there.


  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 Monday (1/7) another broad gale is to be well off the Central and North Coast with south winds building from 10 kts for all of North and Central CA and pushing 20 kts later over Cape Mendocino. Light rain for the North Coast during the day and into the evening. Light snow showers for the Sierra. 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 Big Sur northward pushing 35 kts up north later and building to 20 kts down to Pt Conception at sunset. Rain limited to the Golden Gate northward and heavy near Bodega Bay to Pt Arena late evening. No precip forecast for the Sierra. Wednesday (1/9) the front is to lift north and fade with southwest winds 15 kts from Pt Conception northward early and 30 kts for Cape Mendocino fading to near calm late afternoon south of the Golden Gate and 20 kts for Cape Mendocino. Moderate rain for all of North and Central CA down to Pt Conception early starting to fade late afternoon. Moderate snow for the Northern Sierra (Tahoe) early AM then lighter through the day gone by early 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 later. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early then fading. Friday (1/11) the leading edge of a 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 mid-day and building into Santa Barbara at sunset stalling there. 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) another system is to be queuing up off the coast with south winds 10-15 kts for the North Coast early building to 30 kts at sunset and 20 kts down to Monterey bay and 10 kts for Pt Conception. Rain for the entire state early and fading quickly. Snow focused on the Southern Sierra but up to Tahoe and fading mid-morning. Rain impacting the North and Central Coast late evening. Sun AM (1/13) the low is to be stalled off Pt Conception with south winds 20+ kts from Pt Conception northward fading some late afternoon but building to 10 kts into Southern CA. Rain for the entire state early holding through the day. Snow for the entire Sierra early and holding through the evening. Mon (1/14) a light northerly winds flow is forecast for North and Central CA 10 kts. Rain for Southern CA early fading later. Snow for the Southern Sierra fading early.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe: 12 inches and 9 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 30-35 kt northwest winds over a moderate footprint with seas building from 28 ft at 41N 154W aimed southeast. In the evening 30-35 kt northwest winds are to be falling southeast with seas 27 ft at 38N 147W targeting Central and Southern CA. The gale is to try and wind up off North CA on Fri AM (1/11) with 30-35 kt west winds just off the coast with 21 ft seas at off the entire CA coast.

And another wave of wind and seas to be right behind it. The jetstream is to continue to push steady low pressure energy into the CA coast. Something to monitor.

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 a Slow 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 (1/7) strong west anomalies were over the dateline with west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast is for strong west anomalies holding through 1/9 then fading in strength some but holding solidly in coverage filling the KWGA through 1/14. 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: (1/6) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO was centered in the KWGA over the dateline. The statistical model indicates the Active Phase is to ease east still filling the KWGA the starting to move east of the KWGA at day 5 of the model run with a strong Inactive Phase moving into the West Pacific at day 10 and taking over the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing with the Active Phase gone at day 10 but the Inactive Phase far weaker in the KWGA and barely present at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/7) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the far East Pacific. It is to start collapsing over the next 4 days then retrograding fast west and reappearing in the far West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model suggests much the same but with the Active MJO rebuilding a bit stronger in the West Pacific at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/7) This model depicts a moderate Active Phase of the MJO exiting over Central America today with a solid Inactive signal starting to push into the far West Pacific tracking east and move over the East Pacific and into Central America on 2/2. A weak Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 1/30 tracking east to the East Pacific on 2/16.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/6) This model depicts strong west anomalies were over the Central KWGA and dateline. West anomalies are to hold strong over the dateline through 1/14 and holding 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 if not building into 2/3 and weak over the entire Eastern Pacific into California.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/7) 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 1/16 with west anomalies filling the KWGA and continuing east to California through 1/20. 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 1/25 but modest west anomalies continuing through 2/25, then fading some as the Inactive phase returns 2/16-3/15. Then the Active Phase is to rebuild in the KWGA 3/16 through the end of the model run on 4/6. 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 2/6, rebuilding and holding through the end of the model run. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino is in control and is to continue. Theoretically 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 1/3 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 fading in the East Pacific with pockets of +3 degs from 135W into Ecuador with +3 deg anomalies starting to build in the west near New Guinea (possible Kelvin Wave #3 attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst occurring there now). Basically a river of warm water is traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/3) 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: (1/6) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were weakly warm 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 an El Nino is building and if anything the warming pattern is fading. 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 (1/6): A broad area of weak warm water was off Peru extending west along the equator. Otherwise no clear indications of warming or cooling was on the equator or in any Nino region.
Hi-res Overview: (1/6) 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: (1/7) Today's temps were inching up some after falling hard, now at +0.222, 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:
(1/7) Today temps were stable after falling and today at +0.487 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 (1/7) The model indicates temps are to be +1.0 degs on Jan 1 (which wasn't even close to reality - they were actually about +0.50) 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) (1/7): The daily index was rising at -4.33. The 30 day average was falling some at +4.93 suggesting a fading Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was steady at +3.97, rising the past month 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): (1/7) 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

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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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