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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, January 7, 2023 5:37 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
4.5 - California & 4.1 - 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 1/9 thru Sun 1/15

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   

Two Local Gales for CA
Two Dateline Gales Beyond

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Saturday, January 7, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.4 secs from 198 degrees. Water temp 77.9 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.7 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.4 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 10.1 secs from 288 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 10.5 secs from 293 degrees. Wind east at 2-7 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs, 58.3 (Topanga 103), 58.5 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.5 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 58.1 (Del Mar 153), 59.0 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.4 ft @ 11.7 secs from 283 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.5 ft @ 9.3 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.7 secs from 261 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.7 ft @ 14.3 secs from 269 degrees. Water temperate was 59.9 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 16.0 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 11.1 ft @ 14.6 secs from 276 degrees. Wind southeast at 23-31 kts. Water temp 53.2 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.4 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 54.0 (San Francisco 46026), 53.2 (SF Bar 142), 54.5 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 54.7 (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 Saturday (1/7) North and Central CA had sets at 12-15 ft and warbled and lumpy and chopped from south wind with poor form. Protected breaks were 6-8 ft and lined up and closed out but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was 2 ft overhead and lined up and soft but totally chopped from south winds and not rideable. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high on the sets and lined up with great form and super clean calm wind. Central Orange County had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up with good form and calm wind and glassy conditions. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at head high to maybe 1 ft overhead with clean conditions and long lines with decent form. North San Diego had sets at head high or so and clean and lined up but mostly soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at head high and clean and lined up with decent form. The South Shore had some chest high sets with good form and soft but clean. The East Shore was small with thigh high easterly windswell with modest trades from the east and pretty ruffled.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (1/7) California was getting the leading edge of another raw swell swell originating from a small gale that developed just off the North CA coast on Fri (1/6) producing 28 ft seas aimed east. Hawaii was getting fading energy from a gale that pushed east from a position north of the Islands on Tues (1/3). Looking forward another local gale is forecast developing in the Eastern Gulf tracking east into North CA Sat-Sun (1/8) producing 28 ft seas aimed east likely resulting in more stormsurf for North and Central CA. And another system is to develop falling southeast through the Gulf Sun-Tues (1/10) producing 28 ft seas aimed southeast mainly at the US West Coast. And another is forecast for the Dateline Mon-Thurs (1/12) producing 47 ft seas aimed east. And yet another gale is forecast for the dateline region Wed-Thurs (1/12) with 38 ft seas aimed east. A busy storm pattern is to continue.

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 Saturday (1/7) the jetstream was fully consolidated tracking due east from Japan on the 34N latitude line with winds 160-180 kts over it's width from Japan to a point just off Central CA with a trough developing off the US West Coast supporting gale formation there. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east fast and into Central CA on Sun (1/8) likely supporting gale formation and weather for the coast. Another stronger trough is forecast to develop in the same area Mon-Tues (1/10) pushing inland also supporting gale formation and more weather for the coast. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (1/11) a stronger trough is forecast developing north of Hawaii being fed by 190 kts winds offering great support for storm formation while pushing east but pinching off a bit off California on Fri (1/13) before pushing onshore on Sat (1/14) over California. On Fri (1/13) back to the west the jet is to split on the dateline and weaken west and east of there with a change in the Pacific weather pattern likely beyond.


Surface Analysis
On Saturday (1/7) swell was fading in Southern California and Hawaii from
a local storm that developed just off California (see Local California Storm #1 below). Swell was hitting North CA from another gale that developed in the Eastern Gulf on Fri (1/6) (see Small Local CA Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale developed in the Central Gulf producing 35-40 kts west winds and seas building. The gale tracked southeast on Sat AM (1/7) with 35-45 kts northwest winds and seas 23 ft at 37.5N 149W aimed east. Fetch holding in the evening at 35-40 kts off North CA with seas 26 ft at 43N 142W aimed east. Fetch fading on Sun AM (1/8) from 35 kts off the CA-OR border with seas 29 ft at 42.75N 134.5W aimed east. The gale is to be impacting Oregon in the evening. Maybe more raw swell to result for the US West Coast.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (1/8) building to 8.8 ft @ 12 secs later (10.5 ft) with much local lump intermixed. Swell continues fading on Mon (1/9) from 7.3 ft @ 14 secs early (10 ft). Dribbles on Tues (1/10) fading from 4.9 ft @ 12 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 285 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on late on Mon (1/9) building to 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft) at sunset at exposed breaks. Swell continues on Tues (1/10) at 2.3 ft @ 12-13 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft).

 

On Mon AM (1/9) yet another gale is to start building in the Central Gulf producing northwest winds at 35-40 kts and seas 25 ft at 38N 148W aimed east-southeast. In the evening 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be approaching the Central and Southern CA coast with 26-28 ft seas further back at 38N 142W aimed southeast. On Tues AM (1/10) west winds to be 30-35 kts just off the Central CA coast with 26-27 ft seas at 34N 133W aimed east. Possible raw swell for mainly Central and Southern CA.

Southern CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Wed (1/11) at 5.8 ft @ 14-15 secs early (8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 275 degrees

Local California Storm #1
A gale developed 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 built to storm status while lifting gently northeast off North CA producing 55-60 kt northwest winds and seas building from 45 ft at 36.5N 138.5W aimed east and up to 46 ft at 10 AM at 36.5N 136.25W aimed east. In the evening the storm tracked east positioned 700 nmiles off Central CA with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 42 ft at 36.5N 135W aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/5) the gale was fading just off North CA with 40-45 kt west winds and seas 35 ft at 39.25N 131.25W aimed east. The gale 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.

Hawaii: Residual swell fading from 3.2 ft @ 12 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

Southern CA: Swell was fading Sat AM (1/7) from 2.9 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 285 degrees

 

Small Local CA Gale
Another small gale developed in the Western Gulf on Thurs PM (1/5) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 23 ft at 40N 145W aimed and tracking east. on Fri AM (1/6) the gale was just off North CA with 40-45 kts northwest winds and seas 28 ft at 42N 140W aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading with 35 kts west winds impacting Oregon with seas 27 ft at 45N 134W. On Sat AM (1/7) swell was impacting North CA and the gale was impacting Washington.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat AM (1/7) at 10 ft at 13-14 secs (13.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (1/8) from 5.6 ft @ 13 secs (7.3 ft) with much windswell intermixed. Swell Direction: 260 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat sunset (1/7) at 3.2 ft @ 13 secs (4.0 ft) building some in the evening. Swell fading Sun AM (1/8) from 3.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon AM (1/9) from 3.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 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

  • Sun AM (1/8) remnants from a broad winter low are to be pushing east into North CA producing south winds at 20-25 kts from the Golden Gate northward and southwest at 10-15 kts for Central CA. Southwest winds in the afternoon to be 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the remainder of North CA and all of Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early and heavy for Bodega Bay northward early then starting to fade late afternoon and clearing some in the evening. Heavy snow for the Sierra focused on Tahoe northward early moderating through the day pushing to the Southern Sierra and then gone by early evening.
  • Mon AM (1/9) the next front impacts the coast with south winds 25-30 kts for all of North and Central CA and south winds 10-15 kts for LA county northward. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA and west winds 20 kts for Central CA and south winds 35 kts for Big Sur southward into Santa Barbara County and south 15 kts down to LA County. Rain building before sunrise from all of North and Central CA down to LA County early and heavy mid-morning for Big Sur north to Bodega Bay and very heavy in the late afternoon from Big Sur northward.Rain also moving south to San Diego in the evening. Snow for the Sierra early and very heavy mid-morning continuing into the evening.
  • Tues AM (1/10) another local low is to be off San Francisco with light offshores for Cape Mendocino and south winds forecast 20-25 kts for Pt Arena south to Pt Conception and 15 kts into most of Southern CA. In the afternoon the low is to be pushing over San Francisco with northwest winds 10 kts for Pt Arena northward and west to southwest winds 20-25 kts for San Francisco south to Pt Conception and south winds 15 kts over all of Southern CA. Rain rebuilding for all of CA early holding through the day that fading overnight. Snow for higher elevations of the Sierra early getting very heavy midmorning pushing south in the afternoon and fading overnight.
  • Wed AM (1/11) light westerly winds are forecast for all of CA but with a new front just of the coast. In the afternoon the front is to start impacting Cape Mendocino with south winds 30-35 kts and south winds 10-15 kts from Santa Cruz northward and south winds 10 kts for the remainder of Central CA. Low odds of some sprinkles for Central CA early and fading mid-morning. Snow showers early for the Sierra.
  • Thurs AM (1/12) the front is to stall over North CA with south winds 20 kts or greater from Santa Cruz northward and 35-40 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 15 kts down to Pt Conception. No change in the afternoon with the front stalled just off Cape Mendocino. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early.
  • Fri AM (1/13) south winds to be 15-20 kts for Pt Conception northward and 25-35 kts for the Golden Gate northward. In the afternoon south winds to be 20 kts from Big Sur northward and 10 kts down to Pt Conception. Rain developing for North CA mid Am pushing south to Pt Conception late afternoon. Light snow for Tahoe northward in the afternoon and moderate in the evening. .
  • Sat AM (1/14) and another weaker front tries to start building well off the coast with southwest winds 10 kts from the Golden Gate northward and 20 kts for Cape mendocino and light winds south of there. In the afternoon the front is to impacting North and Central CA with south winds 15-20 kts from Pt Conception northward. Light rain for North and Central CA early continuing through the day. Snow for the Sierra through the day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 98, 104, 110, and 118 inches forecast with most on Sat-Tues (1/7-1/10) and some more on Fri-Sat (1/13-1/14) and Mon (1/16).

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is to be building to 5-6,000 ft through Sun (1/8) building to 8,500 ft on Mon (1/9) then steadily falling to 4,000 ft on 1/10 only to rebuild to 8,500 ft 1-12-1/13 then falling to about the 5,000 ft level 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 a stronger storm is forecast developing west of the dateline on Sun PM (1/8) producing 50-55 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 36N 169E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/9) the storm is to be tracking east straddling the dateline with 50-55 kt west winds and seas 34 ft at 36.5N 177.5R aimed east. The storm is to building in the evening with 55 kt northwest winds and seas 36 ft at 37N 171W just east of the dateline. Fetch is to lift northeast some on Tues AM (1/10) 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas 44 ft at 39.5N 160.5N aimed mostly east. In the evening fetch is to be in the Central Gulf with 45-50 kts west winds and seas 47 ft at 41.25N 153.75W aimed east. Fetch is to build in coverage Wed AM (1/11) at 40-50 kts from the northwest with seas 30-41 ft centered at 40.25N 155.75W aimee east and southeast. In the evening fetch is to be 40-45 kts over a large area with seas 41 ft at 38N 151W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading Thurs AM (1/12) at 30-35 kts in the Eastern Gulf with seas 34 ft at 34N 145W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

And another gale is to start building off the Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/10) with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 42N 156E aimed southeast. On Wed AM (1/11) 50 kt northwest winds are to be tracking east with seas 37 ft at 42.5N 163E aimed southeast. In the evening west winds to be 40-45 kts approaching the dateline with 37 ft seas at 43N 170E aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/12) fetch is to hold at 40-45 kts on the dateline with seas 37 ft at 44.25N 178E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from the northwest and west at 30-40 kts over a large area on the dateline with seas 28-31 ft at 43N 180W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Fri AM (1/13) from 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 26-27 ft at 40.5N 175W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Kelvin Wave Crosses Pacific - Cool Pool Collapsing
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 held 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 while building in coverage and forecast to continue that trend for the foreseeable future. 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 cautiously 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 (1/6) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate 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): (1/7) 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 1/12 then collapsing while moving east of the dateline through the end of the model run on 1/14 with west anomalies giving up some ground on 1/10-1/12 then surging east to the dateline on 1/12.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/6) A modest 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 day 5 of the model run with a strong Inactive MJO developing over the KWGA on days 10-15. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal fading to weak status on day 10 of the model run with a moderate Inactive signal moving into the KWGA on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/7) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over the East Pacific and is race east to the Central Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run and very weak. The dynamic model indicates almost the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/7) A moderate Active MJO (wet air) was over the KWGA today.The forecast has it moving east and into Ecuador on 2/1. A modest Inactive MJO (dry air) is forecast developing over the KWGA on 1/27 tracking east and over the East equatorial to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 2/16 while a weak Active signal (wet air) develops over the KWGA/West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/6)
The Active Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA today with west anomalies from 160E and points west of there filling 65% of the KWGA. West anomalies are to hold through 1/9 then dissipating only to return on the dateline 1/12 holding through 1/23. East anomalies are fade becoming centered east of the dateline over the next week then slowly returning filling the area from 165E after 1/20 but very weak.
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 peaking 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 1/27 with west anomalies in control of the western half of the KWGA (from 165E and points west of there) if not building to the dateline on 1/15, only to retreat. 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 1/17 through 2/22 but with very weak westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to 160E with east anomalies east of there. . After that a weak MJO is forecast with west anomalies slowly building filling the KWGA 2/24 and holding beyond 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 2/24 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 3/15. 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: (1/7) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone again. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 175E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 152W and a stream of 1 degs anomalies pushing east into the East Pacific. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/3 indicates a Kelvin Wave pushing east to 100W 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 a Kelvin Wave has crossed the Pacific and is now starting to fade while the cool upwelling event that has been in play since July has been 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: (1/3) Sea heights were barely negative at 0 to -5 cms over the entire East Equatorial Pacific. A broad pocket of positive anomalies were over the equator in the far West Pacific reaching east to 175W. No real negative anomalies remain over the equatorial Pacific. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies were in quick retreat positioned in the East Equatorial Pacific between 100W to Ecuador. It appears the stubborn cool pool has collapsed or has become pierced by a Kelvin Wave while a large warm pool continues building 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: (1/6) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool-ish water extending west from Ecuador to the dateline on the equator and extending south in a line east to west down at 20S. The coldest stream has collapsed from Ecuador to 140W. And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru though a thin cool stream was along the immediate coast of Peru. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/6): A generic stream of weakly warming water extended west from Ecuador to 120W. A broad and fading area of warming water was locked along the coasts of Peru and Chile extending west to 100W. No cooling temps were indicated. The balance was towards warming.
Hi-res Overview: (1/6) 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. 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: (1/7) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were steady at -0.851 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:
(1/7) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were falling hard at -1.187 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 (1/7) - 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 +0.60 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 rising at +24.93 after reaching +55.74 on 12/22 and have been in the +20 range the last 22 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 +20.92 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 +14.00 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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