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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2018 5:58 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
3.5 - California & 3.6 - 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 1/8 thru Sun 1/14

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   

Dateline Swell Hitting HI and CA
A Stronger Storm is Pushing Over Dateline


On Thursday, January 11, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 14.0 secs from 318 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 12.7 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 60.8 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.5 ft @ 12.5 secs from 271 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.2 secs from 264 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.5 ft @ 10.0 secs from 255 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 277 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.0 ft @ 20.0 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 19.4 secs from 296 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temp 56.1 degs.

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 Thursday (1/11) in North and Central CA longer period Dateline swell was starting to show with waves 3 ft overhead with light offshore winds but a fair amount of warble in the water with fog and overcast in control. Protected breaks were head high or better on the sets and clean but a bit raw. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to maybe head high on the rare sets and clean and sunny. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high and clean and lined up and occasionally looking pretty nice though a bit muddy. In North Orange Co surf was chest high on the sets and clean but slow. South Orange Country's best breaks had waist high sets and clean. In San Diego surf was maybe waist high and clean and lined up but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid Dateline swell with waves in the 6-8 ft range Hawaiian and clean and lined up. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap around swell at waist high and lightly ruffled from light easterly wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/9) swell from a gale that developed while tracking northeast from the Dateline Sun-Mon (1/8) with up to 49 ft seas aimed east-northeast with remnants Tues (1/9) fading from 33 ft on the Northern Dateline aimed east were peaking in Hawaii and coming up in North CA . And yet another system is developing while pushing off the Southern Kuril's tracking east over the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/11) with 46-48 ft seas then falling southeast Fri-Sat (1/13) with 36 ft seas aimed east fading in the Eastern Gulf early Sun AM (1/14) off California. Secondary energy to redevelop in the Central Gulf Sun (1/14) producing 46 ft seas aimed east and lifting northeast while fading Mon (1/5). Another smaller system is forecast forming west of the dateline Tues (1/16) while building Wed (1/7) with 44 ft seas aimed east positioned in the Eastern Gulf. A solid storm pattern is projected for now. Make the most of it.


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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (1/11) the jetstream was ridging slightly while pushing solidly east-northeast off Japan with winds to 210 kts then falling gently over the dateline and into the Western Gulf forming a trough there and offering solid support for storm formation. The jet split weakly 900 nmiles north of Hawaii with the northern branch tracking east and over Oregon while the southern branch pushed south a bit west of Hawaii then tracked east and faded, almost rejoining the main flow over North CA. Over the next 72 hours
through Sat (1/13) the jet is to hold together well with 190 kts winds still ridging over the dateline and falling into the trough now repositioned in the Central Gulf offering great support for storm development. And additional wind energy is to develop on the dateline Sat PM to 200 kts feeding the trough into Sunday (1/14), then weakening down to 170 kts in the evening as the trough starts loosing organization. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to remain consolidated into Tues (1/16) but far weaker with winds only 150 kts in one pocket north of Hawaii and running flat east (zonal) with no troughs indicated. And by Thurs AM (1/18) the jet is to start splitting mid-day between Japan and the dateline while wind energy builds again over Japan to 160 kts. But that energy will likely not be enough to hold off a full scale split of the jet over the West Pacific longer term. A very favorable pattern is expected till mid-next week and then a big demise is expected. Make hay while the sun shines.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/11) swell from a solid storm that crossed the dateline then stalled and lifted north was peaking in Hawaii and starting to show in California (see North Dateline Storm below). Another storm was developing while pushing east off the Kuril Islands (see Strong Dateline Storm below)

Over the next 72 hours a secondary fetch of 40 kt northwest winds to develop in Central Gulf 900 nmiles north of Hawaii Sat PM (1/13) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state with seas rebuilding from 28 ft over a modest area at 38N 167W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/14) 45 kt west winds to pushing into the Central Gulf with 36 ft seas at 38N 156W aimed east directly at CA. Sun PM fetch is to be fading from 45 kts from the west pushing east-northeast with seas 43 ft at 40N 146W. This system is to be fading Mon AM (1/15) with 45 kt west fetch just west of the Oregon-CA border with 43 ft seas at 42N 138W. More swell generation possible.

Strong Dateline Storm
Another gale developed off the North Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) producing a developing fetch of 45 kt west winds aimed east with seas building from 32 ft just off North Japan. On Wed AM (1/10) 45-50 kt west winds were getting traction part-way to the dateline with 43 ft seas developing over a moderate area at 44N 157.5E. By Wed PM (1/10) 45+ kt west winds were building over a broadish area a bit west of the dateline with a moderate area of up to 46 ft seas at 44.5N 165E aimed east (315 degs HI, 303 degs NCal). Thurs AM (1/11) 45 kt northwest winds were straddling the dateline with 45 ft seas at 41N 175E falling southeast targeting Hawaii pretty well (317 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). In the evening 40-45 kt northwest winds to be holding over a solid area in the Western Gulf 1000 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii aimed east-southeast with 43 ft seas at 40N 175W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast directly and unshadowed (325 degs HI, 291 degs NCal). Fri AM (1/12) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts over a broad area filling the Western Gulf with 40 ft seas at 38N 172W aimed east-southeast (287 degs NCal,327 degs HI). Fetch to fade in the evening 900 nmiles north of Hawaii at 40 kts from the northwest with 39 ft seas at 35N 167W (335 degs HI, 280 degs NCal, 290 degs SCal). Sat AM (1/13) 40 kts west winds to push east past Hawaii with 31 ft seas fading at 32N 152W aimed east targeting Southern CA (276 degs SCal). The gale is to be gone from there but secondary energy is to be building right behind. Something to monitor.


North Dateline Storm
A more interesting gale formed off Japan Sat AM (1/6) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and tracking east. On Sat PM the gale built to storm status with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 37 ft at 36N 164E. On Sun AM (1/7) northwest winds were 50-55 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast while the storm lifted northeast with seas 37 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 38N 173E. The storm tracked northeast in the evening with winds rebuilding to 55 kts over a solid area with 42 ft seas at 43N 180W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/8) the storm continued tracking northeast and over the North Dateline region with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 49 ft at 47N 177W aimed east at the US West Coast. In the evening the gale started moving over the Central Aleutians with 40-45 kt west winds over a decent area south of the Central Aleutians with 39 ft seas fading free and clear just south of the Aleutians at 49.5N 172W. Secondary fetch developed from 45 kts from the northwest Tues AM (1/9) with seas 33 ft over a modest area south of the Central Aleutians at 47N 179E aimed east. Fetch was fading from 40 kts in the evening tracking east with seas fading from 30 ft at 45N 175W. This system was gone from there. There's good potential for another long run of swell but aimed mainly east of Hawaii and a bit too far north to be optimal for California.

Hawaii: Swell continue on Thurs (1/11) holding at 7.5 ft @ 15 secs mid-day (11.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (1/12) fading from 7.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (10.5 ft). Residuals beyond possibly getting swamped by a strong swell. Swell Direction: 315-315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (1/11) building to 5.6 ft @ 18 secs late (10 ft) but shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell holds on Fri (1/12) at 6.2 ft @ 16-17 secs early (10 ft) with secondary north energy intermixed at 5.3 ft @ 12 secs (6.5 ft). Shadowing still in effect for the SF Area. Swell holding Sat (1/13) from 7.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (10 ft). Swell fading Sun (1/14) fading from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295+ but mostly 298-301 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Friday AM (1/12) high pressure was in control locally over North CA at 1028 mbs producing a light winds flow early from Monterey bay northward with northeast winds south of there to Pt Conception. But winds to be building from the north up to San Francisco later in the day as the high lifts north becoming centered over the Pacific Northwest at sunset. Winds to be light northeast Saturday (1/13) then turning southeast 10-15 kts on Sunday from Bodega Bay northward as a front approaches the coast and low pressure sats filling the Gulf of Alaska. Winds to be light to calm from San Francisco southward. Mon (1/15) a gale low is to be 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino with south winds from San Francisco northward and up to 30 kts for Cape Mendocino but only 5-10 kts in SF. Rain for Cape Mendocino pushing south to Pt Reyes at 4 PM and to Monterey Bay well after sunset. Light rain for Tahoe overnight. Weak high pressure develops off the coast Tuesday (1/16) with north winds 10-15 kts limited to Pt Conception and 5 kts for San Francisco. Wednesday another local storm develops off Cape Mendocino with a front impacting the extreme North Coast and south winds 30 kts over Cape Mendocino and south winds down to Bodega Bay (5 kts). Light rain for Cape Mendocino through the day then pushing south overnight to Bodega Bay. Thursday high pressure tries to start building impacting the Pacific Northwest with west winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts down to Bodega Bay early and lighter south of there. Rain pushing south to maybe Monterrey Bay mid-morning and snow building for Tahoe in the morning continuing through the day and overnight. But a change is to be coming. On Friday (1/19) high pressure moves in with north winds 20-25 kts for all of California including Southern CA (up to 30 kts there mid-day). Snow clearing for the Sierra mid-morning mainly south (Mammoth).

South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.

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 yet another small storm is forecast developing Mon PM (1/15) just east of the Central Dateline with 50 kt northwest winds and building seas. On Tues AM (1/16) winds to hold at 45-50 kts from the west tracking east with 36 ft seas aimed east over a modest sized area at 39N 158W. In the evening 50 kts west winds to build in coverage with 41 ft seas at 41N 149W. Wed AM (1/17) 50 kt west winds to be just off Cape Mendocino with 44 ft seas at 43N 140W. In the evening a broad fetch of 40 kt northwest winds to be off the Pacific Northwest with 41 ft seas at 45N 133W targeting the Pacific Northwest well. This system is to fade from there.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


Inactive MJO Building - Easterly Wind Burst Forecast

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. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Thurs (1/11) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific but lighter over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/12) Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to build with strong east anomalies expected over the core of the Eastern KWGA starting 1/13 and holding through the end of the model run on 1/19. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/11) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is moderately strong and nearly over the dateline with the Active?wet Phase locked in the East Indian Ocean. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and moving to 165W or almost out of the KWGA at the end of the 15 day run and holding strong. The Active Phase is to be strong too moving over the Maritime Continent and trying to get a toes in the door over the far West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive and Active Phases weaker 15 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/12) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the Indian Ocean and is to track east through the Indian Ocean reaching the Maritime Continent 15 days out ad weakening significantly. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase stronger 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/12) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern over the Central and East Pacific and is to slowly ease east into Central America 1/24. A weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/14 pushing east and fading steadily moving into Central America on 2/13. Another strong pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/3 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/21. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/12) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline peaking 1/13-1/19 with strong east anomalies over the entire KWGA then starting to retreat on 1/26. On 1/15 the Active/Wet Phase is to also start building over the far West Pacific but not getting decent positioning until 1/27 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA but not passing 150E. East anomalies to slowly fade even though the Active Phase is to be in control then those east anomalies to finally die on 2/13. The Active Phase is to hold through 3/15 with weak west anomalies building into the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 3/9 holding through the end of the model run on 4/11 but west anomalies are to be in control. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/2 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected this winter as there is a 3 month delay for the ocean to respond to whatever occurs in the atmosphere, providing that change is consistent and long lasting (months in duration).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/11) The overview pattern is that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and retreated to 135W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C but down only 50 meters at 110W with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W, and significantly smaller in coverage today (1/11). Still, this is indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making some easterly headway with the dividing line between cool and warm temps at 135W down 150 meters. Maybe a Kelvin Wave is developing from the Active Phase of the MJO/WWB that ran 12/15-12/27. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/3 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +3.5 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east at up to +3.5 at 175E and the leading edge at 135W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/8) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 150W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms.

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: (1/11) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains in control. Upwelling is building some nearshore along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru but weaker than days past. Stronger cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W with a reasonably well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region but also weaker than days past. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/10): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru, and in pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was almost no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/10) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino 3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/12) Today's temps were rising slightly at -1.582 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/12) Today temps were steady at -1.558 after falling hard on 1/10 to -1.577 setting another low peak. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/12) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -1.00 on Jan 1 and are rebounding forecast up to -0.6 early Feb and holding through April. no change is forecast through the summer and if anything temps are to fall to -0.7 degs in Sept. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but that it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/12): The daily index was rising at +8.86 today. The 30 day average was rising at -5.16 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was falling at +3.68 suggesting La Nina was weakly is in control and fading (mainly due to influence from the Active Phase of the MJO).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/12) The index was rising at -0.82. The trend suggests La Nina is slowly but steadily loosing its grip (up from -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct= -0.60, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. 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 negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05. No 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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