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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2023 3:49 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   

Swell #2 Hitting CA
More Local Gales - Pattern Shift Forecast as Active MJO Fades


Thursday, January 12, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 15.1 secs from 316 degrees. Water temp 77.9 degs (Barbers Pt), 76.8 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.7 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 15.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 12.1 ft @ 15.2 secs from 324 degrees. Water temp 77.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 13.0 secs from 201 degrees. Wind southeast at 2 kts. Water temperature 58.3 degs, 58.8 (Topanga 103), 58.8 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.5 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 58.1 (Del Mar 153), 59.4 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 283 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.5 ft @ 9.6 secs from 265 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.2 secs from 255 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 4.6 ft @ 13.6 secs from 274 degrees. Water temperate was 59.7 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.9 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 4.6 ft @ 24.3 secs from 277 degrees. Wind southeast at 16-20 kts. Water temp 54.3 (Bodega Bay 46013), 54.3 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 54.5 (San Francisco 46026), 53.4 (SF Bar 142), 54.7 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.2 (Monterey Bay 46042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- 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 (1/12) North and Central CA had sets at 3-4 ft overhead and warbled and uneven with light winds early but still looking a bit ragged, likely just from a agitated base sea state. Protected breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up with some form and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was 1-2 ft overhead and lined up but warbled but not as bad as days past. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high on the sets and lined up with good form and light winds. Central Orange County had sets at 2 ft overhead and real lined up with some form and clean conditions. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at shoulder to head high and lined up with good form but soft with clean conditions. North San Diego had sets at waist to maybe chest high and lined up with decent form and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 15 ft and fairly clean and lined up with good form. The South Shore had some thigh high sets with decent form and soft but clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around swell at near 10 ft with modest east trades and lightly chopped.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/12) Hawaii was still getting solid swell from Storm #2 with the leading edge of that swell starting to hit North California. This swell was generated by a solid storm that developed on the Dateline Mon-Thurs (1/12) producing up to 50 ft seas aimed east. And yet another gale developed just west of the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/12) with 41 ft seas aimed east with secondary energy continuing on the dateline into early Sat (1/14) producing 23 ft sea aimed southeast. After that another local gale is forecast off North CA Sun-Mon (1/16) producing up to 34 ft seas and basically slamming right into the coast. Another gale is forecast tracking from the dateline to the Northwestern Gulf Mon-Thurs (1/19) with 38 ft seas fading to 33 ft and on a more northerly track than previous systems. Something to hope for.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (1/12) the jetstream was partially split over Japan then consolidating just west of the dateline and ridging some approaching the Gulf of Alaska with winds 190 kts then falling into a steep trough off the US West Coast and supportive of gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east and into North CA late Fri (1/13) creating more weather there. Back to the west the jet is to weaken and be split off Japan to the dateline offering nothing but with winds 180+ kts from the dateline east starting to dig out another local trough off North CA on Sat (1/14) pushing directly over the SF Bay Area on Sun (1/15) likely producing much weather there. Beyond 72 hours yet another trough is forecast developing just off North CA on Mon (1/16) pushing inland on Tues (1/17) producing perhaps one final push of weather. At that time the split in the jet is to be holding over the dateline but with the jet consolidated over Japan pushing east to the dateline at 180 kts with a trough developing on the dateline tracking into the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs (1/19) perhaps resulting in a gale following that track. By Thurs (1/19) the jet is to be consolidated in the west to the dateline with winds 180 kts and split west of there likely setting up a more normal weather pattern for the US West Coast, at least for a bit and likely in phase with the MJO.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/12) swell was fading in North and Southern California from a gale that developed previously in the Central Gulf targeting CA well (see East Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from Storm #2 is to be fading in Hawaii and impacting California (see Storm #2 below).

And another gale started building off the Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/10) with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 41.5N 158E aimed southeast. On Wed AM (1/11) 50-55 kt northwest winds were tracking east with seas 41 ft at 40.75N 165E aimed east. In the evening west winds were 45 kts approaching the dateline while lifting north with 40 ft seas at 42.75N 171.5E aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/12) fetch was holding stationary at 35-40 kts just west of the dateline with seas 34 ft at 43N 179E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from the northwest and west at 350 kts over a large area on the dateline with seas 29 ft at 41N 178W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Fri AM (1/13) from 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 25 ft over a large area at 37N 178W aimed east. Fetch fading in the evening from 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 20-25 ft at 42N 175E aimed southeast. Fetch fading Sat AM (1/14) from 30 kts with seas 23 ft at 43N 178W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/14) building to 5.9 ft @ 17 secs later (10 ft). Swell fading some on Sun (1/15) from 5.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (9.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (1/16) from 5.4 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (1/17) from 5.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft). Residuals on Wed (1/18) fading from 4.3 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/16) building to 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (5.0 ft) and buried in local swell. Swell Direction: 292 degrees

And on Sat PM (1/14) another gale is to start building northeast of Hawaii tracking east with west winds 35 kts and building. On Sun AM (1/15) west winds are to build to 55 kts with seas 30 ft at 40N 143.75W aimed east. In the evening the gael is to fall southeast and off Central CA with west winds 40 kts and seas 33 ft at 37.5N 135W aimed east. The gale is to move onshore Mon AM (1/16) over Central CA. Larger raw jumbled swell likely for all of California Mon-Tues (1/17).


East Gulf Gale
On Mon AM (1/9) yet another gale started building in the Eastern Gulf producing northwest winds at 35-40 kts and seas 23 ft at 37N 150W aimed east-southeast. In the evening 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be approaching the Central and Southern CA coast with 26-27 ft seas at 34.5N 139W 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 37N 129W aimed east just off Monterey Bay. Raw jumbled swell is expected mainly for Central and Southern CA.

North CA: Residuals on Thurs (1/12) fading from 6.3 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 275 degrees

Southern CA: Swell fading on Thurs (1/12) from 2.8 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 280 degrees


Storm #2
A stronger storm was developing west of the dateline on Sun PM (1/8) producing 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 27 ft at 36N 168E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/9) the storm was tracking east straddling the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas 36 ft at 37.5N 178.75E aimed east. The storm started building in the evening with 55 kt northwest winds and seas 47 ft at 37.75N 173.25W just east of the dateline. Fetch tracked east on Tues AM (1/10) 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas 49 ft at 38N 164.25W aimed mostly east. In the evening fetch was in the Central Gulf at 45-50 kts from the west and seas 46 ft at 39.25N 157.25W aimed east. Fetch built in coverage Wed AM (1/11) at 40-45 kts from the northwest filling the Gulf with seas 41 ft at 38.5N 150W aimed east and southeast targeting the US West Coast. In the evening the gale was nearly stalled in the Gulf with 40 kts northwest winds over a large area aimed southeast with seas 35 ft at 35N 150W aimed southeast. Fetch was fading Thurs AM (1/12) at 30-35 kts in the Eastern Gulf aimed at Central and Southern CA with seas 31 ft at 33N 145W aimed southeast. Fetch gone after that. Large long period swell is to result.

Oahu: Swell fading on Thurs (1/12) from 10.6 ft @ 15 secs (15.5 ft) with trades returning. On Fri (1/13) swell is to be fading from 7.0 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 moving to 350 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (1/12) at sunset or just after building to 12 ft @ 19 secs (22.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (1/13) from 10.5 ft @ 18 secs (19.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (1/14) from 10 ft @ 15 secs (15 ft). Swell fading Sun (1/15) from 8.7 ft @ 12 secs (10 ft). Swell Direction: 275 degrees Some version of south winds to be in control the entire time.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (1/13) building steadily to 5.4 ft @ 18-19 secs mid-day (10 ft) and holding. Swell slowly fading on Sat (1/14) from 5.0 ft @ 16-17 secs early (8.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (1/15) from 3.4 ft @ 13-14 secs early (4.5 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

  • Fri AM (1/13) a front is to be fading still stalled over the North CA coast with south winds 20-30 kts from the Golden Gate northward and 20+ kts from Pt Conception northward. In the afternoon the front is to push onshore with south winds 15-20 kts for Pt Arena northward and south winds 10-15 kts down to Pt Conception. Rain for all of North CA early pushing south to Pt Conception mid-morning continuing but fading some late afternoon. Snow developing for the Sierra in the afternoon continuing overnight.
  • Sat AM (1/14) another weaker system is to start building well off the coast with south winds 25 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15+ kts from the south for Santa Cruz northward and 10 kts for Pt Conception northward. In the afternoon a front is to be impacting the Central CA with south west winds 15 kts from Pt Conception northward and 20 kts from San Francisco northward. Light rain for North and Central CA down to LA County early building some through the day while pushing over San Diego. Light snow for the Sierra early building to heavy snow late afternoon continuing through the night.
  • Sun AM (1/15) the system is to be dissipating with west winds 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA and west winds 10-15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon another front is to be approaching with south winds 30 kts for all of North and Central CA. Light rain early for all of CA including Southern CA. Rain fading mid-morning and then redeveloping for the entire state late afternoon and heavy in the evening. Snow fading from the Sierra early the redeveloping late afternoon and pretty solid in the evening.
  • Mon AM (1/16) a core of low pressure is to be moving onshore over San Francisco with northwest winds 20-25 kts for Santa Cruz northward and west winds 20-25 kts down to Pt Conception and west winds 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 15+ kts for all of north and Central CA and 15 kts for most of Southern CA. Rain for all of California in the morning continuing through the day though slowly easing and light in the evening. Heavy snow for the Sierra all day fading some overnight.
  • Tues AM (1/17) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts early for all of California including Southern CA. No change in the afternoon. Light scattered showers for Pt Arena southward down to San Diego early fading from north to south through the day and limited to Southern CA overnight. No snow forecast.
  • Wed AM (1/18) northwest winds are to start fading early at 10 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for the area south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino early pushing south to Morro Bay in the evening. Snow developing for the Sierra falling south from Tahoe late afternoon into the evening.
  • Thurs AM (1/19) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA early and 20 kts in the afternoon. High pressure taking control. Light scattered showers for mainly Central CA early fading late morning and moving over Southern CA. Light snow for the Sierra early and fading quickly.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 104, 118, 112, and 63 inches forecast with most on Fri-Mon (1/13-1/16) and more on Wed (1/18) and Sat (1/21).

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 8,700 ft on Thurs (1/12) then steadily falling to 5,500 ft Fri (1/13) and down to 4,000 ft or less on 1/17 and holding other than a warm spike on 1/20.

- - -

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: (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to start building west of the dateline on Mon PM (1/16) producing west winds at 50+ kts with seas building from 29 ft at 37.75N 163E aimed east. On Tues AM (1/17) west winds are to push east at 50+ kts approaching the dateline with seas 39 ft at 38.5N 172E over a small area. In the evening west winds to track over the dateline at 45 kts with seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 39.75N 177.5W aimed east. Wed AM (1/18) fetch is to be lifting northeast into the far Northwestern Gulf at 40 kts from the west with seas 29 ft at 42.25N 166W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds to be in the Northwestern Gulf with seas 27 ft at 45.5N 160W aimed east. Fetch building Thurs AM (1/19) from 45 kts from the west with seas 33 ft at 50.25N 151.50W aimed east. Something to monitor.


Perhaps another gale is to develop on the Dateline on Thurs PM (1/19).

No lack of swell production potential, but perhaps moderating some and developing further away from the mainland.


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.

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 (1/11) 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 modest east over the Central Pacific and modest to 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): (1/12) Moderate east anomalies were over the dateline today with moderate west anomalies filling the West KWGA to 160E. The 7 day forecast calls for east anomalies moderate over the dateline through the model run ending 1/19 with west anomalies weakening in the west KWGA and almost gone at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/11) A weak Active signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active signal gone on day 5 of the model run with the Inactive MJO developing over the KWGA and building to strong status on days 10-15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/12) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over Africa and is track east to the Central Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run and very weak. The dynamic model indicates almost the same thing but with the Active Phase far stronger over the Indian Ocean 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/12) A weak Inactive MJO (dry air) was developing over the West equatorial Pacific today. The forecast has the Inactive signal (dry air) building and tracking east over the KWGA through 1/27 then continuing east over the remainder of the Pacific and over the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 2/21. A weak Active signal (wet air) is to develop over the KWGA/West Pacific on 2/6 filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 2/21.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/8)
No Update. The Active Phase of the MJO was gone over the KWGA today with west anomalies from 150E and points west of there filling 50% of the KWGA. West anomalies are to hold through 1/15 then dissipating only to return reaching east to the dateline 1/15 holding through 1/24. East anomalies are fade becoming centered east of the dateline over the next week then slowly returning filling the area from 165E after 1/25 but very weak.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(1/12) - 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 fading over the KWGA with west anomalies at modest strength filling the western KWGA to 165E. The forecast has the Active Phase of the MJO tracking through the KWGA through 2/4 with west anomalies in control of the western KWGA (from 165E and points west of there). Looks like a weak Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) developed 12/26-1/12. This is very good news. After that a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop starting 1/15 through 2/19 but with very weak westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to 160E with east anomalies east of there centered on the dateline. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to traverse the Pacific 2/13-3/17 producing strong west anomalies forecast to traverse the entire Pacific. Perhaps another WWB event to result. Aa weak MJO is forecast beyond with west anomalies slowly building filling the entire equatorial PAcific from 3/1 and beyond. 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 on 3/22 and east of 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: (1/12) 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 easing east from 158W to 153W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and thickening. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +4 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 150W and a stream of 1 degs anomalies pushing east into the East Pacific. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 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 85W near the surface with residual weakly cool waters filling the area above the Kelvin Wave over the entire equatorial Pacific but steadily losing its coolness. 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: (1/8) 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 with pockets of positive anomalies at +5 cms strung east across the equatorial Pacific. 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 intensity and coverage 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: (1/11) 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 and building in pockets across the entire equator. A thin cool stream was along the immediate coast of Peru but going nowhere. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/11): A broad pool of solid warming water was locked along the coasts of Peru and Chile extending north up to Ecuador and west to 110W and in pockets along the equator to 160W. No cooling temps were indicated. A warming trend is well entrenched.
Hi-res Overview: (1/11) Coolish waters cover a large area from Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from off South America down to 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 West 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: (1/12) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising to -0.453. Temps previously were 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:
(1/12) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -1.089 after falling hard to -1.187 on 1/7 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.

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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 (1/12) - Temps are to start rising form -0.95 degs in mid January quickly reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in late-Jan and up to +0.95 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 are to rising quickly from -0.90 degs and above La Nina threshold the last week of Jan and neutral (0.0 degs) mid-March and rising from there forward to +0.65 degs in July and holding in August. All this is a significant upgrade. According to this version of the model we are starting a trend towards neutrality in Feb with momentum towards El Nino in Spring. The surface temp coverage model suggests a steady erosion of the coldest waters south of Nino3.4 (down at 20S) has begun. Near neutral temps are expected over the entire equatorial Pacific in March with a warming trend starting in May and building 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 (1/12) the Daily Index was falling at -0.80 after reaching +55.74 on 12/22 and were 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 steady at +21.44 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 steady at +13.38 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
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