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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:35 AM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
5.1 - California & 4.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 1/7 thru Sun 1/13

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #6 Still Hitting HI
Strong Storm #7 Building Off CA

On Wednesday, January 16, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 6.9 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 15.5 secs from 301 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 6.8 ft @ 15.7 secs from 314 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 9.2 secs from 234 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 14-20 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.1 secs from 251 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.5 ft @ 9.3 secs from 242 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.5 ft @ 8.1 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.7 ft @ 15.1 secs from 269 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.0 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 13.7 secs from 289 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southeast at 21-27 kts. Water temp 56.1 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Wednesday (1/16) in North and Central CA surf was 1-2 ft overhead and trashed by strong south winds and unrideable. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and with decent form but a little slow. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and pretty hacked by south winds but not whitecapping yet. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist to maybe chest high and clean and lined up but looking more like clean windswell. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high and pretty ragged and raw from south winds and not really rideable. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead and somewhat lined up but pretty hacked from south winds. North San Diego surf was waist to maybe chest high and soft and reasonably clean but weak looking only like windswell. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting solid swell with waves 8-10 ft Hawaiian and clean and lined up and peeling. Quite the run of swell there. The South Shore was thigh high and starting to get hacked by south wind. The East Shore was small with wrap around windswell thigh to maybe waist high and clean with a light south breeze in effect.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (1/16) secondary fetch from Storm #6 has produced swell energy that is still hitting Hawaii making for well rideable surf. Meanwhile California was suffering from the weather affects of new Storm #7 developing off the coast. And maybe another small gale is to develop tracking northeast through the Gulf of Alaska on Sun-Mon (1/21) while another broader system develops off Japan on Mon (91/21) tracking towards the dateline on Wed (1/23) with up to 42 ft seas aimed east. So a fairly active pattern is projected even with a fading MJO.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Wednesday AM (1/16) the jetstream was reasonably well consolidated tracking east off Japan on the 33N latitude line with winds 180 kts over Japan then fading over the dateline with a small trough trying to develop there before rebuilding to 160 kts just east of the dateline and forming another small trough off the California coast. The jet was weakly split just off Pt Conception with the northern branch pushing inland over Central CA and the southern branch pushing southeast off mainland Mexico. There wa support for gale development in both troughs. Over the next 72 hours winds to build over and just off Japan to 200 kts on Thurs (1/17) feeding the dateline trough some while the trough off California lifts northeast some with the jet pushing directly into the Sierra Thurs PM with winds 130 kts making for weather there. Then the dateline trough is to push east into the Central Gulf by Sat (1/19) offering some support for gale development there while back to the west the jet stabilizes with winds at 170 pushing from Japan to the dateline. Beyond 72 hours this new flow in the west is to continue building Sat-Sun (1/20) with winds to 190 kts off Japan generating another trough near the dateline supportive of gale development, fading some then the trough redeveloping in the same location Wed (1/23) still being fed by 210 kts winds offering good support for gale development. Meanwhile in the east the jet is to split just north of Hawaii on Sun (1/20) and remain that way into Wed (1/23) supporting high pressure over the US West Coast and offering no support for gale development. The focus looks to turn to the West Pacific longer term.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (1/16) swell from secondary wind energy associated with Dateline Storm #6 was still hitting Hawaii and clean making for a great run of surf there (See Dateline Storm #6 below).

Over the next 72 hours the focus is to be Gulf Storm #7 (see below).


Dateline Storm #6
On Wed AM (1/9) a broad gale started building off Japan pushing east with 40-45 kt west winds building with the system pushing towards the dateline. In the evening the gale built to storm status growing in size with northwest winds 60-65 kts from the northwest and seas building from 41 ft over a small area at 41.5N 168E. On Thurs AM (1/10) the storm was approaching the dateline with 55-60 kt west winds and seas building to 56 ft at 42N 176E aimed east. In the evening the storm stalled just west of the dateline with 55 kt west winds and seas 52 ft at 44N 179W aimed east. The gale faded Fri AM (1/11) with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west on the dateline with seas fading from 43 ft at 46.5N 177.5W.

A secondary fetch was building in from the west on Fri PM (1/11) with a core of west winds at 45-50 kt building just west of the dateline with seas building from 32 ft over a broad area centered at 37N 169E with seas from previous fetch 20-30 ft filling a huge area from the Western Gulf to a point just off the Kuril Islands pushing east (over about 2000 nmiles aimed east). On Sat AM (1/12) fetch was consolidating at 35-40 kts from the northwest positioned mid-way between North Japan and the dateline with seas 28-30 ft near 38N 175E aimed east. Fetch fell southeast in the evening at 35 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 28-30 ft at 38N 173E aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/13) fetch was move east at 35 kts with seas 31 ft at 38N 175E aimed east. Fetch was fading in the evening from 35 kts with 32 ft seas at 39N 175W aimed east at the US West Coast. The gale to fade from there.

Hawaii: Secondary swell fading on Wed AM (1/16) from 6.4 ft @ 15 secs (9.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Wed AM (1/17) from 4.1 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 318-330 degrees turning to 313 degrees for pulse #2.

North CA: Secondary energy arriving on Wed (1/16) building to 5.6 ft @ 17 secs later (9.5 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (1/17) 6.2 ft @ 16 secs (9.5 ft) and possibly becoming swamped later in the morning by stronger local swell. Swell Direction: 290 degrees


Gulf Storm #7
On Tues PM (1/15) a storm was developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska with 55 kt northwest winds over a small area aimed southeast with seas building fast from 37 ft at 38N 150W aimed southeast targeting primarily California. On Wed AM (1/16) 55 kt northwest winds were tracking east with seas building to 51 ft over a small area at 37.5N 141W or 900 nmiles west of San Francisco (280 degs NCal). The storm to fade some in the evening but still with 50 kt west winds lifting northeast just off the North CA coast with 52 ft seas fading to 48 ft at 38N 134W aimed east (290 degs NCal). On Thurs AM (1/17) the gale is to be fading some just off Southern Oregon with 40 kt west winds impacting Cape Mendocino and seas 37 ft at 41N 128W and moving out of the Central CA swell window but impacting North CA directly. Large raw local swell is expected for North and Central CA.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (1/17) building solid by 8 AM peaking near noon at 20 ft @ 18 secs (36 ft) holding pretty well to dark. Take action to protect exposed beach properties. Swell fading overnight. Raw local wave energy is to continue Fri AM (1/18) with pure swell fading from 12.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (18.0 ft) fading to 10 ft @ 13-14 secs at sunset (14 ft). Residuals on Sat (1/19) steady at 6.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 275 degrees moving to 280 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival at sunset on Thurs (1/17) pushing 5.0 ft @ 20 secs late (10 ft). Swell peaking near 10 PM at 8.5 ft @ 18 secs (15 ft). Take action to protect exposed beach properties. Swell fading Fri AM (1/18) from 7.1 ft @ 16-17 secs (10.5 ft) fading to 5.7 ft @ 15 secs at sunset (8.5 ft). Residuals on Sat AM (1/19) fading slowly from 3.9 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Still some swell continuing on Sun AM (1/20) from 2.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 288 degrees moving to 294 degrees

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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
Wednesday (1/16) a new strong storm was building 800 nmiles off San Francisco with south winds for the entire state including Southern CA at 15 kts early building to 30-35 kts at sunset from Pismo Beach northward but fading to 5 kts for Southern CA. Light rain for the North Coast early building steadily through the day reaching Pt Conception at sunset northward and then very strong for North CA late evening. Light rain building for South CA down to San Clemente in the evening. Light snow for the Sierra during the day then building heavily starting at 9 PM for the entire Sierra. Thurs AM (1/17) southwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts from Santa Barbara up to Monterey Bay and 20-30 kts for North CA early fading to 5 kts from the west for Southern CA at sunset and slowly turning west for North and Central CA at sunset at 10-15 kts. Patchy but steady rain for the entire state early stating to fade along the coast later. Heavy snow for the Sierra early tapering some through the day but still very solid at sunset then lightening late evening. Fri (1/18) weak high pressure builds in over Central CA with light winds nearshore early but again turning south for North CA late afternoon at 15-25 kts. Light rain for Cape Mendocino late afternoon. No snow forecast. Sat (1/19) weak high pressure holds over Central CA with south winds 10-15 kts from Pt Reyes northward but light winds over Central CA and and offshore flow for South CA all day. Light rain for North CA north of Bodega Bay all day. Sun (1/20) a weak trough is to push into North CA but with high pressure building behind with west winds 10-15 kts down to Bodega Bay and with northwest winds 10-15 kts building for Central CA mid-day with an offshore flow for Southern CA. Moderate rain for North CA pushing down to the Golden Gate at sunset then fading. Light snow for Tahoe late evening. Mon (1/21) clearing high pressure takes control with north winds 20 kts for all of North and Central CA holding through the day. No snow or rain forecast. Tues (1/22) high pressure starts moving inland with north-northeast winds 15 kts for the entire state. Wednesday (1/23) a light northeast flow is forecast for the state all day.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe (thru 1/23): 47-52 inches and 36 inches for Mammoth.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a small gale is to develop 1100 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii tracking east-northeast on Sun AM (1/20) with 40-45 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 43n 164W aimed east. In the evening 45 kt west winds are to be pushing east-northeast into the Northern Gulf with 37 ft seas over a small area at 45.5N 159W aimed east (298 degs NCal). the gale is to track east northeast in the evening with 40 kt southwest winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 48N 151W (308 degs NCal). The gale to fade from there. Something to monitor.

A stronger system is forecast forming just west of the dateline on Mon AM (1/21) with west winds 45 kts over a modest sized area and seas building from 34 ft over a small area at 39.5N 171E aimed east. In the evening west winds to be 55 kt lifting gently north with seas building to 39 ft at 45W 173E. The gale is to build in coverage Tues AM (1/22) with 45 kt west winds and seas building from 39 ft at 42.5N 173E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to start tracking east-southeast with 45-50 kt west winds and seas 41 ft at 42.5N 176E, targeting Hawaii decently. The gale to fade Wed AM (1/23) with 40 kt west winds just west of the dateline with seas fading from 37 ft at 42N 177W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell for Hawaii and lesser energy from the US West Coast. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Neutral MJO - Sea Surface Temps Stable - ESPI Weakly Positive

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/23) No update due to partial government shutdown. 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately easterly near the dateline and continuing into the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/16) moderately strong west anomalies were over the core of the KWGA with east anomalies building on the dateline. The forecast is for slowly moderating west anomalies holding centered in the core of the KWGA and then stating to build in the far west KWGA on 1/21 through the end of the model run on 1/23 with east anomalies building to moderate strength on the dateline and holding through the model run. Support for storm development appears to be fading in the West Pacific but not out.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/15) A weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was centered over the dateline wit the Active Phase in the Indian Ocean. The statistic model indicates a weak Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the KWGA at day 8 of the model run with the Active Phase building in the far West Pacific at day 10 and into the core of the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the building Active Phase far strong at days 10-15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the Indian Ocean. It is to race east while building some moving over the Maritime Continent at day 5 and moderate in strength then moving to the West Pacific at day 10 holding there and fading some. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/14) This model depicts a strong Active Phase over Africa with a weak MJO signal over the Pacific. A weak west Active signal is to traverse the Pacific 1/19-2/13 followed by another weaker wet Active Signal traversing west to east 2/8 to the dateline at the end of the model run on 2/23.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/15) This model depicts moderate west anomalies were over the Central KWGA with east anomalies building over the dateline. West anomalies are to start fading and limited to the far West Pacific by 1/22 with east anomalies on the dateline. Beyond westerly anomalies are to start building east again filling the KWGA by 1/25 and holding through the end of the model run but holding only a thin coverage in the KWGA from 2/2 to the end of the model run on 2/12.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/16) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO fading over the core of the KWGA with modest west anomalies fading in the KWGA. The Active MJO pattern is to be gone by 1/19 while a weak Inactive Phase follows starting 1/17 in the far West Pacific making much east headway and gone 2/16. Spotty mixed east and west anomalies are forecast through that period. West anomalies and a weak Active Phase of the MJO is to be building in the KWGA 2/17 and holding through the end of the model run on 4/14 with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through the end of the model run. A third contour line faded 12/17 and is not to return. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control and is to continue, but far weaker. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were at one time trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence that it every happened. Still this pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/24) Not updated due to partial government shutdown. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is steady today back at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific with temps rebuilding in the Central Pacific at +3 degs at 140W (Possible Kelvin Wave #3). Temps are stable at 3 degs east of there the whole way into Ecuador. It appears Kelvin Wave #2 is gone and fully erupted off Ecuador. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 2-3 months with the development and merging of Kelvin Wave #3 with Kelvin Wave #2. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 fading in the East Pacific with pockets of +3 degs from 135W into Ecuador and with +2 deg anomalies building in the west from New Guinea to the dateline (possible Kelvin Wave #3 attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst occurring there 12/30-1/16). Basically a river of warm water is traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/8) Positive anomalies were building from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east at mostly 0-5 cms over the equator from north of New Guinea to 150W, then turning neutral. Anomalies rebuilt to +5 cms from 135W to 110W then dissipated east of there. Perhaps a new weak Kelvin Wave is building north of New Guinea while a previous warm subsurface pattern faded over the east equatorial Pacific.

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: (1/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were very weakly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, perhaps building some compared to days and weeks past mainly near 100W. Warm water that was previously fading along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador has built a little today. Weak generic warming was off Central America and Mexico and building some today in coverage and intensity. There is no indications that an El Nino is building and if anything the warming pattern is just holding and pulsing. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has lost ground only extending west to 120W today. . Overall the pattern looks more like El Nino than La Nina, but nothing more than weakly like El Nino. In all this supposed El Nino is weak and becoming more fragile by the day.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/15): A broad area of weak warm water was building off Peru and stronger extending west along the equator. It looks like the far equatorial East Pacific is warming again.
Hi-res Overview: (1/15) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime. And one could maybe think we are moving towards an El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely not every moving to an official minimal El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/16) Today's temps were rising again to +0.858 after previously falling hard down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/16) Today temps were stable at +0.321 after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/16) The model indicates temps were at +0.6 degs on Jan 1 and are forecast building to +0.85 on Feb1 and stable through March, then falling some to +0.80 degs by April 1 and holding through July, then down to +0.70 later in Sept. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/16): The daily index was falling to -7.30. The 30 day average was falling at +0.24 suggesting a fading Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was falling some at +2.21, rising through Jan1 then fading after that and still fading today. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/16) The index has risen to +0.27 from -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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