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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, January 16, 2023 1:38 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
3.8 - 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 1/16 thru Sun 1/2

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   

Major Pattern Change Evolving
Storm Track Shifting to Dateline - Dry Out for CA

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Monday, January 16, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 13.9 secs from 299 degrees. Water temp 77.5 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.2 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.7 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.0 ft @ 14.6 secs from 316 degrees. Water temp 77.9 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 10.2 secs from 261 degrees. Wind west at 20-25 kts. Water temperature 57.4 degs, 58.3 (Topanga 103), 58.1 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.8 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 57.9 (Del Mar 153), 59.2 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.3 ft @ 18.2 secs from 294 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.6 ft @ 12.4 secs from 252 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.4 ft @ 12.5 secs from 261 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.9 ft @ 12.5 secs from 270 degrees. Water temperate was 59.5 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.9 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 5.7 ft @ 17.2 secs from 295 degrees. Wind northwest at 21-29 kts. Water temp 54.3 (Bodega Bay 46013), 54.3 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 53.8 (San Francisco 46026), 53.2 (SF Bar 142), 54.7 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.8 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Monday (1/16) North and Central CA had sets at 10 ft on the face and trashed by strong northwest wind. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead and super lined up and mostly closed out and warbled bordering on whitecaps from northwest wind. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and mushed but trying to clean up but still pretty warbled from residual south lump. In Southern California/Ventura waves were 1-2 ft overhead and lined up but warbled and mushed and whitecapped from strong westerly wind. Central Orange County had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up but chopped with strong northwest winds in control. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at chest high and trashed by northwest wind. North San Diego had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up but again trashed by strong northwest wind. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 6-8 ft Hawaiian and clean and lined up with good form but a little inconsistent. The South Shore had some thigh to waist high sets with decent form and soft but clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around swell at waist high and textured from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (1/16) California getting the peak and Hawaii was getting the back end of swell that originated from a gale that 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. California was also seeing remnants energy from a local gale that developed off North CA Sun-Mon (1/16) producing up to 24 ft seas and basically moving right into the Central coast. Another gale was developing and forecast to track from the dateline to the Northwestern Gulf Mon-Thurs (1/19) with 39 ft seas initially fading to 35 ft and on a more northerly track than previous systems. And then the new pattern sets up with a gale developing on the dateline Fri-Sat (1/21) with 42 ft seas aimed east then moving into the Northwestern Gulf on Sun (1/22) while fading with seas 33 ft. Another gale is to be right behind developing off North Japan on Sun (1/22) falling southeast to the dateline on Mon (1/23) with 39 ft seas aimed east. Something to monitor.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Monday (1/16) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan at 170 kts then splitting over the dateline but still consolidated east of there with winds 140 kts off California forming a weak trough there pushing over the US West Coast and supportive of mainly weather development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east and into Central and South CA late Tues (1/17) likely signaling the end of stormy weather there. On the dateline the jet is to be split with the split getting more pronounced east of there into the mainland likely supporting high pressure development down at the surface over the Gulf of Alaska with a backdoor trough developing pushing down the California coast on Thurs (1/19) supporting light precipitation. Back to the west the jet is to be building with 180 kts winds carving out a new trough on the dateline on Tues (1/17) pushing east-northeast to the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs (1/19) supporting gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with the jet consolidated in the west and winds building to 190 kts carving out another trough just east of the dateline on Fri-Sat (1/21) supporting gale development with a split flow and high pressure in the east. More of the same is forecast into Mon (1/23) with the split point moving east to 160W and winds 170 kts streaming off Japan generally supportive of trough formation but with no trough explicitly indicated.


Surface Analysis
On Monday (1/16) swell from a gale that formed over the dateline was past it's peak in Hawaii and peaking in California (see Another Dateline Gale below) but buried in local windswell with raw swell from another local gale forecast to build in right behind (see Local CA Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to produce some swell for North CA in the Gulf of Alaska (see Another Gulf Gale below).

 

Another Dateline Gale
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.In the evening fetch was fading from the northwest and west at 30-35 kts over a large area on the dateline with seas 29 ft at 41N 177.5W aimed east. Fetch continued 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 faded in the evening from 30-35 kts from the northwest over the North Dateline region with seas 20-24 ft centered roughly at 34N 178W aimed southeast. Fetch fading Sat AM (1/14) from 30 kts with seas 22 ft at 43N 178W aimed southeast. Swell has been generated.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/14) building to 5.6 ft @ 17 secs later (9.5 ft). Swell fading some on Sun (1/15) from 6.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (9.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (1/16) from 5.3 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (1/17) from 4.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft). Residuals on Wed (1/18) fading from 3.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/16) building to 4.2 ft @ 16-17 secs later (7.0 ft) and buried in local windswell never to be seen. Swell Direction: 294 degrees

 

Local CA Gale
Also on Sat PM (1/14) another gale is to start building northeast of Hawaii tracking east to wards the mainland with west winds 35 kts and building. On Sun AM (1/15) west winds were 35 kts off San Francisco with seas 21 ft at 37.5N 143W aimed east. In the evening the gale fell southeast and off Central CA with west winds 30-35 kts and seas 21 ft at 35N 133W aimed east. The gale started moving onshore Mon AM (1/16) over Central CA with 30 kt northwest winds off the coast and 16 ft seas at 33N 127W aimed southeast. Raw jumbled swell likely for all of California Mon-Tues (1/17).

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/17) building to 8.1 ft @ 14 secs later (11 ft). Swell fading on Wed (1/18) from 5.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell possibly being overridden by Gulf swell beyond (see another Gulf Gale below). Swell Direction: 294 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/17) building to 3.6 ft @ 15 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (1/18) from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 298 degrees

 

Another Gulf Gale
Yet another small system developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun PM (1/15) producing 40 kt west winds and seas 23 ft at 45N 168W aimed east. Fetch tracked east on Mon AM (1/18) at 35 kts producing 24 ft seas at 45N 160W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading in the Gulf in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 45.25N 160W aimed east. Residual fetch fading Tues AM (1/17) well off Oregon from 35 kts with seas 21 ft at 44N 145W. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell arrival possibly on Thurs (1/19) at 7.8 ft @ 13-14 secs early (10 ft). Swell Direction: 302 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

  • Tues AM (1/17) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts early for North CA and 20-25 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central and Southern CA. Light scattered showers for Monterey bay southward down to San Diego early and fading fast. No snow forecast.
  • Wed AM (1/18) northwest winds are to start fading early at 5-10 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for the area south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino mid-day pushing south to Monterey Bay in the evening. Snow developing for the Tahoe in the evening.
  • Thurs AM (1/19) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for all of North and Central CA early building to 20-25 kts in the afternoon. High pressure taking control. Light rain in pockets for mainly Central CA early and fading fast. Snow fading fast for the Sierra early. The dry-out begins.
  • Fri AM (1/20) north winds are to be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts for North and Central CA south of Cape Mendocino with the core of high pressure moving closer to the coast. In the afternoon north winds are forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Sat AM (1/21) north winds to be 15 kts for North and Central CA. In the afternoon north winds to be 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and north 10 kts for the rest of North and Central CA.
  • Sun AM (1/22) north winds to be 30-35 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon north winds to be 30-35 kts solid for all of North CA and 10 kts for Central CA nearshore but 30 kts just off the coast.
  • Mon AM (1/23) north winds are forecast at 15 kts nearshore but 30 kts off all of North and Central CA. In the afternoon winds turning northeast at 20 kts for North CA and northeast 30 kts for most of Central CA. Low odds of rain for San Diego County early.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 15, 16, 23, and 12 inches forecast with most on Mon (1/16) and a little on Wed (1/18). The change is coming.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 4,000 ft on Mon (1/16) and holding then a big warm up starts on 1/20 with freeze level rising to near 9,000 ft holding through 1/22 then falling to 3,000 ft late on 1/22-1/23 only to rise to 10,5000 ft 1/24 and holding beyond. Possible flooding from rapid snow melt below 10,000 ft.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water or radiating towards the coast.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to start building west of the dateline on Mon PM (1/16) producing west winds at 35 kts with seas building from 19 ft at 37N 163E aimed east. On Tues AM (1/17) west winds are to push east at 50 kts approaching the dateline with seas 33 ft at 39.25N 168.75E over a small area. In the evening west winds to track over the dateline at 50 kts with seas 35 ft over a small area at 39.5N 179.5E aimed east. Wed AM (1/18) fetch is to be lifting northeast into the far Northwestern Gulf at 40-45 kts from the west with seas 35 ft at 42.5N 170.25W aimed east. In the evening 45 kt west winds are to be in the Northwestern Gulf with seas 37 ft at 46.25N 163.75W aimed east. Fetch fading Thurs AM (1/19) in the Northern Gulf from 30-35 kts from the west with seas 32 ft at 48.5N 157.25W aimed east. The gael is to be gone after that. Something to monitor.

Perhaps another gale is to develop west of the dateline on Thurs AM (1/19) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 22+ ft at 33N 160E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be building from 45 kts from the northwest over a good sized area approaching the Southern Dateline with seas 25 ft at 35.5N 170.75E aimed east and southeast. On Fri AM (1/20) west winds to be 50-55 kts from the west and seas 38 ft at 36.25N 177.75E aimed east and southeast. In the evening the gael is tot rack east with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building to 41 ft at 34N 173.75W aimed southeast. The gale is to lift northeast on Sat AM (1/21) with a broad fetch of 45 kts northwest winds and seas 39 ft at 36.25N 168.75W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to continue tracking northeast with 45 kt northwest winds over a solid area and seas 34 ft at 39.5N 166.5W aimed southeast. On Sun Am (1/22) the gale is to fading in the Northwestern Gulf with 35-40 kts northwest winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 43N 162W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

On Sun AM (1/22) another gale is to building off North Japan with 45 kts northwest winds and seas building from 35 ft at 41N 159.75E aimed east. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds to be falling southeast with seas 37 ft at 40N 166E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/23) west winds to fade to 40 kts over the dateline with seas 39 ft at 39N 173.5E aimed southeast. Fetch fading in the evening from 35+ kts straddling the dateline with 34 ft seas at 37N 179.5E aimed east.

Perhaps another gale is to be building just off Japan too on Mon PM (1/23).

No lack of potential swell production forecast.

 

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 Stabilizing over West KWGA
Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, faded in May and June 2022, but rebuilt in late July and held till mid-Nov, then started to retreat east. La Nina conditions are in control at the oceans surface but appear to be weakening while the foundations of it subsurface collapse. And atmospherically anomalous Westerly Winds are getting steadily more established over the KWGA while building in coverage and forecast to continue that trend for the foreseeable future. The last link in the chain is to see SSTs actually rising and the SOI falling (but that has not happened yet). The outlook is cautiously optimistic.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed through the Winter of 2022 and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2022 = 4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina made a strong return by the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen and a full double dip pattern took hold through the Winter of 21/22. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December 2022 with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Jan. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter 2022. But by later in Jan or early Feb 2023 a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct 22-Jan 23, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by Feb 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after Jan 2023. The swell pattern will be below normal before Jan and above normal after Jan 23 with the average of the two being 'normal'. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early date.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/15) 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 neutral to 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): (1/16) Moderate east anomalies were over the dateline today with weak west anomalies filling the West KWGA to 160E. The 7 day forecast calls for east anomalies building to strong status over the dateline through the model run ending 1/23 with weak east anomalies in the west KWGA to 1/19 then turning east westerly on 1/21 and holding through end of the model run on 1/23.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/15) A weak Inactive signal was indicated developing over the West KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Inactive MJO building over the KWGA and tracking slowly east building to strong status on days 10-15 filling the KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Inactive signal not quite as strong but still substantial.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/16) 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 either strong or weak. The dynamic model indicates almost the same thing but with the Active Phase far stronger over the Indian Ocean 10 days out (strong status) then collapsing to weak status on day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/16) A mixed pattern of wet and dry air was covering the equatorial Pacific today but biased toward the dry end of the spectrum. The forecast has the mixed signal continuing but with a weak Inactive signal (dry air) building and tracking east over the KWGA through 2/10. A weak Active signal (wet air) is to follow tracking over the KWGA 2/5 through the end of the model run on 2/25.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/15)
The Active Phase of the MJO was fading if not gone over the KWGA today with west anomalies solid from 160E and points west of there filling 60% of the KWGA. West anomalies are to hold solid through 1/23 then fading but still present through then end of the model run on 2/12. East anomalies are to try to develop over the KWGA on 1/27 but fading fast on 1/31 even as the Inactive Phase of the MJO traverses the 1/29-2/12.
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 1/21 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 12/26-1/16. This is very good news. perhaps another Kelvin Wave to result. After that a weak and fragmented Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop starting 1/16 tracking east through 2/23 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 2/12-3/25 producing moderate to strong west anomalies traversing the entire Pacific. Perhaps another WWB event to result. The Inactive MJO is forecast beyond traversing the Pacific with west anomalies filling the entire equatorial Pacific beyond till the end of the model run on 4/15. 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: (1/16) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 176E. The 26 degree isotherm was easing east from 158W to 152W. 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 thin stream of 1 degs anomalies pushing east into the East Pacific but that stream starting to fade. A small pocket of cooling was developing in the east down 150meters at 135W at -2 degs C. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 indicates remnants of a weak Kelvin Wave that pushed east to 100W lingering in pockets lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 85W near the surface with a secondary cool pocket at 130W. 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 to Ecuador. 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. That said some coolish waters were present between 120-145W.

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: (1/15) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool-ish water extending west from off Peru to the dateline mainly south of the equator in the East but fully on the equator in the west and extending south down to about 20S near 125W. The coldest stream has collapsed from Ecuador to 140W and pockets of warming are present there, the Kelvin Wave. 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 (1/15): A broad pool of solid warming water was locked along the coasts of Peru, Chile and Ecuador and west to the dateline. No cooling temps were indicated. A warming trend is well entrenched and building.
Hi-res Overview: (1/15) 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: (1/16) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were steady at -0.401. 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:
(1/16) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were rising slightly at -0.960 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.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but slowly rising to -0.8 degs in Jan 2023.
Forecast (1/16) - Temps are to start rising dramatically from now forward reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in late-Jan and neutral (0.0 degs) mid-March and up to +1.0 degs in Oct and well into El Nino territory. This model suggests we are going to steadily transition towards ENSO neutral in Jan. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps rising quickly and above La Nina threshold the last week of Jan and neutral (0.0 degs) mid-March and rising from there forward to +0.75 degs in Oct. 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 (1/16) the Daily Index was falling at 3.82 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 falling at +19.74 after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling at +12.32 previously peaking at +15.61 on 10/25 and previously peaking at +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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