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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 4:33 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
4.2 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/20 thru Sun 1/26

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   

Multiple Gales in the Water
And More Forecast Behind

On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 3.9 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 12.2 secs from 296 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 5.2 ft @ 12.2 secs from 337 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 13.0 secs from 268 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.9 ft @ 16.9 secs from 292 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.4 ft @ 12.6 secs from 261 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 12.8 secs from 247 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 266 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.4 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 6.3 ft @ 15.7 secs from 298 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was southeast at 14-20 kts. Water temp 52.7 degs (013), 54.0 degs (012) and 54.7 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 Tuesday (1/21) in North and Central CA swell from a gale that previously fell southeast through the Gulf of Alaska was hitting producing waves at 3 ft overhead and lined up but inconsistent and pretty warbled from south wind. Protected breaks were up to 2 ft overhead on the rare sets and clean and super lined up and closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to head high and lined up and warbled from modest south wind. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high on the sets and clean with light offshore winds and lined up and peeling on occasion. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the bigger sets and pretty warbled from south wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were thigh to waist high on the peaks of the bigger sets and real clean. North San Diego's best breaks had waves at waist to chest high on the bigger sets and clean and lined up but inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting nice northwest swell with waves 2-3 ft overhead and super clean and lined with decent form. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean with some sideshore warbled intermixed. The East Shore was getting northwest wrap around swell with waves shoulder high and nearly chopped from moderate southeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (1/21) in California swell from the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska was starting to hit having previously developed on the dateline late Thurs (1/16) pushing into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Fri-Sat (1/18) producing a moderate area of up to 36 ft seas and then pushed southeast into Sun (1/19). In Hawaii smaller residuals from that swell were fading out. A significant pattern upgrade is underway as compared to weeks past. Remnants of the Northwestern Gulf gale redeveloped off North CA Mon-Tues (1/21) producing up to 32 ft seas targeting North CA well. That swell is in the water steaming east. And another gale built off Japan tracking from over the southern dateline region Sun-Tues (1/21) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed east before fading in the Western Gulf on Wed (1/22) with seas dropping from 33 ft. And yet another gale is to form right behind on the dateline Wed-Fri (1/24) with 40 ft seas aimed southeast but not making it into the Gulf. Another weaker and smaller gael is to form on the dateline Sun-Mon with 33 ft seas building to 39 ft aimed east then fading while tracking through the Gulf into Tues (1/28). The Active Phase of the MJO is having a positive effect.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (1/21) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan on the 35N latitude line with winds to 170 kts in a stream tracking east to the far Western Gulf of Alaska forming a trough in the Western Gulf and another just off the Pacific Northwest with both offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough off the Pacific Northwest is to push onshore later in the day while the trough in the Gulf moves to the Eastern Gulf on Thurs (1/23) and starts fading becoming absorbed in a building broad trough setting up filling the dateline region to the Gulf into Fri (1/24). Beyond 72 hours winds in the jet are to weaken some and become fragmented but still focused on the 35N latitude line extending across the width of the North Pacific. By Sat (1/25) winds are to start consolidated at 180 kts flowing from off North Japan southeast to the dateline starting to carve out a new broad trough there later Sun (1/26) offering good support for gale development and pushing east with jetsream winds at up to 140 kts just off the CA-OR border. An improved upper level pattern is forecast.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (1/21) swell from a gale previously in the Northwestern Gulf was hitting California and fading in Hawaii (see Northwestern Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours redevelopment of the remnants of the Northwestern Gulf Gale are to produce more swell (see Northwestern Gulf Gale Part 2 below).

And another storm is forecast developing off Japan tracking over the Dateline (see Dateline Storm below).

And yet another gale is to be developing off the Kuril Islands Tues PM (1/21) with 40-45 kts northwest winds over a smallish area and seas building from 23 ft at 41N 161E aimed southeast. The gale is to be building while approaching the dateline Wed AM (1/22) with 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 42N 168,5E aimed east. In the evening northwest winds are to be 45 kts solid just west of the dateline with 40 ft seas at 42N 172E aimed east. More of the same is forecast Thurs AM (1/23) with the gale creeping east producing 41 ft seas at 42N 177E aimed southeast. The gale is to stall in the evening with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 37 ft at 43N 178W aimed southeast. On Fri AM (1/24) northwest winds to hold at 40-45 kts aimed east-southeast and seas dropping from 30 ft over a broad area at 39N 172W aimed east and southeast with new seas 32 ft over a small area at 46N 174E aimed southeast. The gael is to fade in the evening with 30 ft seas fading from 30 over a tiny area at 44.5N 179W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.


Northwest Gulf Gale
Another low pressure system developed off Japan on Wed (1/15) tracking northeast fast then regrouped over the North Dateline region Thurs PM (1/16) producing 40 kt northwest winds with seas 27 ft at 45.5N 178.5E aimed east. On Fri AM (1/17) 40 kt northwest winds were falling southeast in the Northwestern Gulf with 30 ft seas up at 47.5N 175W aimed southeast. The gale was reorganizing in the evening producing a solid area of 40-45 kt northwest winds tracking southeast through the Northwestern Gulf with 36 ft seas building at 46.5N 168.5W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (1/18) the gale was tracking southeast with 35-40 kt northwest winds in the Central Gulf generating 35 ft seas at 44N 161W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to track east while fading with 35 kt northwest winds and seas 31 ft at 42.5N 154.5W aimed southeast. Remnant energy is to be fading Sun AM (1/19) with 25 kts northwest winds losing coverage and seas fading from 25 ft at 41N 148W aimed southeast. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Dribbles on Tues AM (1/21) fading from 3.8 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 330-335 degrees

North CA: Swell holding Tues (1/21) at 8.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (12 ft). More swell possibly building in behind from Part 2 of this system (see below). Swell Direction: 291-296 degrees


Northwestern Gulf Gale (Part 2)
Remnants of the Northwestern Gulf Gale (see above) started redeveloping in the Central Gulf on Sun AM (1/19) producing a small area of 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 42N 158W aimed southeast. The tiny gale tracked east in the evening with winds holding at 40-45 kts from the west and seas building to 31 ft at 42.5N 148W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/20) 40 kt northwest winds were approaching the North CA coast with 33 ft seas at 42.5N 142W aimed east. In the evening west winds at 35 kts are to be just off Cape Mendocino CA with 28 ft seas at 43N 136W aimed east. The gale was fading off the OR-CA border on Tues AM (1/21) with seas fading from 23 ft at 43N 131W aimed east.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/21) at 2 PM with some energy to 18 secs building into the sunset as period hits 16 secs with pure swell 6.5 @ 16 secs (10 ft) and mixing with previous swell. Swell fading Wed sunrise (1/22) from 6.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292-296 degrees


Dateline Storm
On Sun AM (1/19) a small storm developed off North Japan tracking east with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft at 36N 159.5E aimed east. In the evening 45 kt west winds were tracking east with seas to 43 ft at 37.5N 167E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/20) the gale was approaching the dateline with 45 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 39N 174.5E aimed east. The gale tracked east over the dateline in the evening with a broad area of 45 kt west winds and seas rebuilding to 43 ft at 40N 178.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (1/21) the gale was moving into the Western Gulf with a building area of 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 39 ft at 38.5N 173W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to push east with 35-40 kts northwest winds over a solid area and seas 38 ft at 38.5W 166W aimed east. More of the same is expected Wed AM (1/22) with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 38N 159.5W aimed east. The gale is to fade in the evening with 30 kt west winds and seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 29 ft at 37.5N 152W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed afternoon building to 8.4 ft @ 18 secs late (15.0 ft). Swell peaking overnight and then starting to fade Thurs AM (1/23) from 9.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (15 ft). Residuals fading Friday AM (1/24) from 5.3 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305-326 degrees focused on 312-321 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Fri (1/24). Swell Direction: 283-293 degrees

Southern CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival starting late Fri (1/24) with period 20 secs. Swell Direction: 286-296 degrees

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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tues (1/21) a front was pushing down the CA coast with southwest winds e forecast north of Pt Conception 10-15 kts but up to 20 kts for Pt Arena early fading and turning west at 10 kts for North CA and still south 5-10 kts for Central CA later. Rain expected all day for North CA reaching south to Big Sur in the evening. Modest snow for mainly the Tahoe region late afternoon fading in the evening. Wed (1/22) light winds are forecast early turning northwest 10 kts for NCal and Central CA later. Light rain for Central CA early and fading and building from Ncal down to Pt Arena later. Thurs (1/23) light winds are forecast for North and Central CA all day. Light showers for Cape Mendocino. Friday (1/24) north winds is forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA all day. Light rain for Pt Arena northward all day. Sat (1/25) a front is forecast holding over Pt Arena with southwest winds 15 kts from there northward and light north flow forecast for Central CA 10 kts all day. Modest rain forecast from the Golden Gate northward all day. Rain in the afternoon and evening for Tahoe northward. Sunday (1/26) northwest winds are forecast building to 15 kts holding all day for Central CA and building southwest 15 kts for Cape Mendocino later. Snow developing for the Northern Sierra mainly over higher elevations fading late evening. Monday (1/27). Southwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for North CA fading to light later and northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA and up to 20 kts for Pt Conception all day. Light rain for Monterey bay northward all day. Modest snow for Tahoe northward all day. Tues (1/28) light winds are forecast for North CA but south at 20 kts early for Cape Mendocino. North winds 20 kts for Pt Conception. Light rain limited for Bodega Bay northward. No snow forecast.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 35, 40, 22 and 1 inches respectively.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch is occurring.

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 yet another small gale is to develop in the Central Gulf on Fri PM (1/24) producing 45 kt west winds over a tiny area and 34 ft seas at 42N 145.5W aimed east. Fetch is to lift east-northeast on Sat AM (1/25) with 40 kt west winds and seas 33 ft at 44N 139.5W aimed east. The gale is to be lifting northeast and off Washington in the evening with 27 ft seas at 45N 134W aimed east. Small swell possible for the Pacific Northwest down into North CA.

On Sat PM (1/25) a broad area of 34-45 kt northwest winds are to be streaming off the North Kuril Islands reaching the Dateline producing 22 ft seas over a large area aimed southeast with imbedded pockets to 28 ft at 39N 173E aimed southeast. Fetch is to hold into Sun AM (1/26) with the core on the dateline producing 37 ft seas over a small area at 42.5N 178.5E with 28 ft seas just south of there aimed southeast. In the evening the fetch is to build to 50 kts just east of the dateline with 39 ft seas over a small area at 41.5N 176W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/27) the fetch is to start fading from 40-45 kts from the west and seas 39 ft at 41.5N 170.5W aimed east. Fetch fading from 30-35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 35 ft at 41.5N 164W. Fetch fading Tues AM (1/28) with seas fading from 30 ft at 42N 154.5W aimed east.


South Pacific

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



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Strong Active MJO Remains In Control

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: A double dip La Nina was in control 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. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was 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. El Nino was dead.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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 is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/20) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the dateline and then turning very hard westerly over the Southern KWGA. Anomalies were modest east over the East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific then moderate westerly over the dateline and strong westerly over all the KWGA focused on the southern half.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/21) moderate to strong west anomalies were filling the KWGA. A neutral winds pattern was setting up over the East equatorial Pacific. The forecast calls for moderate to strong west anomalies holding in the KWGA through 1/26 then fading to modest strength at the end of the model run on 1/28.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/20) A solid Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is forecast slowly easing east and moving east of the KWGA at the end of the model run 15 days out with the Inactive Phase starting to build over the Western KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening to weak status at day 10 with a dead neutral pattern in control at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the West Pacific today and is to track east to North africa at day 15 and at weak status. The GEFS model suggests the same thing, but with the Active Phase quickly retrograding east back to the Maritime Continent at day 12 at weak status.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/21) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO over the East Pacific today but backfilling to the Central equatorial Pacific. The Active Phase is to push east while slowly losing strength pushing into Central America on 1/26 while a moderate Inactive MJO signal eases into the West Pacific pushing to the East Pacific and then into Central America on 2/25. A modest Active Phase is to be building over the West Pacific 2/15 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the mode run on 3/1.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/20) This model depicts the Active Phase was filling the KWGA and peaking today with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. East anomalies had faded over the East Pacific. The Active Phase is to hold with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA through 1/29. Beyond that the Active Phase is to fade out 2/1 but west anomalies holding then still present at moderate strength through the end of the model run on 2/17. West anomalies are to push into California 1/23-1/30.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/21) This model depicts the Active Phase filling the West KWGA with strong west anomalies in control there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to hold while tracking east through the KWGA with moderate west anomalies on the dateline through 3/1. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast developing 2/22 tracking east through 3/21 with west anomalies fading some and gone on 3/13. A weak Active Phase is to again set up 3/15 holding through the end of the model run on 4/19 but with neutral winds anomalies in play. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. The second contour line is to hold to 4/10 then fade. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean and is to hold for the foreseeable future. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22/19 and are to hold through 3/17 then fade as the Inactive Phase pushes across the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/21) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was retrograding from 180W to 175E and shrinking in coverage while the 29 deg isotherm was retrograding from 170W to 173W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking from 157W to 164W today. The 24 deg isotherm previously was pushing into Ecuador but retrograded to 107W today. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at +2 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent moving east with it's leading edge pushing into Ecuador. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/13 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 120E under the Dateline east to 100W at +2 degrees with lesser warm water pushing east from there impacting Ecuador). The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/13) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is tracking east between 170E-100W. Very weak positive anomalies were in a pocket along Ecuador reaching south to Northern Peru and up into Central America, the result of Kelvin Wave #5 impacting that region now.

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: (1/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate modest warm anomalies were building in coverage some just off the coast of Chile up into Peru, Ecuador and Central America then streaming west north and south of the equator over the Galapagos and a little stronger than days past. Cool anomalies were directly along the coast of Peru pushing up to Ecuador and then dissipating. Weak cool anomalies were also holding in a pocket south of the equator and well off Peru filling the area from 10S south down beyond 20S reaching west to 115W and east to 85W. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/20): Today weak warming was filling the area from Chile and Peru west out to 100W and building some in coverage. Weak warming extended on the equator from Ecuador out to 120W. This was a new development, likely attributable to the demise of east anomalies and the Inactive Phase of the MJO exiting east over that area. The short term trend is towards weak warming in the Southeast Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (1/20) A building pocket of cool anomalies is holding south of the equator starting at 5S and just off Peru reaching west out to 120W and steady compared to weeks past. Cool anomalies were fading out on the equator from Ecuador out to 117W. Otherwise gentle warming was along Chile up to Peru lifting north up to Ecuador then pushing west just north of the equator, out to the dateline. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator reaching north to 20N. Water temps appear to be stable mildly favoring El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/21) Today's temps were rising some at -0.030 but previously much lower down at -0.900 on 12/12. Temps peaked prior at +1.55 degrees on 12/2 after a long runup from negative anomalies in October. It now appears we are in a falling trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/21) Temps were falling some today at +0.317. Temps peaked on 11/14 at +0.509 degs, fell some to -0.018 on 11/28, and are now trying to rebuild. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept when they bottomed out at -0.6 degs (9/14).

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 Uncorrected Data (1/21) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then the trend started rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct holding to Dec 1 and then rising to +0.7 degs Jan 1. The forecast has temps holding at +0.7 degrees till Feb 1 then slowly falling from there to 0.0 in mid-May then diving negative appearing to be moving to La Nina down at -0.75 in early Oct and stabilizing there. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the Winter and Spring, then possibly turning towards La Nina in the Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Jan 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.42 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in June 2020, then holding there till Sept 2020. 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) (1/21): The daily index was negative today at -3.62. The 30 day average was negative and rising at -4.44. The 90 day average was falling slightly at -6.37, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Dec +0.45, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
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 -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (1/19):
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

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.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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