Surf Forecasts and Marine Weather - No Hype - Just the Facts!
2 Moderate Southern Hemi Swells Forecast! - Video Forecast HERE (6/9/24)
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Video


Stormsurf Mobile App

Create Your Own Surf Forecast
Swell Calculator
Swell Decay Tables
Sea Height Tables
Swell Category Table
Convert from GMT:
 to timezone:


Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2021 5:00 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
4.1 - California & 3.1 - 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 1/18 thru Sun 1/24

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   

Last Dateline Storm Forming
Weaker Gales for North Dateline and Gulf to Follow

On Thursday, January 21, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Point): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 16.6 secs from 201 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 9.0 secs from 156 degrees. Water temp 77.4 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 13.7 secs from 278 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4 kts. Water temperature 59.0 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.5 ft @ 15.8 secs from 288 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 16.2 secs from 249 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 0.9 ft @ 18.0 secs from 243 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 16.9 secs from 264 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 13.7 ft from 293 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was west at 2-8 kts. Water temp 52.5 degs (013), 51.8 degs (SF Bar) and 54.5 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 Thursday (1/21) in North and Central CA waves were head high with bigger sets and clean and lined up with light offshore winds and some fog. Protected breaks were chest to shoulder high and clean and closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high on the sets and lined up and clean and peeling but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to chest high and clean and lined up but inconsistent and soft. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and lined up coming from the south with some light southerly texture early. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were mixed up with south and northwest energy in the water producing waves to shoulder high on the sets and broken up but real clean. North San Diego had sets at waist high or so and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore still had a few sets at head high and fairly clean early but with some light northerly warble intermixed. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves chest high and chopped from modest east winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/21) California was getting limited swell energy and Hawaii was getting the last remnants of swell generated from a weak system that tracked southeast from off the Kuril Islands Fri-Sun (1/17) with 35 ft seas targeting the Islands well but also bringing weather with it. A small but solid storm developed tracking east off Japan to the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/21) with seas to 52 ft then evaporating east of there. A major storm track reorganization is forecast after that shifting west and weakening significantly. A weak gale is forecast tracking off Japan Sun-Tues (1/26) producing 42 ft seas aimed somewhat at Hawaii then shifting hard north and redeveloping south of the Western Aleutians on Tues-Wed (1/27) producing 41 ft seas aimed east but not making it to even the dateline. Another is forecast falling southeast through the Northeastern Gulf Mon-Wed (1/27) producing 37 ft seas targeting California. But the Western Gulf is to be locked down by strong high pressure.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (1/21) the jet was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds 150 kts but fading and falling into a modest trough just west of the dateline offering some support for gale development there. East of there the jet started rising northeast pushing up into the Northern Gulf before significantly weakening and limping east over the Pacific Northwest offering nothing but rain there. A weak split in the jet was trying to develop north of Hawaii near 160W leeching some energy to the south but nothing significant just yet. Over the next 72 hours starting late Fri (1/22) wind energy is to build in the jet off Japan to 200 kts falling southeast into the trough now repositioned on the dateline offering good support for gale development. But just east of the trough the jet is to start getting progressively more split on the dateline with the trough lifting north late Sat (1/23) almost to the Aleutians and the northern branch tracking east over the Northern Gulf while the southern branch falls hard southeast to the equator west of Hawaii. The begriming of the end is to be setting up. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun (1/24) the jet is to be split over Japan consolidating briefly just west of the dateline at 170E then splitting hard with most energy tracking into the northern portion of the jet pushing just south of the Eastern Aleutians into the Northern Gulf then falling southeast just off the US West Coast and pushing into Southern CA with a trough developing in that flow off Oregon on Tues (1/26) being fed by 150 kt winds offering some support for gale development there. But a large ridge is to be north of Hawaii pushing the jet up into the Bering Sea totally shutting down support for gale development there. Another weak trough is to be developing off the Kuril Islands on Tues-Wed (1/27) lifting north and quickly fading with the jet fully splitting just off Japan early Thurs (1/28). Sometime on Thurs (1/28) it looks like a full La Nina jetstream flow is to be setting up with the jet fully split from Japan over the width of the Pacific with the northern branch tracking over the Aleutians and the southern branch falling southeast and hitting the equator south of Hawaii offering nary a hope of support for gale development. The December/January miracle is to become a distant memory.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/21)swell from a weaker system previously over the dateline was fading in Hawaii and CA (see Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a storm over the West Pacific is to be pushing east (see West Pacific Storm below).


Dateline Gale
A weaker and smaller system tracked east after developing off the Kuril Islands Thurs PM (1/14) with 45 kt northwest winds ands seas building from 30 ft at 44.5N 155E aimed southeast. On Fri AM (1/15) 40 kt northwest winds continued falling southeast with seas building to 35 ft over a small area at 43N 162E aimed southeast. In the evening fetch was falling southeast fast at 35-40 kts with seas 33 ft at 40N 170E aimed southeast at Hawaii. On Sat AM (1/16) northwest winds were 35 kts on the dateline with 31 ft seas at 37.5N 177E aimed southeast. Fetch faded in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 34.5N 178W aimed southeast. 30 kt north winds continued falling southeast into Sun PM (1/17) with 24 ft seas at 32.5N 165W and impacting Kauai 12 hrs later. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Dribbles fading on Thurs (1/21) from 3.4 ft @ 11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees moving to 360 degrees

North CA: Swell to be fading on Thurs (1/21) from 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs early (6.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (1/22) fading from 3.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees


West Pacific Storm
A stronger gale developed off North Japan Tues PM (1/19) with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 36 ft at 41N 159E aimed southeast. Fetch held Wed AM (1/20) at 55 kts over a modest sized area half way to the dateline with 48 ft seas at 41.5N 166.5E aimed southeast. Fetch pushed east in the evening at 55 kts from the northwest approaching the Dateline with 52 ft seas at 42N 172.5E. Northwest winds were fading in strength and coverage Thurs AM (1/21) from 45 kts pushing to the dateline with seas 42 ft at 41.5N 177.5E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening on the dateline with seas fading from 33 ft at 44.5N 176.5W aimed east. This system is to be gone after that. Maybe some swell for Hawaii and lesser size for the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (1/23) with swell building to 7.3 ft @ 18 secs mid-day (13 ft). Swell fading on Sun (1/24) from 5.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.5 ft). Dribbles on Mon (1/25) fading from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sun (1/24) pushing 3.6 ft @ 20 secs (7.0 ft) but buried in local windswell. Swell continues on Mon (1/26) at 6.4 ft @ 15 secs (9.5 ft) and still swamped by local windswell. Swell Direction: 296-299 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (1/21) weak low pressure is to be approaching North CA light winds from the northwest 5 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA turning west 10 kts for North CA later and northwest 10 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino overnight. On Fri (1/22) weak low pressure is to be falling down the coast with north winds light for North CA early but 30 kts off the coast and southwest 10-15 kts for Central CA early turning north 20+ kts for all of North and Central CA down to Pt Conception later. Rain for all of North CA early sweeping south and holding for all of North and Central CA down to Santa Barbara County at sunset and to San Diego overnight. Snow for the Sierra starting mid-morning breaking up some through the night. Sat (1/23) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA to Pt Arena early and 10 kts south of there to Big Sur and then 20 kts from there to Pt Conception early holding all day. Light rain possible for Monterey Bay to San Diego through the day. Snow showers possible at times for the Sierra through late afternoon. Sun (1/24) north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA and 10+ kts for Central CA early building to 30-35 kts for all of North CA later and building over Central CA to Southern CA overnight. Rain pushing south from Cape Mendocino to Monterey Bay late afternoon and Pt Conception if not Southern CA overnight. No snow yet. Mon (1/25) strong north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts early for all of North and Central CA and reaching into Santa Barbara County and 25-30 kts for all of South CA during the day. A real mess. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early and heavier rain for Big Sur south to San Diego early and holding for morro Bay to San Diego through the day fading in the evening. Snow slow and steady for the Sierra through the day then fading in the evening. Tues (1/26) southwest winds ahead of a front forecast building to 30 kts for all of North CA by noon pushing south to Central CA in the afternoon and evening. Rain for Cape Mendocino early pushing south to Pt Conception in the evening. Snow along the coast at higher elevations of Cape Mendocino mid-AM building into a strong snow event along the North Coast later and reaching Tahoe at sunset. Major snow event possible for Tahoe developing in the evening with snow even along the coast at higher elevations to San Mateo. Wed (1/27) southwest winds are forecast at 35 kts for Central CA early and 20 kts for all of North CA pushing south to Pt Conception late AM and fading there. Rain for all of North and Central CA early continuing through the day pushing into Southern CA late AM. A major snow event is expected for the entire Sierra through the day and into the evening. Thurs (1/28) west to southwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for North and Central CA early and southwest at 20-25 kts for Southern CA and holding all day. Rain continues for North and Central CA and maybe stronger for Southern CA. Significant snow for the entire Sierra through the day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 108 inches, 118 inches, 104 inches, and 117 inches through 1/30.

Freezing level around 10,000 ft today then falling steadily, to 3,000-4,000 on 1/23 and holding there.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems 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 the storm pattern is to shift and fade compared to weeks past.

A small storm is forecast developing off Southern Japan on Sun PM (1/24) producing 50-55 kt north winds and seas building from 29 ft at 34.5N 156E aimed south if not southwest. Fetch is to push east Mon AM (1/25) at 55 kt still aimed south with 37 ft seas at 34.5N 160E aimed south. In the evening fetch is to be fading while lifting hard north at 50 kts from the north and northwest with seas fading from 36 ft at 36.5N 165.5E aimed south. The storm is to start reorganizing off Kamchatka Tues AM (1/26) with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas regrouping at 32 ft at 42N 172E aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to be lifiting north with northwest winds 50 kts and seas building from from building from 48 ft at 45N 177E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Wed AM (1/27) from 40-45 kts from the west and the gale lifts north with 46 ft seas at 50N 177.5W aimed east. In the evening the gael is to be dissipating over the North Dateline region with 35-40 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians with seas fading from 36 ft at 50N 172W aimed east. Nothing after that. Small swell possible for Hawaii with more energy targeting the US West Coast but further away.

Also on Mon PM (1/25) a gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf with a broad area of 40-50 kt northwest winds developing aimed southeast with seas building from 29 ft at 53.5N 150W aimed southeast. On Tues AM (1/26) 40-45 kt northwest winds are to be covering a solid area off British Columbia with seas building to 38 ft at 51N 144W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be falling hard south off Oregon and North CA at 40 kts with seas 39 ft at 45.5N 141W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (1/27) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts over a broad area off California from the northwest with seas 38 ft at 40N 137W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 32 ft at 37N 132.5W aimed southeast. Something to monitor. Likely more of a weather maker than swell producer.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Water Temps Increasing over Galapagos - Otherwise La Nina Steady

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: 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. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (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 in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

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 Central Pacific and stronger still from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then building to strong easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/21) modest east anomalies were filling the KWGA and reaching east to a point south of Hawaii. The forecast calls for east anomalies fading turning neutral on 1/25 then building light westerly the next day and holding through 1/28. West anomalies are currently south of California to Ecuador on the equator at moderate strength and are forecast holding through the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/20) A weak Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it building on day s 5 and 10 to moderate strength then fading slightly and moving to the dateline on day 15. The dynamic model suggests a variation of the same thing with the Active building steadily to moderate status on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was very weak over the West Pacific today and is to ease east to the East Atlantic and exceedingly weak on day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold position and build to moderate strength on day 15, not moving east at all.
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 very weak Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the far West Pacific and is to track east while fading moving over Central America on 2/25. A moderate to strong Inactive Phase is to push into the West Pacific on 2/5 pushing east to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/2 while building in strength.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/20) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal today over the far West Pacific with moderate east anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to slowly fade while west anomalies build to modest strength through 2/2 mostly driven by a Rossby Wave. Weak to modest east anomalies are to return 2/3 holding through the end of the model run on 2/17. The low pass filter indicates perhaps some weakening in strength of high pressure bias over the KWGA currently with 2 contour lines fading to 1 contour line on 1/27 and the remain contour lined weakening through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/21 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO signal all but gone over the KWGA today with moderate east anomalies in control focused over the dateline. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to track east and gone in 2-3 days while a weak Active Phase continues building in from the west building modestly over the KWGA on 1/22 and holding till 2/14 but with weak west anomalies developing and holding weakly over the KWGA mixed with pockets of east anomalies intermixed. A weak Inactive MJO is to return 2/14 tracking through the KWGA through 3/26 with pockets of weak east and west anomalies in the KWGA. A weak pattern is to continue after that through the end of the model run on 4/20. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 4 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California. The forth contour line is to fade on 3/10 and the third on 4/20. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage with the second contour line fading on 2/14 then theoretically shrinking in coverage from the west on 3/26. No realistic change in the coverage or position of either is forecast. East anomalies that were previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and have stabilized there.

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 and 29 deg isotherms were gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was retrograding from 166E to 161E today. The 24 deg isotherm was retrograding to 140W today and losing coverage. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +3 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 170W at depth and moving no further east. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies focused at -3C at 135W and west from there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/13 indicates the same thing. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were the least negative at any time in months. 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) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator at -5 to -10 cms continuous over that area with 2 small pockets to -15 cms at 140W and 155W. Negative anomalies were mostly -5 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja and -5 to -10 cms into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from Cape Mendocino to the intersection of the dateline and equator then into Southern Chile. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from 170E and points west of there. But the triangle was not as strong as weeks past but not substantially weakening either.

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 indicate warm anomalies were building on the equator from Ecuador west to 135W and then cooler from there out to the dateline. But solid cool anomalies were south of there from along Chile extending west-northwest to the dateline. But no markedly cooler imbedded pockets were present in the east but several were in the west between 150-170W. And the overall cool pool does not look as cold as weeks and months past. Cool anomalies were gaining a little strength along the coast of Peru with stray pockets of warming fading in coverage along the South Peruvian Coast. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. But the overall cool intensity of that pool appears to be waning. We are past the peak of this event.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/20): Temps continue weakly warming off Chile and Peru reaching west to 140W. And pockets of warming were occurring on the equator from Ecuador to 130W. The balance still looks like warming is taking the upper hand.
Hi-res Overview: (1/20) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. But the trail of markedly cool anomalies previously imbedded in that flow is gone. The peak of La Nina is past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/21) Today's temps were rising some today down from -0.482 on (1/11) to -0.724 today. A previous peak of -0.595 occurred on 12/11. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(1/21) Temps have been steady since and today were -0.982 after bottoming out at -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

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) Actuals per the model indicates temps rose to -0.75 degs mid-Jan after bottoming out in early Nov at -1.25 degs. The forecast depicts temps steady into April then slowly falling pushing -1.0 degs in July and holding there into mid Oct. This is likely becoming a 2 year event in that even if temps were to return to normal in July it would take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind. But we suspect a strong El Nino might be building right behind the current La Nina.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -1.10 degs today, and are to hold into Dec, then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.89 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by June. Most models are suggesting a moderate to La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. 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 - this is a lagging indicator) (1/21): The daily index was falling at -1.27. The 30 day average was falling to +17.23. The 90 day average was falling some to 12.76, clearly in La Nina territory. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: 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 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +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 (1/17):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

- - -

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


Contact | About | Disclaimer | Privacy
Advertise/Content | Links
Visit Mark Sponsler on Facebook Visit Stormsurf on Instagram Visit Stormsurf on YouTube
Copyright © 2024 STORMSURF - All Rights Reserved
This page cannot be duplicated, reused or framed in another window without express written permission.
But links are always welcome.
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Calculator