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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2023 11:54 AM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
3.6 - California & 4.0 - 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 1/23 thru Sun 1/29

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

Swell #3 Hitting Hawaii
Bound for the Mainland - But Smaller

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Sunday, January 22, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 10.8 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 8.9 ft @ 17.0 secs from 312 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.2 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.9 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 16.3 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 13.8 ft @ 17.3 secs from 314 degrees. Water temp 77.5 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 17.2 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 16.7 secs from 280 degrees. Wind northeast at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 56.5 degs, 57.0 (Topanga 103), 57.2 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.9 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 57.6 (Del Mar 153), 58.1 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.4 ft @ 15.0 secs from 285 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 16.8 secs from 268 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 17.1 secs from 261 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 17.3 secs from 270 degrees. Water temperate was 59.0 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.4 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 8.5 ft @ 15.1 secs from 334 degrees. Wind northwest at 21-27 kts. Water temp 54.0 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.6 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 53.2 (San Francisco 46026), 52.7 (SF Bar 142), 52.3 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.0 (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 Sunday (1/22) North and Central CA had sets at 10-12 ft on the face and pretty warbled but still powerful with small whitecaps from north wind. Protected breaks were 2 ft overhead and lined up and mostly closed out and warbled but not whitecapped from north wind. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to maybe head high and fairly clean with some lump in the water and mushed and backwashy from tide. In Southern California/Ventura waves were maybe waist high and lined up and fairly clean but with some warble in the water with light northwesterly wind. Central Orange County had sets at waist to near chest high and lined up but soft and mushed with south wind adding some texture on top and a bit closed out. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were flat and clean. North San Diego had sets at waist high or a little more and clean and lined up with decent form but inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 18 ft with occasional bigger sets and clean but a little raw. The South Shore had some thigh high sets with decent form but soft and warbled from light south wind. The East Shore was getting wrap around energy with waves waist high and fairly clean early with light south wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (1/22) California getting the backside of swell that originated from a gale that developed while tracking 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 courtesy of a new jetstream pattern. But the main event was Hawaii getting the leading edge of swell from strong Storm #3 that developed on the dateline Fri-Sat (1/21) with up to 46 ft seas aimed east then moved into the Northwestern Gulf on Sun (1/22) while fading with seas 35 ft. The Eddie was on! Another small gale was right behind developing off North Japan on Sun (1/22) falling southeast to the dateline on Mon (1/23) with 37 ft seas aimed southeast then fading. Another broad system is forecast developing off Japan Wed-Fri (1/27) but not making it to the dateline with 37 ft sea aimed east over a large area. 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 Sunday (1/22) the jetstream was weakly consolidated pushing off Japan at 160 kts running east on the 35N latitude line to a point north of Hawaii then splitting with a gentle trough developing over the dateline offering some support for gale formation. The split flow over the Eastern Gulf was supporting high pressure. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to push east and dig out deeper by Tues (1/24) north of Hawaii supporting gael development before pinching off on Wed (1/25) offering nothing. But winds are to start building strong off Japan at 200 kts on Wed (1/25) carving out another trough supportive of gale development there. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to slowly fade into Fri (1/27) not making it to even the dateline with winds in the jet becoming isolated to only the area over and off Japan at 160 kts. By Sun (1/29) the jet is to start digging out another trough over Japan being fed by 190 kts winds offering support for gale development then lifting/ridging northeast over the dateline before falling south over Hawaii forming another trough capable of supporting gale development. The jet is to fragment east of Hawaii offering nothing.


Surface Analysis
On Sunday (1/22) swell from Storm #3 was hitting Hawaii and bound for the US West Coast (see Storm #3 below). And swell was fading in California from a gale that previously tracked from the Dateline into the Northwestern Gulf (see Dateline-Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale was forming off Japan expected to fall southeast to the dateline (see Japan Gale below).

 

Dateline-Gulf Gale
And another gale started building west of the dateline on Mon PM (1/16) producing west winds at 35-40 kts with seas building from 20 ft at 37N 160E aimed east. On Tues AM (1/17) west winds were pushing east at 50 kts approaching the dateline with seas 32 ft at 39.75N 170.25E over a small area. In the evening west winds tracked over the dateline at 50-55 kts with seas 39 ft over a small area at 41N 180W aimed east. Wed AM (1/18) fetch was lifting northeast into the far Northwestern Gulf at 40-45 kts from the west with seas 35 ft at 42.5N 170.5W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt west winds were in the Northwestern Gulf with seas 35 ft at 45.75N 164.5W aimed east. Fetch faded Thurs AM (1/19) in the Northern Gulf from 30-35 kts from the west with seas 29 ft at 48.5N 156.75W aimed east. The gale was gone after that.

North CA: Swell continues on Sun (1/22) at 6.2 ft @ 15-16 secs early (9.5 ft). Residuals on Mon (1/23) fading from 5.9 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 293 moving to 297 and then 300 degrees

 

Storm #3
Another storm developed west of the dateline on Thurs AM (1/19) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 34.5N 161E aimed east. In the evening fetch was building in coverage and strength fast from 45 kts from the northwest over a good sized area approaching the Southern Dateline with seas 26 ft at 36.25N 169E aimed east and southeast. On Fri AM (1/20) northwest winds were 50-55 kts and seas 33 ft at 37N 177.5E aimed east and southeast. In the evening the storm tracked east with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building to 41 ft at 37N 175.5W aimed southeast. The gale stalled some Sat AM (1/21) with a broad fetch of 45-50 kts northwest winds and seas 46 ft at 39.25N 170W aimed southeast and east. In the evening the storm rise northeast with 45 kt west winds over a solid area and seas 39 ft at 38.25N 163W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/22) the gale was fading while lifting northeast over the Northwestern Gulf with 40-45 kt west winds and seas fading from 38 ft at 45.5N 162.5W aimed east. Fetch fading in the evening from 35-40 kts in the Northwestern Gulf with seas fading from 37 ft at 49.5N 157.75W aimed east.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival Sun AM (1/22) building solidly through the morning pushing 12-15 ft @ 18 secs (21.6-27.0 ft Hawaiian) mid-day. Swell fading on Mon (1/23) from 9.4 ft @ 16 secs early (15.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (1/24) fading from 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 moving to 325 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (1/24) building to 6.7 ft @ 17-18 secs later (11.5 ft). Swell continues on Wed (1/25) with swell fading from 6.4 ft @ 16-17 secs early (10.5 ft). Residuals fading on Thurs (1/26) from 3.9 ft @ 14 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 282-292 degrees

Southern CA: Swell building late Tues (1/24) to 2.5 ft @ 19 secs late (4.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed AM (1/25) from 2.9 ft @ 16-17 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (1/26) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 289-298 degrees

 

Japan Gale
On Sun AM (1/22) another gale was building off North Japan with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 40N 162.5E aimed east. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds are to be sweeping southeast approaching the dateline with seas 33 ft at 37N 170E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/23) west winds to continue at 40-45 kts over the dateline with seas 39 ft at 37.5N 178.5E aimed southeast. Fetch fading in the evening from 35+ kts just east of the dateline with 34 ft seas at 34.25N 176.5E aimed east. Fetch fading on Tues AM (1/24) on the dateline at 30-35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 35N 170W aimed east. Something to monitor.

 

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

  • Mon AM (1/23) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for Cape Mendocino but north 10-15 kts south of Pt Arena and over all of Central CA. In the afternoon winds north winds to be 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but north at 5-10 kts for the rest of North and Central CA.
  • Tues AM (1/24) winds to be north at 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but light if not calm for all of CA continuing through the day.
  • Wed AM (1/25) winds to be calm all day but nothing at 25 kts limited to Cape Mendocino.
  • Thurs AM (1/26) winds to be northeast 10 kts early for North and Central CA turning east at 5 kts later.
  • Fri AM (1/27) winds to be east 1-5 kts early for all of North and Central CA holding all day.
  • Sat AM (1/28) a light northwest flow is forecast at 1-5 kts early for North and Central CA continuing through the day.
  • Sun AM (1/29) a light south flow is forecast at 1-5 kts early for North and Central CA building to 10 kts later with weak local low pressure trying to build off Central CA.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 1, 1, 1, and 0 inches forecast with all on Jan 31.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 4,000 ft on Sun (1/22) with a big warmup starting on 1/23 with freeze level rising to 12,000 ft then leveling off at 10,000 ft and holding through 1/28 then falling to 4,000 ft or less by 1/30. Watch for rapid snow melt as the freezing level rises.

- - -

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 be building just off Japan on Wed AM (1/25) producing a broad fetch of west winds at 40-45 kts streaming off Japan and the southern Kuril Islands with seas 26-27 ft roughly at 40N 160E aimed east. In the evening a broad fetch of west winds are forecast at 45 kts pushing off Japan with seas building to 36 ft at 37N 157E aimed east with 30+ ft seas over a broad area north of there. On Thurs AM (1/26) northwest winds are to be 40-50 kts streaming off the Kuril Islands with seas 38 ft at 43N 164.5E aimed southeast. Fetch lifting north in the evening at 45-50 kts just off the North Kuril Islands with seas 43 ft at 49N 162.75E aimed east. On Fri AM (1/27) fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts just off the Kamchatka with seas 39 ft at 51.25N 169E aimed east. Something to monitor.

 

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 (1/21) 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 to strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral 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): (1/22) East anomalies were strong over the the dateline today with weak west anomalies retreating west over the far West KWGA. The 7 day forecast calls for east anomalies at strong status building over the KWGA centered on the dateline and filling the KWGA at the end of the model run ending 1/29.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/21) A moderate Inactive signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Inactive MJO holding over the KWGA while tracking slowly east on day 5 of the model run then slowly fading and nearly east of the KWGA on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase strong filling the KWGA unchanged through the 15 day model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/22) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was moderate over the Central Indian Ocean and is to track east to the Maritime Continent and very weak 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates almost the same thing but with the Active Phase over the West Maritime Continent at modest status 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/22) A modest Active signal (wet air) was developing over the KWGA today. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) tracking steadily east over the Pacific pushing into Ecuador on 2/18. A modest Inactive signal (dry air) is forecast moving over the KWGA on 2/18 filling the KWGA and most of the Pacific by the end of the model run on 3/3. This model is opposite all other models.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/21)
The Inactive Phase of the MJO was developing over the West KWGA today with west anomalies holding to 150E over the West KWGA with strong east anomalies centered over the dateline. West anomalies are to retreat west of the KWGA on 1/28 with east anomalies taking over the KWGA as the Inactive Phase of the MJO pushes over the KWGA then dissipating on 2/11. At that time east anomalies are to be strong filling the KWGA. But west anomalies are to be building strong in the far west KWGA on 2/7 making greater inroads at the end of the model run on 2/18 with the Active Phase of the MJO starting to push east into the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(1/22) - 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 all but gone over the KWGA with west anomalies retreating to 140E. It looks like a weak Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) developed as a result of a previous Active Phase 12/26-1/16 with perhaps another Kelvin Wave resulting. A weak Inactive Phase of the MJO started tracking east through the KWGA 1/16 and is to hold through 2/15 but with very weak westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to 145E with east anomalies east of there centered on the dateline. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to traverse the Pacific 2/4-3/30 producing moderate west anomalies traversing the entire Pacific. Perhaps another WWB event to result. The Inactive MJO is forecast beyond traversing the Pacific but with west anomalies filling the entire equatorial Pacific beyond till the end of the model run on 4/21. If that happen some form of El Nino seems likely to result. 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 3/6 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 4/3. 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 at the end of the model run on 4/21. 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: (1/22) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 175E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 157W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and reasonably thick. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +5 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 150W, A pocket of -3 deg negative anomalies were at 130W 115meters down. A small pocket of warm waters were off Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 indicates remnants of a weak Kelvin Wave that pushed east lingering in a pocket lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 117W down 80m (the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle). 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: (1/18) Sea heights were neutral over the entire East Equatorial Pacific except for a cool pocket at -5 cms between 110-130W and shrinking. 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 5N latitude line to Ecuador. No real negative anomalies remain over the equatorial Pacific. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies have retreated to the East Equatorial Pacific between 100W to Ecuador. But a generic pool of weak cool waters has developed between 108W to 140W but is retreating east. Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (1/21) 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. Pockets of warming are present along the equator from Ecuador west to 140W (likely results of the recent Kelvin Wave). And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. 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 (1/21): Moderate warming was occurring along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W. A broad pool of generic warming water was locked well off the coasts of Peru, Chile and Ecuador and west to 110W. No cooling temps were indicated. A warming trend is well entrenched and building.
Hi-res Overview: (1/21) Coolish waters cover a large area from well west of Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from off South America down to 20S with the coolest waters between mainly from 150W 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: (1/22) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were steady at -0.394. 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:
(1/22) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -1.077 after falling hard to -1.187 on 1/7 but otherwise have been holding around -1.0 degree since 11/3 and up to -0.900 on 10/18 beating a previous peak of -0.819 on 9/22. In general temps have been in the -1.0 range since 8/16. Temps had fallen since 7/15 reaching La Nina threshold on 7/27 after being more or less steady the previous 3 weeks peaking at -0.25 on 7/14 and -0.275 on 7/5. Previously temps had been on an upward trend since 5/15/22 rising to -0.414 degs (6/19) and -0.493 on 6/9, the first reading above La Nina threshold values since Sept 2021. Temps were down to -0.929 (5/2/22) and that after rising to a peak at -0.704 on 3/27 and had been on a gentle rising trend since falling to -1.012 on 3/8. Previously temps were rising slightly to -0.505 on 2/2 and that after reaching a peak low of -1.096 on 1/3/22 beating the previous low of -1.080 on 11/2/21, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept/21. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1/21 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March 2021. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023.
Forecast (1/22) - Temps are starting to rise 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 +0.70 degs in Oct and 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 +0.50 degs in Oct. 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 January 19, 2023 Plume depicts temps are -0.492 degs today. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to -0.229 degs in Feb and above the La Nina Threshold and -0.031 in March rising to +0.736 in July and +0.753 in Sept. This is consistent with the previous run. This model suggests a transition 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 (1/22) the Daily Index was rising at 19.08 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 +15.32 after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was steady at +12.37 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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