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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2021 7:15 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
3.8 - California & 3.3 - 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 1/25 thru Sun 1/31

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 Swell Hitting HI
Major Rain/Slow Event For CA

On Sunday, January 24, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Point): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 16.0 secs from 309 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is not updating. On 1/23: Seas were 5.6 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 8.0 secs from 29 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 13.9 secs from 250 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 58.6 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 9.3 ft @ 10.2 secs from 314 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.4 secs from 215 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.8 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.7 ft @ 13.0 secs from 254 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.8 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 8.2 ft from 326 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 16-20 kts. Water temp 52.0 degs (013), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 54.9 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 Sunday (1/24) in North and Central CA waves were head high or so and pretty chopped from northwest winds with small whitecaps early and not rideable. Protected breaks were chest high and nearly chopped and mushed and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to maybe head high on the sets and somewhat lined up and clean and peeling but soft and weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high on the sets and clean and lined up but inconsistent and weak. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and lined up and clean but weak and inconsistent. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were chest to maybe head high coming from the south and clean and peeling but generally weak and inconsistent. North San Diego had sets at thigh to waist high and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting dateline swell with waves 8 ft on the sets and a bit warbled early but with clean surface conditions and rideable. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean and weak. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves 1 ft overhead and fully chopped from strong east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (1/24) Hawaii was getting swell from a storm previously tracking east from Japan to the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/21) with seas to 52 ft then evaporating east of there. That swell is pushing towards California. California was currently getting only local northwest windswell. A major storm track reorganization is forecast after that shifting west and weakening significantly. A weak gale is forecast tracking off Japan Sun-Mon (1/25) producing 33 ft seas aimed somewhat at Hawaii then shifting hard north and redeveloping south of the Western Aleutians on Tues-Wed (1/27) producing 52 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 36 ft seas targeting California. And another is to be falling southeast through the Gulf on Sat (1/30) with 27 ft seas aimed southeast. But the Central North Pacific is to be locked down by strong high pressure with no immediate change forecast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Sunday (1/24) the jet was very weakly consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds 130 kts in pockets forming a trough over the Western Aleutians offering some support for gale development there with the jet splitting hard on the dateline with the northern branch pushing northeast into the Northern Gulf then falling southeast off the Pacific Northwest Coast and pushing inland over Central CA while the southern branch was falling southeast and west of Hawaii to the equator. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the Aleutian trough deepening while holding position Mon-Wed (1/27) providing a much better environment to support gale development, then collapsing. And the ridge in the east is to amplify pushing up into the far East Bering Sea on Tues (1/26) then falling hard south forming a trough off British Columbia an falling southeast driving the jet into North and Central CA with the trough steep and almost pinched just off the coast continuing the atmospheric river into the CA coast. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to collapse on Fri (1/29) with the trough moving inland over Southern CA on Sat (1/30) driving much precipitation there. The split point in the jet is to momentarily retrograde from the dateline to 165E Wed-Thurs (1/28) then returning to the dateline on Sat (1/30) as a new trough forms over the Southern Kuril Islands being fed by 190 kt winds pushing off Japan with the trough tracking east halfway to the dateline on Sun (1/31). But the split point is to remain solid on the dateline while another ridge builds over the Eastern Aleutians with the jet then falling into a new trough just off the US West Coast on Sat-Sun (1/31) possibly setting up another wet weather event there.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (1/24) swell from a storm that previously tracked east over the West Pacific was just past it's peak in Hawaii and heading for California (see Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours on Mon PM (1/25) a small storm is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf producing a small area of 45-50 kt northwest winds developing aimed southeast with seas building from 36 ft at 52N 154W aimed southeast. On Tues AM (1/26) the gael is to fall southeast with 45 kt northwest winds covering a solid area off British Columbia with seas 36 ft at 48N 148W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be falling hard south off Oregon and North CA at 35-40 kts with seas 31 ft at 42.5N 140W 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 27 ft at 40N 137W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 23 ft at 38N 135W aimed southeast. Raw swell likely for all of California with copious rain and wind. Something to monitor.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Wed afternoon (1/27) building from 11.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (15 ft). Swell Direction: 280 degrees

Also on Sun PM (1/24) a small gale is forecast developing off Southern Japan producing 40 kt east winds and seas building from 29 ft at 33.5N 158E aimed only southwest. Fetch is to push east Mon AM (1/25) at 55 kt aimed south with 33 ft seas at 35N 164.5E aimed south. In the evening fetch is to be fading while lifting hard north at 45 kts from the north and northwest with seas fading from 32 ft at 36.5N 168E aimed south. The storm is to start reorganizing off Kamchatka Tues AM (1/26) with 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas regrouping at 40 ft at 47N 173.5 aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be lifting north with west winds 50-55 kts and seas building to 56 ft at 51N 176E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Wed AM (1/27) from 40-45 kts from the west as the gale lifts north approaching the Aleutians with 34 ft seas at 48N 177.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be dissipating over the North Dateline region with 35 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians with seas fading from 30 ft at 50N 180W aimed east. The gael is to be gone after that. Small swell possible for Hawaii with more energy targeting the US West Coast but further away. Something to monitor.


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 was 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 was gone after that. Maybe some swell for Hawaii and lesser size for the US West Coast.

Hawaii: 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 4.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (8.5 ft) and still swamped by local windswell. Swell fading Tues (1/27) from 5.6 ft @ 15 secs (8.0 ft). 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 Sunday (1/24) northwest winds were 15-20 kts for North CA and 10+ kts for Central CA early building to 30 kts for all of North CA later and building over Central CA to Southern CA overnight. Rain pushing south from Cape Mendocino mid-AM to Monterey Bay late afternoon and Pt Conception if not Southern CA overnight. Snow developing for Tahoe by sunset and building in intensity overnight. Mon (1/25) strong northwest winds are forecast at 30 kts early for all of North, Central and South CA reaching into Santa Barbara County and 30-30 kts for all of South CA during the day. A real mess. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early and modest rain for Big Sur south to San Diego early and holding for Monterey Bay to San Diego through the day fading in the evening. Solid snow for the entire Sierra through the day then fading in the evening. Tues (1/26) the next storm queues up off North CA with southwest winds building to 30-35 kts for all of North CA by late afternoon pushing south over San Francisco to Monterey Bay in the evening still at 35 kts with south winds 15-20 kts reaching Pt Conception. Rain for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon pushing south to near Pt Conception in the evening. Heavy snow along the coast at higher elevations of Cape Mendocino in the evening with a snow event along the North Coast in the early morning hours. A major snow event possible for Tahoe developing in the early morning hours. Wed (1/27) southwest winds are forecast at 35 kts for Central CA early and 15 kts for all of North CA pushing south to Pt Conception late AM and stalling while fading there. Still south winds 10-15 kts expected for all of Southern CA during the day. Rain for all of North and Central CA early continuing through the day pushing into Southern CA in the afternoon. Heavy snow is expected for the entire Sierra through the day and into the evening. Thurs (1/28) south winds are forecast at 15 kts for North Ca and 35 kts for Central CA early fading to 20 kts in the afternoon. South winds for Southern CA 5-10 kts early pushing 15-20 kts in the evening. Moderate rain for North CA all day and heavy rain for Central CA (Monterey Bay to the Golden Gate) holding all day. No rain for Southern CA. Heavy snow for the Sierra early fading for the Southern Sierra in the afternoon but holding for South Lake Tahoe northward and if anything building some in the evening. Fri (1/29) north winds are forecast for Cape Mendocino 10-15 kts all day but otherwise south winds are forecast at 10 kts for the remainder of North CA and all of Central CA early and south 20 kts for Southern CA fading to 5 kts later all locations north and south. Rain for all of CA and heavy for Southern CA early fading some late afternoon and clearing overnight. Heavy snow for Tahoe and lighter for the remainder of the Sierra early fading to modest at sunset but continuing overnight. Sat (1/30) the next front queues up with south winds building south for all of North CA to 20 kts at sunset and south winds 10-15 kts for Central CA then. Rain for Cape Mendocino early building to the Golden Gate at sunset and to Big Sur overnight. Heavy snow building for Tahoe at sunset easing south overnight.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 336 inches, 371 inches, 298 inches, and 169 inches through 2/2.

Freezing level falling to 3,000-4,000 on 1/23 and holding there for the foreseeable future.

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 a gale is to develop in the Northern Gulf on Fri PM (1/29) producing 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 50N 152W aimed east. On Sat AM (1/3) fetch is to be falling southeast at 30-35 kts over a solid area off British Columbia with 27 ft seas at 47N 145W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts still off Vancouver Island with 23 ft seas over a broad area at 45N 140W aimed southeast. On Sun AM (1/31) fetch is to be fading from 30 kts from the northwest with seas 23 ft at 44N 142W aimed southeast. The gale is to fade from there.

Also another gale is to be developing just off Japan on Sat AM (1/30) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 33 ft at 38N 152E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to inch east with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 34 ft at 41N 156E aimed east. On Sun AM (1/31) fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts tracking east with seas fading from 30 ft at 40N 165E aimed east. The gael is to fade from there. Maybe some energy is to result for Hawaii.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Water Temps Warm over Equatorial East Pacific - Otherwise La Nina Weakening

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 (1/23) 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 light westerly over the East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific then building to moderate 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 (1/24) weak east anomalies were barely holding on over the KWGA with weak west anomalies over the dateline. The forecast calls for west anomalies fading 1/28 with east anomalies forecast rebuilding on 1/29 and weakly filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/31. West anomalies are currently south of California to Ecuador on the equator at moderate strength and are forecast slowly fading and almost gone at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/23) A moderate Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it holding while easing slowly east still filling the KWGA on days 5, 10 and 15 of the model run. 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 and positioned a bit more west than the statistic model.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/24) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the West Pacific today and is to ease east to the East Pacific and weak on day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold position in the West Pacific at moderate strength through 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): (1/23) This model depicts a very weak Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the West and Central Pacific and is to track east while fading moving over Central America on 2/22. A moderate to strong and cohesive Inactive Phase is to push into the West Pacific on 2/5 tracking east to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/4 while holding strength.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/23) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal today over the far West Pacific with weak east anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to fade while west anomalies build to modest strength 1/25-2/4 mostly driven by a Rossby Wave. Weak to modest east anomalies are to return 2/5 holding through the end of the model run on 2/20 but nothing compared to what we've previously seen. The low pass filter indicates weakening in strength of high pressure bias over the KWGA currently with 2 contour lines fading to 1 contour line on 1/25 and the remain contour line losing 50% of it's current coverage at the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/24 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase building in from the west and modestly filling the KWGA on 1/26 and holding till 2/17 with weak west anomalies developing and holding weakly over the KWGA mixed with pockets of east anomalies. A weak but broad Inactive MJO is to return 2/7 tracking through the KWGA through 4/21 with pockets of weak east and west anomalies in the KWGA until 3/21, then becoming pure weak to moderate east anomalies. A stronger Active MJO signal is forecast in the KWGA 4/6 filling it at the end of the model run on 4/23. 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 2/25 and the third gone on 3/21. The remaining 2 are to hold indefinitely. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to hold in coverage with the second contour line fading on 2/12 then theoretically shrinking in coverage from the west on 3/9. But no change in the 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 10/1/20 and have stabilized there.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/24) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 and 29 deg isotherms were gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was stable at 162E today. The 24 deg isotherm was building east at 130W today and rebuilding at 100W. 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 140W and west from there. A pocket of +1 deg anomalies were also building from 110W eastward. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 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: (1/18) 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 1 small pocket at -15 cms at 145W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 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: (1/23) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were building on the equator from Ecuador west to 135W and then cooler from there west 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 160-180W. 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 (1/23): Temps continue warming off Chile and Peru reaching west to 140W. And a sttream of strong warming was occurring on the equator from Ecuador to 120W. The balance still looks like warming is taking the upper hand.
Hi-res Overview: (1/23) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. But warm anomalies are on the equator from Ecuador to 120W. The last of the core of La Nina cold waters are pushing west from 160W towards the dateline. The peak of La Nina is past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/24) Today's temps were rising some today down from -0.482 on (1/11) to -0.604 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:
(1/24) Temps have been steady but today were up some from -0.982 on 1/21 to -0.866 today 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 (1/24) 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 fading but mostly steady into April at -0.80 then starting a steep decline pushing -1.0 degs in late April falling to -1.8 degs in 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.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Jan 21, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.80 degs today, and are to rise to -0,25 in April and neutral by August. Most models are suggesting a moderate 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) (1/24): The daily index was rising at +5.66. The 30 day average was falling to +16.80. The 90 day average was rising to 12.99, 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 (1/24):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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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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