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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, January 28, 2023 1:54 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
2.1 - California & 2.3 - 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 1/30 thru Sun 2/5

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   

Small Japan Swell Tracking SE
Weaker Pattern - Then Hope Builds


Saturday, January 28, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 11.8 secs from 314 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs (Barbers Pt), 76.6 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.4 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 11.0 secs from 336 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 17.2 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 16.4 secs from 289 degrees. Wind northeast at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 57.0 degs, 56.5 (Topanga 103), 57.2 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.6 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 57.0 (Del Mar 153), 57.7 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.0 ft @ 15.7 secs from 276 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.4 ft @ 16.2 secs from 226 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.9 ft @ 16.0 secs from 243 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.7 ft @ 14.7 secs from 206 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.5 ft @ 16.8 secs from 265 degrees. Water temperate was 58.5 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.1 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 14.7 secs from 292 degrees. Wind northwest at 18-21 kts. Water temp 53.2 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.6 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 53.2 (San Francisco 46026), 53.4 (SF Bar 142), 53.2 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 54.7 (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).
- 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 Saturday (1/28) North and Central CA had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead on the face at top spots and lined up and clean with decent form and clean with no wind but with some lump underneath. Protected breaks were head high and lined up and fairly clean but with developing lump intermixed. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and clean and lined up with good form but fairly soft and with some lump intermixed. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to chest high and lined up with good form and peeling with light winds and clean. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and somewhat lined up but soft and mixed up no wind and somewhat clean conditions. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were waist to chest high and lined up with good form but a bit warbled from south winds. North San Diego had sets at chest high and somewhat lined up and clean with decent form and light offshore winds but with some intermixed warble. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 2 ft overhead and lined up but pretty warbled from northeast trades. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was head high and heavily chopped from brisk northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (1/28) California was getting small swell from a gale that developed off North Japan on Sun (1/22) falling southeast to the dateline on Mon (1/23) with 37 ft seas aimed southeast then fading mixed with local northwest windswell. Hawaii was getting fading remnants of the same swell mixed with local northerly windswell. Another broad system developed off Japan Wed-Fri (1/27) with seas 35-37 ft over a broad area but did not make it to the dateline. Swell is radiating towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. And a quick system is developing off Kamchatka on Sat (1/28) with 44 ft seas expected to build aimed briefly east. After that bit of a break is forecast until Fri-Sat (2/4) when a gale builds in the Gulf with 25 ft seas aimed east and another builds tracking from Japan to the North Dateline Region with 38 ft seas aimed east.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (1/28) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan at 190 kts ridging slightly northeast to the dateline then splitting with a trough developing just off the Kuril Islands offering some support for gale development. East of the dateline the jet was split and fragmented supporting only high pressure down at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to continue tracking northeast off Japan with the previous trough moving northeast and up into the Bering Sea early on Mon (1/30) no longer supporting gale formation. And energy levels in the jet are to weaken into Tues (1/31) off Japan down to 150 kts though the jet itself is to remain consolidated. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to start getting more organized on Thurs (2/2) with winds 170 kts pushing off Japan and a consolidated flow pushing east to a point off North California with a trough developing in that flow over the Gulf of Alaska on Fri (2/3) being fed by 120 kt winds offering some support for gale development. A second trough is to develop off the Kuril Islands on Sat (2/4) as winds build in the jet pushing off Japan to 180 kts supporting gale formation and moving to the dateline as the Gulf trough moves towards the US West Coast. Longer term a progressive series of troughs are forecast moving toward the US West Coast with the split point holding on the dateline but more energy filtering into the northern branch of the jet east of the split.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (1/28) swell was fading in Hawaii and California from a gale that tracked east from Japan (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small storm was developing off Kamchatka on Sat AM (1/28) producing 50 kt west winds with seas building from 29 ft at 43.25N 159.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be lifting northeast with winds 55 kts from the west and seas building from 42 ft over a small area at 47.5N 168.5E aimed east. 50 kt west winds to be lifting north pushing over the Aleutians on Sun AM (1/29) with seas 44 ft before sunrise at 49.75N 171E aimed east and becoming shadowed by the Aleutians soon after. Limited small swell radiating east with luck.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Wed (2/1) building to 2.2 ft @ 15 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (2/2) from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs early(3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 326 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/2) building to 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (2/3) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 307 degrees


Japan Gale
On Sun AM (1/22) another gale developed off North Japan with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 32 ft over a small area at 40N 162.5E aimed east. In the evening 40-45 kt northwest winds were sweeping southeast approaching the dateline with seas 33 ft at 37N 170E aimed southeast over a small area. On Mon AM (1/23) west winds continued at 40-45 kts over the dateline with seas 39 ft at 37.25N 177.75E aimed southeast. Fetch was fading in the evening from 35 kts just east of the dateline with 32 ft seas at 34.25N 177W aimed east. Fetch faded on Tues AM (1/24) on the dateline at 30-35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 35N 170W aimed east. Residual fetch held into the evening northwest of Hawaii at 35 kts with seas fading from 24 ft at 32N 170W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Residuals on Sat (1/28) fading from 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 moving to 335 degrees.

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (1/28) from 3.5 ft @ 15 secs (5.0 ft) with northwest windswell intermixed. Residuals on Sun (1/29) fading from 2.5 ft @ 13 secs (3.0 ft) with local windswell intermixed. Swell Direction: 285 degrees


Broad Japan Gale
Another gale started 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 24-27 ft roughly at 40N 160E aimed east. In the evening a broad fetch of west winds were blowing at 45 kts pushing off Japan with seas building to 32 ft at 40.25N 154.75E aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/26) west winds were 40 kts streaming off the Kuril Islands and North Japan with seas 37 ft over a tiny area embedded in a broad are of 30-34 ft seas centered at 44.75N 160E aimed east. Fetch was lifting north in the evening at 30-35 kts just off the North Kuril Islands with seas 29-30 ft at 46N 169E aimed east. On Fri AM (1/27) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts just off the Kamchatka with seas fading from 23 ft over a broad area at 48N 176E aimed east. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Swell arriving late on Sun (1/29) with pure swell building to 4.2 ft @ 17 secs (7.0 ft). Swell holds on Mon (1/30) at 4.4 ft @ 16 secs early (7.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (1/31) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) early. Swell Direction: 312 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/31) building to 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs later (5.5 ft) and super inconsistent. Swell holding early Wed (2/1) at 3.4 ft @ 15-16 secs early (5.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (2/2) fading from 2.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Sun AM (1/29) northwest winds are forecast at 20+ kts for North CA early and 15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon north winds are forecast at 25-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts for the rest of North CA and 15 kts from the northwest for Central CA. A weak backdoor front is to be sweeping south producing a chance for light scattered showers for all of North, Central and Southern CA early becoming more concentrated and focused on Central and South CA in the afternoon continuing in the evening. Light snow for Tahoe mid-AM covering the Sierra later afternoon and fading in the evening.
  • Mon AM (1/30) north-northeast winds are forecast at 30 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the rest of North CA early and northeast at 5-10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon north winds are forecast at 15+ kts for Cape Mendocino and 5-10 kts from the northeasterly for the rest of North and Central CA. Rain for the southern half of Central CA and all of Southern CA early lingering over Southern CA in the afternoon and evening. Light snow for the Southern Sierra early.
  • Tues AM (1/31) winds turn light northwest at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino and 5-10 kts for the rest of North CA and 5 kts for Central CA. More of the same in the afternoon. Lingering showers for Southern CA early.
  • Wed AM (2/1) a light south flow is forecast early for North CA and northwest 5 kts for Central CA. But a front producing south winds is to be developing in the afternoon at 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts for the rest of North CA and south winds 5-10 kts for Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Thurs AM (2/2) south winds to be 20-30 kt for all of North CA and 15 kts for the northern half of Central CA early. In the afternoon the front is to push onshore with southwest to west winds 15 kts for North and Central CA. Rain developing for all of North and Central CA mid-AM pushing south to Morro Bay and holding through the afternoon and early evening. Snow for Tahoe in the late afternoon filling down to the Central Sierra in the evening.
  • Fri AM (2/3) northwest winds to be 5 kts for all of North CA and 5-10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 5 kts for the remainder of North CA and north at 10 kts for Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino and Central CA south of Monterey Bay early but quickly clearing.
  • Sat AM (2/4) south winds to be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 5 kts for the rest of North CA and northwest 10 kts from Big Sur southward. No change in the afternoon. No precip forecast.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 15, 20, 12, and 7 inches forecast split between 1/29 and 2/2.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 7,000 ft on Sat (1/28) then falling to 3,000 ft or less by 1/30 only to rebuild to 8,500 ft on 1/31 and holding through 2/2, then falling to about 6,000 ft beyond.

- - -

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: (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs PM (2/2) producing 35-40 kt northwest winds over a decent sized area aimed southeast and sea building from 23 ft at 45N 155W aimed east. On Fri AM (2/3) fetch is to be falling southeast at 30-35 kts over a decent sized area with seas 24-25 ft at 43.5N 160W with 20+ ft seas at 40N 154W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas 25 ft at 41N 153W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

And another system is forecast building off Japan on Thurs AM (2/2) with 45-50 kt west winds over a small area and seas building. In the evening the gael is to track east with 45-50 kts west winds and seas 33 ft at 39.75N 158.5E aimed east. On Fri AM (2/3) the gale is to be pushing towards the dateline with 40 kts west winds and seas 33 ft at 42.5N 166.75E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to moving towards the North Dateline Region with 45 kts west winds and seas 36 ft at 45.5N 170.5E aimed east. On Sat AM (2/4) 45 kt west winds are to be approaching the dateline with seas 38 ft at 45.75N 173.75E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening with seas fading from 35-36 ft at 46.25N 177E aimed east.


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.

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 (1/27) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and modest east over the Central Pacific and 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 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/28) East anomalies were strong over 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 by 1/30 and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run ending 2/4.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/27) A strong Inactive signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Inactive MJO easing slowly east while weakening over the KWGA and just east of the KWGA on day 15 of the model run with a moderate Active Phase moving into the far West KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase making a slower progression east and still almost filling the KWGA at the end of the 15 day model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (1/28) 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.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/28) A solid Active signal (wet air) was over the Maritime Continent trying to push into the far West KWGA today. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) tracking steadily east over the Pacific pushing into Ecuador on 2/29. A strong Inactive signal (dry air) is forecast moving over the KWGA on 2/22 filling the equatorial Pacific by the end of the model run on 3/9. This model has a quicker eastward progression compared to other models.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/27)
A strong Inactive Phase of the MJO was pushing over the western half of KWGA today with east anomalies filling the KWGA. East anomalies are to hold filling the KWGA till 2/4. At that time the Inactive Phase is to be pushing to the dateline and holding till 2/12, then dissolving but with very strong east anomalies setting up on the dateline 2/4-2/12, the peak of the Inactive Phase. West anomalies are to start building over far West KWGA to 150E on 2/7 through the end of the model run on 2/24 as a strong Active Phase of the MJO pushes over the dateline to 170W and east anomalies all but gone on the dateline.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(1/28) - 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 Inactive Phase of the MJO was pushing over the KWGA with east anomalies filling the KWGA. East anomalies are to build to strong status on and east of the dateline 2/5-2/13, the peak of the Inactive Phase. Weak west anomalies are to start building over the West KWGA on 2/5 with the Active Phase of the KWGA developing pushing through the KWGA through 3/25 with west anomalies reaching east to about 165E and weak east anomalies east of there and slowly fading, gone by 3/1. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to move over the KWGA 3/7holding through the end of the model run on 4/27 but with weak west anomalies in control of the entire Pacific. 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 3/17 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 4/10. 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 to slowly push east, with a hard push east starting 3/10 and on the dateline at the end of the model run. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next for 2 months now. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is fading with no return in sight, indicating the demise of La Nina is underway assuming the Active Phase of the MJO in mid-Feb produces as forecast.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/28) 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 had backtracked from 157W to 162W and was steady there. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and reasonably thick. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +4 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 145W, A pocket of -3 deg negative anomalies were at 123W 115m down and fading. A small pocket of warm waters from a previous Kelvin Wave were off Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/23 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific downward to 140W. Remnants of a previous Kelvin Wave were 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: (1/23) 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 150W 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 90W to Ecuador. But a generic pool of weak cool waters has developed between 110W to 140W with a little core at 125W and appears to be retreating east. Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West at the same time reaching east to 150W. It looks like another Kelvin Wave is developing.

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: (1/27) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of weakly cool water extending west from well 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 120W (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 retreating. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/27): Moderate warming was occurring along the equator from the Galapagos to the dateline in pockets. A broad pool of generic warming water was locked well off the coasts of Peru, Chile and stronger along Ecuador and west to 110W. No cooling temps were indicated. A warming trend is well entrenched and building.
Hi-res Overview: (1/27) Weakly cool 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 and even those were losing intensity. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming. Warmer than normal waters were along the coasts of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. La Nina remains in control over the West Equatorial Pacific for the moment but the density and intensity of the cooling is steadily fading while warming water is building around it's edges.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/28) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising at +0.056. 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:
(1/28) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were rising at -0.905 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 (1/28) - Temps are starting to rise dramatically and are forecast continuing to rise reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in mid-Feb and neutral (0.0 degs) mid-April and up to +0.55 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 mid-Feb and neutral (0.0 degs) mid-April and rising from there forward to +0.45 degs in july and holding into 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 (1/28) the Daily Index was rising at 8.63 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 +12.56 after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling at +11.79 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
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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