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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 2:27 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   

Weaker Pattern Until Friday
Then North Pacific To Start Moving

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Wednesday, February 1, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 16.2 secs from 230 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs (Barbers Pt), 76.5 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.4 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 16.2 secs from 313 degrees. Water temp 76.3 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 17.2 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 16.7 secs from 276 degrees. Wind north-northeast at 16-20 kts. Water temperature 57.9 degs, 56.5 (Topanga 103), 56.3 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.2 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 56.5 (Del Mar 153), 57.6 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.3 ft @ 16.6 secs from 296 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.9 ft @ 16.4 secs from 268 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 17.1 secs from 255 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 17.2 secs from 251 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.8 ft @ 17.1 secs from 272 degrees. Water temperate was 57.2 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.7 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 6.1 ft @ 15.9 secs from 298 degrees. Wind north at 10-12 kts. Water temp 52.7 (Bodega Bay 46013), 52.5 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.9 (San Francisco 46026), 52.0 (SF Bar 142), 52.9 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 54.1 (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 Wednesday (2/1) North and Central CA had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead on the face and lined up and clean with light offshore wind and decent form. Protected breaks were head high and lined up and clean but a bit closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up with good form but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high and lined up with good form and peeling and clean with stiff side-offshore winds. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and lined up and clean but kind of soft. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh to maybe waist high and lined up with decent form and clean. North San Diego had sets at thigh to waist high high and somewhat lined up and clean with decent form but weak. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at chest high and clean and lined up with decent form and rideable. The South Shore was waist to chest high and clean with good form and well rideable. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at waist to chest high and clean with no wind early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (2/1) California was getting swell from a broad system that developed off Japan Wed-Fri (1/27) with seas 35-37 ft over a broad area but did not make it to the dateline. Hawaii was getting mini sideband swell from a quick system that developed off Kamchatka on Sat (1/28) with 42 ft seas aimed briefly east. After that bit of a break is forecast until Fri-Sun (2/5) when a gale builds in the Gulf tracking east with 27-28 ft seas aimed east moving very close to the North CA coast. And another gale is to build tracking east from the Kuril Islands Thurs-Fri (2/3) with 36 ft seas aimed east and fading on the dateline only to redevelop Sun (2/5) in the Northwestern Gulf with 44 ft seas aimed -east-northeast. And yet another system is to develop on the dateline Tues (2/7) tracking east into Wed (2/6) with 39 ft seas aimed east. The swell machine is to warm up again.

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 Wednesday (2/1) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan with winds 160-170 kts in pockets ridging northeast over to the dateline then splitting north of Hawaii with a trough developing just off the Kuril Islands offering some limited support for gale development. East of Hawaii the jet was split and fragmented supporting only high pressure down at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to start falling south and lining up on the 35N latitude line by Fri (2/3) pushing over over the dateline suggesting a more energetic pattern ahead. A trough is to start developing in the Gulf Fri-Sat 92/4) offering support for gale development off California then pushing inland on Sun (2/5). Beyond 72 hours the jet is to be consolidated to a point north of Hawaii on Tues (2/7) with a trough developing just east of the dateline being fed by 150 kts winds and tracking into the Central Gulf on Wed (2/8) offering support for gale development. It's trying.


Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (2/1) swell was fading in California from a broad gale that tracked east off Japan (see Broad Japan Gale below). Also swell was pushing east from a storm previously off Kamchatka (see Kamchatka Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the Gulf on Fri AM (2/3) producing 30-35 kt west winds over a decent sized area aimed southeast and seas building from 18 ft at 37N 153W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be falling southeast at 30-35 kts over a decent sized area with seas 20 ft at 43.5N 138W. On Sat AM (2/4) northwest fetch is to be tracking east off the Pacific Northwest at 35-45 kts with seas 26 ft at 43.75N 142.25W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be 35-40 kts from the northwest just off Oregon with 28 ft seas at 40.75N 137W aimed southeast. Fetch fading Sun AM (2/5) off Cape Mendocino at 30 kts with seas 23 ft at 38N 133W aimed southeast. Residual 19 ft seas to be impacting North CA in the evening. Something to monitor.

And another system is forecast building over the South Kuril Islands on Thurs AM (2/2) with 45-50 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 25 ft at 44N 155E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to track east with 45 kts west winds and seas 34 ft at 46.5N 158.5E aimed east. On Fri AM (2/3) the gale is to be pushing towards the dateline with 40-45 kts west winds and seas 34 ft at 45.5N 161.75E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to moving towards the North Dateline Region with 30-35 kt west winds and seas fading from 28 ft at 46N 169.25E aimed east. On Sat AM (2/4) fetch is to be fading out from 30 kts with residual seas 23 ft at 47N 174E aimed east. Some degree of west fetch is to hold into Sun AM (2/5) over the dateline at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 45N 180W aimed east. Seas and fetch fading from there. Something to monitor.

 

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.

North CA: 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

 

Kamchatka Storm
A small storm developed off Kamchatka on Sat AM (1/28) producing 50-55 kt west winds with seas building from 29 ft at 43.25N 159.5E aimed east. In the evening the storm was lifting northeast with winds 55 kts from the west and seas building from 42 ft over a small area at 47.25N 168.5E aimed east. 50 kt west winds were lifting north pushing over the Aleutians on Sun AM (1/29) with seas 42 ft before sunrise at 49.5N 170.5E 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 2.1 ft @ 15-16 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). Super inconsistent. Swell fading Fri (2/3) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 307 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

  • Thurs AM (2/2) a front is to be approaching CA from the west with south winds 15-20 kt for all of North CA by mid AM and 10-15 kts for the northern half of Central CA. In the afternoon the front is to be just offshore with south 25-30 kts form most of North CA and south winds 15 kts from Bodega Bay south to Big Sur and 10 kts from the south south of there to Pt Conception. No precip forecast.
  • Fri AM (2/3) the front is to have pushed onshore with low pressure lingering off South Oregon and south winds 30+ kts for Cape Mendocino and southwest 15-20 kts down to Pt Arena with southwest winds 15 kts down to Big Sur and south 10 kts to Pt Conception. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 5 kts for the remainder of North CA and light winds for Central CA. Rain early for all of North and Central CA down to Big Sur reaching Morro bay in the late AM then clearing late afternoon. A little snow for Tahoe mid-day.
  • Sat AM (2/4) the next gale and associated front queue up off CA with south winds 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 5-10 kts for the rest of North and Central CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 25-30 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts down to Big Sur and 10 kts to Pt Conception. The front pushing onshore overnight. Rain developing for all of North and Central CA in the evening. Snow developing in the early morning hours for Tahoe.
  • Sun AM (2/5) low pressure is to be just off South Oregon with southwest winds 20-25 kts for all of North CA and southwest winds 15 kts down to Monterey Bay and northwest winds 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception. In the afternoon high pressure take over with northwest winds 15+ kts for all of North and Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early clearing south of Big Sur quickly but continuing north of there through the day. Snow for all the Sierra early then becoming isolated to Tahoe during the day and holding through the evening.
  • Mon AM (2/6) northwest winds to be 20+ kts for all of North, Central and Southern CA. Winds building to 25 kts for North and Central CA in the afternoon. No rain forecast. Snow showers for the Sierra through the day.
  • Tues AM (2/7) northwest winds fading from 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early and 10 kts for the remainder of North and Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts for the rest of North and all of Central CA. No precip forecast as high pressure fully builds in.
  • Wed AM (2/8) high pressure holds with north winds at 15+ kts for all of North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 25, 26, 26, and 11 inches forecast all on 2/3-2/5.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 8,500 ft on Wed (2/1) and holding through 2/2, then falling to about 6,000 ft through 2/4 then falling to 4,000 ft 2/5-2/6. A warm spike is expected on 2/7 with freeze level to 9,000 ft then falling to 4,000 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: 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 starting Sat PM (2/4) a gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf with 35-40 kts southwest winds and seas building from 19 ft at 44N 168W aimed east. On Sun AM (2/5) southwest winds to be 40 kts with seas 23 ft at 46N 156W aimed east. In the evening a small fetch of 50 kt west winds to wrap up over the Northern Gulf with seas 31 ft at 54.75N 152.5W aimed east. Fetch is to be lifting northeast on Mon AM (2/6) at 40 kts with seas 32 ft at 57.75N 146.75W aimed east. The gael is to be inland over Alaska after that.

Of more interest is a gale developing over the dateline Mon PM (2/6) with 35-45 kts west winds and seas 23 ft at 44N 178E aimed east. On Tues AM (2/7) the gale is to track east with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 43N 177W aimed east. Fetch building in the evening over the Northwestern Gulf at 45 kts from the west with seas 33 ft at 47N 170W aimed east. Wed AM (2/8) west winds fading from 35 kts with seas 31 ft at 46.75N 162.25W aimed east.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

2nd Kelvin Wave Crossing Pacific - Cool Pool Collapsing
3rd Active Phase of the MJO Forecast
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. 1 Kelvin Wave has traversed the Pacific with a stronger one developing now. And Westerly Winds are forecast getting fully established filling the KWGA if not the Pacific later in Feb. And Sea Surface Temperature are warming and are to be approaching neutral in the next few weeks,. The last link in the chain is to see the SOI falling. The outlook is turning slowly but steadily optimistic. The next 3 weeks are critical.

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 (1/31) 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 neutral over the Central Pacific and modest 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): (2/1) East anomalies were strong filling the KWGA today. The 7 day forecast has west anomalies starting to slowly build over the far West KWGA on 2/3 and reaching to 150E at the end of the model run with strong east anomalies developing but limited to the dateline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/1) 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 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 but giving up some ground and weakening the end of the 15 day model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (2/1) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was moderate over the Central to East Indian Ocean and is to track east to the East Maritime Continent and very weak 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates almost the same thing but with the Active Phase moving to the Central West Pacific.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/1) A solid Active signal (wet air) was over the KWGA today with the Inactive Phase (dry air) over the far East Pacific. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) tracking steadily east over the Pacific pushing into Ecuador on 3/3. A modest Inactive signal (dry air) is forecast moving over the KWGA on 2/26 filling the equatorial Pacific by the end of the model run on 3/13.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/31)
A strong Inactive Phase of the MJO was pushing over the KWGA today with east anomalies filling the KWGA. East anomalies are to hold filling the KWGA till 2/6. 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 on 2/6 and pushing to 150E on 2/9 and holding through the end of the model run on 2/28 as a strong Active Phase of the MJO pushes over the dateline to 120W and east anomalies all but gone on the dateline.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(2/1) - 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 2/5-2/15, the peak of the Inactive Phase. But the Active Phase of the MJO is to start pushing into the West KWGA on 2/3 with weak west anomalies starting to build over the West KWGA on 2/5 and pushing through the KWGA through 3/19 with west anomalies filling the KWGA by 2/25 and holding. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to move over the KWGA starting 3/8 holding through the end of the model run on 4/30 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 3/12 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 3/29. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 90E with it's leading edge at 135E today and is to slowly push east, with a hard push east starting 3/13 and on the dateline 4/20 and filling the KWGA 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 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: (2/1) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking to 174E. The 26 degree isotherm had backtracked from 157W to 162W and now 163W. 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 134W. A pocket of -2 deg negative anomalies were at 117W 100m down and fading while moving east. A small pocket of warm waters from a previous Kelvin Wave were off Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/28 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific downward to 138W. 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 70m (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: (1/28) 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. A generic pool of weak cool waters is retreating east between 105W to 133W. Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West at the same time reaching east to 145W. It looks like another Kelvin Wave is pushing east.

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: (1/31) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of barely cool water extending west from well off Peru to the dateline mainly south of the equator in the East but centered on the equator in the west and extending south down to about 20S mainly in the east. Pockets of warming are present along the equator from Ecuador west to 120W (likely results of Kelvin Wave #1). And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/31): 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 over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (1/31) Weakly cool waters cover a large area from well west of Peru (17S 100W) to 160E on the equator with the coolest waters between mainly from 150W to 160E on 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 and on the equator from Ecuador to 120W. 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 and migrating in from the East.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/1) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising at +0.151. 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:
(2/1) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were rising at -0.859 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 (2/1) - 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 +0.95 degs in Oct and into El Nino territory. This model suggests we are going to steadily transition towards ENSO neutral in Feb. 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 +0.70 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 (2/1) the Daily Index was rising at 11.77 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 +9.95 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 rising slightly at +11.60 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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