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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, February 13, 2021 12:52 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 & 3.6 - 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 2/15 thru Sun 2/21

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   

Solid Swell Hitting HI
Small Swell Behind - Then Nothing

On Saturday, February 13, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Point): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 17.2 secs from 316 degrees. Water temp 76.8 degs.
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 9.9 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 7.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 325 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 6.3 secs from 274 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 0-2 kts. Water temperature NA degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.4 ft @ 13.0 secs from 300 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.3 ft @ 6.5 secs from 263 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 7.4 secs from 270 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.4 ft @ 12.9 secs from 273 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 10.2 secs from 293 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 16-21 kts. Water temp 52.2 (029), 52.7 degs (SF Bar) and 54.0 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 Saturday (2/13) North and Central CA had waves at 1-2 ft overhead and completely whitecapped and unrideable. Protected breaks were chest to head high and chopped with small whitecaps early. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and weak and pretty warbled and foggy. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high and lined up but weak, mushed with warble intermixed. Central Orange County was flat and warbled from southerly wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were flat to knee high and warbled but not chopped. North San Diego had sets at waist high or so and fairly clean but with some cross-up in the mix. Hawaii's North Shore was getting decent swell with waves up to 10 ft on the sets and clean but inconsistent. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap-around swell with waves 2 ft overhead and heavily textured to lightly chopped from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (2/13) Hawaii was starting to set the lading edge of swell from a gale that developed on the dateline Tues-Thurs (2/11) easing into the far Western Gulf while producing up to 42 ft seas over a modest sized area aimed east. That swell is radiating east towards California too. A far weaker system is developing while tracking over the dateline and into the Western Gulf Fri-Sat (2/13) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east while lifting northeast fast. Some swell to result from this system too. After that no obvious swell producing weather systems are indicated. But a series of 3 weak gale are forecast tracking across the North Pacific by Fri (2/19) producing 23 ft in each. We're in La Nina. Just waiting for the Springtime winds to kick up now.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (2/13) the jet was consolidated pushing east off Southern Japan with winds building to 170 kts over the dateline forming a broad trough there then splitting weakly near 170W with winds holding velocity lifting northeast up in the North-Central then tracking east before falling southeast again and moving inland over San Francisco. There was support for gale development in the trough over the dateline. Over the next 72 hours winds to moderate but the jet is to hold together over the width of the North Pacific on Sun (2/14) tracking well south in the west then lifting gently northeast and into British Columbia in the east with winds 140 kts over this entire range. A split is forecast off Japan on Mon (2/15) but this is to only deepen the pre-existing trough on the dateline into Tues (2/16) offering more support for gale development there. And the jet is to be ripping down/over the US West Coast late Tues (2/16) building to 160 kts likely making for some weather there. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (2/17) the jet is to be building over Japan and just off the coast there to 190 kts but is to be split heavily before making it to the dateline with the northern branch weak and not supportive of gale development and the southern branch diving towards the equator over the dateline further hampering the situation. But by Sat (2/20) a consolidated jet is t o be expanding east from off Japan to a bit east of the dateline with winds 180 kts and 170 kt winds reaching up into the northern branch of the jet pushing through the Northern Gulf of Alaska. No clear troughs are forecast but there is to be some support for low pressure development north of the jet just given winds speeds in the jet.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (2/13) swell from a storm that developed over the dateline was starting to hit HAwaii and bound for the US West Coast (see Dateline Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours a secondary gael was developing and lifting northeast towards the Gulf of Alaska (see Secondary Dateline Gale below).


Dateline Storm
On Tuesday PM (2/9) a new semi interesting gale started building on the dateline producing 45-50 kt northwest winds over a small sized area with seas building from 36 ft over a tiny area at 41.5N 175.5E aimed east. The gale built to storm status Wed AM (2/10) with 45-50 kt west winds setting up just west of the dateline with 42 ft seas building at 44.5N 179.5E aimed east. Fetch built in the evening to 50 kts just west of the dateline and increasing in coverage with seas building to 41 ft at 42.5N 176.5E aimed east. On Thurs AM (2/11) fetch was fading from 45 kts on the dateline still over a moderate sized area with seas peaking at 42 ft at 41.5N 179E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 40 kts over a modest sized area aimed east with seas fading from 39 ft at 42N 175.5W aimed east. The gale is to be gone after that with seas from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 44N 169W aimed east.

Hawaii (Oahu): Core swell building overnight peaking at sunrise on Sat (2/13) at 9.7 ft @ 17-18 secs (16.5 ft) fading slowly through the day. Swell stabilizing on Sun (2/14) at 6.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (10 ft). Swell fading on Mon (2/15) from 5.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft). Dribbles on Tues (2/16) fading from 3.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 318-324 focused on 319 degrees

North CA: Expect pre-swell arrival on Sun (2/14) pushing 5.7 ft @ 16 secs later (9.0 ft). Core swell to hit on Mon (2/15) at 8.1 ft @ 17 secs early (13.5 ft) holding all day. Swell fading on Tues (2/16) from 8.8 ft @ 15 secs (13 ft) being hacked by local windswell. Swell fading on Wed (2/17) from 7.1 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 290-297 focused on 295 degrees


Secondary Dateline Gale
A gale started developing well south and west of the dateline on Thurs PM (2/11) producing 45 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 33N 168E aimed east. On Fri AM (2/12) west winds were holding while lifting east-northeast at 45 kts with seas 31 ft over a small area at 32.5N 177.5E aimed east. The gale is to start racing northeast in the evening with 35-40 kt west winds pushing east over the Western Gulf with seas 32 ft over a small area at 39.5N 167W aimed east. On Sat AM (2/13) the gale was lifting northeast with 45 kt west winds in the far Northwestern Gulf with seas 33 ft at 45N 162W aimed east. The gale is to be fading in the far Northwest Gulf in the evening with 30-35 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 50N 156W aimed east. Secondary fetch is forecast south of there at 35 kts from the west and seas 23 ft at 38N 164W aimed east. On Sunday AM (2/14) secondary fetch is to continue at 40 kts from the northwest in the Gulf producing 27 ft seas at 43N 154.5W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading and racing east in the evening at 30-35 kts from the west with seas 25 ft at 46.5N 147W aimed east. This system is to dissipate while pushing east off Vancouver Island on Mon AM (2/15) with 30-35 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 48.5N 140W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there while pushing into the Pacific Northwest.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (2/17) building early to 4.5 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (2/18) from 3.8 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell dissipating overnight. Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/18) building to 4.2 ft @ 13 secs later (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 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

  • Sunday (2/14) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early from the Golden Gate southward to Pt Conception if not into Southern CA then fading to 10 kts for all of North CA later (sunset) and holding at 20 kts from the south end of Monterey Bay to Pt Conception. No precip forecast expect light rain building for Cape Mendocino late afternoon building to the Golden Gate in the evening. No snow forecast.
  • Monday (2/15) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA early and 5-10 kts for Central CA early holding at 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA in the late afternoon. Rain for all of North CA early building south to Monterey Bay late morning then fading some in the afternoon. Modest snow developing for Tahoe early building south over the entire Sierra late afternoon then fading in the evening.
  • Tues (2/16) high pressure builds in with northwest winds forecast at 20-25 kts for all of North CA and Central CA early building to 30 kts in the afternoon over Central CA and building over Southern CA later. Showers limited to Cape Mendocino early. No snow forecast.
  • Wednesday (2/17) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early for all of North and Central CA fading to 15-20 kts later. No precip forecast.
  • Thursday (2/18) a light northwest flow at 5-10 kts is forecast early for all of North and Central CA holding all day. Rain building south to Pt Arena mid-day holding in to the evening.
  • Friday (2/19) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA early building to 15 kts later. Rain for all of North CA early building south to Big Sur later morning then clearing. Snow for mainly Tahoe early then clearing late afternoon.
  • Sat (2/20) high pressure and northwest winds to build at 20-25 kts early for all of Central CA and 10-15 kts for North CA holding all day. Maybe some showers for Cape Mendocino.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 36 inches, 38 inches, 24 inches, and 6 inches through 2/22.

Freezing level 5,000 ft 2/13 rising to 7,000 ft on 2/15 then falling again to 3,000 ft on 2/17 before starting a steady rise to 8,000 ft on 2/18 building to 10,000 ft on 2/22.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
Swell was radiating north from a gale previously in the deep Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale was tracking east over the Central South Pacific building on Sat AM (2/13) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 31 ft at 60S 147W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to be building in coverage at 40 kts from the southwest with 31 ft seas at 60S 137W aimed northeast. Fetch is to move over the far Southeast Pacific on Sun AM (2/14) at 35 kts from the southwest with seas 30 ft at 59.5S 132S aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to be holding while tracking east with seas 30 ft at 58S 122W aimed northeast. After that the gale is to fade and move out of the Southern CA swell window. Something to monitor.


Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale started developing in the far Southeast Pacific Sun PM (2/7) producing 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas building from 26 ft at 53S 127 W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (2/8) southwest fetch was holding at 35 kts with seas 28 ft at 50.5S 129W aimed northeast. And a secondary fetch was forming south of there at 45 kts aimed north with seas building from 28 ft at 64S 119W aimed north. In the evening the secondary fetch is to be fading from 40 kts from the south with seas 30 ft at 61S 118W aimed north. A tertiary fetch of 40 kt southwest winds was building on Tues AM (2/9) with 33 ft seas at 62.5S 143.5W aimed northeast. In the evening that fetch lifted hard northeast at 35 kts with seas fading from 30 ft at 55S 120W aimed northeast. This system dissipated after that. Possibly small southerly angled swell for Southern CA to result.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (2/15) building to 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building on Tues (2/16) pushing 2.0 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (3.0 ft). Secondary swell building on Wed (2/17) to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell stable on Thurs (2/18) at 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees moving to 185 degrees

North CA: Swell building on Tues (2/16) 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.0 ft). Primary swell fading on Wed (2/17) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Secondary swell building to 1.6 ft @ 18-19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building on Thurs (2/18) at 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 185 degrees moving to 180 degrees


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 broad pool of low pressure is to start developing over the expanse of the North Pacific on Fri AM (2/19) with pockets of winds at 30-35 kts, on off Vancouver Island, and other over the Northwestern Gulf and another off Japan with seas 23 ft associated with each fetch area.All are to move east into Sat (2/20) perhaps generating minimal background 13 sec period swell. Will monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Surging Some - SSTs Cooling in East Equatorial Pacific

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 (2/12) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific then light to modest 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 (2/13) west anomalies were in control of the KWGA with solid west anomalies in the far West KWGA. The forecast calls for this pattern to hold through 2/14, then breaking down with weak moderate east anomalies developing over the KWGA 2/16 and taking control at modest strength through the end of the model run on 2/20.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/12) A moderate Active MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects it holding strength while easing slowly east and over the KWGA at day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening quickly on day 10 and holding weak filling 50% of the KWGA at the end of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/13) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate strength over the West Pacific today and is to collapse while tracking east fading over the West Indian Ocean at very weak status on day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold position in the West Pacific and slowly weakening to very weak status at 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): (2/12) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the Central Pacific and is to track very slowly east while fading moving over Central America on 3/9. A modest Inactive Phase is to start building in the West Pacific on 2/20 and is to track east and into Central America at the end of the model run on 3/24 while holding strength. A weak Active Phase is to develop over the KWGA on 3/19 moving to the Central Equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/24.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/12) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal today over the KWGA with west anomalies over the core of the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase is to track east and out of the KWGA on 2/18 with west anomalies fading at that time. Weak east anomalies are to return 2/18 holding in the KWGA and building some on 3/3 at moderate strength and holding through the end of the model run on 3/12 with the Inactive Phase of the MJO taking control. The low pass filter indicates no change from here forward in the coverage of the high pressure bias over the KWGA. West anomalies are currently south of California and are to hold coverage and strength through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/13 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase in control of the KWGA and holding till 2/20 in the east with weak west anomalies today and forecast holding over the KWGA. A weak Inactive MJO is building in the far west KWGA today and is to be tracking east through the KWGA getting solid 3/8 and holding through 3/25 with pockets of modest east anomalies trying to fill the KWGA but with pockets of weak west anomalies intermixed. A weak Active MJO signal is forecast to follow 3/20 tracking east through 4/10 producing modest west anomalies. A weak Inactive MJO is to follow 4/2-5/1 with mostly very weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. A weak Active Phase is to follow that 4/25 through the end of the model run on 5/13 with weak west anomalies holding. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 4 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California. The forth contour line is to fade on 3/17. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 4/27. The third contour line is to fade near the end of the model run. The remaining 1 is to hold indefinitely. A double contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today but the second contour line is to fade on 2/14 with the remaining contour line theoretically shrinking in coverage from the west on 4/18 and starting to ease east to 175E at the end of the run. 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 stabilized there and are theoretically starting a slow fade, effectively gone in early April.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/13) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 deg isotherm has reappeared. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 165E today. The 24 deg isotherm was building east and pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific but getting thinner than last week. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +3 deg C were locked steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 170W at depth but moving no further east. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies building to -4C at 130W and west from there. A pocket of +1 deg anomalies was all but gone in the east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/7 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: (2/7) 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 but with a pocket at -15 cms gone now. A thin flow of neutral anomalies was again trying to pushing west off Ecuador reaching to the Galapagos. Negative anomalies at mostly -5 cms were along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and reaching north up to Baja at -5 to -10 cms then weaker 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 substantially weakening.

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: (2/12) The latest images indicate a new stream of cooling waters tracking west from the Galapagos joining the main pocket on the equator from 145W to the dateline. Solid cool anomalies were south of there streaming from Chile west-northwest to the dateline. The cool pool looks like it is trying to regenerate in the East after having previously faded. Overall this indicates a late phase 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 (2/12): Temps are now warming weakly along the equator from Ecuador west to 110W. Cooling was from 120W-145W. A broad area of warming was off Peru and Chile out to 110W, much smaller than weeks past.
Hi-res Overview: (2/12) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up well off Peru tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. Previous warm anomalies on the equator from Ecuador to 130W were gone. A broader and cooler core of La Nina cold waters are pushing west from 100W towards the dateline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/13) Today's temps were falling some at -0.406 after a recent high of +0.100 on 2/1. Temps previously were -0.604 on 1/24. 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 on a slow but steady increase.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(2/11) Temps were falling today to -0.853. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3, rising to to -0.982 on 1/21 to -0.639 on 2/7. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps were on a steady decline since 7/25 then bottomed out in late October and have been on a slow increase since.

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 (2/13) Actuals per the model indicates temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose to -0.65 degs mid-Jan and -0.45 degs in Feb. The forecast depicts temps holding steady from today into mid-April at -0.45 then starting a steep decline falling to -1.50 degs in Oct. This seems unbelievable but suggests another year of La Nina possible.
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) (2/13): The daily index was falling at +2.69. The 30 day average was falling to +13.50 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling some at 14.70 after peaking on 2/11 at +14.91 clearly identifying La Nina. 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

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