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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2023 2:05 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
2.6 - California & 2.4 - 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 2/13 thru Sun 2/19
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   

High Pressure Lockdown Continues
Last N. Dateline Swells Hits HI - Weak Pattern Beyond

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Thursday, February 16, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt) (Out of Service - using Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 14.8 secs from 279 degrees. Water temp NA degs (Barbers Pt), 75.7 (Pearl Harbor 233), 76.3 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.2 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 15.8 secs from 326 degrees. Water temp 75.7 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 12.9 secs from 202 degrees. Wind east at 12-140 kts. Water temperature 56.8 degs, 54.3 (Topanga 103), 55.8 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.2 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 55.9 (Del Mar 153), 57.2 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.1 ft @ 14.2 secs from 301 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.4 ft @ 12.8 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 248 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.5 secs from 247 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 13.3 secs from 285 degrees. Water temperate was 56.8 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 12.1 secs from 314 degrees. Wind east at 10-14 kts (46026). Water temp 49.8 (Bodega Bay 46013), 50.5 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 50.4 (San Francisco 46026), 51.3 (SF Bar 142), 51.8 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and NA (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 Thursday (2/16) North and Central CA had sets at chest to maybe head high and lined up and clean. Protected breaks were shoulder high on the sets and lined up and clean but soft. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to head high on the sets and lined up with clean conditions but soft and with some warble intermixed. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high and lined up with decent form but with side shore warble from brisk easterly wind. Central Orange County had sets at chest high and soft and mushed with light texture from southeast winds. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh to maybe waist high and super clean but very soft. North San Diego had sets at waist to chest high and lined up and clean but pretty soft and mushed. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at about 2-3 ft overhead and lined up with decent form and fairly clean but with intermixed warble and uneven. The South Shore had sets at thigh high and soft but clean. The East Shore was getting solid east windswell at 3-4 ft overhead and chopped from strong southeasterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (2/16) Hawaii was getting the leading edge of swell from the third in a series of recent gales tracking over the North Dateline region. California was getting remnant energy from the second in the series with energy from the third poised to arrive. The second in the series developed on the dateline tracking northeast to the Northern Gulf Fri-Mon (2/13) with up to 28 ft seas aimed east. The third tracked over the North Dateline region Sun-Tues (2/14) with up to 39 ft seas aimed east. And another gale developed off Kamchatka Tues-Wed (2/15) producing 39 ft seas aimed east. After that things get weird. Another gael is forecast off Kamchatka on Mon-Tues (2/21) with up to 39 ft seas aimed east. And a gael is forecast off the Pacific Northwest Wed-Thurs (2/23) producing 25-26 ft seas aimed south. But the core of the North Pacific is to be locked down with high pressure. Get what you can.

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 Thursday (2/16) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan running east on the 35N latitude line with winds 180 kts then splitting just east of the dateline at 170W with most energy in the northern branch tracking hard north up to Southern Alaska then falling south forming a steep pinched trough off the Pacific Northwest offering support for low pressure development there. A second trough was off Kamchatka also offering some limited support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with a steepening trough developing on the dateline on Sat-Sun (2/19) offering some support for gale development. And the trough off the Pacific Northwest is to turn into a backdoor trough pushing down the California coast on Fri (2/17) lingering off Central CA Sat (2/18) falling south off Southern CA on Sun (2/19) then falling down Baja finally pushing inland there on Tues (2/21). Back to the west through Thurs (2/23) the jet is to be basically unchanged flowing off Japan to the dateline then splitting heavily with the northern branch pushing up into Alaska proper forming some sort of backdoor trough over the Pacific Northwest on Tues (2/21) falling south through the end of the model run on Thurs (2/23).


Surface Analysis
On Thursday (2/16) leftover swell from the second of 3 North Dateline Gales was fading in California. And swell from a third North Dateline Gale was hitting Hawaii and bound for California.

Over the next 72 hours swell from the second North Dateline Gale is to be arrive in California.

And swell from a gale off Kamchatka was radiating east (see Kamchatka Gale below).

 

North Dateline Gale 3
On Sun AM (2/12) a fetch of west winds started building on the dateline at 45 kts with seas building from 29 ft at 40.75N 170.5E aimed east. In the evening west winds built to 50 kts with seas building from 37 ft at 43N 179.5E aimed east. On Mon AM (2/13) 50 kt west winds were tracking east over the dateline and over a decent sized area with seas building to 39 ft at 47.25N 176W aimed east. In the evening west winds were 45-50 kts just east of the dateline with seas 39 ft at 48N 173.25W aimed east. Fetch was fading Tues AM (2/14) while drifting east over the Northwestern Gulf at 40 kts with seas fading from 35 ft at 47.5N 167.25W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts with seas 29 ft at 47.5N 160W aimed east. Fetch fading out Wed AM (2/15) from 30 kts from the northwest with seas 25 ft at 46N 153W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect sideband swell arrival on Thurs (2/16) building from 1.8 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell continues Fri (2/17) 1.9 ft @ 12-13 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft) but buried in local windswell. Swell Direction: 335 degrees
Clearly the models grossly undercalled the swell size with pure swell on Thurs AM 6.0 ft @ 15-16 secs.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (2/17) building to 4.4 ft @ 15-16 secs later (6.5 ft). Swell continue Sat (2/18) fading from 5.0 ft @ 14 secs early (7.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (2/19) fading from 4.1 ft @ 12 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 305 degrees

 

Kamchatka Gale
On Tues AM (2/14) a gale was developing just off Kamchatka producing 50 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas 30 ft at 45N 163E aimed east. In the evening west winds were 50 kts off the North Kuril Islands with seas 30-40 ft over a tiny area near 48.5N 164E aimed east. On Wed AM (2/15) west winds were 50 kts off the North Kuril Islands with seas 39 ft at 49.25N 167.75E aimed east. In the evening west winds were migrating northeast at 45 kts approaching the Aleutians with 35 ft seas at 50.5N 171.25E just south of the shadowed created by the Aleutians relative to the US West Coast. Secondary fetch was developing over the North Dateline Thurs AM (2/18) at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 27 ft at 46N 171W aimed east. Fetch is to be lifting north in the evening at 35-40 kts from the west over a decent sized area with 25 ft seas at 47.5N 164W aimed east. Fetch and seas fading out from there moving in to the Bering Sea. Something to monitor.

 

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

 

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

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Fri AM (2/17) weak low pressure is to be falling south off North CA with southeast winds 10-15 kts for North CA and south winds 10 kts for Central CA. In the the afternoon the low is to be off Southern CA with east winds forecast at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Sat AM (2/18) low pressure is to remain circulating off Baja Mexico with north winds 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and northeast winds 5-10 kts for the rest of North and Central CA. In the afternoon north winds to be 15+ kts for all of North CA and north-northeast 10 kts for Central CA.
  • Sun AM (2/19) high pressure starts to take control with north winds 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and north 10 kts south of there but northeast 10 kts for Central CA. Southeast winds 5 kts for Southern CA early. In the afternoon north winds to be 25 kts for Cape Mendocino and north 5-10 kts south of there but perhaps northeast 5-10 kts down into Central CA. Southeast winds 5-10 kts for Southern CA.
  • Mon AM (2/20) north winds to be 25 kts for Cape Mendocino with light northerly winds 5-10 kts south of Pt Arena and over Central CA. No change in the afternoon. Maybe some showers for Southern CA early.
  • Tues AM (2/21) northwest winds to be 20 kts for North CA and northwest 15 kts from the Golden Gate southward. The wind machine starts in earnest in the afternoon with northwest winds 30+ kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino early reaching southern CA overnight. Snow developing for Tahoe late afternoon covering the Sierra overnight.
  • Wed AM (2/22) northwest winds to be 30 kts for all of North, Central and Southern CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA and 20 kts for Southern CA. Light rain for the entire state early becoming focused north of Pt Conception in the afternoon. No snow early bur redeveloping for the North Coast and the North and Central Sierra late afternoon through the evening.
  • Thurs AM (2/23) west winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA early and west to southwest at 10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon winds turn south at 10-15 ks for North CA and southwest 15 kts for Central CA and perhaps southwest 10 kts for northern half of Southern CA. Light rain for all of California through the day. Snow for the North and Central Sierra

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 55, 60, 63, and 39 inches.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 5,000 ft 2/16 slowly rising from 6,500 ft early on 2/17 and steadily but slowly building to 10,500 ft early on 2/20 before falling steadily and then plummeting to 2,000 ft late on 2/21 and holding there, perhaps rising to 4,000 ft on 2/24.

- - -

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 a small gale is forecast developing east of Kamchatka on Mon AM (2/20) producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 44N 169.25E aimed east. In the evening fetch building to 50 kts lifting northeast with seas 35 ft at 48.75N 172E aimed east. The gale is to move into the Bering Sea on Tues AM (2/21) with seas 39 ft at 50,75N 174.5N just before that. Something to monitor.

Also a gradient is to develop off the Pacific Northwest on Tues PM (2/21) producing northwest winds at 35 kts aimed south with seas 23 ft at 47N 133W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (2/22) winds to hold at 35+ kts with seas 24 ft at 43N 132W aimed southeast. Fetch to be stationary in the evening at 35 kts with seas 26 ft at 42N 133W aimed south. Fetch on Thurs AM (2/23) is to pull a bit off the coast centered near the CA-OR border at 35 kts from the north with seas 25 ft at 41.5N 134.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to fall south in the evening at 35 kts with seas 25 ft at 38N 136.25W aimed south. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Kelvin Wave #2 Crossing Pacific - Equatorial SSTs Building
3rd Active Phase of the MJO Starting - NINO3.4 Reaches ENSO Neutral - La Nina Collapsing
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 traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a stronger one building now. And Westerly Winds are forecast getting fully established filling the KWGA if not the Pacific later in Feb '23. 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 (2/15) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak easterly 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): (2/16) West anomalies were strong in the West KWGA and weak in pockets to the dateline and beyond. This is the first time west anomalies have covered the entire KWGA in years. The 7 day forecast has west anomalies holding over the entire KWGA through 2/22, then still present in pockets till the end of the model run on 2/23.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/15) A moderate Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active MJO signal filling the KWGA through day 15 of the model run but with the Inactive Phase starting to move into the far West KWGA at the end of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase slowly fading and gone on day 10 with a dead neutral pattern setting up (no Inactive Phase), but then the Active Signal returning on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (2/16) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was moderate over the West Pacific moving east to the East Atlantic 15 days out and weak. The dynamic model indicates it moving squarely through the West Pacific over the next days at modest status and then collapsing to very weak status then rebuilding over the West Pacific 12-15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/16) A modest Active signal (wet air) was filling the KWGA today. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) tracking steadily east over the Pacific and pushing into Ecuador on 3/8-3/13. A modest Inactive signal (dry air) is forecast moving over the KWGA on 2/26 filling the equatorial Pacific before moving over the East Equatorial Pacific by the end of the model run on 3/28. A weak Active signal is to follow at that time over the West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/15)
A solid Active Phase of the MJO was in control of the KWGA today with west anomalies nearly filling the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to continue traversing the KWGA through 2/28 with west anomalies filling the KWGA. It is to push to a point south of California on 2/18-2/24. After that moderate west anomalies are to rebuild from 140E and points west of there by 3/1 filling 40% of the KWGA with weak east anomalies lingering on the dateline through the end of the model run on 3/15.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(2/10) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Active Phase of the MJO was nearly filling the KWGA with west anomalies developing there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to build over the entirety of the KWGA by 2/18 with west anomalies filling the KWGA then. West anomalies and the Active Phase are to traverse the KWGA through 3/20 and then continuing east pushing south of California on 2/24 and holding in some fashion there into 4/29. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to move over the KWGA starting 3/4 holding through the end of the model run on 5/16 but with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA and in control of the entire Pacific by 3/12 and holding for the foreseeable future. One pocket of easterly anomalies to develop on the dateline 2/27-3/12. A major change is starting now. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 170W with its western perimeter at 150E today. The high pressure bias started moving east on 2/15 with the second contour forecast collapsing/pushing east of the KWGA on 3/13 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 4/1. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 135E today and started slowly pushing east on 2/15, with a hard push east forecast starting 3/18 and on the dateline 4/15 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 since Oct 2022. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is in collapse and will be gone by 2/15 with no return in sight.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/16) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was not present. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded to 170E and was stuck there. The 26 degree isotherm had backtracked from 157W to 162W but was easing east to 153W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and building in thickness. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 135W and connected solidly to warm water from a previous Kelvin Wave off Ecuador. No negative anomalies of interest were present. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific and reaching east upwards to 121W. 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 115W down 50m (the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle) and was lifting towards the surface while weakening and likely discharging. 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: (2/12) Sea heights were rising at +0-5 cms over the entire Equatorial Pacific reaching east to Ecuador other than one small pocket of -0-5 cm anomalies near 100W. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies have retreated to the East Equatorial Pacific between 87W to Ecuador. And a previous pool of weak cool waters is collapsing between 100W to 115W. Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West at the same time reaching east to 127W. Kelvin Wave #2 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: (2/15) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of barely cool water extending west from well off Peru (105W) to the dateline mainly south of the equator in the East and reaching south to 18S near Tahiti then centered on the equator in the west. A building pool of warming water is present along the equator from Ecuador west to 130W (results of Kelvin Wave #1). And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru and over all of the deep South Pacific. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/15): A broad pool of warming water was locked well off the coasts of Peru, Chile and Ecuador and west over the entire equatorial Pacific but not as strong as weeks past. 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: (2/15) Warming waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Cool waters were on the equator from about 120W to 160E. And those cool waters were losing intensity and coverage daily. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming. 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: (2/16) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were steady at +0.848 and have been since 2/7. They previously had been rising since 11/13. 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:
(2/16) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were rising at -0.758. But this is nonsense. Other data from NOAA indicates temp anomalies were at -0.5 degs (see CFSv2 Data below). Temps fell 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.

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 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 then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs mid-Feb.
Forecast (2/16) - Temps are starting to rise dramatically having moved above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/12. They are to move to neutral (0.0 degs) early-April and up to +0.8 degs in July and +1.30 degs in Oct and solidly into El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are to hit neutral (0.0 degs) early-April and rising to +0.65 degs in July and +1.00 degs in Oct. According to this version of the model we are building into ENSO neutral in Spring and into El Nino in Summer.
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 (2/16) the Daily Index was falling at +12.78 after reaching +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was rising to +14.23 (lagging indicator driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO) 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 +14.38 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 one last Inactive Phase occurring now is to drive the index up.

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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