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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2019 12:27 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
3.2 - California & 3.3 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 2/18 thru Sun 2/24

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   

Weak Storm Track Short Term
Jetstream Outlook Improving Long Term

On Saturday, February 16, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 2.1 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 12.4 secs from 213 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 7.4 ft @ 11.4 secs from 30 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 7.3 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 10.5 secs from 255 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 20-23 kts. Water temperature 57.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.6 ft @ 9.9 secs from 280 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.0 ft @ 10.2 secs from 263 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 5.0 ft @ 6.5 secs from 270 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 6.5 ft @ 10.1 secs from 269 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 17.6 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 11.9 ft @ 14.7 secs from 303 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 21-29 kts. Water temp 55.9 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Saturday (2/16) in North and Central CA raw local swell was producing waves in the 10-15 ft range and blown out and white capped. Protected breaks were 8-10 ft and horribly chopped and warbled. At Santa Cruz surf was 2-3 ft overhead and lined up fairly clean but warbled and ill formed. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high and warbled and chopped with north wind running over it. In North Orange Co surf was head high coming from the north with modest light north winds creating some lump. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were waist high on the sets and muddy and warbled and a mess. North San Diego surf was chest high and warbled and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves head high and warbled and unremarkable. The South Shore was thigh high and clean and weak but rideable. The East Shore was getting northeasterly windswell with waves 3-4 ft overhead and chopped from brisk northeast winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (2/16) windswell was hitting Hawaii in associated with a local low developing just north of the Islands. Swell was hitting California from a fairly strong gale that pushed south off the Pacific Northwest coast. A storm developed off Kuril Islands lifting northeast Wed-Thurs (2/14) again producing 47 ft seas aimed east having some odds of producing swell. A weaker system is to follow Sun-Mon (2/18) producing producing 32 ft seas reaching into the Northwestern Gulf. And another gale is forecast tracking northeast off Japan on Thurs-Sat (2/23) possibly producing 40 ft seas aimed northeast just south of the North Dateline region. The Active Phase of the MJO is building strong in the West Pacific and is forecast to push east into the East Pacific over the next 3 weeks feeding the storm track. Continue to be watchful for possible interesting local weather impacts in Hawaii and California. 

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday AM (2/16) the jetstream was consolidated tracking off Japan with winds 150 kts producing a small trough just off Kamchatka offering support for gale development there. But east of there the jet split starting on the dateline much as it has for weeks now with the northern branch tracking northeast up over the Eastern Aleutians almost tracking into Alaska and then turning south tracking down through the Eastern Gulf of Alaska forming a trough over Washington then tracking inland into Central California. The southern branch tracked east over Hawaii and then was lifting northeast tracking inland over Central CA joining the northeast branch with winds rebuilding to 175 kts pushing into Central CA and over the Sierra and across the Central interior US mainland. An ARC event was occurring for the Southern Sierra and into the Rockies. Over the next 72 hours through Tues (2/19) more of the same is forecast with the trough over the Pacific Northwest easing inland slightly but still pretty stationary with it's apex over Northeastern Nevada. The jet is to be weakening pushing off Japan with winds down to 130 kts and still consolidated reaching east to the dateline forming a weak trough in the West Pacific then splitting on the dateline with the semi permanent ridge filling the Gulf of Alaska with the northern branch pushing over the Northern Gulf then falling southeast just off the Pacific Northwest coast joining the southern branch as both pushed inland over Southern CA and North Baja. Beyond 72 hours a variation on the same theme is to continue with the jet split on the dateline and a big ridge over the Gulf of Alaska with the northern branch of the jet falling southeast over the Pacific Northwest Coast into Sat (2/23). Limited support for gale development is forecast in the semi permanent trough in the far West Pacific. Long term runs of the GFS model suggest that starting Wed (2/27) the split is to fade and a consolidated jet is to start building across the width of the North Pacific reaching into the Pacific Northwest with swell production potential starting to build in early March as low pressure sets up in the Gulf of Alaska. This is starting to become consistent with a known building Active Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (2/16) swell from a small storm off the Kuril Islands was pushing towards Hawaii and California (see Kuril Gale below). Also a local storm has produced raw surf along California Coast (see Local West Coast Gale below). Also windswell from a local cutoff low was starting to materialize for Hawaii associated with a cutoff low 300 nmiles northeast of Hawaii on Fri-Sat (2/16) producing 30 kt east winds and seas to 20 ft at 27N 153W aimed east possibly sending sideband windswell into all the Hawaiian Islands into Sun (2/17) (see QuikCASTs).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is to be developing just west of the dateline lifting fast and hard northeast on Sun AM (2/17) with 55 kt southwest winds barely getting traction on the oceans surface generating 28 ft seas generally at 46N 176E lifting northeast. In the evening the storm is to be over the North Dateline region with 50 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians and 36 ft seas at 50N 175W aimed east. This system is to be in the Bering Sea and no longer of interested by Mon AM (2/18) with residual seas fading from 30 ft just south of the Eastern Aleutians at 53N 166W aimed northeast. Low odds of meaningful swell resulting.


Kuril Gale
A gale started developing in the far West Pacific off Japan on Tues PM (2/12) with 45 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft at 45N 162E aimed east. On Wed AM (2/13) winds built to 60 kts from the west with seas to 35 ft at 46N 161E. In the evening winds were fading from 55 kts with the storm lifting northeast with seas to 46 ft at 48.5N 167.5E aimed east (or just off the North Kuril Islands). On Thurs AM (2/14) winds were fading from 45 kts from the southwest targeting the Aleutians with seas 44 ft at 51N 172.5E also aimed northeast. This system is to move into the Bering Sea and fade after that. Possible swell to radiate towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sun (2/17) building to 4.1 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (6.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (2/18) from 3.5 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (2/18) building to 3.5 ft @ 17 secs later (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (2/19) from 3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals on Wed (2/20) fading from 2.9 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 302 degrees Local windswell likely overriding all of this swell.


Local West Coast Gale
On Wed PM (2/13) a local gale started developing in the Northern Gulf falling southeast with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 26 ft at 50N 144W aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (2/14) the storm was falling southeast with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 31 ft at 47N 140W and barely in the North CA swell window at 315 degrees. In the evening winds to be rebuilding at 55 kts from the northwest over a small area with seas 32 ft at 45N 138W and on the 308 degree track to NCal and also targeting Oregon well. The gale is to be fading just off the NCal-Oregon border Fri AM (2/15) with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 35 ft at 43N 134.5W still on the 308 degree path to NCal. The gale is to be dissipating in the evening over Cape Mendocino with 35 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 29 ft at 40N 129W NCal (296 degs NCal). Something to monitor.

NCal: Swell holding into Sat AM (2/16) at 15.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (24 ft) and still shadowed. Swell fading on Sun AM (2/17) from 9.9 ft @ 12 secs (11 ft). Residuals on Mon AM (2/18) fading from 7.3 ft @ 10-11 secs (7.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 308 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (2/16) high pressure was building from off the California Coast with north winds 20+ kts for all off North and Central CA early and even into most of Southern CA early holding if not building through the day. Light rain from Big Sur northward through the day. Light snow for the Sierra heaviest early. Sunday (2/17) north winds to continue early for the entire state at 20-25 kts continuing into the the evening. Rain for North and Central CA early but fading some late afternoon but building into Southern CA in the afternoon. Snow building modestly through the day for the Sierra fading late. Monday (2/18) northwest wind to be 20 kts just off the entire CA coast and 15 kts nearshore holding all day but fading for southern CA in the afternoon. Light rain for San Diego early fading fast. No snow forecast. Tues (2/19) north winds 10 kts early nearshore for North and Central CA with light winds early for SCal and fading some later in the day. No precip forecast. North winds build on Wed (2/20) at 20 kts early for North CA and 5-10 kts for Central CA pushing 30 kts later and starting to build into Southern CA mainly at sunset. Light rain for North CA down to Big Sur in the evening. Light snow for Tahoe late afternoon. Thurs (2/21) north winds 30 kts early for Central CA and 25 kts for North and Southern CA and holding through the day. Rain for Central and South CA fading through the day. Snow showers for mainly the Southern Sierra. Friday (2/22) northeast winds take over at 10 kts for Central and South CA and north 10-15 kts for North CA. No precip forecast. Saturday (2/23) north winds to be 5-10 kts early building to 10 kts later. No precip forecast. .

Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe (thru 2/21): 21 inches and 34 inches for Mammoth.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell of interest is forecast.

A weak local low is to be tracking down the US West Coast Wed-Thurs (2/21) producing north winds and 18 ft seas hugging the coast while falling south fading over Pt Conception early Friday (2/22). Local north windswell expected.

Also on Fri AM (2/22) another gale is to be building in the West Pacific lifting northeast with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 30 ft at 42N 170E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be tracking north with 60 kt west winds and seas building to 39 ft at 47N 173E aimed east. On Sat AM (2/23) the gale is to be lifting into the Bering Sea with fetch fading from 50 kts from the west and seas fading from 34 ft at 50N 178E aimed east. Low odds of swell resulting.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Strong Westerly Wind Burst Occurring - Active MJO in Control

The Madden Julian Oscillation 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.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued 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. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (2/15) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific over the dateline and to 170E, then turning westerly over the core and western KWGA's. Anomalies were weak easterly over the far East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central equatorial Pacific and then moderate to strong westerly from 170E and points west of there filling the bulk of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (2/16) strong west anomalies were over the dateline and weaker into the western KWGA. The forecast is for strong west anomalies holding on the dateline to 150E and 160W effectively filling the KWGA and holding into 2/18, then fading some but building in coverage filling the KWGA from 2/19 through the end of the model run at 2/23. Support for storm development is to be building focused on the dateline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/15) The Active Phase of the MJO was moderate on the dateline mostly filling the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is to ease east and out of the KWGA at day 5 with the Inactive Phase of the MJO building into the West PAcific and filling the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase holding on the dateline through the 15 day model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/6) No update - The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the West Pacific. It is to fade in strength and track east over the eastern Atlantic at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is in the West Pacific and is to weaken over the next 4 days then retrograding and rebuilding in the West Pacific through day 8 then moving east to the Atlantic days 9-15.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/16) This model depicts a solid Active Phase over the Central Pacific slowly weakening while pushing east moving into and over Central America on 3/8. A weak Inactive signal is to set up in the West Pacific on 2/24 moving to the East Pacific and Central America on 3/21. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO if not just dead neutral is to be setting up in the West Pacific on 3/16 pushing east to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/28.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/15) This model depicts strong west anomalies (a Westerly Wind Burst - WWB) were building over the KWGA focused on the dateline. Strong west anomalies are to hold over the dateline through 3/2 then fading bust still moderate at the end of the model run on 3/15. West anomalies to push into the California coast starting 2/25 through 3/7.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/16) This model depicts a weak version of the Active Phase was over the KWGA with strong west anomalies in the KWGA. This pattern is to hold with strong west anomalies (effectively a Westerly Wind Burst) holding on the dateline through 2/24 then weaker at moderate status beyond. On 2/15 a modest Inactive MJO signal was starting to develop in the far West Pacific but only making slow east progress, then finally filling east into the KWGA 3/4 through 4/2 but with solid west anomalies continuing mainly on the dateline. On 3/25 another modest Active Phase of the MJO is to start building in the KWGA with west anomalies building and in control through the end of the model run on 5/16. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding over California through 3/18, then retracting to the coast slightly. A third contour line faded 12/17 but has now rebuilt starting 2/12 centered over the dateline and is to hold through the end of the model run. And a 4th control line is to develop 3/12 holding through the end of the model run. This is a positive new development. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during 2018, then faded, and is now trying to rebuild and strongly so starting now. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were at one time trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there was no objective evidence that it every happened. But it seems the tendency is redeveloping again. This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere has turned from a La Nina pattern (that had been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more. But of more interest, if the low pass filter forecast holds, maybe El Nino to develop next year.

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 water temps are 29 degs from 175W and points west of there. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is back at 162W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater with a pocket of warm water under the dateline at +3 degs (Kelvin Wave #3). We think the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino (in 2018-2019) has already occurred associated mainly with Kelvin Wave #2. But Kelvin Wave #3 might add some warmth moving into 2019. And the new Westerly Wind Burst developing now (2/16) might add more fuel (warm water) to the proverbial fire. So there's good sub-surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy for the foreseeable future. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 gone in the East Pacific with cool water associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle occurring there. Kelvin Wave #3 was building at+3 degs from New Guinea to the dateline east to 120W (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst occurring there 12/30-1/16). There is a river of warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. 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) Positive anomalies were gone from the interior Maritime Continent but were solid tracking east from 160E over the dateline to a point west of the Galapagos (110W) at mostly 0-5 cms but with a pocket of +5 cms anomalies from 165E to 120W. -5 cms anomalies were in a small pocket at 90W associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle. A new weak Kelvin Wave is building north of New Guinea while a previous warm subsurface pattern is fading over the east equatorial Pacific.

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: (2/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were very weakly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from the dateline west to the Galapagos and no longer losing warmth compared to days and weeks past. But they weren't building either. Warm water was along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador and Central America but with a pocket of cool water along the immediate coast of Columbia. There is no indications that an El Nino is building. A previously concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W is fading significantly. Overall the pattern looks very weakly like El Nino, but nothing more.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/15): A building solid area of warm water remained off Chile and Peru but with cooling waters in a pocket off Ecuador extending to the Galapagos. Warming continues from just west of the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii on the equator. It looks like the far equatorial East Pacific is warming some.
Hi-res Overview: (2/15) Modest warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru reaching up to the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing out to 120W then weaker to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And one could maybe think we are moving towards an El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely not every moving to an official minimal El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/16) Today's temps were rising to +0.045 after falling to -0.425 degrees on 2/14, and that after rising to +1.2 degs on 2/2. Previously temps fell to -0.15 degs on 2/28. Temps rose to a peak +1.385 on 1/21. Previously they were down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(2/16) Today temps were steady at +0.255 after falling to +0.050 on 2/11. Temps rose to a peak at +0.738 on 1/21, after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/16) The model indicates temps were at +0.75 degs on Jan 1 and held to Feb1. Temps are forecast building to +1.10 on March 1 and generally stable through June. After that temp are to slowly fade to +0.75 degs on Nov 1
. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19 holding through the summer then weakening some into the Winter of 2019/20. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing this year. But maybe a multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (2/16): The daily index was falling hard today at -24.88 and has been hard negative the last 10 days. The 30 day average was falling at -3.35 suggesting a building Active MJO. The 90 day average was steady at +1.37, rising through Jan 1 to +4.67 then fading some after that but not much. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (2/16) The index rose to +0.30 on 1/20, but fell to -0.01 on 2/14, then rose today to +0.13. It was down to -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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