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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 4:28 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 for Now
Solid Dateline Storm Forecast

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 12.9 secs from 290 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 11.7 secs from 248 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 10.0 secs from 253 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 57.2 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.4 ft @ 10.2 secs from 275 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 16.9 secs from 262 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.2 ft @ 8.6 secs from 275 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.9 ft @ 9.3 secs from 280 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.1 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 7.6 ft @ 8.7 secs from 325 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was north at 6-8 kts. Water temp 55.6 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 Tuesday (2/19) in North and Central CA local windswell was producing waves in the head high range and fairly clean and somewhat rideable for a change. Protected breaks were waist to chest high with head high peaks down the beach and a bit warbled but rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder high and clean and lined up but a bit soft. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh high and clean and barely rideable. In North Orange Co surf was waist high at top breaks coming from the north and clean. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were 1 ft and textured and not rideable. North San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and clean and weak and inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was getting westerly windswell mixed with fading Kuril Island swell producing waves at 1-2 ft overhead and reasonably clean and lined up. The South Shore was thigh high and clean and weak. The East Shore was getting northeasterly windswell with waves 1 ft overhead and textured from light east wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (2/16) windswell was hitting Hawaii in associated with a local low that was previously just north of the Islands in combination with residual swell from a gale previously off the Kuril ISlands. Windswell was fading in California originating from low pressure previous off the North Coast and more recently local north winds. A weak system tracked northeast into the Eastern Aleutians Sun-Mon (2/18) producing 32 ft seas possibly resulting in small swell for CA mid-week. Of more interest is a gale forecast tracking off Japan to the dateline and into the Western Gulf Sun-Tues (2/26) possibly producing 51 ft seas aimed east. So there's actually hope. The Active Phase of the MJO is strong in the West Pacific and is forecast to push east into the East Pacific over the next 3 weeks feeding the storm track.  

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (2/19) the jetstream was somewhat consolidated tracking off Japan with winds 130 kts producing a small trough off Kamchatka offering minimal support for gale development there. But east of there the jet split 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 southeast and tracking down through the Eastern Gulf of Alaska forming a trough over the Pacific Northwest tracking inland over Baja. The southern branch tracked east over Hawaii and then onward merging with the northern branch and pushing over Baja. Over the next 72 hours through Fri (2/22) more of the same is forecast with the trough over the Pacific Northwest holding and the flow pushing inland over Baja with it's apex over Nevada. No clear support for meaningful gale development is forecast. Beyond 72 hours a possible change to set up with winds building in the consolidated portion of the jet over the West Pacific on Sun (2/24) to 170 kts pushing the split point east and a trough starting to build north of there over the dateline offering good support for gale development. By late Tues (2/26) there's some sense the split jet might be healing with a consolidated form pushing east to 140W and winds still 160 kts on the dateline trying to push east. Perhaps the Active Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific is finally going to have some positive influence on the storm track.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (2/19) residual swell from a small storm previously off the Kuril Islands was fading fast in California (see Kuril Gale below) and buried in local windswell. Windswell from a local cutoff low 200 nmiles northeast of Hawaii was still producing 30+ kt east winds and seas to 16 ft sending windswell into all the Hawaiian Islands (see QuikCASTs).

Over the next 72 hours no meaningful swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


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.

North CA: 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.


Small North Dateline Gale
A gale developed just west of the dateline lifting fast and hard northeast on Sun AM (2/17) with 45 kt southwest winds barely getting traction on the oceans surface generating 25 ft seas generally at 46N 176E lifting northeast. In the evening the gale was over the North Dateline region with 45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians and 33 ft seas at 50N 176W aimed east. This system was in the Bering Sea and no longer of interested by Mon AM (2/18) with residual seas fading from 28 ft just south of the Eastern Aleutians over a tiny area at 52.5N 167.5W aimed northeast. Low odds of meaningful swell resulting.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/21) building to 2.6 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (2/22) at 4.0 ft @ 14 secs late AM (5.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (2/23) 3.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 306 degrees and shadowed in the SF Bay Area.


  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 Tuesday AM (2/19) high pressure at 1040 mbs was in the Central Gulf of Alaska fed by a split jetstream flow aloft driving north winds at 15-20 kts mainly off the immediate coast of North and Central CA with Southern CA protected. No rain or snow indicated. North winds build on Wed (2/20) at 20 kts early for North and Central CA pushing 25 kts later and 5-10 kts early for Southern CA building to 20 kts later. Light rain for North CA early building south and into all of Southern CA at sunset. Light snow for Tahoe starting late Am and continuing through the day. Thurs (2/21) north winds 20-30 kts early focused on San Francisco and 20-25 kts for Southern CA and holding through the day. Light rain for Central and South CA early fading through the day. Snow showers for mainly the Southern Sierra. Friday (2/22) north winds take over at 10-15 kts for North and Central early fading some through the day. No precip forecast. Saturday (2/23) north winds to be 15 kts early for North and Central CA fading to 5-10 kts late AM. Light rain and snow for Cape Mendocino. Low snow levels. Sun (2/24) a light northerly flow is forecast except 15+ kts for Pt Conception. Showers for North CA down to the SF Bay area. Monday (2/25) low pressure is to start building in the Gulf. Light winds from the west and north 5-10 kts for the coast except northwest 15 kts for Pt Conception. Rain for North CA early and holding there. Snow focused on Tahoe. Tues (2/26) southwest winds 15-20 kts for North CA but variable 5 kts for Central CA. Rain building for North CA down to Monterey Bay later. Snow for Tahoe.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for Lake Tahoe (thru 2/26): 39 inches and 11 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 a gale is forecast developing in the West Pacific on Sat PM (2/23) tracking east with 50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 30 ft at 36N 156E aimed east. On Sun AM (2/24) the gael is to build to storm status with 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 38 ft at 39N 169E aimed east. In the evening the storm is to be tracking east-northeast to the dateline with 60 kt west winds and seas building to 48 ft at 42N 179E aimed east. On Mon AM (2/25) the storm is to be fading is size on the dateline with 55 kt west -northwest winds and seas building to 51 ft at 45N 176W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to be fading while lifting northeast with 50 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 45 ft at 45.5N 172W aimed east. The gale is to fade Tues AM (2/26) with 40 kt northwest winds in the Western Gulf and seas fading from 36 ft at 46N 168W aimed east. The gael to dissipate after that. Some odds for swell to develop assuming the model are correct.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Daily SOI Plummeting - Strong Westerly Wind Burst Occurring - Active MJO Building

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 (2/18) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then turning strong westerly over the core and western KWGA's. Anomalies were weak easterly over the East equatorial Pacific turning weak westerly over the Central equatorial Pacific and then strong westerly from 175W and points west of there filling the bulk of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (2/19) moderate west anomalies were over the dateline and filling the KWGA. The forecast is for moderate to strong west anomalies holding on the dateline backfilling to 125E and 160W in the next 2 days and effectively filling the KWGA and holding into 2/25, then fading some but holding on the dateline through the end of the model run at 2/26. 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: (2/18) 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 at modest strength and filling the KWGA at days 10-15. 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: (2/19) This model depicts a weak 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 3/1 moving to the East Pacific and Central America on 3/21. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO is to be setting up in the West Pacific on 3/16 pushing east while also holding in the West Pacific and filling the entire Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/31.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/18) This model depicts strong west anomalies (a Westerly Wind Burst - WWB) were over the KWGA focused on the dateline. Strong west anomalies are to hold over the dateline and in the KWGA through 3/2 then fading while easing east and almost gone from the KWGA at the end of the model run on 3/18. West anomalies are pushing into the California coast now, to fade 2/23-2/25 then rebuilding and holding through 3/7.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/19) 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 2/22 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 3/28 but with 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 5/19. But the MJO is to be very weak (a good sign for El Nino development). 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 5/2 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: (2/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 degs from 176W 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 155E 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: (2/18) 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 fading 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 (2/18): A building solid area of warm water remained off Chile and Peru out to 140W but with cooling waters in a pocket over 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: (2/18) 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: (2/19) Today's temps were rising to +0.392 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:
(2/19) Today temps were rising to +0.585 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 (2/19) 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 in the +1.2 degs range through July. After that temp are to more or less hold slowly to +1.10 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 holding into the Winter of 2019/20. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing in the 2018-2019 Winter. 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) (2/19): The daily index was falling hard today at -43.61 and has been hard negative the last 13 days. The 30 day average was falling at -7.84 suggesting a building Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at +0.10, 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): (2/19) The index rose to +0.30 on 1/20, but fell to -0.01 on 2/14, then rose today to +0.32. 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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