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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2020 5:01 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
2.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 2/17 thru Sun 2/23

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   

Small Swell Moving Towards HI
Stronger Storm Modeled - More Behind That

On Thursday, February 20, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 2.8 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 13.2 secs from 264 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.3 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 13.3 secs from 322 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 13.8 secs from 268 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.7 ft @ 12.9 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.5 secs from 227 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.6 ft @ 15.0 secs from 221 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 14.5 secs from 236 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 258 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was east at 4-6 kts. Water temp 51.3 degs (013), 53.1 degs (012) and 54.7 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 Thursday (2/20) in North and Central CA background swell was fading with waves waist to maybe chest high at top breaks and clean and sunny and soft. Protected breaks were flat with tiny waves breaking on the sand and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was maybe waist high on the sets and clean and soft and weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high or so and lined up but heavily textured from sideshore northwest wind. In North Orange Co surf was chest high on the sets and decently lined up when they came and glassed. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were chest high on the sets and lined up and peeling with glassy conditions. North San Diego had surf in the waist to chest high range and lined up when it came and clean but inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was getting small Gulf swell with waves head high on the sets and weak with reasonably clean conditions but with a little sideshore lump running through it and soft. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell at 2 ft overhead and chopped from strong east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (2/20) in California background swell was fading out. New swell was hitting Hawaii from a small and weak gale that developed over the Northwestern Gulf Mon-Tues (2/18) producing up to 24 ft seas aimed east. A tiny gale formed off the Kuril Islands Tues (2/18) producing up to 31 ft seas then tracking east over the North Dateline and into the Northwestern Gulf on Wed-Thurs (2/20) with seas 26-28 ft before fading it the Northern Gulf on Fri (2/21) with seas dropping from 25 ft. A small gale is forecast developing on the Dateline Sun-Mon (2/23) falling southeast with seas building to 32 ft aimed southeast then tracking east and dissipating Mon (2/24) with seas fading from 30 ft before making it decently into the Gulf. Secondary fetch to follow tracking east through the Gulf Tues-Wed (2/26) with 26-28 ft seas aimed east. The storm track is to remain weak.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (2/20) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds up to 190 kts in one pocket reaching the dateline forming a weak and broad trough offering low odds for gale development then lifting gently northeast and splitting with the northern branch tracking through the Northern Gulf and into Central Canada while the southern branch tracked over Hawaii and then lifted up over Southern California. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast other than winds fading off Japan to 160-170 kts until Sat (2/22) when a trough is forecast developing over the North Dateline digging out decently into Sun (2/23) offering decent support for gale development and with the split point in the jetstream moving to 150W. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to pinch off in the Northwestern Gulf early on Tues (2/25) with support for gale development fading out. To the west the jet is to be loosely consolidation tracking from Japan over the dateline at 130 kts and into the Western Gulf running flat east with no troughs indicated into Wed (2/26) with the split point holding at 150W. Some wind energy is to start building into the Western Jet on Thurs (2/27) at 150 kts starting to carve out a trough just off Japan offering some support for gale development. The split point is to retrograde to 155W with the northern branch lifting northeast and up into Central Canada. The Southwest US is to remain high and dry locked in between the 2 branches of the jet.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (2/20) tiny swell was hitting Hawaii from a weak gale that tracked through the Northwestern Gulf (see Weak Northwestern Gulf Gale below). Another small swell is in the water pushing east (see Kuril-Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Sun AM (2/23) a small gale is forecast developing over the North Dateline region falling southeast with 45-50 kt northwest winds over a tiny area and seas 30 ft at 47N 179E aimed southeast. The gale is to be fading in the evening while falling rapidly southeast with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 31 ft at 43N 175W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading Mon AM (2/24) from 35-40 kts and seas 30 ft at 40N 168W aimed southeast. Additional fetch is to build in the evening with 40 kt west winds and seas 30 ft over a tiny area at 43.5N 163W aimed east. The gale is to track east on Tues AM (2/25) with 35 kt west wind and seas fading from 28 ft at 44N 154W aimed east. In the evening 35 kt southwest fetch is to be fading with seas fading from 27 ft at 45N 148W aimed east. Something to monitor.


Weak Northwestern Gulf Gale
A small gale developed over the Dateline on Sun PM (2/16) producing 30-35 kt west winds over a fragmented area and seas 21 ft at 43N 175E aimed east. On Mon AM (2/17) west winds became a little more focused south of the Aleutians and just east of the dateline at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft near 43N 177W aimed east. In the evening the gale tried to consolidate with west winds 30-35 kts and seas 24 ft at 47N 171.5W aimed east. The gale tracked east Tues AM (2/18) while fading with no meaningful fetch left and seas from previous fetch fading from 21 ft at 46.5N 163W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Tiny sideband swell to arrive starting Thurs (2/20) building to 3.3 ft @ 13-14 secs early (4.0 ft) then starting to fade late afternoon. Residuals on Fri (2/21) fading from 2.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 330 degrees

North CA: Small swell arriving later Thurs (2/20) at 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (2/21) to 5.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (2/22) from 4.0 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (2/23) fading from 3.6 ft @ 12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 298-302 degrees


Kuril-Dateline Gale
Another gale formed on Tues PM (2/18) off the Kuril Islands with 40 kt west winds and 31 ft seas building at 41N 161.5E. On Wed AM (3/19) west winds were 35-40 kts over a small are with the gale racing east-northeast approaching the dateline with 25 ft seas at 43N 175E. In the evening the gale is to be pushing into the Northwestern Gulf with 35 kt west winds and 26 ft seas at 48N 172W aimed east. On Thurs AM (2/20) the gale continued east with west winds at 40 kts in the Northern Gulf with 29 ft seas at 49.5N 162W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be lifting northeast in the Northern Gulf with 35 kt west winds and seas 27 ft at 52N 152W. The gale is to dissipate Fri AM (2/21) with 23 ft seas fading up at 55N 147W aimed east. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (2/22) building to 4.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.0 ft) mid-day. Swell fading on Sun (2/23) from 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (5.0 ft). Nothing left after that. Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (2/23) building to 6.5 ft @ 15 secs (9.5 ft) mid-AM an shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Mon (2/24) from 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 302-305 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thurs (2/20) a light wind pattern is forecast for all of California all day (northwest 5-10 kts). Fri (2/21) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts early north of Pt Conception building from the northwest to 15 kts for Pt Arena northward in the afternoon but 5-10 kts from the southwest for Central CA and weaker north of there to Pt Arena. Sat (2/22) north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA building to 15 kts for Central CA in the afternoon and 20+ kts for North CA. Light rain is forecast for South CA up into Central CA north to Monterey Bay fading late afternoon. Maybe some snow for higher elevations of the Southern Sierra. Sun (2/23) high pressure returns with north winds 20 kts for all of North and Central CA early and holding all day. Mon (2/24) north winds are forecast at 20 kts for all of North and Central CA and early holding all day. Tuesday (2/25) north winds are forecast at 20 kts early for North Ca and 15 kts for Central CA holding all day. Wed (2/26) north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and 5 kts for Central CA holding all day. Thurs (2/27) north winds to be 10 kts for North CA early and 5-10 kts for Central CA fading to 5 kts later for the entire region.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch is occurring.

Over the next 72 hours the model are hinting at a small gale building Sat AM (2/22) in the South Central Pacific with 45-50 kt south winds over a tiny area and seas building from 35 ft at 46S 138.5W aimed north. 40 kt south winds are forecast in the evening with 34 ft seas over a tiny area aimed north at 43.5S 137W aimed north. This system to dissipate after that. Something to monitor.


South Central Pacific Gale
Aa small gale developed in the Central South Pacific Mon AM (2/17) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas building to 33 ft at 54.5S 151.5W aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds built in coverage but down to 35 kts and seas 31 ft at 53S 144W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading Tues AM (2/18) from 30-35 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 29 ft at 52.5S 136.5W aimed northeast. The gale dissipated from there.

Southern CA: Small swell to arrive starting Tues (2/25) building to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell building Wed (2/26) to 2.0 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (3.0 ft). Swell 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft) early Thurs (2/27). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Northern CA: Small swell to arrive starting Tues (2/25) building to 1.1 ft @ 19 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building Wed (2/26) to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (2.5 ft). Swell 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) early Thurs (2/27). Swell Direction: 192 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Tues PM (2/25) a new gale is to be developing in the Western Gulf with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft over a tiny area at 42N 168W aimed east. Wed AM (2/26) the gale is to have 40 kt west winds over a small area and seas 28 ft at 43.5N 158W aimed east. The gale is to push east in the evening with 40 kt west winds and seas 25 ft over a moderate area at 47.5N 147W aimed east. Fetch is to be lifting northeast Thurs AM (2/27) at 35-40 kts with seas 27 ft up at 51.5N 146W aimed northeast. The gale is to be gone in after that.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours maybe another small gale is to develop southeast of New Zealand on Mon (2/24) tracking mostly east with seas building late Monday evening to 37 ft over a tiny area at 55S 159W aimed east. The gale is to fade out from there.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Active MJO Starting to Build - Weakly

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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water hold in a pool off Peru and has not changed as of late Jan 2020.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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 is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (2/19) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then fading to near calm over the North Dateline and North KWGA but moderate to strong west over the South Dateline and into the south KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the far East equatorial Pacific fading to neutral over the Central Pacific and then strong west over the dateline and KWGA mainly south of the equator.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (2/20) west anomalies were modest in the KWGA. The forecast calls for modest west anomalies through 2/24 over the KWGA, then starting to build some to moderate strength on 2/25 but limited to the immediate dateline area with weak east anomalies in the far West KWGA and strong east anomalies mainly east of the KWGA and holding in that configuration through the end of the model run on 2/27.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/19) A moderate Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA reaching to the dateline. The statistic model indicates the Active MJO is forecast slowly easing east filling the KWGA on days 5-10 of the model run but getting slightly stronger and continuing strong into day 15 centered just west of the dateline. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Active Phase fading fast at day 5, and then neutral at day 10 then trying to rebuild but mostly over the Maritime Continent at day 15 weakly. The 2 models diverge significantly 5-10 days from now.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/20) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the far West Pacific today and is to slowly track east and losing strength over the Atlantic at day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially, but with the Active Phase retrograding back to the West Pacific starting day 5 and holding through day 15 but very weak in strength.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/20) This model depicts a weak Active Phase over the Central Pacific today. It is to push east moving into Central America on 3/9 while a modest Inactive Phase starts to develop in the KWGA 3/3. It is to push steadily east while holding strength moving into Central America on 3/29. A weak Active MJO is to start building in the West Pacific on 3/26 moving better into the West Pacific at the end of the model run on 3/31.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/19) This model depicts a weak Active MJO on the dateline today with moderate west anomalies in control in the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active signal is to build slowly over the dateline rebuilding to strong status 2/25-3/9 with strong west anomalies holding in the KWGA through 3/3. The Active Phase is to be pushing east of the KWGA 3/10 with west anomalies steadily fading and all but gone 4/11 as the Inactive Phase starts to build holding through the end of the model run on 3/18. East anomalies are to be building mainly from the dateline east with weak west anomalies at 150E at the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/20-using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active MJO pattern developing in the western KWGA today with light west anomalies in the KWGA. A modest Active MJO Phase is to fully set up 2/23 with modest west anomalies building to moderate in the KWGA 2/28-3/7, then fading. Beyond that a moderate Inactive Phase is forecast 3/7-3/25 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA over that duration. Another weak Active Phase is to develop 3/26 holding through then end of the model run with weak west anomalies in the KWGA build to strong status at the end of the model run 5/8-5/19. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. A third contour line is to briefly appear 3/3-3/15. The second contour line is to hold unchanged through the end of the model run, or maybe weakening some starting 4/24 through the end of the run. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean and is to hold. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22/19 and are to slowly fade through 4/16. The model keeps switching between the continuation of the Indian Ocean high pressure/east wind bias and the low pressure bias over the dateline and the demise of all three in the April timeframe (Springtime 'Predictability Barrier' in full effect).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/20) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm backtracked from 175E to all but gone today. The 29 deg isotherm backtracked to 173W and is solid today. The 28 deg isotherm line was a brick wall aligned and steady at 162W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador and decently thick. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at 4.0 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent but stationary with it's leading edge at 123W. Lesser warm water was pushing into Ecuador at +1 degs. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 150 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave with warm water falling from 120E down into the dateline at 180m deep peaking there at +4 degrees then pushing and rising east to 123W with a stronger pocket of warm water pushing and rising east from there (impacting Ecuador). 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) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is filling the equatorial Pacific between 160E pushing non-stop into Ecuador. Fairly impressive.

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: (2/19) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were wavering just off the coast of Chile up into Peru but with cool anomalies nearshore there, then with building warm anomalies along Ecuador up into Central America then tracking west on the equator to the Galapagos out to 117W mainly on and north of the equator. Pockets of cool anomalies were on the equator from the Galapagos to 130W. A broad pocket of cooling was still south of the equator and well off Peru filling the area from 2S south down to 35S reaching west to 140W and east to 80W. A mirror image of it was now developing off California and well off Baja.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/19): Weak warming was off Peru and also west of the Galapagos out to 160W. The short term trend is weakly warming. There was thin inconsistent stream of cooling on the equator from Ecuador out to 120W.
Hi-res Overview: (2/19) A steady pocket of cool anomalies is holding south of the equator starting at 5S and just off Peru reaching west out to 140W and steady. A mirror image of it was also off California and Baja Mexico out to 140W. Warm anomalies were trying to hold on along Chile and Peru then stronger up to Ecuador and Central America up to Mainland Mexico and stronger on the equator out to 120W. A cool pocket was on the equator from 118-135W and weakening. Warmer than normal water was west of there out to the dateline and beyond. Water temps appear to be stable and neither El Nino or La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/20) Today's temps were holding at -0.121. Previously temps dropped to -0.900 on 12/12. Temps peaked prior at +1.55 degrees on 12/2 after a long runup from negative anomalies in October. It now appears we are in a falling trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(2/20) Temps were steady at +0.299. Temps peaked on 11/14 at +0.509 degs, fell some to -0.018 on 11/28, and are now trying to rebuild. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept when they bottomed out at -0.6 degs (9/14).

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/19) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late last summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then started rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct holding to Dec 1 rising to +0.70 degs Jan 1 and holding at +0.65 to Feb 1. From there the forecast depicts temps holding steady to early April then starting to fall, down to 0.0 in mid-May then diving negative appearing to be moving strongly to La Nina down at -1.50 in mid- Oct and possibly falling from there. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the Winter and Spring of 2020, then turning strongly towards La Nina in the core of Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.32 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in June 2020, then falling some to -0.1 degs in Aug only to rebound to neutral in October 2020. 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) (2/18): The daily index was positive today at +4.42. The 30 day average was weakly negative at -3.43 and falling. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -4.21, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Dec +0.46, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (2/16):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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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