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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2023 1:19 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
2.8 - California & 1.2 - 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 2/20 thru Sun 2/26
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   

La Nina Collapsing
Raw Windswell for CA - High Pressure Holds Over NPac


Tuesday, February 21, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt) (Out of Service - using Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 6.2 secs from 162 degrees. Water temp NA degs (Barbers Pt), 75.4 (Pearl Harbor 233), 76.5 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Buoy Down. Using Buoy 202 (Hanalei) Seas were 9.5 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 9.4 secs from 86 degrees. Water temp 75.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 13.6 secs from 280 degrees. Wind west-southwest at 2 kts. Water temperature 56.3 degs, 55.6 (Topanga 103), 56.1 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.2 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 56.1 (Del Mar 153), 57.4 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 305 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.7 secs from 285 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 9.7 secs from 261 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 10.3 secs from 238 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.5 secs from 270 degrees. Water temperate was 57.2 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.7 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 8.6 ft @ 9.3 secs from 319 degrees. Wind northwest at 25-33 kts (46026). Water temp 49.1 (Bodega Bay 46013), 50.0 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 50.7 (San Francisco 46026), 51.4 (SF Bar 142), 52.0 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and NA (Monterey Bay 46042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- 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 (2/21) North and Central CA had sets head high to 1 ft overhead and a warbled whitecapped mess with strong northwest winds. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead on the sets and somewhat lined up and again a whitecapped warbled mess. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high and reasonably lined up and fairly clean but warbled and wonky. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high or so and and reasonably lined up but a bit mushed and clean but with some intermixed warble and no wind early. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and lined up but trashed from south wind and small developing whitecaps. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were flat to thigh high and mushed and warbled from south wind. North San Diego had sets at thigh high and weak and soft but pretty clean early. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at up to head high at top spots and somewhat lined up with decent form and clean early. The South Shore was thigh high and soft and clean with some warble intermixed. The East Shore was getting east windswell at 2 ft overhead and chopped from strong east-southeasterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (2/21) Hawaii was getting local east windswell. California was getting locally generated northwest windswell overrunning remnant swell from a gale that developed off Kamchatka Tues-Wed (2/15) producing 39 ft seas aimed east. Looking forward a weird (in not a good way) pattern sets up with high pressure locking down the Central North Pacific. A gale developed over the North Dateline region Mon-Tues (2/21) with up to 28 ft seas aimed east. And a gale is forecast just off the Pacific Northwest falling south off California Tues-Fri (2/24) producing 25-26 ft seas aimed south. And maybe another gale is forecast falling southeast through the Gulf on Sun-Mon (2/27) with 21-24 ft seas aimed southeast. And maybe something more developing on the North Dateline region beyond. Get whatever you can.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (2/21) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan running east on the 35N latitude line with winds to 170 kts then splitting on the dateline with most energy ridging northeast in the northern branch of the jet tracking up through the Northern Gulf of Alaska then falling south starting to form a trough just off British Columbia with winds building to 160 kts offering limited support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that backdoor trough off British Columbia is to slowly fall south forming a backdoor front pushing south down over the Pacific Northwest and then California through Sat (2/25) offering limited support for fetch and swell production. Back to the west the split in the jet is to retrograde to 160E late on Fri (2/24). No other troughs of interest are forecast. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun (2/26) a strong ridge is to be building over the dateline with the northern branch of the jet tracking up through the Bering Sea then starting to fall southeast over the Northeastern Gulf off British Columbia perhaps supporting gale formation and moving over North CA on Tues (2/28). At that time the jet is to be split over the entirety of the North Pacific with the biggest split from the dateline and points east of there. We're doomed from a surf perspective.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (2/21) leftover swell from a gale previously over Kamchatka and the North Dateline was fading in Hawaii and California.

Over the next 72 hours local fetch is forecast producing windswell for California (see California Gradient below).


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

Oahu: Residuals on Tues (2/21) fading from 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees

North CA: Residuals on Tues (2/21) fading from 2.7 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) but being overrun by local northwest windswell. Swell Direction: 301 degrees


California Gradient
A gradient started developing off British Columbia on Mon PM (2/20) producing 35-40 kts northwest winds just off the Canadian Coast with seas building to 26 ft but totally shadowed relative to California. On Tues AM (2/21) winds built to 35-40 kts off North Vancouver Island with seas 23 ft at 49N 130W aimed southeast and of interest only to the Pacific Northwest. In the evening north to northwest winds to be building at 35-40 kts over a broad area from BC south to Pt Conception with seas 27 ft at 48N 130W aimed southeast (off the Pacific Northwest) and shadowed relative to even North CA. On Wed AM (2/22) winds to hold at 35 kts over the entire US West Coast and BC with seas 26 ft at 44.5N 128W aimed southeast starting to become unshadowed for North CA. Fetch to be stationary in the evening at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 40N 128W or off Southern Oregon and North CA aimed south. Fetch holding Thurs AM (2/23) a bit off the coast of Washington at 35 kts from the north with seas 21 ft at 40N 127 aimed southeast. Fetch is to fall south in the evening at 35 kts off the OR-CA border with seas 23 ft at 43N 131W aimed south. Fetch fading Fri AM (2/24) off Central CA at 30-35 kts from the north with seas 22 ft at 38.25N 130W aimed south. Fetch dissipating off North and Central CA in the evening with seas 19 ft at 36N 128W aimed south. Mostly just a bunch of raw ill formed windswell to result for California. Something to monitor.

North CA: Expect windswell building on Tues (2/21) through the day pushing to 9 ft @ 9 secs (7.5 ft) later. Windswell peaking early Wed (2/22) at 13 ft @ 12-13 secs (13 ft). Windswell fading Thurs (2/23) from 8 ft @ 13 secs (8.0 ft). Windswell fading on Fri (2/24) from 6.0 ft @ 12 secs (7.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (2/25) fading from 5.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction 310+ degrees


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


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

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (2/22) a developing gradient if forecast over the US West Coast with northwest winds 35 kts for all of North, Central and Southern CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds moderate at 20-25 kts for all of North CA and Central CA and 25 kts for Southern CA. Light rain for the coast of North and Central CA early and building weakly inland through the day and evening. Snow showers developing for the Sierra late afternoon turning to steady snow in the evening.
  • Thurs AM (2/23) low pressure is to develop circulating over the Washington Coast falling south with northwest winds 15+ kts for North and Central CA early and northwest 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon winds turn west to southwest at 10-15 ks for all of North and Central CA and northwest 10 kts for Southern CA. Light rain for all of California including Southern CA through the day. Steady snow for the Sierra through the evening.
  • Fri AM (2/24) the core of the low is to be over Bodega Bay CA with a front pushing south over Pt Conception with north winds forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA early and west 15-20 kts south of Monterey Bay and southwest 20+ kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon north winds to be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino but 30 kts off the coast and north 5-10 kts for Bodega Bay southward to Pt Conception. Southwest winds and the leading edge of the front are to be over San Diego at 20 kts. Rain for the entire state early but clearing from the north late afternoon though the evening. Moderate to heavy snow for the Sierra through the day thinning overnight.
  • Sat AM (2/25) north winds to be 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and north 5-10 kts from Pt Arena southward if not northeast early. West winds 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA and northwest 15 kts for Southern CA. Rain limited to Southern CA early but holding through the day then starting to fade over night. Snow for the Sierra early but limited to the Mammoth area southward mid-AM and slowly fading through the evening.
  • Sun AM (2/26) northwest winds to be 10 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the rest of North and Central CA early. In the afternoon low pressure is to be building off the OR-CA border with southwest winds 5-10 kts early for North CA and northwest 5 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino early reaching the Golden Gate in the late evening. Snow developing for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Mon AM (2/27) southwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts for the rest of North CA and southwest 5-10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon the front hits CA with low pressure lingering off Cape Mendocino and west winds 20 kts from Pt Arena south to Pt Conception. Light rain for all of North and Central CA early building through the day and pushing into Southern CA overnight. Snow for Tahoe early building to heavy snow late afternoon reaching south of Mammoth in the afternoon and pushing south from there overnight.
  • Tues AM (2/28) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA building through the day. Snow for the Tahoe area early and building southward.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 70, 74, 70, and 57 inches.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is falling hard down to 1,000 ft late on 2/21 then holding in the 2,500 ft level into 2/24, rising to 5,000 ft briefly on 2/25 then falling and and holding at 3,500 ft through for the foreseeable future. Cold.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water or radiating towards the coast.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Sat PM (2/25) producing 35 kt northwest winds with seas building. On Sun AM (2/26) 35 kt northwest winds are to be falling southeast through the Gulf with seas 23 ft at 50N 158W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to be well off the Pacific Northwest at 35 kts from the northwest with seas 23 ft at 50N 150W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (2/27) 30-35 kt northwest winds to be off the OR-CA border with seas 21 ft at 43N 138W aimed southeast. Fetch building off North CA in the evening at 35 kts with seas 22 ft at 43N 131W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be pushing onshore over North CA Tues AM (2/28) with 22 ft seas impacting North CA at 40N 125W. Something to monitor.

And some sort of a gale is forecast developing over the North Dateline region on Mon AM (2/27) producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 28-30 ft at 49N 176E aimed northeast. 35+ west winds to continue into the evening with a broadish area of 22-24 ft seas rough at 48N 175E aimed east. Fetch easing east into Tues AM (2/28) producing 22-24 ft seas roughly at 50N 180W. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


El Nino Developing
Kelvin Wave #2 is Coming - Active MJO #3 In Control - West Anomalies Forecast Beyond
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with another building now. And Westerly Winds are in control and forecast getting fully established filling the KWGA and the Pacific over the next month. And Sea Surface Temperature are warming and near neutral. The last link in the chain is to see the SOI falling. The outlook is turning steadily optimistic.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed through the Winter of 2022 and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

Fall/Winter 2022 = 4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina made a strong return by the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen and a full double dip pattern took hold through the Winter of 21/22. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December 2022 with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Jan. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter 2022. But by later in Jan or early Feb 2023 a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct 22-Jan 23, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by Feb 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after Jan 2023. The swell pattern will be below normal before Jan and above normal after Jan 23 with the average of the two being 'normal'. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early date.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (2/20) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and moderate to strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and weak east over the Central Pacific and weak west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/21) West anomalies filled the KWGA today and were also reaching east to a point south of California. This is the first time west anomalies have covered the entire KWGA in years. The 7 day forecast has west anomalies holding over the entire KWGA through 2/24, then still present in pockets mainly over the dateline till the end of the model run on 2/28.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (2/20) A moderate Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active MJO signal holding mainly on the dateline through day 5 of the model run with the Inactive Phase starting to move into the far West KWGA and taking it over on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase slowly fading and gone on day 5 with a neutral pattern setting up (no Inactive Phase) through day 10 of the model run, but then the Active Signal returning on day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (2/21) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the Atlantic moving east over Africa to the Indian Ocean 15 days out and weak. The dynamic model indicates it moving to Africa 3 days out then retrograding over the West Pacific at weak status 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (2/21) A weak Active signal (wet air) was filling the Pacific today. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) tracking steadily east over the Pacific and pushing into Ecuador on 3/18. A weak Inactive signal (dry air) is forecast moving over the KWGA on 3/13 filling the equatorial Pacific before moving over the East Equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 4/2. A weak Active signal is to follow at that time over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (2/20)
A solid Active Phase of the MJO was in control of the KWGA today with west anomalies filling the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to continue traversing the KWGA through 2/27 with west anomalies filling the KWGA. After that a neutral MJO pattern is forecast with west anomalies rebuilding and filling the West KWGA from 150E and points west of there starting 2/28 through the end of the model run on 3/20. Weak residual east anomalies are to linger (the remnants of La Nina) from 160E to the dateline over that same time period. La Nina is dead but it's remnants/momentum are still evident in the atmosphere.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(2/21) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Active Phase of the MJO was filling the KWGA with west anomalies in control. The Active Phase of the MJO is to track east over the entirety of the KWGA through 3/17 with west anomalies filling the KWGA. West anomalies and the Active Phase are pushing east and south of California today through 3/1. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to move over the KWGA starting 2/27, collapsing 3 days later then returning on 3/18 holding through the end of the model run on 5/21 but with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA and in control of the entire Pacific by 3/23 and holding for the foreseeable future. West anomalies are forecast strong over the dateline 4/17 through the end of the model run. One pocket of easterly anomalies to develop on the dateline 3/9-3/21 then fading never to return.The shift to El Nino is starting. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 170W with its western perimeter at 150E today. The high pressure bias started moving east on 2/15. The second contour is forecast collapsing/pushing east of the KWGA on 3/9 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 4/2. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 135E today and started slowly pushing east on 2/15, with a hard push east forecast starting 3/17 and on the dateline 4/15 and filling the Pacific at the end of the model run. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next since Oct 2022. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is over with no return in sight.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/21) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was not present. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded to 170E but was moving east to 173E. The 26 degree isotherm had backtracked from 157W to 162W but was easing east to 148W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and building in thickness. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 145W and connected solidly to warm water from a previous Kelvin Wave off Ecuador. No negative anomalies of interest were present. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/17 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific and reaching east upwards to 119W. Remnants of a previous Kelvin Wave were lingering in a pocket lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 100W down 40m (the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle) and was lifting towards the surface while weakening and discharging. The cool upwelling event that has been in play since July has been undercut and is fading. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/17) Sea heights were very positive from 170E and points west of there and 0 cms over the remainder of the Equatorial Pacific reaching east to Ecuador other than one small pocket of -5 cm anomalies near 100W (and even that was fading fast) Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies have retreated to the East Equatorial Pacific between 87W to Ecuador. And a previous pool of weak cool waters is collapsing between 99W to 110W. Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West at the same time reaching east to 121W. Kelvin Wave #2 is pushing east.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (2/20) The latest images depict a building pool of warming water along the equator from Ecuador west to 130W (results of Kelvin Wave #1). And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru and over all of the deep South Pacific. Overall this indicates the collapse of La Nina was underway. A broad generic pool of barely cool water extending west from well off Peru from 105W to the dateline mainly south of the equator in the East and reaching south to 18S near Tahiti then centered on the equator in the west and losing coverage and intensity daily.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/20): A broad pool of warming water was locked well off the coasts of Peru, Chile and a strong pocket off Ecuador and west over the equatorial Pacific to 150W and in pockets east of ther to nearly New Guinea. A warming trend is well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (2/20) Warming waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Cool waters were on the equator from about 120W to 160E. And those cool waters were losing intensity and coverage daily. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming. La Nina remains in control over the West Equatorial Pacific for the moment but the density and intensity of the cooling is steadily fading while warming water is building around it's edges and migrating in from the East.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/21) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were steady at +1.024 after rising to +1.076 on 2/19 and otherwise were steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Longterm they have been steadily rising since 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(2/21) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were rising at -0.602 and have been rising slowly since 2/12 were they were about -1.0 degs C and had been holding there since at least Nov 2022. Other data from NOAA indicates temp anomalies were at -0.5 degs (see CFSv2 Data below).

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs above the La Nina threshold on 2/12. .
Forecast (2/21) - Temps are to move to neutral (0.0 degs) early-April and up to +0.8 degs in July and +1.25 degs in Oct and solidly into El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are to hit neutral (0.0 degs) late March/early-April and rising to +0.65 degs in July and +1.05 degs in Oct. According to this version of the model we are building into ENSO neutral in Spring and into El Nino in Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 19, 2023 Plume depicts temps are -0.228 degs today and above the La nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to -0.018 degs in March rising to +0.758 in July and +0.759 in Sept. This is consistent with the previous run. This model suggests a transition to ENSO neutral if not weak El Nino. This model is in line with the CFS model.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (2/21) the Daily Index was falling at -4.08 after reaching +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling at +12.28 (lagging indicator driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO) after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was rising slightly at +14.53 previously peaking at +15.61 on 10/25 and previously peaking at +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest one last Inactive Phase occurring now is to drive the index up.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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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