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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, March 7, 2023 12:45 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
2.2 - California & 4.2 - 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 3/6 thru Sun 3/12
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   

Raw Swell for HI
Atmospheric River Cycle for CA

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt) (Out of Service - using Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 10.0 secs from 245 degrees. Water temp NA degs (Barbers Pt), 75.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 76.3 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Out of Service Buoy 202 (Hanalei) Out of Service
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 12.8 secs from 267 degrees. Wind northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 55.0 degs, 55.9 (Topanga 103), 54.9 degs (Long Beach 215), 56.1 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 55.4 (Del Mar 153), 56.1 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.6 ft @ 12.7 secs from 306 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 2.7 ft @ 12.3 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.3 secs from 254 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.2 secs from 255 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.3 ft @ 13.7 secs from 270 degrees. Water temperature was 56.1 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 12.4 secs from 299 degrees. Wind south at 4-6 kts (46026). Water temp 49.3 (Bodega Bay 46013), 49.6 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 49.3 (San Francisco 46026), 49.6 (SF Bar 142), 50.7 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and NA (Monterey Bay 46042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (3/7) North and Central CA had sets at chest high and pretty warbled and junky from southerly wind. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and lined up and clean but soft and mushed. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and sort of lined up but a little warbled and soft though winds were calm. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to maybe waist high and weakly lined up and mushed and a little warbled and soft but clean. Central Orange County had sets at waist high and clean with no wind and decent form but soft. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh high and super clean and soft. North San Diego had sets at waist high and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at waist high at top spots and somewhat lined up and soft and a bit warbled but clean coming from the northeast. The South Shore was thigh high and pretty trashed from southwest wind. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell at thigh to near waist high and clean with light west winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (3/7) Hawaii and California were getting no swell of interest. A gale was developing falling southeast from the dateline Mon-Wed (3/8) producing up to 33 ft sea aimed at Hawaii then tracking northeast Thurs-Fri (3/10) with seas fading from 24 ft aimed at the US West Coast. Otherwise no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast. But two Atmospheric River events remain on track for California starting Fri (3/10) fueled by a strong Active Phase of the MJO pushing east.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (3/7) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off Japan running east on the 33N latitude line with winds building in a pocket to 160 kts straddling the dateline and continuing east reaching to 145W before splitting. A trough was positioned in that consolidated flow just west of the split point and north of Hawaii supporting gale formation. At the split point most energy started ridging hard north in the northern branch of the jet tracking up through the East Bering Sea then reversing direction and falling south over the far east Gulf of Alaska off British Columbia forming a backdoor trough pushing inland over North CA but with winds only 100 kts or so supporting weather production and local low pressure over the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hours the trough north of Hawaii is to slowly moderate while tracking east into Thurs (3/9) positioned northeast of Hawaii, slowly loosing support for gale production. Back to the west the consolidated jet is to continue pushing east and merging with the colder backdoor trough off California on Fri (3/10) pushing inland over North CA likely producing a weather event for that area. At that time the jet is to be consolidated pushing over the entirety of the North Pacific offering some support for at least weather production wherever it crosses land, though no clear troughs are forecast in the jet offering no support for gale production. Beyond 72 hours some energy is to peel off the main jetstream flow over Japan tracking north up into the Bering Sea by Mon (3/13). But the bulk of the jet is to remain consolidated tracking east across the Pacific on the 30N latitude line targeting California. On Mon (3/13) a weak trough is to start developing in the jet off California being fed by 140 kts winds looking to support gale production. And at that time the wind energy tracking through the Being Sea is to start falling southeast looking to merge with the southern branch of the jet somewhere just off California and beyond Tues (3/14). A pretty energetic pattern looks to be shaping up.


Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (3/7) no swell of interest was hitting either Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours swell from a gale that is developing on the dateline is to be hitting the Hawaiian Islands (see Hawaiian Gale below).

 

Hawaiian Gale
On Sun PM (3/5) a small gale developed just west of the dateline with 45 kt north winds and seas building from 23 ft at 36N 171E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (3/6) northwest winds were 45 kts on the dateline with seas 27 ft at 34.75N 176.5E aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds were 45-50 kts aimed well at Hawaii with 31 ft seas building at 35.75N 177W aimed southeast at Hawaii. On Tues AM (3/7) northwest winds held position and strength at 45-50 kts with seas 32 ft at 36N 175.75W aimed southeast targeting Hawaii well. In the evening fetch is to fall southeast and fade from 40 kts over a solid sized area with seas 32 ft at 30.5N 172.75W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (3/8) fetch is to reconsolidated at 35 kts from the northwest within 400 nmiles of Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 26.75N 168W. Fetch holds in the evening at 30-35 kts from the northwest while sweeping just north of the Islands with seas 27 ft at 26N 162W aimed southeast and impacting Hawaii. On Thurs AM (3/9) fetch is to ease east at 30 kts from the northwest just north of Hawaii with seas 24 ft at 28N 154.5W aimed southeast. In the evening west fetch is to be lifting northeast well off the US West Coast at 30 kts with seas 21 ft at 29N 152.25W aimed east. On Fri AM (3/10) west winds to fade from 25-30 kts with seas fading from 19 ft at 28.75N 152W aimed east targeting the US West Coast. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival late on Wed (3/8) building to 7.8 ft @ 16 secs (12.5 ft) at sunset. Swell continues solid early on Thurs (3/9) but fading from 12.9 ft @ 15 secs (19.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (3/10) fading from 8.4 ft @ 13 secs (10.5 ft). Dribbles on Sat (3/11) fading from 6.2 ft @ 11 secs (6.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees moving to 330 degrees

No real swell is expected to result for the US West Coast

 

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 (3/8) northwest winds to be 10+ kts for Cape mendocino and 15 kts for the remainder of North CA on down to Big Sur but 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception. In the afternoon light winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA. Light rain for North CA down to Monterey Bay early clearing later afternoon. Some snow for Lake Tahoe early building over the Tahoe to Yosemite area in the afternoon then fading overnight.
  • Thurs AM (3/9) much low pressure is to be offshore with south winds forecast at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the remainder of North CA and 10 kts from the south for Central CA. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for all of North CA down to Monterey Bay and south winds 20+ kts from Pt Conception northward. Rain developing for all of North and Central CA in the afternoon getting heavy overnight. Heavy snow for all the Sierra in the evening.
  • Fri AM (3/10) southwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early for all of North and Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino but southwest winds are to be fading from 15 kts for the rest of North CA on down and over all of Central CA. Heavy rain for all of North and Central CA early reaching south to LA County and then to San Diego and holding at heavy status through the day before fading in the evening. Heavy snow for higher elevations of the Sierra through the day fading some overnight.
  • Sat AM (3/11) a light southwesterly flow is forecast at 5 kts for all of North and Central CA. In the afternoon south winds building some to 10 kts for all of North and Central CA. Scattered light pockets of rain early for all of CA. Rain redeveloping in the afternoon mainly for San Francisco and points northward and holding overnight. Steady moderate snow for the Sierra from Mammoth northward through the day and evening.
  • Sun AM (3/12) south winds are forecast at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino but west at 5 kts for the remainder of North and Central CA. In the afternoon low pressure start building off the coast again with south winds 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts for the rest of North CA and northwest 5-10 kts for Central CA. Light rain for mostly North CA early clearing through the afternoon and evening. Modest snow early for the Sierra.
  • Mon AM (3/13) south winds are forecast at 15 kts north of Bodega Bay with low pressure building and approaching and south winds 10 kts for the rest of North CA and northwest 5 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon low pressure arrives with south winds 25-30 kts for North CA and south winds 15 kts down to Santa Cruz and 10 kts on down to Pt Conception. Heavy rain developing for North CA in the afternoon building to Pt Conception in the evening. Snow developing for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Tues AM (3/14) southwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early reaching south to LA County mid AM. Snow building for the Sierra.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 98, 112, 85, and 1100 inches with steady accumulation through 3/8, taking a break then beginning in earnest again on 3/10-3/12 and 3/14.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is about 3,000 ft through 3/8 then the warm-up begins with freezing level rising to 8,500 ft 3/9 falling to 6,800 ft on 3/10 and holding before rising again to 8,300 ft on 3/13 falling to 6,800 ft on 3/14 and holding.

- - -

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

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

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

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

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

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

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

El Nino Developing
Kelvin Wave #2 in Flight - Active MJO #3 Strong - Sea Surface Temps Rising Fast
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with Kelvin Wave #2 in-flight and Kevin Wave #3 developing now. And Westerly Winds are fully established filling the KWGA and forecast filling the Pacific over the next month. And Sea Surface Temperatures are warming to neutral. The last link in the chain is to see the SOI falling (which it is showing preliminary signs of doing). The outlook is turning 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.

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (3/6) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and modest easterly 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): (3/7) Modest west anomalies filled the KWGA today. The 7 day forecast has weak to modest west anomalies holding over the KWGA through the end of the model run on 3/14. Strong west anomalies are developing today south of California and are to hold through the model run. Haven't seen this in years. Its about time.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/6) A moderate to strong Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active MJO signal slowly easing east to the dateline on day 10 of the model run with a strong Inactive Phase developing over the Maritime Continent and easing east into the KWGA and filling it on day 15 (the end) of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (3/7) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was strong over the Central Pacific and is to move east to Africa 15 days out and moderate. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase building stronger strength over the East Pacific on day 2 of the model run then moving to Africa and fading to modest strength 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): (3/7) A moderate Active signal (wet air) was filling the East equatorial Pacific today with the Inactive Phase building over the West Pacific. The forecast has the Active signal (wet air) pushing into Ecuador on 3/17. A moderate to strong Inactive signal (dry air) is to continue traversing the KWGA through 3/22 then to Ecuador on 4/6. A modest Active Phase of the MJO (wet air) is to start moving over the KWGA 4/1 and filling the bulk of the Pacific at the end of the model run on 4/16.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/6)
A solid Active Phase of the MJO was in control of the dateline today with moderate plus west anomalies filling the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to continue traversing the KWGA through 3/14 with solid west anomalies filling the KWGA. And even after that it is to track intact south of California 3/6-3/20 with solid to strong west anomalies in control before tracking into Ecuador on 3/13- 3/21. This is to be an impressive Active Phase. After that a weak Inactive MJO signal is forecast to push into the KWGA 3/18-3/27 but dissolving before making it to the dateline with weak east anomalies filling the KWGA 3/18 through the end of the model run on 4/3. La Nina is dead.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(3/7) - 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 strong on the dateline and in control of the entire KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to track east over the entirety of the KWGA through 3/22 with west anomalies filling the KWGA. West anomalies and the Active Phase are to push east and south of California starting today through 3/25 with west anomalies filling the equatorial Pacific. After that the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to move over the KWGA starting 3/9, building some on 3/14 and holding to 4/8 but with a lingering tail through 6/2 but with weak west anomalies continuing and rebuilding to moderate strength filling the KWGA 4/16 through the end of the model run on 6/4. The shift to El Nino started on 2/15. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 170W with its western perimeter at 165E today and moving east fast. The high pressure bias started moving east on 2/15. The second contour is collapsing and effectively east of the KWGA today. The primary contour is to move east of the KWGA by 3/24. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 120E with it's leading edge creeping east to 148E today (it started pushing east on 2/15). A hard push east is forecast starting 3/12 and on the dateline 4/14 and filling the most of 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. Finally!

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/7) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was present at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded to 170E but was now at 176E and steady. The 26 degree isotherm has now pushed the whole way across the Pacific and building in the east to 27 degs. This is a big deal and the first time this has happened in years. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador and building in thickness. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +4 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 161W and recharging connected thinly to warm water from a previous Kelvin Wave #1 off Ecuador. No negative anomalies of interest were present. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/27 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific and reaching east upwards to 110W - Kelvin Wave #2 in flight. 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 83W down 15m (the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave #1 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 all but gone. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/27) Sea heights were very positive from 160W and points west of there over the West Pacific and +0-5 cms over the remainder of the Equatorial Pacific reaching east to Ecuador with pockets of +5 cms anomalies at 130W and 90W. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies have retreated to the far East Equatorial Pacific limited to between 90W and Ecuador (80W). Warm waters continue building in intensity and coverage in the West at the same time reaching east to 95W. Kelvin Wave #2 is pushing east and the core of the warm pool at 140E is holding at +2.25 degs.

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: (3/6) The latest images depict building warm waters extending well west along the equator from Ecuador solidly to 140W (results of Kelvin Wave #1). And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru and over the entirety of the deep South Pacific. A broad generic pool of barely cool water was collapsing extending west from 115W well off Peru to the dateline mainly south of the equator in the East and reaching south to 15S near Tahiti (but retreating north) then centered on the equator in the west and losing coverage and intensity daily over its entire region. The cool pool is in a state of rapid collapse.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/6): A broad and building pool of warming water was locked well off the coasts of Peru and Chile and far stronger from Ecuador west over the equatorial Pacific to the dateline. This pool is at impressive status today. 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: (3/6) Warming waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Cool waters were on the equator from about 140W to 160E and shrinking in coverage and intensity daily and almost indiscernible. 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: (3/7) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising slightly +0.590 degs today but were up 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:
(3/7) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Temps were rising to -0.220 today. Temps had previously risen to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. Then had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

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 (3/7) - Temps are to move to neutral (0.0 degs) mid-March and up to +0.75 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) mid-March and rising to +0.65 degs in July and +1.00 degs in Oct. According to this version of the model we are building into ENSO neutral in Spring and into El Nino in Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The 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 (3/7) the Daily Index was rising at +7.42 but has been hovering near 0 the last 5 days. It fell to -17.44 on 2/22 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 to +8.18 (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 falling at +12.88 after peaking at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +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 suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

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
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: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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