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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2021 2:24 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
3.7 - California & 2.3 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

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

Issued for Week of Monday 3/8 thru Sun 3/14

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   

2 Weak Gales for NPac
Perhaps a Stronger One for SPac

On Thursday, March 11, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 6.1 secs from 171 degrees. Water temp 75.7 degs (Pearl Harbor 233).
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 7.1 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.3 ft @ 10.1 secs from 62 degrees. Water temp 75.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 8.9 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.5 ft @ 11.9 secs from 306 degrees. Wind at the buoy was NA kts. Water temperature 56.3 (Topanga 103), 56.8 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.5 (Del Mar 153). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.8 ft @ 11.1 secs from 291 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.9 ft @ 9.9 secs from 266 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.2 ft @ 12.9 secs from 276 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.3 ft @ 14.1 secs from 277 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.2 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 6.8 ft @ 10.5 secs from 298 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was NA kts. Water temp 50.4 (029), 51.6 degs (SF Bar) and 53.1 degs (Santa Cruz).

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 (3/11) North and Central CA had waves at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean with offshore winds but there was some residual lump intermixed. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead and lined up and closed out but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and lined up and clean and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were shoulder high and lined up and clean and well rideable. Central Orange County had set waves at waist to chest high and lined up and clean but soft and inconsistent. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were flat, lightly textured and unrideable. North San Diego had sets at waist to chest high and warbled but with no local wind and pretty uneven but rideable. Hawaii's North Shore had waves at chest high on the biggest sets and clean but weak. The South Shore was flat and warbled. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and chopped from southeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/11) California were seeing leftover swell from a gale that developed in the Northern Gulf on Sat (3/6) producing 38 ft seas aimed southeast with remnants of that gale still producing 18-19 ft seas while slowly falling southeast off the North CA coast on Tues-Wed (3/10). Beyond a small low pressure system is forecast developing again in the Northern Gulf Fri-Sat (3/13) producing up to 24 ft seas aimed south. And a local gale is forecast off Oregon on Mon (3/15) with 29 ft seas aimed south. And maybe another is to be tracking west through the Central Gulf on Tues-Thurs (3/18) producing 23 ft seas building to 27 ft off Oregon. A small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific on Sun (3/7) producing 35 ft seas lifting northeast with swell radiating north from it. Maybe a strong system is to form in the deep Central South Pacific Sun-Mon (3/15) producing up to 46 ft seas aimed east-northeast but that seems like a reach. For the most part no serious swell is forecast but thing are to to go completely quiet.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (3/11) the jet was a fragmented mess pushing off the area from Japan up to the north Kuril Islands with winds to 120 kts in a few pockets plodding east over the dateline and well split north of Hawaii with the northern branch forming a small pinched trough in the Northwestern Gulf offering support for low pressure development. Otherwise nothing else of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours the pinched trough in the Gulf is to fall southeast holding together into Sun (3/14) before pushing into North CA perhaps offering some weak support for gale development. jet stream is to fall apart with no defined flow in the west by Thurs (3/11) while the trough off the Pacific Northwest moves inland with no support for gale development remaining. But otherwise the jet is to remain a mess. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (3/15) perhaps another stronger trough is to start building over the Northwestern Gulf pushing southeast being fed by 150 kts winds and tracking east into late Wed (3/17) offering good support for gale development. And by Thurs (3/18) the jet is to become more focused with the northern branch tracking east from Japan into Oregon with winds 110-120 kts perhaps offering better hope long term.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/11) swell was still hitting California from a gale that developed in the Northern Gulf falling southeast towards the US West Coast, but on it's last legs (See North Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours perhaps another weak gale is to form in the Northern Gulf on Fri AM (3/12) producing 35-40 kts north winds with seas building from 20 ft at 45N 148W over a tiny area aimed south. In the evening 35-40 kt north winds are to be building in coverage aimed midway between the mainland and Hawaii partially driven by a 1040 mb high pressure system to the gales west in the Northwestern Gulf with 26 ft seas at 42N 148W aimed at south mostly bypassing both the US West Coast and HI. On Sat AM (3/13) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts rom the north driven by the high pressure system with a secondary fetch of 30-35 kt northeast winds targeting Hawaii directly and in close proximity producing 26 ft seas at 37.5N 145W aimed south and 18 ft seas at 27N 155W just 300 nmiles northeast of Hawaii. In the evening the main fetch is to fade with 21 ft seas fading at 34.5N 141.5W aimed south and the fetch off Hawaii still producing 30+ kt northeast winds and seas to 20 ft at 25N 152W aimed southwest at the Islands. On Sun AM (3/14) the main fetch is to be gone and northeast fetch northeast of Hawaii is to be fading from 30 kts with 18 ft seas fading at 24N 152W aimed at the Islands. This system is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii (Oahu North Shore): For planning purposes expect windswell arrival on Sat afternoon (3/13) building to 9.0 ft @ 11 secs (10 ft). Swell continues on Sun (3/14) at 8.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (10 ft). Swell fading on Mon (3/15). Swell Direction: 10 degrees moving to 25 degrees

North CA: No swell to result.


North Gulf Gale
A new small gale was developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Fri AM (3/5) producing 30 kt northwest winds and starting to get traction. In the evening 35-40 kt northwest winds were building in the Northern Gulf with seas building to 21 ft at 50N 153W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (3/6) fetch was building to 40-45 kts from the northwest with seas 28-30 ft at 50N 149W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds were falling southeast at 40-45 kts moving over the Eastern Gulf off Washington with 37 ft seas at 49.5N 143W aimed southeast (316 degs NCal). On Sun AM (3/7) the gale was holding position with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 47.5N 137W aimed southeast off North Oregon (315 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to be fading while holding position with northwest winds 30-35 kts and seas 23 ft at 44N 140W aimed southeast. The gale to fall southeast on Mon AM (3/8) with 30 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 42.5N 140W aimed southeast (296 degs NCal). More of the same in the evening with seas fading from 20 ft at 43N 138.5W (298 degs NCal) aimed southeast. On Tues AM (3/9) 30 kt northwest winds to be off North CA with 21 ft seas at 41N 134.5W aimed southeast (293 degs NCal, 305 degs SCal). The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

North CA: Windswell fading on Thurs (3/11) from 6.0 ft @ 10 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees moving to 290 degrees

Southern CA: Windswell fading on Thurs (3/11) from 3.1 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 310 fading to 298 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Fri (3/12) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA pushing near 15 kts everywhere north of Pt Conception later. Light rain for mainly the southern end of Southern CA through the day. Light snow for the Southern Sierra.
  • Sat (3/13) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for all of North and Central CA fading to 10 kts for North CA later and 10-15 kts for Central CA later. No precip forecast.
  • Sun (3/14) south winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and up to 35 kts for Cape Mendocino pushing south to Santa Cruz at sunset south at 10 kts reaching Big Sur overnight. Some flavor of southwest winds expected for North CA in the afternoon at 15 kts. Rain for North CA starting later afternoon pushing south to Morro Bay overnight. Snow developing for Tahoe in the early morning hours of Monday.
  • Mon (3/15) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts early for North and Central CA continuing through the day. Rain for North and Central CA early and fading through the day but holding for Cape Mendocino. Maybe some showers for Southern CA through the day. Solid snow pushing south over the Sierra through the day and fading some in the evening.
  • Tues (3/16) south winds are forecast at 10 kts early for North and Central CA early and northwest at 15-20 kts for Southern CA early. Light and variable winds are forecast for North and Central CA in the afternoon and northwest 10-15 kts for Southern CA. Light rain for North and Central CA holding through the day.
  • Wed (3/17) light winds are forecast early for North and Central CA building to 15 kts from the northwest for Big Sur southward later afternoon and south 15 kts for Cape Mendocino late afternoon.
  • Thurs (3/18) southwest winds are forecast at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early but light south of there early then turning calm in the afternoon but northwest 15-20 kts from Big Sur southward. Rain isolated to Cape Mendocino late AM onward.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 12 inches, 14 inches, 15 inches, and 3 inches all on 3/15 except for Mammoth where all snow is forecast today.

Freezing level 4,000 ft today then slowly rising to 9,000 ft on 3/13 falling to 1,000 ft on 3/15 then starting a steady warming trend with freezing level reaching 7,000 ft on 3/17 and holding there till 3/21.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No southern hemi swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii today. But small swell was radiating north from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific gale below).

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


Small Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale started building in the deep Southeast Pacific Sat PM (3/6) producing 40-45 kt southwest winds with seas building from 26 ft at 65S 147W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (3/7) 45 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast fast with 35 ft seas at 59S 123.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was east of the SCal swell window with 40 kt south winds and seas 32 ft at 55S 113.5W aimed northeast. Small swell is radiating northeast.

South California: Expect swell arrival on Mon (3/15) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) late. Swell building on Tues (3/16) to 1.7 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (3/17) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 180 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (3/16) building to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (3/17) from 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (3/18) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 175 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 a small gale is forecast developing Sun PM (3/14) just off Washington producing 45-50 kt north winds over a tiny are aimed south with seas building from 28 ft at 46.5N 131.5W aimed south. On Mon AM (3/15) fetch is to be falling south with north winds 40 kts and seas 29-30 ft at 44N 131W aimed south. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30 kts from the north with seas 24 ft at 41N 129W or just off Cape Mendocino. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

On Tues AM (3/16) another gale is to build in the Western Gulf with 30-35 kt west winds and seas building from 23 ft at 45.5N 160W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to hold at 30-35 kts but gaining coverage with seas 23 ft at 42.5N 153W aimed east. On Wed AM (3/17) west winds are to be off North CA at 30-35 kts with seas 25 ft at 44N 145W aimed east-southeast. In the evening the gale is to stall off Oregon with west winds 30-35 kts and seas 26 ft at 44N 140W aimed east. The gael is to dissipate Thurs AM (3/18) with seas fading from 21 ft at 42.5N 135W aimed east. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a small gale is forecast developing in the Central South Pacific on Sun AM (3/14) producing south winds at 35-40 kts with 27 ft seas at 49S 140W aimed north. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30-35 kts lifting north with 26 ft seas at 46S 140W aimed north. Fetch is to fade Mon AM (3/15) from 30 kts with residual seas fading from 22 ft over a tiny area at 42S 140W aimed north. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Of more interest is a new storm forecast developing in the deep Central South Pacific on Sun PM (3/14) producing 55 kt southwest winds and seas 48 ft at 68S 168.5W and just off the summertime melted Ross Ice Shelf. On Mon AM (3/15) southwest winds to be 40-45 kts over a decent sized area with seas 43 ft at 66S 153W aimed east-northeast. in the evening the gale is to be fading with southwest winds fading from 30 kts and seas fading from 32 ft at 53S 145.5W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Equatorial Water Temps Still Warming

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: 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 held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (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 in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

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 (3/10) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing at moderate over the Central Pacific and moderate plus east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and modest west over the Central Pacific then modest to moderate easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (3/11) east anomalies were modest over the KWGA with light west anomalies over the extreme west KWGA. The forecast calls light west anomalies fading in the far West KWGA and gone by 3/12 with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA at that time and slowly fading to weak status at the end of the model run on 3/18.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/10) A modest Inactive MJO pattern was building over the West KWGA today. The statistic model projects the moderate Inactive MJO pushing east through the KWGA and still in the core of the KWGA at day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests the Inactive Phase building to strong status but still locked over the far West KWGA through day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/11) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak over the North Africa today and is to track east into the Central Indian Ocean by day 15 of the model run and still exceedingly weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active MJOP is to hold over North Africa for the next 15 days.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (3/10) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO pattern (moist air) over the East Pacific and it is to track east while slowly losing strength moving over Central America on 3/15. A weak Inactive Phase is over the West Pacific today and is to track east fading over the East PAcific at the end of the model run on 4/19. A weak Active Phase is to move into the West KWGA on 3/25 holding in the West Pacific through the end of the model run.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/10) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal exiting the KWGA today with weak west anomalies mostly east of the KWGA and moderate east anomalies over the KWGA. The forecast indicates a weak the Inactive MJO is to track slowly east through the KWGA 3/17 through the end of the model run on 4/7 with east anomalies slowly building in strength and coverage peaking starting on 3/24 and holding through the end of the model run. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are to be moving south of California today through 3/24 increasing the odds of rain there during that window. But east anomalies are forecast building in coverage over the Central and East Pacific filling that area to a point south of California by 4/2 and holding through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/11 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the KWGA today and is to slowly and weakly track east through 4/15 with weak east anomalies holding during that timeframe over the dateline with interspersed pockets of weak west anomalies. An Active MJO signal is forecast to follow tracking east 4/10-5/20 producing solid if not strong west anomalies filling the KWGA. A modest Inactive MJO is to follow 4/28 through the end of the model run on 6/8 but with modest west anomalies still in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 4 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California. The forth contour line is to fade on 3/19. The 3rd contour line is to fade on 4/28. The second contour line is to fade 5/17. The remaining 1 is to hold indefinitely but shifting quickly east and losing coverage. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today. The remaining contour line is to theoretically start shrinking in coverage from the west on 4/4 and starting to track east to 180W on 6/5 and filling the KWGA just after that while building to 2 contour lines. This looks like a possible El Nino scenario if one is to believe the model. East anomalies that were previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year migrated east into the West Pacific on 10/1/20 and stabilized there, but are theoretically starting a slow fade while migrating east moving to the a point south of California by late April as the Active Phase build then. Theoretically the end of La Nina is near (starting on 4/15).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/11) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 170E after being steady at 165E for over a month. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and building in coverage and depth as compared to weeks prior. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +4 deg C have moved east with the dividing line today at 153W versus 165W on 2/21. A broad cooling pattern was controlling the entire equatorial Pacific with anomalies in a broad pocket at -3C at 125W and west from there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/4 indicates the same thing but with warm anomalies moving east to 145W. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were the least negative at any time in months. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/4) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to the dateline on the equator ranging from -5 to -10 cms over that area. But the coverage of the -10 cms anomalies was fading and weaker than at any point over the past 6 months limited to 140W and 115W on the equator. A small area of positive anomalies was building over Ecuador pushing almost to the Galapagos. Negative anomalies were -5 cms along the coast of Peru and reaching north from Central America up to Baja then into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from Cape Mendocino to the intersection of the dateline and equator then into Southern Chile. But it was much weaker than weeks and months past. And now a small pocket of positive anomalies were developing.

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: (3/10) The latest images indicate a stream of weak cool water tracking west on the equator from 110W feeding the main pocket of cooling from 150W continuing west to the dateline. But temperatures were much warmer than even a few days ago over the whole area. Warmer temps were building positive along Peru reaching northwest and streaming from Ecuador west to about 110W. The total cool flow looks weaker than days past. Cool anomalies were streaming from Chile west-northwest to the dateline also feeding the main cool pool but much far weaker than even a few days ago. Overall this seems to indicate the start of the collapse of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/10): Temps are warming significantly over the equator from the Galapagos west to 180W. Warming was also occurring off Peru extending west to 145W. This is likely attributable to the Active Phase of the MJO moving over the East Pacific. A pocket of cooling was right along the coast of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (3/10) A weakening stream of weakly cool water was entrenched from off Chile tracking northwest to the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. A similar stream was migrating southwest from off Baja Mexico. A fragile pattern of warm anomalies was again trying to develop on the equator reaching south off Chile and north to Mexico west to 115W on the equator with pockets out to 150W. The remaining cool core of La Nina is pushing west from 150W over the dateline but warmer than day past. La Nina appears to be in retreat.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/11) Today's temps were falling at +0.324 after peaking at +0.601 on 3/9 and that after a recent high of +0.100 on 2/1. Temps previously were -0.604 on 1/24. A previous peak of -0.595 occurred on 12/11. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been on a slow but steady increase.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(3/11) Temps were steady at -0.171, the highest in a year. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3, rising to to -0.982 on 1/21. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps were on a steady decline since 7/25 then bottomed out in late October and have been on a slow increase since.

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 (3/11) Actuals per the model indicates temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose to -0.65 degs mid-Jan and then up to -0.45 degs in Feb. The forecast depicts temps rising to -0.30 degs mid-March then holding into June then starting a weak decline falling to -0.50 degs in early Aug and holding there in Nov. This seems more possible than previous runs, suggests perhaps another year of weak La Nina conditions at worst.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.64 degs today, and are to rise to -0.37 in April and stabilizing in May at -0.26 maybe easing up to -0.24 degs in Oct. Most models are suggesting a moderate La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring of 2021.
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 - this is a lagging indicator) (3/11): The daily index was rising at 7.71 breaking at 14 day negative streak. The 30 day average was falling at +4.73 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling some at +12.95 after peaking at +15.75 on 2/23 and clearly indicative of La Nina. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

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

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