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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 12:44 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
2.3 - California & 2.6 - 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 3/12 thru Sun 3/18

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   

Two Cutoff Lows Forecast
Split Jetstream to Continue


On Tuesday, March 13, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down and not updating.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.9 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 228 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 6 kts. Water temperature 58.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.6 ft @ 15.2 secs from 246 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.7 secs from 204 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.0 ft @ 14.8 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.6 secs from 236 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 14.0 secs from 261 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 12 kts. Water temp 54.1 degs.

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 (3/13) in North and Central CA Gulf swell mixed with local south windswell was producing waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and warbled and ragged and not good looking. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and a bit warbled and soft but rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was up to head high but chopped and warbled from south wind. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co surf was rarely up to waist high and weak and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were thigh to waist high and clean but slow. In North San Diego surf was maybe thigh high at best breaks and weak but clean. Hawaii's North Shore was chest high and weak and pretty textured from northeast winds. The South Shore was flat and clean. East Shore was getting northeast windswell at chest high and chopped from moderate east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (3/13) in California and Hawaii swell was hitting from a gale that developed Fri-Sun (3/11) in the Gulf of Alaska initially producing 28 ft seas falling south to a point 700 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii with seas dropping to 18 ft. Remnants of that gale are redeveloping off California Tues (3/16) possibly producing a pulse of 22 ft seas just off the North Coast there perhaps resulting in some windswell. Beyond a cutoff low is to form north of Hawaii on Sun-Mon (3/19) with 22 ft seas while another forms off California Mon-Tues (3/20) with 22 ft seas aimed south. For now generally quiet pattern is in control driven by a fading La Nina combining with the Inactive Phase of the MJO. But that to possibly change shortly.


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (3/13) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan forming a weak trough halfway to the dateline then continuing to the dateline and splitting there with the northern branch tracking north up over the Eastern Aleutians before falling southeast into the Eastern Gulf of Alaska forming a somewhat pinched trough there before tracking north again pushing inland over British Columbia. The southern branch was tracking east just north of Hawaii and then over North Baja and never merging with the northern branch. There was no real support for gale development in the trough over Japan but decent support in the trough in the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours starting Wed (3/14) the jet is to start splitting inland over Russia with the northern branch lifting northeast over the North Dateline region with winds to 120 kts by early Sat (3/17) then falling gently southeast down through the Gulf forming something that looks like a trough but not having strong enough winds to support gale development and eventually trying to merge with the southern branch in the Southeastern Gulf off California while moving inland over California and Baja offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a split flow is to remain in the west with the northern branch pushing northeast and over the Eastern Aleutians on Sun (3/18) then falling southeast forming a trough in the Gulf getting progressively steeper and slightly pinched into Tues (3/20) but still over open ocean off California with it's apex down at 30N off north Baja being fed by 110 kt winds offering some support for gale development. At that time back to the west the jet is to be well split with the northern branch pushing well up into the Bering Sea offering no support for gale development.

Surface Analysis
Swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska is hitting Hawaii and the US West Coast (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours more low pressure energy started building just off the North California coast Mon PM (3/12) producing 45 kt northwest winds off Vancouver Island and 20 ft seas at 50N 142W targeting the US West Coast over a tiny area aimed east. Also it was producing a fetch of 25 kt west winds well off the coast of Southern CA targeting that location. By Tues AM (3/13) that fetch is to consolidate into a single low off North CA and Oregon with 35 kt northwest winds over a small area aimed southeast and 22 ft seas at 43N 131W. By the evening the fetch is to be lifting north and fading from 30-35 kts over a tiny area aimed east off Washington with 18-20 ft seas at 45N 129W and shadowed relative to North CA. This system is to dissipate after that with no swell producing capability remaining. At best only windswell is to result for California intermixing with swell already arriving from the Gulf.

Also a gale is forecast developing west of Kamchatka on Thurs AM (3/15) producing 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas to 30 ft over a tiny area at 48N 166E. This system is to ease east-northeast in the evening with winds dropping to 35 kts from the west and 28 ft seas at 49N 175E. Fetch is to fade and track east Fri AM (3/16) at 30 kts moving over the North Dateline region with 22 ft seas at 50N 178W or just south of the Central Aleutians on the dateline aimed east. Fetch and seas to dissipate from there in the evening. Something to monitor.


Gulf Gale
A broad gale started building in the Northern Gulf of Alaska Thurs PM (3/8) producing a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds getting traction and seas building from 22 ft at 50N 170W. Fri AM (3/9) northwest winds were 35+ kt over a broad area pushing southeast from the Eastern Aleutians generating 26-28 ft at 50N 168W. In the evening northwest winds were 30-35 kts over the same area while falling southeast with 27 ft at 48N 164W. On Sat AM (3/10) 30 kt northwest winds continued falling south with seas 24 ft at 46N 163W. Fetch was fading in the evening while falling southeast at barely 30 kts more from the north with 22 ft seas at 40N 160W targeting both Hawaii and California. Seas from previous fetch were fading Sun AM (3/11) at 21 ft at 35N 157W aimed a bit east of Hawaii. This system is to fade from there. Possible swell for Hawaii and the US West Coast to result.

Hawaii: Swell to be fading Tues AM (3/13) from 5.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.5 ft). Residuals on Wed AM (3/14) fading from 3.4 ft @ 11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees

North CA: Swell holding Tues AM (3/13) at 4.6 ft @ 14 secs early (6.5 ft) then fading in the afternoon. Swell hanging on Wed AM (3/14) from 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0 ft). Swell dissipating Thurs AM (3/15) from 2.8 ft @ 10-11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (3/13) low pressure was lifting north off the coast of Oregon with a front draping south off the coast of Central CA producing south winds at 10-15 kts down to Pt Conception and up to 20 kts over Cape Mendocino. Moderate rain was indicated from Pt Conception northward and stronger up into Northern CA with light rain expected into Ventura county mid-day. Rain turning to snow for Tahoe at 2 PM with snow levels at Tahoe falling from 7000 ft at sunrise to 5000 ft at 4 PM (below lake level) and 4000 ft by 10 PM and snow continuing through the night and building down into the Southern Sierra with snow levels 3800 ft by 3 AM Wed. Wednesday (3/14) a new low is to be off the Canadian Coast with northwest winds along California building from 5 kts early to 15 kts later from Pt Conception northward through the day. Light rain expected at along the North and Central Coast through the day. Snow continues over the Sierra through the day and evening. Thursday (3/15) the low falls south over the coast of Oregon with a front pushing south into California with southwest winds 15 kts for North CA early building into Monterey Bay later afternoon then stalling there. Solid rain building south down to Big Sur early evening and snow building solidly south to Tahoe early evening. Friday (3/16) the low is to be stalled and circulating off and over Cape Mendocino with west to southwest winds 10-15 kts for North and Central CA down into Monterey Bay and northwest winds 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Rain solid early for all of North and Central CA and pushing south from Santa Barbara County to San Diego overnight. Steady moderate snow all day and evening for the entire Sierra. Sat (3/17) north-northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA fading later in the afternoon. Scattered showers mainly early from North and Central CA. Scattered rain showers along the coast later for the same area and snow showers for the Sierra later. Total snow accumulations through Sun 4 PM (3/18) 56-62 inches for Tahoe and 22 inches for Mammoth. Monday 93/19) south winds continue for all of North and Central CA at 10-15 kts all day as the low builds off the coast. Rain starts developing along the Central Coast at sunset building inland and northward over night. No precip for the Sierra yet. Tuesday (3/20) south winds build at 20 kts from Pt Conception northward. Rain for all of Southern CA up to the Oregon border. Snow building for the entire Sierra.

South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell producing weather systems of interest are occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

the model do hint at a weak gal tracking east under New Zealand on Thurs PM (3/15) producing 40 kts southwest winds and seas to 30 ft at 52S 170E targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast somewhat. on Fri AM (3/16) the gale is to be falling south with 35+ kt southwest winds still aimed northeast with 28-30 ft seas over a broad area aimed northeast at 51S 176E. In the evening the fetch is to be fading while tracking east at 30 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 51S 174W. This system to fade from there. Something to monitor.


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 cutoff low is to start developing northwest of Hawaii on Sun (3/18) producing 35+ kt west winds and 24 ft seas over a tiny area not aimed anywhere of interest (away from Hawaii). In the evening winds are to start wrapping around the core of the low at 35 kts mt with 24 ft seas setting up at 33N 173W aimed somewhat at Hawaii. On Mon AM (3/19) north winds to continue at 35 kts aimed somewhat at Hawaii with 22 ft seas at 33N 173W aimed mainly south. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the north with seas fading from 18 ft at 32N 172W. Maybe some sideband swell to radiate towards Hawaii with luck.

Also another weak low is to form 700 nmiles west of Central CA on Sun PM (3/18) producing a tiny area of 35 kt north winds with seas building pushing south. Winds to build to 35+ kts from the north Mon AM (3/19) while falling south with sea 19 ft at 35N 137W aimed somewhat at Southern CA. fetch is to hold in the evening with 20 ft seas building at 35N 135W targeting Southern CA somewhat. Tues AM (3/20) fetch is to start fading from 30+ kts from the north with 24 ft seas at 34N 135W aimed south and somewhat at SCal. Something to monitor.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

More details to follow...


Large Kelvin Wave Tracking East

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018, suggesting La Nina was fading.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (3/12) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but from the west over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light easterly over the equatorial Pacific but strong westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (3/13) Moderate east anomalies were from 170E and points east of there but modest westerly winds were over the bulk of the Central and West KWGA. This pattern is to hold through the end of the week long model run (3/20) with solid east anomalies from 170E and points east of there but with west anomalies in the modest category west of there and holding then rebuilding to the moderate category mid-day through the forecast period starting 3/16. This continues to look like a signal of the eastward shift of the low pressure bias zone, a very good sign.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/12) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was moderate strength and filling the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase slowly easing east and weakening and gone 7 days out with a weak Active/Wet Phase of the MJO building into and filling the West Pacific at the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with a neutral pattern developing in the KWGA as the Inactive Phase moves out to the east, with the Active Phase trying to nose into the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/13) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak in strength over the East Indian Ocean. It is to fade while tracking east towards the West Pacific over the next 2 weeks and almost indiscernible and never really making it to the West Pacific. The GEFS model depicts a variant of the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/13) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase over the East equatorial Pacific tracking east. A weak Active/Wet pattern was over the far West Pacific. The weak Active Phase is to track east over the West Pacific moving and into the East Pacific and Central America through 4/5. A new Inactive Phase is to be developing modestly in the far West Pacific on 4/5 migrating to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 4/22. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/13) This model depicts the Inactive Phase almost gone over the KWGA with weak east anomalies mainly from the dateline and points east of there with weak west anomalies from 170E and point west of there with this west wind pattern slow building in coverage and holding position through 3/24. East anomalies are to be gone over the East Pacific starting 3/20. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 3/25 with a more modest west anomaly pattern developing and filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The Active Phase is to dissipate 4/4 with no coherent MJO signal through 4/24 but with weak west anomalies holding and no sign of east anomalies. The Active Phase is to build in earnest 4/30 with solid west anomalies in control, then fading 6/1 as the Inactive Phase tries to develop though the end of the model run on 6/10. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA at 165E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/14 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to steadily moving east and out of the KWGA on 4/7. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 3-4 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/13) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is sequestered to the west but building east with cooler water steadily loosing control of the East Pacific. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady today at 178E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east - La Nina). The 24 deg isotherm was shallow but has made significant eastward progress migrating across the entire Pacific to Ecuador and 25-35 meters deep the whole way east and 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures at -1 degs were in two conjoined pockets at 150W down 25 meters with a smaller pocket at -1.0 degs at 110W 75 metes deep. Overall cooler waters are steadily loosing coverage and density. Warm anomalies were building in the West at +3.5 degs at 180W down 150 meters and appear to be building east with the dividing line between that and cool waters moving east to 125W indicative of a large Kelvin Wave pushing east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/9 depicts warm water in the west at +5.5 degs reaching east to 130W. Cool water at -1.5 degs was only holding in one pocket in the East Pacific near 140W and has significantly lost density, intensity and depth. Those cool anomalies continue erupting to the surface limited now from 105W to 165W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/9) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +20 cm reaching east to 145W. Neutral anomalies were east of there except one pocket of negative anomalies at -5 cms south of the equator near 3S between 150W east to Peru and getting progressively diffuse.

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: (3/12) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pocket was in the deep Southeast Pacific centered at 20S 100W. Warm anomalies were rebuilding some off the coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador while an Inactive/Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was along the immediate coast of Peru. Warm anomalies are holding along the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 110W. Cool pockets were generally weak and diffuse west of there to 160W and with a continuing smaller footprint.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/12): A generally neutral trend was off Chile. A weak cooling trend was off Ecuador advecting west along the equator over the Galapagos and out to 120W. The upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was having a cooling effect.
Hi-res Overview: (3/12) A significant erosion of La Nina is underway with warming building in the entire Nino1.2 region even though the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was negating some of that. A broad weak cool pocket is still present well off Chile and Peru (10S 120W) with the La Nina core on the equator from 100W to the dateline peaking at 135W, starting to look like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point south of Hawaii. Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/13) Today's temps were steady at -1.406 degs, retreating from a peak at +0.898 degrees on 2/28 attributable to the first Kelvin Wave impacting Ecuador. Overall it looks like the trend is stabilizing after heading downward driven by the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/13) Today temps were steady at -0.777. A surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. Since then temps have eased off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/13) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding since, up to -0.55 in early Feb and expected to rise to -0.5 in April. The model indicates temps slowly falling to to -0.85 in early Aug, then starting to rise into the Fall to -0.6 degs in Nov. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but is to redevelop in the Summer before fading some in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August and +0.5 in October. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/13): The daily index was positive today at 3.06. The 30 day average was rising at 2.64 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was still affecting the index. The 90 day average was rising at 0.16 suggesting La Nina is dead.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/13) This index is falling today at -0.82, down from -0.33 in late Feb, up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is fading but not gone. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan=+0.29, Feb=-0.10. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. No 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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