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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2019 0:03 AM
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
3.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 3/10 thru Sun 3/16

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   

Primer Gale Developing in Gulf
Stronger Local Gale for Hawaii - Another Behind Too

On Friday, March 15, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 3.4 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 11.9 secs from 282 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 12.0 secs from 328 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 208 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 12-16 kts. Water temperature 56.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 254 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.4 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.5 secs from 226 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 14.6 secs from 261 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.7 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.2 ft @ 13.7 secs from 304 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temp 54.3 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Thursday (3/14) in North and Central CA swell from the North Dateline was fading with waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and lined up and pretty clean though soft with light offshore winds. Protected breaks were head high or a little more and lined up and mostly clean with light offshore winds though some lump was still in the water. At Santa Cruz surf was chest to head high and lined up and clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high if not a little more and clean but with north lump intermixed and lined up. In North Orange Co north windswell was producing surf at waist high and soft and clean with stiff offshore winds. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were waist to chest high on the sets and lined up and clean. North San Diego had surf at waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting leftover swell from the North Dateline region with waves to maybe head high and clean and lined up when they came but a bit on the soft side. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean and weak. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves waist to maybe chest high and nearly chopped from modest east-northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/14) residual swell from the second of two gales that tracked through the Northern Dateline Region Fri-Sun (2/10) producing up to 43 ft seas was fading in California and all but gone in Hawaii. The models indicate the split jetstream pattern that has dominated for the last 2 months is finally gone, courtesy of a possible building Active Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific. A primer gale is in the Gulf tracking east Wed-Thurs (3/14) with 33 ft seas and a somewhat stronger and broader one is developing Thurs-Mon (3/18) traversing the width of the North Pacific with seas to 34 ft aimed southeast. And yet another to follow traversing the North Pacific Sun-Thurs (3/21) pushing into the Western Gulf with seas reaching up to 39 ft. There's some hope for a run of modest surf.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (3/14) the jetstream was consolidated tracking flat east off Japan pushing over the dateline with winds to 200 kts then falling southeast some as it entered the Western Gulf forming a trough over the Northwestern Gulf offering good support for gale development then splitting at 155W with the northern branch lifting northeast some and then tracking east pushing into British Columbia while the southern branch tracked southeast over Hawaii then east tracking into Central Baja. Over the next 72 hours the Northwestern Gulf trough is to push east to the Central Gulf on late Fri (3/15) then stalling still being fed by 190 kts winds and still offering support for gale development. By Sat (3/16) a new trough is to start carving out in the Western Gulf being fed by 180 kts winds offering good support for gale development into later Sun (3/17) before starting to pinch off some then. Beyond 72 hours that pinched trough is to ease east while fading eventually pushing over Central CA on Wed (3/20) offering only weather there. Back to the west the jet is to weaken but not split with winds maybe 120 kts in one thin stream embedded in a broader and more diffuse flow tracking east with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development Mon-Thurs (3/21).

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/14) swell associated with a second gale previously on the North Dateline Region (see Second North Dateline Gale below) was fading in California and even weaker and all but gone in Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours the immediate focus is to be on a primer gale currently tracking through the Western Gulf (see Primer Gale below). But it is to be followed directly by a gale developing on the dateline and falling southeast towards Hawaii (see Hawaiian Gale below)


Primer Gale
A primer gale developed in the Western Gulf on Wed PM (3/13) producing west winds at 45 kts over a small area getting traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 25 ft at 41N 174W aimed east. On Thurs AM (3/14) the gale was getting better formed with 45 kt west and northwest winds in the Central Gulf tracking east with 34 ft seas at 41N 165.5W targeting mainly the US West Coast with sideband energy at Hawaii. In the evening the gale is to hold together producing 40 kt west and northwest winds tracking east with seas 31 ft at 41.5N 158W aimed mostly east and now bypassing Hawaii. On Fri AM (3/15) the gale is to be lifting northeast while fading with 30 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 27 ft at 43.5N 152W aimed east. Fetch is to dissipate in the evening with seas from previous fetch fading from 21 ft at 45N 147W aimed east. Possible small swell mainly for the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat AM (3/16) AM at 4.6 ft @ 15 secs (7.0 ft). Swell fading fast and all but gone Sun AM (3/17) dropping from 2.8 ft @ 10 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325-330 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (3/17) building to 5.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.0 ft) and holding through the day. Swell fading on Mon AM (3/18) from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees


Hawaiian Gale
And of more interest is a new gale that is developing on Thurs AM (3/14) tracking east off North Japan with 45 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas building from 22 ft at 39N 162E aimed east. In the evening winds to hold at 45 kts tracking and aimed east approaching the dateline with seas 26 ft at 40N 172E. On Fri AM (3/15) the gale is to be building in coverage on the dateline with 40 kt northwest winds and seas up to 30 ft at 43.5N 177.5W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to start falling southeast with winds 35-40 kts over a solid area and seas to 31 ft at 42N 172W aimed east-southeast. On Sat AM (1/16) the gale is to build solidly with winds 40 kts from the northwest over a solid area aimed well at Hawaii and nearby with seas 34 ft at 37N 169W falling southeast. In the evening the gale is to fade some with northwest winds 35+ kts positioned due north of Hawaii with seas 33 ft at 33N 164W targeting Hawaii well. On Sun AM (3/17) the gale is to be lifting northeast with winds 30-35 kts from the northwest and seas 29 ft over a smaller area at 29N 160W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to continue lifting northeast with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 26 ft at 33N 151W aimed east-southeast. Fetch to be fading fast Mon AM (3/18) in the Central Gulf from 25 kts with seas 23 ft at 31N 145W aimed east. Swell possible for Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: For planning purposes based purely on forecast data (not confirmed measurements) expect swell arrival near noon with period 17-18 secs and size building fast. Swell peaking at sunset at 15 ft @ 16 secs (20 ft Hawaiian) and exceedingly raw and jumbled. Swell settling down overnight. On Mon AM (3/18) swell is to be dropping from 11.2 ft @ 15 secs at sunrise (15-16 ft Hawaiian) and still pretty raw and fading steadily through the day while cleaning up some down to 9 ft @ 14 secs at sunset (12.5 ft Hawaiian). Residuals on Tues AM (3/19) fading from 6.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 328-333 degrees


Second North Dateline Gale
Another gale started forming approaching the North Dateline region on Fri AM (3/8) with 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 32 ft at 44N 169.5E aimed east. In the evening 50 kt west winds were in the North Dateline Region aimed east with 40 ft seas building at 47N 178E aimed east-northeast. On Sat AM (3/9) the storm was easing east with 45 kt west winds just south of the Central Aleutians moving in the the Northwestern Gulf with seas 42 ft at 49N 173W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be tracking east with winds down to 40 kts from the west and seas 38 ft at 50N 165W moving deeper into the Northwestern Gulf. On Sun AM (3/10) the gale is to be in the Northwestern Gulf with 35-40 kt west-southwest winds over a solid area and 34 ft seas at 51.5N 158.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be in the Northern Gulf with west winds 30 kts and seas fading from 28 ft at 52.5N 153.5W aimed east. The gale is to be fading from there. Swell possibly radiating east and southeast towards Canada and the US West Coast.

North CA: Residuals on Thurs (3/14) fading from 7 ft @ 14 (9.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (3/15) fading from 4.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 303 degrees initially turning to 310 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (3/14) modest high pressure at 1028 mbs was just off the North CA coast with north winds 10-15 kts mainly over outer water of North and Central CA and less nearshore and more northeasterly and forecast to fade through the day. Friday (3/15) a lighter north flow is forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA. Sat (3/16) a light north flow is forecast at 5 kts nearshore as high pressure moves over North CA. Sunday (3/17) a light offshore flow is to set up as low pressure starts building in the Gulf. Monday (3/18) a light southeast flow to hold at 5 kts for North CA and light winds for Central CA turning southerly for North CA at 10 kts late afternoon. Tuesday (3/19) south winds associated with a weak front off the coast are to be over the North and Central CA at 10 kts. Wednesday (3/20) low pressure is to build over the Central CA coast with south winds 10-15 kts for Central CA and east winds 10 kts for North CA north of Bodega Bay. Light rain developing late morning for Central CA and light snow for the Sierra through the day and into the evening. Thursday (3/21) the low is to fade but still circulating off Pt Conception early with east winds 5-10 kts for North CA and south winds for Central CA. Light rain mainly for Southern CA. Light snow for higher elevations of the Sierra.

Total snow accumulation for for the week (thru Thurs PM 3/21) per the GFS model: Tahoe = 9-10 inches and Mammoth = 2.0 inches

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another storm is forecast developing off Japan on Sat PM (1/16) with 55 kt winds from the west and seas on the increase from 45 ft at 38.5N 151E aimed east. The storm to fade to gael status Sun AM (3/17) with 45 t west winds and seas 42 ft at 39N 160E aimed east. The gale is to be fading while tracking east in the evening with winds 35-40 kts and seas 35 ft at 39N 168E aimed east. On Mon AM (3/18) the gale is to be crossing the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 29 ft at 39N 174.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to rebuild some with 35 kts northwest winds and seas 24 ft at 38N 179W aimed east. On Tues AM (3/19) the gale is to be in the Central Gulf with 35 kt west winds ands seas 22-24 ft at 38N 162 W aimed east. The system is to be holding together and continuing east from there.

And yet another small gale is to start forming on the dateline Tues (3/19) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building. Interesting.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


SSTs Fading - But SOI Still Well Negative

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 did not stop, 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 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. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

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 (3/13) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, and also easterly over the KWGA but lighter. Anomalies were moderate easterly over the far East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central equatorial Pacific and continuing neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (3/14) light west anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast is for building west anomalies continuing through the end of the model run on 3/21 pushing to moderate strength. Support for storm development is weak but is to be building some a week out.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/13) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was weak over the dateline with the Active Phase moving east over the Maritime Continent. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the KWGA at day 5 with the Active Phase of the MJO building into the far West Pacific at modest strength then and filling the KWGA at day 10 and building to moderate strength at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to hold in the KWGA but steadily getting weaker through day 5 then gone at day 10 with a weak Active Pattern starting to develop in the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/14) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the West Maritime Continent and is to ease east and fading over the West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is stalled over the Maritime continent and is to hold position and fade more for the next 15 days.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (3/14) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was fading and exiting over Central America with a weak version of the Active Phase over the West Pacific. The weak Active Phase is to move east while fading pushing into Central America weakly on 4/3. A modest Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be setting up in the West Pacific on 4/5 pushing east to Central America at the end of the model run on 4/23.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/13) This model depicts modest west anomalies in the KWGA today with the Inactive Phase exiting out of it to the east. Modest to moderate west anomalies are to be building in the Western KWGA and pushing east filling the KWGA 3/17 and holding through 4/7 filling the KWGA, then fading through the end of the model run on 4/10. No east anomalies are forecast in the KWGA. No west anomalies are forecast pushing into California.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/14) This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO signal was past its peak filling the KWGA and is to hold through 3/20 with weak east anomalies in the core of the KWGA. But weak west anomalies are to start developing 3/16 and building to 3/20. By 3/20 a modest Active Phase of the MJO is to start building in the KWGA with west anomalies building to just below WWB status on 3/24 holding beyond. After that a very weak MJO pattern is to set up with a weak Inactive MJO in place 4/16-5/1 but with west anomalies holding at near WWB status. After that a very weak MJO signal is set up (a good sign for El Nino development) but west anomalies are to be steady just below or at WWB status until 5/10 when they reach WWb status and hold till 5/30, then fading but still westerly through the end of the model run at 6/11. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California but not inland anymore and forecast to hold steady for the foreseeable future. A third contour line faded 12/17 but has now rebuilt starting 2/12 centered over the dateline and is to hold through the end of the model run. And a 4th control line was to develop 4/5-4/25 but has now retracted not expected to develop till 6/1. It appears from this model that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during 2018, then faded, and is now trying to rebuild and strongly so starting in June. Theoretically the atmosphere and ocean were trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean during the summer of 2018, but that faded in the late Fall of 2018 with no objective evidence that coupling every happened. But it seems that tendency is trying to redevelop again (or at least forecast to do it). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere has turned from a La Nina pattern (that had been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more. But of more interest, if the low pass filter forecast holds, maybe El Nino to develop next year.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/14) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 deg temps reaching east to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W near Christmas, then retrograded back at 160W in late Feb, but is back east at 152W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater with a pocket of warm water centered at 145W at +4 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) pushing east to 105W. We think the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed 2018-2019 El Nino already occurred associated mainly with Kelvin Wave #2. But Kelvin Wave #3 is the warmest of them all so far and is to add some warmth moving into the 2019-202 El Nino year. And a new Westerly Wind Burst (2/12-2/24) might add yet more fuel (warm water) to the proverbial fire. So there's good sub-surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy for the foreseeable future. Cool anomalies previous off the Central America coast are gone. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/9 indicates Kelvin Wave #2 gone in the East Pacific with cool water associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle occurring there but fading. Kelvin Wave #3 was building at +4-5 degs from New Guinea to the dateline east to 110W (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). There is a river of very warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/9) Positive anomalies were gone from the interior Maritime Continent with weak negative anomalies there now. But positive anomalies were solid tracking east from 150E over the dateline to a point west of the Galapagos (110W) at 0-5 cms with an imbedded pocket of +5 cms anomalies from 165E to 120W and a broad peak at +10 cm from 150W to 1205W. -5 cms anomalies were in a small pocket at 95W associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle and fading steadily.

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: (3/13) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were modestly warm straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from a point just west of the Galapagos west to the dateline. These temps were continuing to fade from a week ago. Warm water was along the coast of Chile and Peru and building today. But cold water was off Ecuador and Central America and along the immediate coast of Columbia and building. There is more of an indication of El Nino now than at any point prior in the last 3 years, but this building cold water pocket is concerning. Overall the pattern looks modestly like El Nino, but nothing more.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/13): Warming water was fading in all locations, mainly from 120W to a point south of Hawaii on the equator. Pronounced cooling was starting to fade some on the equator from Panama and Columbia west to 105W, but still solidly in place. It looks like any previous warming has now either peaked or stalled.
Hi-res Overview: (3/13) Modest warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru but with cold water off Ecuador up to Panama reaching west on the equator over the Galapagos to 100W. After that warm anomalies were on the equator from there out to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And it's almost starting to look like an El Nino pattern is developing based on surface temps.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/14) Today's temps were rebounding today at -0.729 after falling hard from +0.065 on 3/8 to -1.309 on 3/13. Temps fell to -0.6 degs on 2/28, after rising to +0.5 on 2/25, down to -0.425 degrees on 2/14, and that after rising to +1.2 degs on 2/2. Previously temps fell to -0.15 degs on 2/28. Temps rose to a peak +1.385 on 1/21. Previously they were down to -0.44 on 12/25, and that after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(3/14) Today temps were steady at +0.873 today after falling to +0.694 on 3/9 and that after rising to +1.239 on 3/5 after falling to +0.050 on 2/11. Temps rose to a peak at +0.738 on 1/21, after being at +0.487 on 1/7 and after previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/14) The model indicates temps were at +1.10 degs on March 1. Temps are forecast slowly building to +1.2 degs in early April and building to +1.5 degrees in July, then slowly fading through the summer to +1.4 degs in Oct, then falling to +1.2 degs
in early Dec. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino tried to build weakly in the Winter of 18/19, but didn't really make it, then is to build in the summer on 2019 and building more into the Winter of 2019/20. But maybe a multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Feb 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.65 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.6 range into July, then fade to +0.4 in October 2019. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (3/14): The daily index was still negative at -17.57 and has been negative the last 39 days (since Feb 4). The 30 day average was steady at -15.07 suggesting an Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at -4.61, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern (for now) but possibly pushing towards El Nino. There is no indication that El Nino is present in the atmosphere per this index.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/14) The index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), but is down and falling slightly at +0.40 today. It was down to -0.24 in late December, down from +0.28 on 12/15 and not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. 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/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +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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