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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:11 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
2.0 - 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 3/13 thru Sun 3/19

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   

Models Turn for the Better
Improving Storm Pattern Supported by Consolidated Jet


On Thursday, March 16, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 10.0 secs from 302 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 11.1 secs from 263 degrees. Wind northwest 2 kts. Water temperature 59.5 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.9 ft @ 10.2 secs from 275 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.4 secs from 217 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 222 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.2 secs from 249 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.9 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 13.2 secs from 263 degrees. Wind northwest 14-16 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.2 degs.

    46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 (3/16) in North and Central CA combo windswell/dateline swell was producing waves in the shoulder high range on the sets and clean with no wind and decent form. Protected breaks were waist high or so and clean and rideable but nothing more. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to maybe chest high on the biggest sets and clean but generally pretty weak. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and weak with no wind but a far amount of bump in the water from wind just off the coast. In North Orange Co surf was near flat and not breaking through there was some swell capable of producing waist high surf in the water. Conditions were fairly clean with some locally produced texture. In San Diego surf was thigh high or so and clean but very weak with no real form. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high or so and not really rideable with most break flat but clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was flat to knee high and fairly clean with light northeast winds less than 5 kts.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (3/16) a mixture of swell from a tiny gale that developed on the dateline Fri (3/10) with 21 ft seas and local windswell was hitting North and central California making for rideable surf but nothing more. As predicted a small gale was developing off Japan tracking east mid-day to the dateline Wed-Thurs (3/16) generating up to 33 ft seas and is forecast to lift north producing 24 ft seas Fri-Sat (3/18) before dissipating. Longer term a positive turn is forecast with 2 gale in the Gulf, one Sun-Mon (3/20) with 19 ft seas aimed east and another Tues-Wed (3/22) with 23 ft seas aimed east. And of more interest is a storm forecast for the West Pacific Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 49 ft seas aimed east. Not believable but a nice tease. In the southern hemisphere a gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri (3/10) producing a small area of seas to 40 ft then quickly faded with seas dropping from 32 ft Sat AM (3/11). And maybe something is to develop southeast of New Zealand on Tues-Thurs (3/23) but details are hazy at this early date. The jetstream is to be consolidating by late in the weekend providing improving odds for swell production.

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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (3/16) the jetstream was pushing solidly east off Japan with winds 160 kts forming a weak trough over the West Pacific pushing east, then .cgiitting on the dateline with the northern branch tracking northeast up into the Bering Sea before falling southeast through the Northeastern Gulf with the southern branch tracking southeast over Hawaii then lifting northeast joining the northern branch off the Pacific Northwest with the consolidated flow pushing into Oregon at 120 kts. There was some support for gale development in the trough over the West Pacific. Over the next 72 hours a big change is to develop with the .cgiit gone by Sun (3/19) and a consolidated flow setting up running east off Southern Japan almost forming a weak trough there with winds 140 kts tracking over the dateline and north of Hawaii with winds holding the whole way to a point 900 nmiles west of Pt Conception offering improving support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to hold this configuration if not improving with a more defined trough developing off Japan on Wed (3/22) become more defined on Thurs (3/23) and being fed by 150 kts winds while to the east another trough tried to develop over the Gulf of Alaska being fed by 130 kts winds and yet a third trough developing just over San Francisco on Wed (3/22) offering potential for weather there. The other trough looks capable of support gale development in the open ocean. So a much improved pattern is possible if the models are accurate.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (3/14) new small swell from a gale developing off Japan was in the water and pushing east (see Japan Gale below) . Otherwise two other low pressure systems were present, one in the Northern Gulf and another just north of Hawaii, both starting to produce 30-35 kts winds as of Thurs AM but expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours getting little traction on the oceans surface. Maybe 19 ft seas to result from both producing maybe a short pulse of north windswell for Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest down into North CA (see QuikCASTs for details) but generally unremarkable.

Over the next 72 hours the Japan Gale (below) is to be the main weather system of interest.

But a small bit of low pressure is to start developing in the Gulf on Sun PM (3/19) generating 30-35 kt northwest winds with seas to 18 ft at 42N 148W targeting the US West Coast. That fetch is to hold Mon AM (3/20) moving closer to the US with seas 20 ft at 42N 145W. Fetch is to fade from 30 kts in the evening moving closer to the mainland with 18 ft seas fading at 42N 141W. Windswell possible for the US West Coast on Wed (3/22).

Japan Gale
A gale started developing off Japan on Wed AM (3/15) with 45-50 kt northeast winds targeting mainly the southern hemi with 33 seas at 31N 145E. In the evening a new small fetch of 45 kt west winds built east of the original fetch with seas 34 ft at 35N 162 over a tiny area. The gale lifted northeast Thurs AM (3/16) with 35 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 35N 168E over a tiny area. 30-35 kt west winds to grow in coverage while lifting slowly north in the evening with 24 ft seas at 39N 174E. On Fri AM (3/17) the gale is to retrograde west with 30-35 kt west winds off the Southern Kuril's with 22 ft seas from the original fetch at 43N 178E. Fetch is to hold in the evening off the Kuril's at 35-40 kts with 25 ft seas developing at 44N 165E. The gale is to be stationary Sat AM (3/18) with 35 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 45N 170E. The gale is to be fading in the evening with fetch dropping from 30-35 kts and seas 20-22 ft over a smaller footprint at 43N 170E. This system is to fade Sun AM (3/19) with winds dropping from 25-30 kts and seas fading from barely 20 ft at 42N 170E. This is nothing remarkable but could produce a nice longer lasting pulse of small swell for the Islands with limited energy reaching the US West Coast. Something to monitor.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (3/16) weak high pressure was along the North and Central California coasts ridging inland over Oregon with low pressure in the North Gulf and another north of Hawaii pushing east. Winds were north 10 kts over nearshore water but forecast building to 15 kts along the entire coast late. On Friday the low off the CA coast is to move northeast with light winds for all of California and south winds 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino near sunset. Light rain for Cape Mendocino later. On Saturday the low is to move inland over South Oregon with south winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early and south at 10 kts to the Golden Gate, otherwise light west 5 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Rain for North CA with sprinkles down to San Francisco later morning into the afternoon. Maybe light snow for highest elevations of Yosemite down to Mammoth otherwise light rain for the Sierras. A light wind and pressure pattern is forecast for Sunday (3/19) with high pressure trying to build in but not making it except for Cape Mendocino, with north winds 20 kts early there fading in the afternoon. Lingering sprinkles confined to the area between Monterey Bay and San Francisco. Monday (3/20) a stronger low is to be off the North and Central coasts with south winds building to 15 kts at sunset and light rain building from San Francisco southward at sunset. Tuesday (3/21) the low is to still be circulating just off the North CA coast lifting north with south winds 20 kts from Pt Conception northward early fading to 10-15 kts later with rain from Santa Barbara Co northward heaviest from San Francisco northward. Snow developing in the AM for Mammoth north to Tahoe at higher elevations continuing in the evening. A brief break is forecast Wednesday (3/22) with another low queuing up off the coast and high pressure ridging into Southern CA with northwest winds 15-20 kts for Southern CA but light west winds from Morro Bay northward. Snow continuing for the Sierras mainly at higher elevations until sunset then falling. Thurs (3/23) the next low starts pushing into the state with south winds 40 kts for Cape Mendocino early pushing south to San Francisco at 30 kts late afternoon and 15 kts to Pt Conception. Rain to Monterey Bay early and solid from SF northward pushing to Pt Conception later afternoon. Snow for the Sierra.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
Tiny swell from two systems previously in the South Pacific is tracking northeast but expected to have little impact (see details below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch is forecast over the next 72 hours.


Small New Zealand Storm
A storm developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs PM (3/9) with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building to 32 ft at 57S 174E over a tiny area. On Fri AM (3/10) winds faded some to 50 kts over a somewhat larger area though still small with seas 39 ft over a tiny area aimed east at 57S 174W. The gale tracked east in the evening with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west and seas fading to 38 ft at 56S 163W. Fetch faded Sat AM (3/11) from 40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 56S 153W. The gale faded from there. Maybe small sideband swell for Hawaii up into the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Tiny swell for Hawaii starting late Fri (3/17) at 0.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell fading from Sat (3/18) from 0.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Southern CA: Swell arrival on Sun (3/19) building to 1.2 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (3/20) to 1.4 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Tues (3/21) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 200 degrees


Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues PM (3/14) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52S 117W aimed due north and barely in the Southern CA swell window but mainly targeting mainland Mexico. The gale held while tracking east Wed AM (3/15) with south winds 40-45 kts and seas 33 ft at 53S 113W barely in the SCal swell window but targeting Mexico well. Fetch fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with 33 ft seas at 51S 107W targeting only Mainland Mexico. The gale is to dissipate from there. Small swell for Southern CA but mainly targeting Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Swell arriving on Wed (3/22) building to 1.1 ft @ 19 secs late (2 ft). Swell building some on Thurs (3/23) to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 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 there's a suggestion of a tiny gale developing in the Southwestern Gulf of Alaska Mon PM (3/20) with 35 kt west winds over a tiny area with seas building. By Tues AM (3/21) winds to build to 40 kt over a tiny area with 20 ft seas at 40N 170W (northeast of Hawaii). In the evening the gale is to track east with 35-40 kt west winds still over a tiny area with 23 ft seas at 42N 163W. the gale to start falling southeast on Wed AM (3/22) with 35 kt west winds and 22 ft seas at 40N 158W. Fetch fading in the evening from 30 kts and seas fading from 19 ft at 38N 151W. Something to monitor mainly for the US West Coast.

Of far more interest but further out in time and therefore less likely to develop is a storm off Japan on Wed (3/22) with 55 kt northwest winds getting more consolidated in the evening with seas building to 43 ft at 35N 164 targeting Hawaii well. Fetch holding Thurs AM (3/23) at 50+ kts with seas building to 48 ft at 37N 168E. Fetch and seas fading as it approaches the dateline later evening. Certainly something to monitor but basically just a tease at this early date.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is projected well south of New Zealand on Tues (3/21) with 40-45 kt southwest fetch and seas to 32 ft at 55S 164W lifting northeast then tracking east on Wed (3/22) with 45 kt southwest winds and 33 ft seas at 52S 143W. More energy to assimilate into this system Thurs (3/23) with 50 kt west winds and 44 ft seas at 52S 123W. Something to monitor.

More details to follow...


Inactive MJO Holds - But Sea Surface Temps are Warming

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.cgianet, 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 .cgiit 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 di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (3/15) east winds were solid over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but strong easterly over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up and are being enhanced by the Inactive Phase of the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Strong east anomalies were modeled over the eastern Kelvin Wave Generation Area centered near the dateline attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO. The forecast suggests east anomalies to hold on the dateline for the next week and if anything retrograding west some near 3/19, then starting to move east but still centered on the dateline. through 3/22. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 3/15 a neutral MJO was indicated over the West Pacific. The statistic model projects a weak Inactive signal is to reappear on the dateline 5 days out holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the West Pacific at day 8 building to almost strong strength 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/16) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts essentially the same thing if not retrograding west to the East Indian Ocean. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/16) This model depicts a weak Active Phase present in the far West Pacific tracking east reaching the dateline 3/31 and then into Central America 4/5. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/1 pushing to Central America 4/20. A weak Active Pattern is to follow. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/16) This model depicts the Inactive Phase fading east of the dateline and is to loose control of the KWGA by 3/19 with moderate east anomalies in control but fading. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow starting 3/22 but with east anomalies still in control of the KWGA into 3/28. But west anomalies are to be developing by 3/29 and building solid by 4/2 and not fading for the foreseeable future through 6/13. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/26 (holding this run but previously 4/6) with El Nino taking hold 5/8 (previously 5/2, 4/26 and 4/19 before that). We're thinking the model is still slipping the start of an El Nino like episode. Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has been slipping with each run of the model.
We'll see what happens.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/16) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C retrograding west and no longer on the chart. The 28 deg isotherm line is retrograding to 172E and steep still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 25 meters (60 meters at 140W) but continue thickening. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the entire upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific from 100 meters upward. But a pocket of -1 degs anomalies is holding between 110-150W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/9 depicts that warm water has built east forming a continuous path from the West Pacific to Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs suggesting a Kelvin Wave has evolved. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the fart West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/9) The previous upgrade where positive anomalies were depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream continuous to break up into pockets rather than one continuous flow. Still La Nina is gone in the East Pacific.

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: (3/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching now west to 115W at 2+ degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W and starting to fill in over the equator wiping out a cool pool that had developed there over the past week or so. This is good news. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 with that warming building into the Nino3.4 region. Temps are +2-4 degs above normal along the immediate South American coast and advecting west along the equator. Impressive. And these waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/15): The previous warming trend covering waters of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is neutral now, but showing no signs of trending cooler. But marked warming is developing from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 160W with more moderate warming north of there. The warming trend that started in the Southern hemi is dissipating but is now appearing in the Northern hemi off Mexico up to California and out over hawaii and reaching to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview:
(3/15) Previous signs of La Nina cool waters redeveloping weakly from 120-160W are gone. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and is now building but less energetic out to at least 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/16) Today's temps were steady at +2.244 degs.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/16) temps were rising slightly at +0.154 degs. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend all above the neutral line. A turn to a warmer regime looks like it's developing. But it's way to early to proclaim anything more than that.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/16) The forecast has temps at +0.15 degs mid-March building to +0.7 degs later in April holding through the summer then rising to +0.9 -1.0 degs in Sept and +1.2 degs in Oct suggesting a return of a weak El Nino. This is a bit of an upgrade from previous runs that had temps to +1.3 degs or more. Regardless, La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source from grater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume just updated today (3/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.8 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the Feb forecast and +0.6 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/16): The daily index is barely positive at +1.00 and has been noodling around neutral for the past 2 weeks. The 30 day average was falling at -6.53 and has been negative al east 30 days. The 90 day average was rising slightly at 0.12 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/16) Today's value has fallen again at -1.06. This is likely in response to falling sea surface temps in Nino3.4 over a 2 week period that ended about a week ago suggesting a continuation of La Nina at least for a little longer in this index. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral. That seems like a reach.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, Feb = +0.08. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +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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