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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 2:48 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
1.8 - California & 0.5 - 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 3/20 thru Sun 3/26
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   

Local Raw Windswell Hitting CA
3 More Gales Forecast - Small Southern Hemi Swell Possible

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 8.0 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 7.8 secs from 172 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.2 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.2 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Out of Service Buoy 202 (Hanalei) Out of Service
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 10.2 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 8.7 ft @ 10.0 secs from 253 degrees. Wind southwest at 12-16 kts. Water temperature 55.9 degs, 57.0 (Topanga 103), 57.6 degs (Long Beach 215), 57.4 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 56.7 (Del Mar 153), 57.2 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 10.3 ft @ 9.9 secs from 254 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 4.3 ft @ 9.2 secs from 261 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 8.0 ft @ 10.1 secs from 249 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 5.1 ft @ 10.0 secs from 255 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 7.0 ft @ 10.2 secs from 263 degrees. Water temperature was 57.6 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.9 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 6.9 ft @ 10.3 secs from 282 degrees. Wind east at 16-20 kts (46026). Water temp 52.0 (Bodega Bay 46013), 50.5 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.0 (San Francisco 46026), 52.7 (SF Bar 142), 53.8 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and NA (Monterey Bay 46042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Wednesday (3/22) North and Central CA had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead and fairly clean but pretty warbled and ill formed. Basically raw windswell with decent local winds. Protected breaks were chest high and lined up and clean with decent form. At Santa Cruz surf was 2 ft overhead and warbled if not chopped and mushed with sideshore wind and not rideable. In Southern California/Ventura waves were 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and fairly clean but stubbed off and super muddy. Central Orange County had sets at waist to chest high and whitecapped and mushed and not rideable. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets to chest high and a warbled unrideable mess with onshore winds. North San Diego had sets at shoulder high and lined up but warbled and junky an not particularly rideable. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at shoulder high and soft but clean wrapping around from the east. The South Shore was thigh high or so and clean and real soft. The East Shore was 1-2 ft overhead flat and chopped from strong southeast winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (3/22) California was getting local windswell associated with a gale that developed Mon-Tues (3/20) in the Eastern Gulf falling southeast along the CA coast with seas to 18-20 ft aimed east. And a gale is forecast over the Northwestern Gulf on Wed-Thurs (3/23) with up to 26 ft seas aimed southeast. A tiny gale is forecast developing on the dateline Fri-Sat (3/25) falling southeast producing 26 ft seas targeting Hawaii decently. And another is forecast developing off North CA on Mon-Tues (3/28) producing 28 ft seas aimed southeast. So a little improvement in the storm track is possible.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Wednesday (3/22) the jetstream was split multiple times off Japan and a fragmented mess the whole way cross the North Pacific before finally consolidating just off California falling south into a trough with it's apex just off the Coast of Central CA supporting low pressure formation there. Otherwise no support for gale formation was indicated over the greater North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push inland over Southern CA early Thurs (3/23). But another trough is to form just off the Pacific Northwest on Thursday being fed by 140 kts winds offering support for low pressure development but moving onshore over North CA in the evening likely only producing weather. Also on Thurs (3/23) the northern branch of the jet is to get better organized pushing off the North Kuril Islands falling hard southeast being fed by 130 kt winds carving out a trough and starting to support gale formation. The trough is to be over the dateline on Fri (3/24) still being fed by 130 kts winds supporting gale formation before getting cut off and losing energy on early Sat (3/25) no longer supporting gale development. At that time the jet is to be pushing hard northeast off Japan tracking well up into the North Bering Sea then falling hard southeast through the Eastern Gulf and into North CA. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a new backdoor trough starting to develop off the Pacific Northwest on Sun (3/26) falling south off the CA coast on Tues (3/28) being fed by 110 kt winds supporting low pressure if not gale development and slowly pushing onshore over North CA on Wed (3/29). Something to monitor. At that time the jet is to be consolidated pushing off Japan then splitting just off the coast with most energy tracking northeast up to the North Dateline region and then east from there into Alaska while the southern branch is to be way down at 15N tracking over Baja. So a super split jetstream pattern is indicated.


Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (3/22) windswell from a local gale was impacting the CA coast (see East Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Tues PM (3/21) fetch is to start building over the far Northwestern Gulf at 35 kts from the northwest with seas building from 21 ft at 50.75N 167W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (3/22) northwest winds are to build in coverage at 40 kts with seas 25 ft at 51.5N 158.5W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to be 35-40 kts over the Northern Gulf with seas 26 ft at 50.75N 149.5W aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (3/23) northwest winds are to be falling southeast some in the Northern Gulf at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 50N 141W aimed southeast. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor. This is the first semi-real swell producing system on the charts in weeks.

And another tiny gale is to start developing just west of the dateline Thurs AM (3/23) generating 45 kt north winds with seas building. In the evening the gale is to move up to the dateline with 45 kt north winds and seas 27 ft at 38.25N 175.75E aimed southeast. On Fri AM (3/24) the gale is to fall southeast with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 25 ft at 37.25N 177.25E aimed southeast at Hawaii. In the evening the gale is to dissipate with residual seas fading from 20 ft at 34.5N 179E aimed well at Hawaii. Something to monitor.

 

East Gulf Gale
A gale developed in the Eastern Gulf on Mon AM (3/20) producing 25 kt northwest winds over a small area with seas building. In the evening the gale was falling southeast and building with 35 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas 17 ft at 39N 143W well off North CA. Fetch was falling southeast fast on Tues AM (3/21) at 30-35 kts off North and Central CA with seas 19 ft at 37N 138W aimed southeast at Central CA. In the evening fetch was fading from 25-30 kts from the northwest just off Central CA with 19-20 ft seas at 32N 130W just of Southern CA aimed southeast. Fetch fading while tracking east over North and Central CA on Wed AM. Something to monitor.

North CA: Expect windswell arriving on Wed (3/22) building to 7.5 ft @ 12 secs (8.0 ft). Windswell fading on Thurs (3/23) from 5.5 ft @ 10-11 secs early (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 280 moving to 300 degrees

Southern CA: Expect windswell arriving on Wed (3/22) building to 4.0 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft). Windswell fading on Thurs (3/23) from 3.3 ft @ 11-12 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 260 moving to 295 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Thurs AM (3/23) high pressure is to build in with northwest winds 15+ kts for North and Central CA early and 10+ kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts for the rest of North CA and Central CA. Maybe a couple of widely scattered showers early randomly across the state focused on Southern CA early. rain developing for North CA in the afternoon fading overnight. Light snow for the Sierra holding through the day and evening.
  • Fri AM (3/24) high pressure stays in control with northwest winds 20 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon high pressure builds in more with northwest winds 15-20 kts for North CA and 25 kts for Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino during the day and evening.
  • Sat AM (3/25) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 20-25 kts south of there and continuing over Central CA early. No change in the afternoon. Light rain for Cape Mendocino.
  • Sun AM (3/26) no change with northwest winds 10-15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 25 kts for the rest of North and all of Central CA early. Winds fading slightly in the afternoon at 15 kts for North Ca and 20 kts for Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Mon AM (3/27) low pressure develops off North CA with south winds 5 kts for North CA early and northwest 5 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 35-40 kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 15 kts for the rest of North CA and south 5-10 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon building in the evening.
  • Tues AM (3/28) the core of the low is to be off pretty well off Cape mendocino with south winds 30 kts for all of North CA early and south 20-25 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon southwest winds are forecast at 20+ kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA. Heavy rain for all of North CA early building to Pt Conception in the afternoon. heavy snow to Tahoe mid-AM building over the the Sierra through the evening. P
  • Wed AM (3/29) the core of the low is to be just off Pt Arena with south winds forecast at 10 kts for North CA and west at 15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon the core of the low is to fall south fast over Monterey Bay with north winds 15-20 kts for North CA and west 20 kts for the southern half of Central CA but calm in between. Rain for the entire state early starting to fade for North CA late afternoon . Steady snow for the Sierra through the day.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 35, 36, 39, and 26 inches with accumulation 3/23 then redeveloping 3/28-29, and 3/30.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 4,000 ft today then falling to 3,000 ft on 3/25-3/26 but higher during the day then rising to 5.000 ft 3/27-3/29 and mostly holding there beyond.

- - -

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

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
A storm developed traversing the Central South Pacific (see Central South Pacific Storm below).

Otherwise no swell producing weather systems have occurred.

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

 

Central South Pacific Storm
A gale developed in the Central South Pacific Tues AM (3/21) producing 50-55 kt southwest winds tracking east with seas building. In the evening southwest winds were 60-65 kts with seas 43 ft at 58.25S 146W aimed east-northeast. On Wed AM (3/22) south winds were 50 kts with seas 41 ft at 57.25S 133.5S aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 45 kts moving east of the Southern CA swell window with seas 36 ft at 55S 121.75W aimed northeast. Some odds of small southerly swell radiating north.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (3/29) building to 1 ft @ 20 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (3/30) to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (3/31) from 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles on Sat (4/1) fading from 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

Otherwise no swell producing weather systems of interest have occurred.

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Mon AM (3/27) a gale is forecast starting to develop off the OR-CA boarder with 30 kt north winds trying to get traction on the oceans surface. In the evening north winds to build to 35-40 kts while the gale slowly falls south with seas 29 ft at 42N 138.5W aimed a bit south of CA. On Tues AM (3/28) the gale is to be off San Francisco with 35-40 kt north winds and seas 25 ft at 40.25N 137W aimed south and southeast at Central CA. In the evening north winds to be fading from 30-35 kts off San Francisco with seas fading from 22 ft at 38.75N 134W aimed southeast. On Wed Am (3/29) fetch is to be fading from 30 kts form the northwest just off Central CA with seas 19 ft at 37N 131W aimed southeast at Central CA. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

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

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed through the Winter of 2022. But in late Fall 2022 trades started fading a by early 22023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing.

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (3/21) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak east over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral to weak west over the Central Pacific and weak east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (3/22) Modest to moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA today. The 7 day forecast has modest to moderate east anomalies tracking east and centered over the dateline at the end of the model run on 3/29 with weak west anomalies trying to move into the far West KWGA 3/25 and holding position through the end of the model run on 3/29.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (3/21) A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO was filling KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Inactive MJO in control on day 5 then easing east and fading on day 10 and weak and almost east of the the KWGA on day 15 of the model run while the Active Phase building into the far West KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase all but gone on day 10 of the model run and weak remnants lingering into day 15 but mostly just a neutral pattern in control. .
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (3/22) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the West Indian Ocean and is to move east to the East Indian Ocean 15 days out and very weak. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase fading to very weak status over the Central Indian Ocean in 3 days then moving quickly into the West Pacific 15 days out but very weak.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (3/22) A mix of wet air was over the far West Pacific today and dry air exiting the East Pacific. The forecast has t a weak Active signal (wet air) moving into the KWGA on 3/27 and filling the bulk of the Pacific by 4/6 easing to Ecuador on 4/28 with a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO developing over the KWGA at the end of the model run on 4/26-5/1.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (3/20)
The Inactive Phase of the MJO was in control of the KWGA today with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to traverse the KWGA and the Pacific through 3/28 with moderate east anomalies over the dateline during that winds then fading but still lingering there through the end of the model run on 4/17. The Active Phase of the MJO and associated west anomalies are to start building over the Western KWGA on 3/28 filling nearly half the KWGA but only holding there at the end of the model run on 4/17.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(3/22) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA with east anomalies at modest strength over the entirety of the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to peak on 3/25 then starting to fade and gone by 4/7 with but east anomalies holding only through 3/25 then turning weak westerly by 3/28 even as the Inactive Phase still is in control. The Active Phase is to follow starting 4/2 with west anomalies redeveloping and building steadily from there. By 5/1 solid west anomalies are to be in control over the KWGA and most of the Pacific and if anything building to strong status 5/7 and holding through the end of the model run on 6/19. Sure looks like a major El Nino is developing. The shift to El Nino started on 2/15. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 1 contour line centered at 150W with its western perimeter at 180W today and moving east fast and forecast east of the KWGA by 3/27. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 120E with it's leading edge steadily pushing east to 160E today (it started pushing east on 2/15). A hard push east is forecast moving forward and on the dateline 4/15 filling the KWGA and then filling the most of the Pacific with it's leading edge at 130W at the end of the model run and is center at 175E. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next since Oct 2022. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is in total collapse and over with no return in sight. Finally!

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/22) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was building at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 180W. The 26 degree isotherm has now pushed the whole way across the Pacific and building in thickness in the east with shallow temps to 28 degs. This is a big deal and the first time this has happened in years. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +4 deg C were in a broad pocket with the leading edge at 145W and recharging and connected to warm water from a previous Kelvin Wave #1 off Ecuador. A pocket of negative anomalies at -1 deg C were at 130W down 150m under the warm water flow. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/14 indicates a huge very warm ball of 5+ degs anomalies stretching from the far West Pacific and reaching east to 135W (leading edge of Kelvin Wave #2) and then upwards across and into the East Pacific. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/14) Sea heights were very positive from the far West equatorial Pacific to 140W and +0-5 cms over the remainder of the Equatorial Pacific reaching east to Ecuador and building to 5+ cms there. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies are gone no longer in the Equatorial Pacific. Warm water continues building in intensity and coverage in the West to 140W at +2.25 degs connected to a second pocket at +0.5 to +1.0 degs reaching east to 90W and effectively filling the Equatorial 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 Qualitative Analysis: (3/21) The latest images depict a building warm water tongue extending west along the equator from Ecuador to 140W (results of Kelvin Wave #1) and building in intensity. And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru and building in intensity and weaker over the entirety of the deep South Pacific. A tiny patch of barely cool water was collapsing on the equator extending west from 155W, the last remnants of La Nina. .
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/21): A broad pool of warming water was locked well along the coasts of Peru and Chile and along Ecuador reaching north and south to 30N/30S. But cooling water are now on the equator from the Galapagos west to 140W, likely driven by the current Inactive MJO. The warm pool still remains at impressive status today but had backed off some. A warming trend is well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (3/21) Warming waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru and Ecuador. And an El Nino tongue of more intense warming is developing in the East Equatorial Pacific. Cool waters were on the equator limited to one small pocket from about 160W to 165E and collapsing rapidly and almost indiscernible. There no legitimate sign of La Nina on the oceans surface and everything is pointing to El Nino now. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/22) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising to +1.732 degs today up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(3/22) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Temps were down some at -0.240 today but had risen to -0.023 on 3/16. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. Then had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs above the La Nina threshold on 2/12.
Forecast (3/22) - Temps are neutral (0.0 degs) and are forecast rising to +1.05 degs in July and +1.80 degs in Nov and solidly into El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are at neutral (0.0 degs) and are forecast rising to +0.85 degs in July and +1.50 degs in Nov. According to this version of the model we are building into ENSO neutral in Spring and into El Nino in Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Mar 20, 2023 Plume depicts temps are +0.038 degs today and finally above the La nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to +0.493 degs in May rising to +0.779 in July and holding there beyond. This is consistent with the previous run. This model suggests a transition to ENSO neutral if not weak El Nino. This model is in line with the CFS model.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (3/22) the Daily Index was positive at +6.75 and had been negative 10 days prior since 3/4. It fell to -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seems likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling to -0.52 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling at +9.64 after peaking at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

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

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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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