Saturday, March 31, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy has been restored to service! Seas were 6.4 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 5.0 ft @ 15.1 secs from 311 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.6 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 15.6 secs from 172 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4-6 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.5 ft @ 13.1 secs from 200 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 16.0 secs from 204 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 16.0 secs from 208 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 16.1 secs from 207 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 15.4 secs from 195 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temp 54.1 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
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.
On Saturday (3/31) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves in the waist high range and warbled and weak and mushy but with reasonably clean surface conditions. Protected breaks were flat and warbled and foggy. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean and swamped by tide early. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co surf was thigh to waist high and clean breaking on the beach and foggy. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist high or so and clean and foggy. In North San Diego surf was thigh high on the sets at top breaks and weak but clean. Hawaii's North Shore was solid with waves 8 ft Hawaiian and clean and lined up. The South Shore was getting wrap around windswell at waist high and clean early. The East Shore was getting east windswell at waist high and clean with no trades early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (3/31) swell was hitting Hawaii from a gale that developed on the dateline Tues-Wed (2/28) tracking southeast producing up to 26 ft seas aimed well at the Islands. Beyond another similar gale is to develop on the dateline Wed-Thurs (4/5) falling southeast with 26 ft seas. And possibly another is projected behind that. Down south a small gale is developing under New Zealand on Sat-Sun (4/1) with 33 ft seas aimed east.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (3/31) the jetstream was weakly split over Japan then consolidating just off the coast before almost immediately splitting again with the northern branch pushing north just off the Kuril Islands and then into the West Bering Sea aching east from there while the southern branch tracked east with winds to 140 kts falling to a point just north of Hawaii before lifting northeast and splitting again with most energy then tracking east and being joined by residual energy falling southeast from the Bering Sea pushing into the Pacific Northwest and the remaining energy tracking east from Hawaii into Central CA. Residual energy from a trough previously over the dateline was moving into the Western Gulf but weak and cutoff from most energy. Over the next 72 hours through Tues (4/3) a split flow is to be over the far West Pacific with some energy tracking east over North Japan and the rest south of there on the 28N latitude line then both branches merging on the dateline with winds to 160 kts in one small pocket, then fading and limping east-northeast into the Pacific Northwest with winds in the 70-80 kts. Beyond 72 hours the split flow in the west is to amplify with a huge ridge pushing north up into the Bering Sea on Sat (4/7) with winds to 140 kts then falling hard south towards the Western Gulf while the southern branch falls southeast down to 15N then tracks east-northeast. From there the northern branch is to form a steep almost pinched trough in the Western Gulf then lifting northeast and east not joining the southern branch until about 600 nmiles off the North CA coast. At that point winds to build to 130 kts as the 2 branches merge and push inland. Limited support for gale development in the steep trough west of the dateline.
On Saturday AM (3/31) swell from a gale previously on the dateline was hitting Hawaii (see Dateline Gale below).
Typhoon Jelawat was 700 nmiles east-northeast from the Philippines with winds 65 kts. Residual low pressure from the Dateline Gale was still circulating in the Western Gulf but producing no fetch. Also weak low pressure was 750 nmiles east of Japan. None are forecast to do anything of interest.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
A gale was developing in a trough just west of the dateline Tues AM (3/27) producing a modest sized area of 30 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft over a tiny area at 36N 168E. In the evening north winds built to 35 kts with 18 ft seas at 37N 170E targeting Hawaii well. The gale organized better Wed AM (3/28) with northwest winds 40 kts while tracking southeast with seas to 27 ft at 37N 175E targeting Hawaii well. The gale tracked east in the evening with northwest winds fading from 35 kts on the dateline and seas barely 26 ft at 35N 178E aimed directly at Hawaii. The gale was fading Thurs AM (3/29) with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas dropping from 21 ft at 34N 175W targeting Hawaii. Winds fading in the evening from 30 kts from the west with seas fading from 19-20 ft at 34N 178W. Swell arrival in Hawaii early in the weekend.
Hawaii: Swell fading Sun AM (4/1) from 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.5 ft). Residuals on Mon (4/2) fading from 3.5 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Typhoon Jelawat on Sat AM (3/31) 700 nmiles east-northeast from the Philippines with winds 65 kts. The models and official forecast suggest a steady weakening of this system as it gets steadily sheared by upper level winds.
No other tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (3/31) weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 400 nmiles west of Washington ridging into the coast there forming a pressure gradient along the Cape Mendocino coast with north winds 15+ kts over nearshore waters but 10 kts or less from Bodega Bay southward. Sunday (4/1) a new weak high pressure system is to set up 650 nmiles off Central CA with the gradient falling south producing north winds at 15-20 kts for North CA and building southward to Pt Conception at 15 kts early pushing 20 kts in the afternoon. Monday (3/2) the high is to push east with north winds 20+ kts from Cape Mendocino to the Channel Islands. Weak low pressure is to be building over outer waters off the Oregon-CA border. Tuesday (3/3) the low is to be pushing closer to North CA with the gradient fading and northwest winds 15 kts early for all of North and Central CA fading steadily through the day to 10-15 kts late afternoon as low pressure moves incrementally closer. Wed AM (4/4) a light northwest flow is forecast for Central CA and south winds building to 10+ kts for Cape Mendocino. On Thurs (4/5) the front is to weakly impact Cape Mendocino with south winds 15 kts early and the front getting reinforced late afternoon with south winds building to 20+ kts and south winds falling south to to Bodega Bay later with more low pressure building well off the coast and out to Hawaii. North winds to 20 kts over Pt Conception. Rain building south to the Golden Gate late afternoon. Friday AM (4/6) southwest winds to push south to the Golden Gate at 10 kts building to 15 kts later and 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino late evening as low pressure moves up to the Oregon Coast. Rain for all of North CA down to Monterey Bay early lifting north to the Golden Gate late afternoon falling south overnight. Rain for Tahoe mainly early with snow levels 1200 ft all day. Saturday AM (4/7) low pressure is to be holding off Oregon with west winds 15 kts down to the Golden Gate and northwest winds 15 kts for Central CA and the Channel Islands building into Southern CA late. Moderate plus rain for all of North CA reaching down to nearly Morro Bay early and weakly pushing to Pt Conception late afternoon and fading as the day continues. Heavy rain for Tahoe early below 10,000 ft but snow levels falling to 8300 at 5 PM and 7000 ft at 8PM and falling from there as high pressure start building off the coast.
A small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific late the past weekend producing swell pushing north (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).
No swell is expected relative to California from a storm that developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Wed AM (3/28) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 26 ft at 55S 118W aimed northeast and mostly outside the California swell window targeting only South and Central America. In the evening southwest winds built to 55 kts aimed well north and northeast with seas 42 ft at 56S 105W aimed at all of Central and South America. Fetch faded Thurs AM (3/29) from 50 kts from the southwest with seas 46 ft at 56S 95W off Patagonia targeting only Southern America. The storm tracked east from there.
Over the next 72 hours a storm started building just south of New Zealand on Fri PM (3/30) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 52S 167E. On Sat AM (4/1) the gale is to fall southeast slightly with southwest winds 45 kts and seas 33 ft over a tiny area at 52S 174E. The gale is to fade some while tracking east in the evening with 40 kt southwest winds and 32 ft seas at 53S 180W. On Sun AM (4/1) southwest winds to be fading from barely 35 kts with 29 ft seas fading at 53S 173W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale is to be gone. Possible small southwest swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast if all plays out as forecast.
Southeast Pacific Gale
A small weather system developed in the Southeast Pacific on Sun PM (3/25) lifting gently east-northeast with 40 kt southwest winds and seas to 27 ft over a tiny area at 63S 138W. The gale tracked east-northeast Mon AM (3/26) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 29 ft at 60S 127W aimed mainly at Chile and Peru but with sideband energy possibly pushing up towards Southern CA. The gale continued east-northeast in the evening with a tiny area of 40 kt southwest winds and seas 30 ft at 59S 119W targeting mainly South America with sideband energy somewhat towards Southern CA. This system was outside the CA swell window by Tues AM (3/27) with winds 35 kts aimed at Chile with 30 ft seas at 54S 111W. The gale is fade from there. Maybe some background swell to result for California.
Southern CA: Possible swell arrival on Tues (4/3) building to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (4/4) building to 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs early (4.0 ft). Swell holding Thurs (4/5) at 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 183 degrees
North CA: Possible swell arrival on Tues (4/3) building to 1.5 ft @ 18-19 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell peaking later on Wed (4/4) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell holding Thurs (4/5) at 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 181 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a small low pressure system is to start building on the dateline Tues AM (4/3) producing a tiny area of 30-35 kt northwest winds with seas building. In the evening the gale is to fall southeast with winds 30 kts over a larger area with 18 ft seas at 40N 176E. On Wed AM (4/4) the gael is to continue southeast with 30 kt northwest winds and 19 ft seas at 39N 179E. Finally in the evening the gale is to build with a small are of 40 kt northwest winds and seas building to 26 ft at 37N 179W. The gael is to be fading Thurs AM (4/5) with 35 kt northwest winds and 23 ft seas at 33N 173W targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale is to be 750 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 20 ft at 33N 165W. The gale is to dissipate from there.
On Friday AM (4/6) another broader gale is to develop on the dateline with 30 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. 24 hours later the gale is to be smaller and still on the dateline but further south with winds 40 kts producing a small area of 24 ft seas at 36N 180W. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours another small gale is forecast tracking under New Zealand on Tues PM (4/3) with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 32 ft at 52S 163E over a tiny area. The gale is to fall southeast from there Wed AM (4/4) with 45 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas 34 ft at 54S 175E. In the evening 45 kt west winds to be tracking east over a tiny area with 36 ft seas at 54S 173W. The gale is to fade Thurs AM (4/5) with west winds 40 kts from the west with seas 33 ft at 55S 163W. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Suspicious Warming Growing West of Galapagos
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina was at hand.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Friday (3/30) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and also from the east over part of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and west over the western portion. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and modest westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (3/31) Modest east anomalies were from the dateline and points east of there with moderate to strong westerly winds filling the KWGA to the dateline. This pattern is to effectively hold through 4/5 then westerly anomalies are to dissipate at the end of the model run on 4/7 with east anomalies building over the KWGA. This suggests a pattern change, and not favorable.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (3/30) A moderate Active/Wet signal was over the West Pacific reaching a bit east of the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active signal fading steadily over the next 9 days with a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal building in the far West Pacific at day 8 and filling the KWGA 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO is to continue filling the KWGA 5 days out then fading some at day 8 into day 15 but still over the KWGA while the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO builds over the Maritime Continent then stalls and fades there at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/31) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO modest in strength over the dateline. It is to track east steadily over the next 15 days moving into the Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model depicts the same track and speed but with the Active Phase far weaker the last 6 days of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/31) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet pattern over the West and Central Pacific. The weak Active Phase is to track east into the East Pacific and Central America through 4/20. A new moderate Inactive Phase is to be developing in the far West Pacific on 4/7 migrating to the East Pacific on 5/5. After that a very weak Active Phase is forecast in the West Pacific 4/22 easing east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 5/10. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/25) This site is down - no update available today. On (3/21) this model depicted the Inactive Phase was all but gone over the KWGA with east anomalies mainly from the dateline and points east of there with moderate west anomalies from 170E and point west of there with this west wind pattern holding through 3/27. From that point forward east anomalies are forecast to collapse and not return for the duration of the model run. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 3/29 holding through 4/14 with modest west anomalies developing and filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Beyond no coherent MJO signal is forecast through 5/30 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA and no sign of east anomalies in the KWGA or even in the East Pacific. Perhaps a stronger Active Phase to develop 6/1 holding through the end of the model run on 6/18 with west anomalies strengthening some in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the bulk of the KWGA at 170E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/14 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and steadily moving east and out of the KWGA on 4/4. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 2-3 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/31) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is building in coverage in the West Pacific tracking east with cooler water steadily loosing control of the East Pacific. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is still a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east - La Nina). The 24 deg isotherm was building in thickness while making significant eastward progress at 90 meters deep at 140W and 50 meters deep at 120W dropping to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures at -1.5 degs were in one small pocket at 105W 50 metes deep. Cooler waters are steadily loosing coverage and density and being squeezed to the surface by warm water building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies were weakening in the West at +3.0 degs at 165W down 150 meters and tracking east with the dividing line between that and cool waters at 115W down 75 meters and pushing up to 30 m deep indicative of a large Kelvin Wave trying to push east and about poised to erupt in the far East Pacific. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/24 depicts warm water in the west at +4.0 degs at 155W reaching east to 120W pushing up to 30 m deep. Cool water was holding in one elongated shallow pocket in the East Pacific from Ecuador to 160W down 50-70 meters with one pocket at -3.5 degs at 100W and continues significantly losing density, intensity and depth being squeezed to the surface by the approaching Kelvin Wave. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and is poised to be undercut by an approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/24) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5 cms centered at 160W reaching east to 122W. Neutral anomalies were east of there except for negative anomalies at -5 cms near 3S 100W and extending east to Peru. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (3/30) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pocket elongated west to east in the deep Southeast Pacific centered at 20S 100W. A pocket of cool anomalies was along the immediate coast of Peru reaching northwest up to the Galapagos and steadily loosing coverage compared to days past. Of much interest is a building pool of warm anomalies developing on the oceans surface on and just south of the equator starting off of Peru out to 110W, stronger than the last report on 3/28. This possibly could be the start of a defined eruption point for a large Kevin Wave directly below. Warm anomalies were also along the immediate coast of Central America and Mexico. Cool anomalies on the equator west of 115W are collapsing.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/30): A previous cooling trend along the immediate coast of Peru has dispersed. A deep pocket of cooling is over the Galapagos. Deep warming was along Ecuador. And a broad pocket of warming continues from 105W-160W on the equator with a core at 120W, possibly indicating the breach point for a large Kelvin Wave directly beneath there.
Hi-res Overview: (3/30) A pocket of cool water is along the immediate coast of Peru reaching up to the Galapagos. But weak warming was further off the coast over the same area and reaching north to the equator at 100W. Warming was also along Ecuador and Central America filling the area north of the equator up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking on the equator covering the area from 110W to barely the dateline reaching no further north than 2N and mainly south of the equator looking like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/31) Today's temps were rebounding quickly to -0.468 after previously falling hard to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/31) Today temps were rising some at -0.934 degs. A weak surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps have eased off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/31) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rebounding since, up to -0.55 in early Feb and expected to rise to -0.35 in early April. The model indicates temps steadily rising from there to -0.05 early June, hovering there then starting to rise into the Fall to 0.0 degs in Sept and to +0.3 degs in Nov. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to fade out in the early Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the Fall. The odds of a 3 year La Nina developing are rare (3 year La Ninas 17%, 2 year La Ninas 50%, 1 year La Ninas 33% 1951-2017). This model is now falling inline with all the others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.2 in August and +0.5 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/31): The daily index was rising to 3.30. The 30 day average was falling to 8.48 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was still affecting the index but less so lately. The 90 day average was rising some at 3.57 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (3/31) This index was steady today at -1.06 down from -1.13 on 3/27. Still this is down from -0.33 in late Feb, but was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but possibly also reflects the last of the cool subsurface water being squeezed to the surface from an approaching large Kelvin Wave. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan=+0.29, Feb=-0.10. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37. 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table