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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, April 4, 2020 4:44 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
4.1 - California & 1.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 4/6 thru Sun 4/12

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   

Swell #1S Tracking North
Weak Storm Track to Follow

On Saturday, April 4, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 2.9 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.2 secs from 181 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 13.5 secs from 283 degrees. Water temp 76.1 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 13.6 secs from 173 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 60.3 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.5 ft @ 5.5 secs from 310 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.9 secs from 195 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.2 secs from 185 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.9 ft @ 13.8 secs from 190 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 14.0 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 14.0 secs from 190 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 10-12 kts. Water temp 50.7 degs (013), 54.1 degs (012) and 55.6 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Saturday (4/4) in North and Central CA surf was flat and modest chopped from southwest wind. Protected breaks were thigh to maybe waist high on the bigger sets and barely breaking and soft but clean. At Santa Cruz occasional sets were waist high and clean and peeling but generally weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high or so and mushed and not well organized with a fair amount of warble in the water but clean with no wind. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was fading with waves waist to maybe chest high and heavily warbled by strong southerly wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were head high on the sets and lined up but pretty destroyed by lump and warble with south wind adding more cross-chop to the mix. North San Diego had surf at waist high and mostly closed out and nearly chopped from south wind. Hawaii's North Shore had some waist high sets and clean but very weak and rideable only at select breaks. The South Shore was near flat and textured from easterly trades. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell at waist high and textured from modest southeasterly wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (4/4) some small southern hemi swell was still hitting exposed breaks in California but surface conditions were mostly not favorable. No swell was hitting Hawaii. Looking forward a cutoff low formed north of Hawaii on Thurs-Fri (4/3) producing up to 22 ft seas aimed at the Islands. Swell arrival later on Sat (4/4). Otherwise there's no clear indication of swell producing weather systems forecast. Down south a small gale formed in the Central South Pacific on Sun (3/29) lifting northeast to the Southeast Pacific through Tues (3/31) producing 35 ft seas aimed northeast. Some swell is radiating northeast. And secondary fetch produced up to 38 ft seas on the eastern edge of the California swell window late Tues (3/31) aimed well northeast. After that things are to take a break until Sun (4/5) when a small area of 28 ft seas are to push northeast on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window. And again late on Tues (4/7) when a small gale is to again develop on the eastern edge of the CA swell window producing up to 30 ft seas aimed northeast. But odds of swell resulting from either of these systems is low with most energy focused on Peru. Nothing else to follow.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (4/4) no ground swell was in the water over the North Pacific with high pressure in control. A cutoff low has produced windswell tracking south towards Hawaii (see Cut-Off Low below).

Over the next 72 hours another cutoff low is to produce an area of north winds at 25-30 kts on Sun AM (4/5) aimed a bit west of Hawaii with seas to 16 ft at 37N 175W aimed south, then fading from 20-25 kts on Mon (4/6) possibly resulting in northerly windswell for the Islands. See QuikCASTs for details.


Cut-Off Low
On Thurs AM (4/2) a cutoff low had formed just east of the dateline in the far Northwestern Gulf producing 30-35 kt north winds with seas building to barely 20 ft at 44N 170W aimed south. In the evening the fetch fell south still producing 30-35 kt north winds and seas building to 22 ft over a small area at 40N 171W aimed south. On Fri AM (4/3) the gale dissipated while falling southwest from there no longer producing meaningful fetch with seas fading from 18 ft at 35N 173W. .

Oahu: Expect small swell arriving later on Sat (4/4) pushing 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell to be fading Sun AM (4/5) fading from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs (5.0 ft). Dribbles left Mon AM (4/6) fading from 2.6 ft @ 10 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 330 degrees


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 Saturday (4/4) weak low pressure was just off Cape Mendocino producing southwest winds at 10-15 kts for North CA and northwest 10-15 kts for Central CA and with the southwest winds pattern building south to Pt Conception. Rain for North CA early building down to Monterey CA late afternoon. Snow for Tahoe starting early afternoon building over the bulk of the Sierra by late afternoon holding into the evening. Sun (4/5) southwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North and Central CA turning northwest at 10-15 kts for North CA late and southwest 10-15 kts for Central CA as the low slowly moves inland over the CA-OR border. Rain early for North and Central CA building down to Southern CA later. Snow for the Sierra early getting heavy centered on Tahoe mid AM and then continuing heavy if not building while pushing south covering the whole Sierra late afternoon and through the evening. Mon (4/6) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts for North Ca and south 5 kts for Central CA turning northwest 10-15 kts later as the low tracks inland. Light rain mainly for Central CA early but heavier for Southern CA early fading through the day but not out. Moderate snow for the Sierra early from Tahoe southward fading slowly through the day but continuing into the evening. On Tues (4/7) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early for Pt Arena northward and 5 kts south of there to Pt Conception holding all day as high pressure starts building in later. Light rain for Central CA fading through the day. Light snow early from Tahoe south and over the Central Sierra fading by noon. On Wed (4/9) north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA down to Bodega Bay and north 10-15 kts south of there holding all day and looking much like a typical summertime pressure gradient pattern. Light rain through the day for the San Diego area. No snow forecast. Thurs (4/9) north winds are forecast at 15 kts for North CA down to Pt Arena and 10 kts south of there holding all day. No precip forecast. Fri (4/10) the usual summertime pressure gradient is to hold with north winds at 20+ kts for North CA and northwest 10 kts for Central CA holding all day. Sat (4/11) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts with a core at 30 kts off Bodega Bay and 20 kt northwest winds pushing south to Morro Bay and holding all day.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 49, 49, 64 and 35 inches respectively.

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (4/4) the jetstream was consolidated ridging/pushing hard south under New Zealand down to 75S (north coast of Antarctica) then turning northeast over the Central and Southeast Pacific forming a trough over the far Southeast Pacific being fed by only 100 kts winds offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to strengthen on Sun AM (4/5) as winds building into it at 160-170 kts building to 180 kts in the evening offering good support for gale development there and improving some more into Mon AM (4/6) but with the trough moving east to the very eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window. Back to the west a solid ridge is to be setting up sweeping east from under New Zealand covering the rest of the South Pacific other than where the aforementioned trough is shutting down support for gale development over that region. The trough is to move east of the California swell window by Tues AM (4/7) but still well organized supporting gale development targeting Peru and surrounding areas. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to slowly lose energy and be dissipating by Thurs (4/9) with the jet weak and trickling east on the 63S latitude line with winds barely 90 kts offering no support for gale development. On Fri (4/10) a trough is forecast building and pushing north reaching the over southern tip of New Zealand being fed by 140 kt winds offering good support for gale development under New Zealand while tracking east into the exposed far Southwest Pacific on Sat (4/11) offering some glimmer of hope to support gale development there. .


Surface Analysis
Swell from a
small gale that previously formed in the Southeast Pacific is fading in California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Another gale developed behind it again in the far Southeast Pacific generating swell that is radiating north (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (4/4) generating a broad area of 30-35 kts southwest winds with seas building from 24 ft at 60S 140W aimed northeast. Fetch is to push east on Sun AM (4/5) at 35-40 kts and being absorbed into a stronger storm with 50-55 kt south winds on the very edge of the Southern CA swell window producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 130W 57S aimed northeast. In the evening the entire mass is to track east fast with 35-40 kt south winds barely holding in the SCal swell window with 26 ft seas at 60S 115W aimed northeast. This system is to push east and out of the CA swell window from there. Low odds for small sideband swell radiating up towards California, but most energy aimed at Peru and points south of there.

On Mon PM (4/6) a secondary fetch of 35-45 kt southwest winds is to develop over the far Southeast Pacific starting to get traction on the oceans surface. That fetch is to race northeast Tues AM (4/7) with south winds 45-50 kts over a small area producing seas of 33 ft again over a tiny area at 60S 130W aimed well north-northeast. In the evening the gale is to be racing northeast with 40-45 kt south winds over a small area and seas 31 ft at 50S 121W aimed well north. On Wed AM (4/8) the gale is to race northeast and be totally east of the CA swell window targeting mainly Peru. Something to monitor.


Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale started building in the far Southeast Pacific Mon AM (3/23) producing south winds at 35-40 kts with seas building from 23 ft at 49S 138W aimed north. Fetch built in coverage while tracking east in the evening with seas building to 27 ft aimed north at 50S 130W aimed northeast. The gale built some more on Tues AM (3/24) on the eastern edge of the CA swell window with 40+ kt south to southeast winds and 31 ft seas building at 53.5S 120 W aimed north. Fetch was fading and tracking southeast in the evening at 35-40 kts with seas 31 ft at 50S 114W. The gale faded and moved east of the CA swell window from there. Possible small swell for CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Another pulse to arrive on Sat (4/4) at 1.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Sun (4/5) from 1.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees moving to 177 degrees.

North CA: Swell fading Sat (4/4) fading from 1.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles on Sun (4/5) fading from 1.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 183 degrees moving to 175 degrees


Another Southeast Pacific Gale - Swell #1S
A gale developed well south of New Zealand and just off Antarctica on Sun AM (3/29) producing 40-45 kts southwest winds over a modest sized area and seas building from 30 ft at 68S 162.5W. In the evening winds built to 45-50 kts from the southwest aimed well northeast with seas building 34 ft at 64S 154W aimed northeast. The gale lifted northeast on Mon AM (3/30) with south winds at 40-45 kts and seas 36 ft over a decent sized area at 59S 143.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was starting to fade while tracking northeast with 35-40 kt southwest winds in pockets and seas dissipating from 33 ft at 55.5S 132W aimed northeast. Southwest fetch was fading Tues AM (3/31) from 30-35 kts over a solid area with seas from previous fetch fading from 29 ft over a broad area at 55S 122W aimed northeast. Swell is radiating northeast.

Secondary fetch developed in the Southeast Pacific on Tues AM (3/31) at 40 kts aimed well northeast with 25 ft seas developing over a small area at 64S 141W aimed northeast. In the evening a small fetch of south winds is to be pushing north-northeast at 45-50 kts with 36 ft seas over a modest sized area at 56.5S 129W aimed northeast. Fetch is to be rapidly fading in coverage Wed AM (4/1) and racing east and out of the Scal swell window from 45-50 kts with seas 39 ft at 52S 116W aimed northeast. This system is to fade and push well out of the SCal swell window.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Mon (4/6) building to 1.7 ft @ 20 secs (3.0 ft). Swell building through the day Tues (4/7) pushing 3.3 ft @ 17-18 secs late (5.5-6.0 ft with sets to 7.3 ft). Swell steady early Wed (4/8) fading from 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (4/9) fading from 3.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (4/10) from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell dissipating Sat (4/11) from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Mon (4/6) building to 1.4 ft @ 20-21 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building through the day Tues (4/7) pushing 2.6 ft @ 18-19 secs late (4.5 ft). Swell steady early Wed (4/8) at 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (5.1 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (4/9) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (4/10) from 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell dissipating Sat (4/11) from 2.2 ft @ 14 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs AM (4/9) a poorly organized gale is forecast developing in a trough under New Zealand producing 35 kt south and west winds over a modest sized area not getting meaningful traction. The gale is to track east in the evening with 35-40 kts southwest winds over a small area and seas trying to develop but of no interest yet. That gale is to fade on Fri (4/10). But a secondary fetch is forecast developing under and southwest of New Zealand on Sat (4/11) producing 30-35 kt southwest winds and 28-30 ft seas south of the Tasman Sea targeting only New Zealand. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Modest Active MJO Developing

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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was 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. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water hold in a pool off Peru and has not changed as of late Jan 2020.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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 is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (4/3) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and then solid east over the Dateline and the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were moderate east over the far East equatorial Pacific fading over the Central Pacific and then modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (4/4) weak to modest west anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast calls for west anomalies holding at modest strength through 4/8, then fading steadily to modest strength through the end of the model run on 4/11 centered at 160E.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (4/3) A weak Active MJO was in the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is to hold through day 5, then weaken slowly through day 15 while the Inactive Phase builds strong in the Indian Ocean starting to seep east into the far West KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weak at day 10 over the dateline and a building Inactive Phase setting up over the Maritime Continent and trying to push into the KWGA, but making no progress at day 15 with the Active Phase gone at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/4) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the East Maritime Continent today and is to track slowly east while holding strength weak over the Atlantic at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase pushing faster east reaching the far West Indian Ocean at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (4/4) This model depicts a moderate Active Phase was over the far West Pacific. The Active Phase is to track east and is to push into Central America on 4/23. A moderate Inactive Phase is to start building in the West Pacific on 4/17 moving east over the West Pacific reaching Central America on 5/8. A weak Active Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific 5/2 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 5/14.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/3) This model depicts a modest Active MJO pattern was over the core of the KWGA today with modest west anomalies in the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase and modest west anomalies associated with it building 4/5 and holding stationary in the KWGA to 4/14, then weakening steadily after that and racing out of the KWGA through 4/17, then fading out. The Inactive Phase is to start building in the West KWGA on 4/15 and filling it by 4/20 with weak east anomalies and holding through the end of the model run on 5/1.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/4 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO pattern all but gone over the KWGA today but with weak west anomalies developing. Beyond a modest Active Phase is forecast developing 4/9 holding through 4/25 with moderate west anomalies in the KWGA. A moderate Inactive Phase/Pattern is to develop 4/24 holding through 5/14 but with weak west anomalies holding. A weak Active Phase is to develop 5/8 through the end of the model run on 7/2 with weak west anomalies continuing. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 1 contour line in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. A second contour line dissipated on 3/29. The remaining contour line is to hold then collapse 6/23. A high pressure bias previously built in the Indian Ocean last Fall and is to hold till June 3 then dissipate. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22/19 and held through Jan 10, then started to become more episodic and are to continue that way, then fading on 5/30 while west anomalies persist in the West Pacific, but slowly retrograding west, becoming centered near 145E at the end of the model run, possibly never to return (anytime soon). It looks like the high pressure bias/blocking pattern in the Indian Ocean is fading and the effect of the low pressure bias in the Pacific is to start fading too, with La Nina building by early Summer.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/4) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was retrograding to 158E today. The 29 deg isotherm was retrograding to 179E today. The 28 deg isotherm line which previously was a brick wall aligned and steady at 163W then moving east to 151W was backtracking to 155W but with most body still at 160W at depth today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the Central and East Equatorial Pacific at +2.0 degs but with warm water still tracking from the Maritime Continent under the dateline with the leading edge of the Kelvin Wave #6 pushing east to at least 90W today at +1 degs. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 150 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/29 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave with warm water falling from 120E down into the dateline at 130m deep peaking there at +2-3 degrees then pushing and rising east to 100W. A pocket of cool water was east of there associated with the upwelling phase of the previous Kelvin Wave Cycle. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/29) A previously broad pocket of +1-5 cm anomalies was fading steadily on the equatorial Pacific between 135W pushing east to 120W.

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: (4/3) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were modest along the coast of Chile up into Peru and fading in intensity from days past with building warm anomalies continuing up off Ecuador up into Central America. A stream of cool water was embedded pushing from Ecuador to the west over the Galapagos to 120W but weaker than days past and not even present in pockets. Markedly warmer water was aligned on the equator from there to the dateline. A broad pocket of cool anomalies was still south of the equator off Peru with a mirror image of it off California and Baja.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/3): Weak cooling was building along chile and Peru and stronger just off Ecuador tracking west only in a few pockets out to 120W. Warming was off Central America. The short term trend is looking like a developing cool tongue was building over the East Equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (4/3) A pocket of cool anomalies is trying to hold south of the equator starting at 5S west of Peru between 100W and 140W but losing some coverage compared to days past. A mirror image of it was also off California and Baja Mexico out to 160W. Warm anomalies were building along Chile and Peru then stronger off Ecuador and Central America up to Mainland Mexico out over the Galapagos. But a cool tongue was stumped from Panama down to Ecuador and stalled just east of the Galapagos with pockets west of there but fading. Warmer than normal water were tracking from the Galapagos out to the dateline and beyond. Water temps appear to be stable but the cool tongue is of concern even if it was fading some today indicating a weak mixture of both El Nino and La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/4) Today's temps were steady at +0.289, positive in that range since 2/28. Previously temps had been toggling near neutral. It now appears we are in a rising or at least warmer trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(4/4) Temps were falling slightly at +0.504. Temps previously were in the +0.2 degree range but rose to the +0.4 degree range on 1/4 and have been holding steady ever since.

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 Uncorrected Data (4/4) Actual's indicate temperatures started rising in early Oct to +0.25 degs holding to Dec 1 then rising again to +0.65 degs Jan 1 2020 holding well into March in the +0.6 range. The forecast depicts temps falling starting April 1, down to 0.0 in mid-May then diving negative appearing to be moving strongly to La Nina down at -1.30 in early Oct holding there into Nov. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for Spring of 2020 but falling strongly towards La Nina in the core of Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The March 19, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in June 2020, then falling some to -0.15 degs in the October 2020 timeframe. 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) (4/4): The daily index was still negative today at -11.32 and has been negative for 20 days now. The 30 day average was falling at -7.05. The 90 day average was falling some at -3.03, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Dec +0.46, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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