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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, April 10, 2016 5:14 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.5 - California & 1.5 - 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 4/4 thru Sun 4/10

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   

Three Gales on the Charts
1st Swell Hitting Hawaii

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.

On Monday, April 11, 2016 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea Bay): Seas were 6.1 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 12.0 secs from 330 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 11.5 secs from 279 degrees. Wind northwest 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.4. At Santa Barbara swell was 2.8 ft @ 11.4 secs from 254 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.2 ft @ 12.0 secs from 252 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.0 ft @ 12.9 secs from 247 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 9.9 secs from 295 degrees. Wind west 8-10 kts. Water temp 55.8 degs.


    Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys

Current Conditions
On Sunday (4/10) in North and Central CA surf was chest high and clean but weak looking mostly like windswell. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and mushy but clean with occasional small little lines coming through. In Southern California up north waves were thigh to maybe waist high and clean with little lines coming through. Down south waves were occasionally waist high at best breaks and clean but weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new dateline swell with waves head high to 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up. Beautiful Spring morning. The South Shore was near flat with rare thigh to waist high sets and clean. The East Shore was waist high and chopped with modest trades in effect.

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

Meteorological Overview
Small west windswell from a local gale was fading in California. Hawaii was getting the first teasers from a stronger dateline swell. And the future continues to look decent. Swell from a broad system that tracked over the dateline on Fri (4/8) producing 28-30 ft seas aimed southeast and is starting to hit Hawaii now is also bound for the US West Coast. Another small system developed on the dateline on Sat (4/9) with up to 32 ft seas and is forecast fading some Sunday while tracking east then redeveloping in the Gulf Mon (4/11) producing up to 26 ft seas targeting the US West Coast then redeveloping again off Oregon Wed-Thurs (4/14) with seas to 27 ft then hitting Cape Mendocino directly. Yet another dateline gale is forecast Tues-Wed (4/13) with seas to 36 ft targeting the US West Coast and Hawaii tracking east and fading late Thurs (4/14) in the Western Gulf. And yet another is forecast behind that in the Northwest Pacific Fri-Sun (4/17) with seas to 35 ft but fading fast while moving to the North Dateline region. A good run of swell looks possible. Nothing is forecast from the Southern Hemi.

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

North Pacific

On Sunday AM (4/10) the jet was reasonably consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds to 170 kts in one small pocket fading some while continuing east over the dateline forming a weak trough in the Western Gulf then ridging slightly before .cgiitting in the Eastern Gulf with the northern branch pushing up into Alaska and the southern branch falling southeast pushing over North Baja. Some support for gale development in the Western Gulf and low pressure over and off California. Interestingly there was also a weak flow paralleling the main flow across the width of the Pacific down at 20N, but winds were only 60 kts an apparently not detracting too much from the main flow. Over the next 72 hours the pocket of wind energy off Japan is to hold while moving east while the trough in the Western Gulf moves with it into the Eastern Gulf by Tues (4/12) at 160 kts providing an environment well suited to support gale development, then moving just off the Pacific Northwest on Wed (4/13). Back to the west the jet is to weaken and almost .cgiit just off Japan. But a second trough is forecast developing just east of that weak spot west of the dateline Tues (4/12) moving to the dateline 24 hours later. Some support for gale development there too. Beyond 72 hours the trough off the Pacific Northwest is to move inland over Oregon early Thurs (4/14). The west Pacific trough is to steepen and move over the dateline Thurs (4/14) with 160 kts winds falling into it,. again offering improved support for gale development while pushing east into the Gulf by Sat (4/16), but starting to pinch and fade then. By Sun (4/17) the jet is to hold together reasonably well with winds 120-130 kts in pockets extending from Japan ridging northeast some then tracking east the whole way to a point reaching the Central Gulf. A broad but weak trough to be setting up in the Gulf then offering some support for gale development. A weak secondary flow is to continue paralleling the main flow down at 17N but exceedingly weak.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (4/10) swell associated with a gale that developed on the dateline on Thurs (4/7) tracking east was poised to hit Hawaii and propagating east to California (See Dateline Gale below).

A second smaller system developed on the dateline Sat (4/9) tracking east (see Another Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours yet another gale is to develop west of the dateline tracking east (see Third Dateline Gale below).


Dateline Gale
A broad gale developed over the dateline on Thurs AM (4/7) producing 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii well. Seas were building. In the evening a broad fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds persisted over the dateline aimed like before generating 22 ft seas at 42N 177E. A fetch of 45 kt northwest winds developed Fri AM (4/8) just east of the dateline targeting Hawaii and California with seas building to 29 ft at 42N 175W. In the evening 35 kt west winds pushed east with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 41N 168W. The gale started lifting east-northeast in the Gulf on Sat AM (4/9) with winds fading from 30 kts from the west and seas fading from 24 ft at 42N 161W. Fetch and seas dissipated from there in the evening dropping from 20 ft at 45N 153W. Possible decent swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast if all goes as forecast.

Hawaii: The meat of the swell to arrive midday Sun (4/10) building to 6.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (9.5 ft). Swell to fade Mon (4/11) from 5.0 ft @ 13 secs (6.5 ft). Nothing left by Tues (4/12). Swell Direction 322 degrees

North CA: swell arrival forecast for 1 AM Tues (4/12) with period 17 secs building to 6.1 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunrise (9.0 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (4/13) from 4.6 ft @ 13 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees A bit inconsistent.


Another Dateline Gale
On Fri PM (4/8) another gale developed a bit west of the dateline generating 35 kts west winds over a small area and tracking east. By Sat AM (4/9) winds built to 50 kts from the west with seas building from 27 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 41N 170E. Fetch faded some in the evening at 45 kts over a small area as the gale moved to the dateline with seas to 32 ft at 40N 177E. Sun AM (4/10) the gale increased in coverage but faded in strength with winds 35-40 kts generating 30 ft seas at 39N 174W. On Sun PM the gale is to lift northeast slightly and move into the Gulf of Alaska generating 35-40 kt west winds and seas fading some at 24 ft at 46N 166W. The gale is to build some on Mon AM (4/11) with winds to 40 kts over a solid area and seas building to 23 ft over a broad area aimed east at 43N 155W. In the evening the gale is to continue east with 30-35 kts winds targeting California and the Pacific Northwest with seas 26 ft at 44N 151W. On Tues AM (4/12) 30-35 kt west winds to be positioned off Oregon generating 24 ft seas up at 48N 146W. The gale to vaporize in the evening but a secondary gale to develop from the remnants of this system Wed AM (4/13) with 40 kt northwest winds off Oregon generating 24 ft seas at 43N 137W. 40 kts northwest winds to east east off Oregon in the evening with seas 27 ft at 43N 134W. 30-35 kt northwest winds to be pushing into Cape Mendocino on Thurs AM (4/14) with seas still 26 ft at 42N 130W. This system is to be inland by the evening.

Swell possible for Hawaii with larger but rawer energy for California. Certainly something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (4/12) a bit before sunrise building through noon reaching 5.6 ft @ 15 secs (8.0-8.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (4/13) 3.8 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell dissipating and gone by sunset. Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Swell arrival expected 8 PM Wed (4/13) at 4.7 ft @ 17 secs (8 ft) from 292 degs but buried in more local swell.


Third Dateline Gale
On Mon PM (4/11) a new gale is forecast building off the Southern Kurils generating a small fetch of 45 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Tues AM (4/12) a broader fetch of 45 kt west winds are to take hold with seas 30 ft at 43N 165E. 45-50 kt west winds to start tracking east in the evening with seas building to 37 ft at 43N 170E aimed east. Fetch to build in coverage Wed AM (4/13) but loose velocity at 40 kts from the west with seas 35 ft at 42N 178E. Fetch to fade in the evening from 35 kts with seas 30 ft at 43N 177W. Fetch to fade from 30 kts just east of the dateline Thurs AM (4/14) with seas fading from 24 ft at 45N 170W. The gale to dissipate from there. Possible swell for Hawaii and the US West Coast.


  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 Sunday AM (4/10) a light pressure pattern was over the California generating northwest winds at 5-10 kts. Light rain over the state. Light snow in highest elevations of the Southern Sierra. Monday weak high pressure is to try and nose into the coast generating 15 kt northwest winds over North CA but lighter into Central CA and lighter still in Southern CA. No real rain except upsloping area of the Sierra. Low pressure is to be in the Gulf. High pressure is to not really be held off Tuesday AM as low pressure moves closer in the Gulf. Northwest winds to be 15 kts over North and Central CA down to the Channel Islands late. Wednesday (4/13) south winds to build in the north 15-20 kts late and calm near San Francisco, but north winds 15-20 kts from Morro Bay southward over the Channel Islands. Rain for North CA late moving south. Light snow for Tahoe southward overnight. Thursday (4/14) the low is to be moving over Oregon with high pressure south of there generating northwest winds 15-20 kts over the entire state, especially late. A front is to be pushing over San Francisco early fading out over Morro bay late AM. rain for those area up into North CA. Snow for Tahoe. More of the same wind wise is forecast Friday with northwest winds 20 kts or more for the the entire coast. No rain. The pattern is to hold Saturday, but backing off with 20 kts northwest winds limited to North and Central CA. Sunday winds to fade from the northwest at 15 kts mainly north of San Francisco.

South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Sunday AM (4/3) no swell producing fetch was occurring.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to develop over the Kuril Islands on Fri AM (4/15) producing 45 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. Those winds to push off the Islands generating 35 ft seas at 48N 160E. Sat AM (4/16) a broad fetch of 40 kt west winds to be extending from Kamchatka to almost the dateline with 32 ft seas at 47N 168E. The gale to stall there and fade from 35 kts Sat PM (4/16). Swell possible.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...

La Nina Starting To Show Solidly
MJO Weak and Not Expected to Return

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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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 strong El Nino is fading out. It began its lifecycle in late 2013 as a primer WWB and Kelvin Wave developed. Then in early 2014 a historically strong push by the Active Phase of the MJO resulted in a large Kelvin Wave, and anomalies continued in the Spring into early Summer transporting more warm water eastward. But the cycle faltered in July due to a protracted bout of the Inactive Phase of the MJO which enabled the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle to manifest driving cooler water east, muting warm water buildup along the Ecuador coast. Still the warm water pipe remained open, but surface temperatures near the Galapagos never recovered and any atmospheric momentum was lost. Then in early 2015, another historically strong push from the MJO occurred, effectively a repeat of the early 2014 event, invigorating the warm water transport process and, adding more heat to an already anomalously warm surface pool off Ecuador. That pool built steadily in spurts, peaking in the Oct-Nov, timeframe, then began a slow decline. But even in Jan 2016, the strongest Westerly Wind Burst of the event occurred, with another Kelvin Wave developing. And another weaker one occurred in Feb. But it was too little, too late. There was not any real warm water left in the West Pacific to transport east. El Nino was in a steady collapse by mid-Feb with the subsurface warm reservoir in the East Pacific in steep decline with cool water ready to move in migrating from the west. The paragraphs below describe the current status of various El Nino indicators, followed by a paragraph that ties all the pieces together and provide our analysis of what is to come.    

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (4/9) no west winds were occurring in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) but anomalies were from the west from 170E to 150W mainly from 5S and points southward. A weak expression of El Nino was occurring.
1 Week Forecast (GGFS Model): Light west anomalies are forecast in the KWGA starting today (4/10) and building some through 4/17. A very weak El Nino pattern continues to hold control.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Comparison of 2 Strong Westerly Wind Bursts (WWB)

On left the massive WWB in late June/July that created large Kelvin Wave #3. On right the current WWB that is generating Kelvin Wave #4.
Scales are a little different but notice anomalies in the July event at 12-14 m/s est (24-28 kts) and now in Oct at 13-14 m/s (26-28 kts)
(Click to Enlarge Images)

June/July WWB October WWB


Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 4/9 a weak Inactive Phase MJO signal was over the dateline. The Statistic model projects the Inactive Phase holding position and strength for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. This suggests El Nino influence of the jetstream is being suppressed by the Inactive MJO.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/10) The ECMF model indicates the Active phase of the MJO was over the Indian Ocean and very weak. It is to ease east some then backtrack to the Indian Ocean and remain very weak. The GEFS depicts the same pattern. West wind anomalies in the KWGA attributable to El Nino are expected to get no help from the MJO anytime soon and if anything are to be slightly suppressed by the Inactive Phase. There is to be no real fuel to supporting strengthening of the jetstream.
40 Day Upper Level Model: (4/10) A weak Active Phase was exiting east over the East Pacific and is forecast to track east to Central America through 4/15. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific starting 4/20 and is to ease east through 5/10. With the change of season in.cgiay and the influx of the Inactive Phase, 4/20 will likely mark of the end of El Ninos support for the jetstream in the North Pacific for the Winter 2015-16 season. It's been a fun run.
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model suggests the tail end of a weak Active Phase of the MJO was on the dateline moving east, and is to hold through 4/15. But no west anomalies of interest are to be associated with it. There is no fuel to support enhancing the jetstream and therefore storm production was minimal. The model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase trying to get a foothold 4/15-4/30 followed by a neutral MJO signal into June. Weak west anomalies are to be developing 4/20 and holding into June driven mainly by El Nino. This seems like a minority report. Each model is projecting a different outcome, suggesting a very weak MJO signal is likely for the future.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/10) Actual temperatures continue to retreat. A pocket of 29 deg temps were holding at depth but retreating west from 173W. The 28 deg isotherm line was shallow stretching east only to 125W. Anomaly wise things are collapsing fast. +1 deg anomalies extend from 180W eastward. One small pocket of 2 deg anomalies was fading near the Galapagos. The entire warm pool only extends no more than 60 meters deep at it's deepest point at 165W but mostly only 25-30 meters deep in the east. This is the last of the El Nino subsurface warm reservoir. Cool subsurface waters are down at 150m and racing east reaching the Ecuador Coast with -2 deg anomalies reaching east to 111W down at 75 meters and -3 degs anomalies pushing east to 122W. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/3 the reservoir is fading and very shallow from 170E eastward. Anomalies were +1-2 deg over the area with one tiny pocket of +2-3 degs anomalies under the Galapagos. The subsurface reservoir is shrinking steadily. Kelvin Wave #5 and #6 are all but gone with the onset of La Nina imminent.
Sea Surface Height Anomalies (SSHA):  (4/3) The image depicts the warm pool is gone with no anomalies remaining over the entire equatorial region from the dateline to Ecuador. -5 cm anomalies are easing east fast to 115W.
Upper Ocean Heat Content: (4/3 - but updated daily) Warm temps are gone. +0.0-0.5 deg anomalies are from 100W and points east. -1.0 deg anomalies are moving east reaching 130W. La Nina is coming closer every day.

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 : (4/9) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates temps are in total collapse with only a few (2-3) small pockets of +2.25 degs remaining straddling the equator from the Galapagos west to 120W. Warmer temps also continue in pockets off the coast of Peru streaming northwest. But cooler temps are building along the immediate Peru Coast. The warm pool is collapsing.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/9): Massive cooling is setting up occurring from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 130W. It looks like strong east trades are in effect in this area.
Hi-res Overview:
(4/5) The El Nino signal is quickly collapsing. Pockets of +1-2 deg above normal temps are present from the Galapagos to 140W. Warmer water is also present south of the equator west of there, but quickly becoming less relevant.

Other Sources
TAO Data: (4/2) +1.0 anomalies were over the equatorial East Pacific advecting west from the Galapagos covering out to 150W. One pocket of +1.5 deg anomalies was present from 105W to Ecuador. Overall the warm water signature was in steep decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/10) Today temps were down some at +1.018 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (4/10) temps have been steadily fading but ticked up a little starting 4/7 and held today +1.372 degs.
Centered Nino3.4 Monthly Temps The centered Nino3.4 temps for the month of March were +1.63 degs (beating '98 at +1.32 degs and '83 at +1.44 degs). Feb was +2.19 (beating '98 which was +1.89 and '83 which was +1.84). Jan readings were +2.23 (beating '98 which was +2.21 and '83 which was +2.13). December was +2.31 (beating 97 which was +2.23 and 82 at +2.21). November was +2.36 degs (beating the highest temp recorded in '97 Nov - +2.32 degs and beating '82 +2.03 degs). Oct temps were +2.03 degs. See updated graphs above. This make this year El Nino the strongest ever. That is not reasonable looking at other evidence.
ONI For 2015 for the 3 month period centered on Sept, Oct, Nov , Jan and Feb the values are: +1.8, +2.1. +2.2 +2.3, +2.2 and +2.0. For the same period in '97 the values were: +2.0, +2.2, +2.3, +2.3, +2.1 and +1.8. And for '82 the values were: +1.5, +1.9, +2.1, +2.1, +2.1 and +1.8. This make this years El Nino the second strongest on record since 1950. The ONI uses a 3 month running average.

Note: ERSSTv4 'centered' data is not available for Nino1, 3 and 4 regions, only Nino3.4.

Pacific Counter Current:  As of 4/1 the current was strong from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomaly wise - they were strong from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. El Nino is in solid decline and La Nina is on the rise based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data depicts peak temps reached +2.95 degs on Nov 5, then faded slightly in early December to +2.8 holding to Feb 1. Then a sharp decline started with temps down to +2.5 degs mid-Feb and falling from +2.0 degs in early March.

The forecast indicates temps fading fast to +1.3 by 4/1, then continuing to decline through Oct dropping to -1.1 degs and -1.4 degs by Dec. This would be solid La Nina territory.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-March Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.5 by December. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Co.cgiing Index's (lagging indicators rather than driving oceanic change):   
Southern Oscillation Index (4/10): The daily average was up some today -2.60. The 30 day average was falling from -6.89. The 90 day average was rising from -13.54. El Nino was still quite evident in this index.
SOI trend - Tahiti (looking for low pressure here): On 4/10 low pressure was fading out south of Tahiti and is forecast to be gone r.cgiaced by neutral pressure on Tues (4/12). This same pattern to hold through Sun (4/17). The SOI is expected to rise some some based on the Tahiti contribution and not provide any support to enhance El Nino nor fuel the jetstream.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (4/10) Today's value was falling some at +0.81. It peaked recently on 3/12 at +1.57 but has generally fallen ever since.
Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) (March) These numbers were released April 6th and indicate the index decreased slightly to +1.96. The Feb reading was +2.12. In Jan the reading increased slightly by 0.08 to +2.20, holding it in the third highest since 1950 behind the '82/83 and '97/98 El Ninos. Since it has not reached the +3.0 standard deviation level, it is NOT considered a Super El Nino, nor is it expected to reach that status. The Dec reading was +2.12. The Nov ranking was +2.31, up barely from +2.23 (Oct), down from it's peak of +2.53 in Sept, and from +2.37 in Aug. The top 6 events since 1950 in order are: '97, '82, '15, '91, '86, and '72 with '97 and '82 classified as 'Super El Nino's' because they reached 3 standard deviations (SD) above normal. '91 and '86 were at about 2.2 and 2.1 respectively with '72 peaking at 1.8 SD's above the norm. This years El Nino was the third strongest since 1950 per this index.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. In Jan 2016 it was +1.53 and up to +1.75 in Feb. 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 suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

Conclusion: This El Nino is the 3rd strongest El Nino since 1950 based primarily on the MEI. Centered Monthly Nino3.4 data suggests it is the strongest. Based on California precipitation, this one does not compared to any major El Nino in recent memory. Based on surf, El Nino has had the expected effect producing 13 significant class swells in the North Pacific so far this season. The target is 16, but that appears ambitious. From a pure El Nino perspective, the peak of the event is over. But from a teleconnection standpoint, the warm pool in Nino3.4 is still imparting solid energy to the atmosphere. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is destructively interacting with the influence on the jet stream and storm production. And this will continue until the next Active Phase of the MJO comes into.cgiay (if at all). With the season moving towards Spring, and SST anomalies fading in the Ninos zones, the MJOs influence will not be a strong as previous Active Phases in winter.

The focus now turns to how quick and how much will the jet be affected for the Fall and Winter of 2016-2017. It's too early to know anything definitive yet, but with the PDO still positive, it is possible the transition to La Nina may not be a strong as in past events.

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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