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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, May 2, 2020 12:44 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
2.5 - California & 1.8 - 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 5/4 thru Sun 5/10

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   

Gulf Swell Hitting CA
Another Gulf Gale Forecast

On Saturday, May 2, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 11.8 secs from 223 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 10.9 secs from 341 degrees. Water temp 76.5 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 11.7 secs from 240 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 63.1 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.1 ft @ 11.7 secs from 291 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.9 ft @ 11.6 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 12.4 secs from 241 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.2 secs from 265 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 11.5 secs from 274 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was southeast at 2-4 kts. Water temp 50.4 degs (013), 53.6 degs (012) and 56.5 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 (5/1) in North and Central CA the last fading remnants of swell from the Gulf of Alaska was producing waves at waist high or so and clean but soft with fog occasionally obscuring the view. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and soft. All parking lots closed. At Santa Cruz waves were waist to chest high and reasonably lined up and clean but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were coming form the northwest at waist high on the sets and soft with clean surface conditions but with a fair amount of warble in the water. In North Orange Co waves were shoulder to maybe head high on the sets coming from the northwest and clean but real focused on the inside and breaking fairly hard but with decent form. Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets in the shoulder high range and clean and lined up but soft. Beaches were closed. North San Diego had waves at thigh to waist high on the sets and clean and peeling but almost closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some chest high windswell and reasonably clean but with some northerly texture on top. The South Shore was basically flat and clean. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell at waist to chest high and chopped from northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (5/1) in California swell from the Gulf of Alaska was fading out but still making for rideable waves mainly north of Pt Conception and with improved local conditions. That gale developed north of Hawaii on Mon (4/27) and tracked east-northeast Tues-Wed (4/29) producing 25 ft seas targeting the US West Coast well. In Hawaii local windswell was making for some minimally rideable surf at select breaks on the North Shore. Another low pressure system developed well north of Hawaii on Wed (4/29) tracking east producing up to 19 ft seas, faded but is forecast to redevelop off British Columbia on Sun (5/3) producing up to 20 ft seas aimed southeast. And yet another gale is to develop in the Central Gulf on Sun-Mon (5/4) producing 25 ft seas aimed east. And maybe another to form off Japan on Fri (5/8) with 27 ft seas aimed southeast. Down south a small gale is to develop in the Southeastern Pacific Sat-Mon (5/4) producing up to 44 ft seas aimed well northeast. And another is to push under New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (5/7) producing 41 ft seas aimed east then redeveloping over the Central South Pacific Fri-Sat (5/9) producing 32-34 ft seas aimed northeast. So there's some hope there too.

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 (5/1) swell from a gale that developed in the Central Gulf was fading out in California (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from another gale in the Gulf is to be radiating east (see Another Gulf Gale below).

And yet another gale is forecast developing again in the Central Gulf on Sat PM (5/3) producing 35 kt northwest winds and seas on the increase. On Sun AM (5/3) fetch is to be building in coverage at 35-40 kts from the northwest with seas building to 24 ft at 42N 150W aimed southeast mainly at the US West Coast. In the evening the gael is to be tracking east at 35-40 kts with seas 25 ft at 42N 143W aimed east. On Mon AM (5/4) the gale is to start fading producing northwest winds at 30 kts and seas fading from 21 ft at 44N 138W aimed southeast. The gale is to be gone in the evening.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival later on Tues (5/5) building to 7.0 ft @ 13-14 secs late (9.0 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (5/6) from 4.8 ft @ 12 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294-296 degrees


Gulf Gale
On Sun PM (4/26) a new gale started building 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii producing 40 kt north west winds with seas on the increase. On Mon AM (4/27) the gale was tracking east with 40 kt west winds and seas 21 ft at 39N 156W aimed east. In the evening the gale was lifting northeast with 40-45 kt west winds and seas at 24 ft at 42N 151W aimed east. On Tues AM (4/28) the gale was just off British Columbia with 40 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 46N 142.5W aimed east and still in the CA swell window. In the evening this system was impacting British Columbia with no fetch in the CA swell window with 23 ft seas moving east of the swell window and no longer of interest. This system was gone after that. Something to monitor.

North CA: Residuals on Sat (5/2) fading from 3.9 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 302 degrees


Another Gulf Gale
On Wed AM (4/29) a small gale developed 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii again producing 30-35 kts west winds and seas 19 ft at 41N 163W aimed east. That gale tracked east through the day and into the evening producing 30-35 kts west winds and 19 ft seas at 39.5N 155.5W aimed east. On Thurs (4/30) the gale weakened and was lifting northeast offering no seas of interest. On Fri AM evening (5/1) the gale was trying to redevelop off Washington with 30 kt west winds and seas trying to rebuild. On Sat AM (5/2) the gale was stationary off Washington producing 35 kt west winds and seas to 20 ft at 48N 140W aimed east. In the evening 30-35 kt west winds are to hold with seas building to 20 ft at 48N 138.5W aimed east. The gale is to be fading out Sun AM (5/2) and no longer of interest. Something to monitor.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/3) at 5.9 ft @ 11 secs (6.0 ft) and holding through the day. Swell possibly building on Mon (5/4) to 6.2 ft @ 11-12 secs early (7.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (5/5) from 3.5 ft @ 11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290 moving to 310+ 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 AM (5/2) a weak pressure pattern was occurring with low pressure pushing up to the Pacific Northwest coast cutting out seasonal high pressure producing south winds at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino fading to calm over San Francisco and north 15 kts south of Morro Bay and forecast holding all day. Rain possible from Bodega Bay northward in the late afternoon and early evening. Sunday (5/3) light winds are forecast from Bodega Bay northward early and northwest 15 kts over Central CA but the gradient is to rebuild in the late afternoon with northwest winds 20+ kts for all of Central CA and 15 kts up to Cape Mendocino. Monday (5/4) the gradient holds with north winds 15 kts over North CA and 20 kts for Central CA holding all day. Tuesday (5/5) north winds are to be 5-10 kts for all of North CA and 20 kts from Big Sur southward to Pt Conception. Wed (5/6) northwest winds to take over a 20+ kts all day and building to 25 kts over North CA later. Thurs (5/7) north winds continue at 20-25 kts for North and Central CA early fading to 15-20 kts for Central CA later. Fri (5/8) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts nearshore for all of North and Central CA early holding all day. Sat (5/9) the gradient and northwest winds to continue at 15-20 kts all day.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively.

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (5/2) the southern branch of the jetstream was producing a high amplitude trough over the Central South Pacific pushing north to 37S being fed by 150 kt southwest winds offering good support for gale development though a bit pinched. West of there a ridge was pushing southeast of New Zealand and another ridge over the far Southeast Pacific suppressing gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to track east over the Southeast Pacific into Mon (5/4) being fed by 130 kts winds still offering support for gale development but moving east and almost out of the Southern CA swell window but still offering support for gale development even after moving out of the swell window into Wed (5/6). A ridging pattern not supportive of gale development is to continue southeast of New Zealand. Beyond 72 hours starting on Thurs (5/7) a new weak trough is to try and build southeast of New Zealand moving east into Fri (5/8) with it's apex up at 53S being fed by 100 kt winds offering some support for gale development. that trough is to continue east moving over the Central South Pacific on Sun (5/10) still holding together and offering support for gale development. Not too bad.


Surface Analysis
On Sat (5/2) no swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in a building trough over the Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (5/2) producing a broad area of 30-35 kts southwest winds with a core developing at 45-50 kt aimed almost north with 24-28 ft seas at 37S 133W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/3) south winds are to be 50-55 kts over a small area aimed northeast with seas building to 42 ft at 44S 125W aimed northeast. In the evening a broad fetch of 45 kt southwest winds are forecast with 44 ft seas at 42.5S 122.5W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/4) south winds to fade at 35-40 kts with seas fading from 36 ft at 41S 120W aimed northeast and moving out of the CA swell window. This gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.


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 forecast trying to develop in the Western Gulf on Wed AM (5/6) producing 35 kt north winds targeting Hawaii with seas building to 19 ft at 41.5N 158.5W aimed south. The gale is to be fading in the evening with 25 kts north winds and seas fading from 18 ft at 442N 155W aimed southeast.

And another gale is to form Thurs PM (5/7) just off Japan producing 45 kt northwest winds and seas building to 27 ft at 36.5N 149E. The gale is to fade Fri AM (5/8) from 30 kts from the north with seas fading from 21 ft at 35N 155.5E. The gale is to be gone after that.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is to be tracking east through the Southern Tasman Sea on Wed AM (5/6) with 40 kt west winds and seas 37 ft at 54.5S 158.5E aimed east. In the evening the fetch is to build in coverage with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 35 ft at 57.5S 168.5E aimed east. The gale is to ease east on Thurs AM (5/7) producing 40 kt southwest winds and seas to 34 ft at 57.5S 173.5E aimed northeast. The gale is to start lifting northeast in the evening with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 35 ft seas at 55.5S 177.5W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/8) the gale is to build with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 37 ft at 51.5S 171.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale is to build with 40-45 kts southwest winds over a large aimed with 38 ft seas building at 49S 161W aimed northeast. Fetch is to continue easing east on Sat AM (5/9) at 40-45 kt from the southwest with seas 37 ft over a solid area at 47S 148W aimed northeast. In the evening the gael is to be huge in coverage with 35-40 kt south to southwest winds and seas 38 ft at 49S 142.5W aimed northeast. Good odds of swell resulting. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Inactive MJO Building - Cooling Developing on Equator

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 held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool had collapsed with warm water starting to build on the equator.

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 in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. Given all that, for 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the end of 2020 if not longer.

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 (5/1) 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 KWGA. Anomalies were moderate easterly over the far East equatorial Pacific fading to weak over the Central Pacific then rebuilding to moderate easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/2) Moderate to strong east anomalies were over the entirety of the KWGA. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding through 5/6 and then starting to track east and out of the KWGA on 5/7. At that time weak west anomalies are to start moving into the KWGA and trying to fill it at the end of the model run on 5/9.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/1) A weak and fading Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the dateline today with signs of the Active Phase building over the West Pacific/KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to track slightly east and losing strength on day 5 and gone on day 10, with a weak Active Phase migrating from the Maritime Continent into the KWGA and taking over at day 10 holding through day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening fairly quickly and gone at day 15 with a weak Inactive Phase trying to push into the West Pacific/KWGA at day 15. The two model are mostly in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/2) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the West Maritime Continent today and is to track slowly east while losing strength over the West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase racing east and very weak over North Africa at the end of the model run 15 day out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/2) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was weak over the East Equatorial Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push into Central America on 5/7. The Active Phase is to move east over the West Pacific starting 5/5 and pretty solid then tracking to the East Pacific and into Central America on 6/1. A weak Inactive Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific on 5/22 moving to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 6/11. A moderate Active MJO is forecast developing over the far West Pacific at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/1) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO signal mostly east of the KWGA today but with moderate east anomalies present over the whole of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies holding in the moderate range in the KWGA through 5/6, then weakening but still present in the weak to modest range through the end of the model run on 5/29 but with a pocket of west anomalies tracking east through the KWGA 5/6-5/17.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/2 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts an Inactive Phase of the MJO over the KWGA today with weak east anomalies in-play. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase/Pattern is to hold through 5/12 with east anomalies slowly giving way to weak west anomalies. A weak Active Phase is to start building 5/8 in the far West KWGA slowly building east and weakly filling the KWGA till 5/21 with mainly neutral anomalies in play. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast 5/21-6/15 but with a mix of weak east and west anomalies holding. A broad Active Pulse is to follow 6/7 building and filling the KWGA through 7/15 with west anomalies modest in the KWGA but mainly focused in the Indian Ocean. The Inactive Phase is to set up on 7/13 holding through the end of the model run on 7/30 with east anomalies again taking over the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 1 contour line over the KWGA is to fade by 5/8. A high pressure bias that has been over the Indian Ocean since last Fall is to hold till May 7, then dissipate then reappearing over the Northeast Pacific on 6/19 and filling it through the end of the model run but not reaching into the KWGA. But at the same time the low pressure bias is to reappear over the Indian Ocean on 7/16. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean last Fall and held through Jan 10, 2020, then started to become more episodic and are to continue that way, then fading on 6/11. After that west anomalies are to start building in the core of the Indian Ocean eventually reaching east to 180W but likely fading to at best neutral anomalies in the KWGA. Based on this model it appears the long term outlook is in a state of flux but becoming increasingly biased towards La Nina.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/2) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was shallow and retracking to the west reaching east to only 155E. The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 178E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was retrograding to 155W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was fading while pushing into the East Equatorial Pacific at +2.0 degs but with other nondescript warm water tracking from the Maritime Continent under the dateline merging with the tail of Kelvin Wave #6. The net effect was warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific down to 105 meters deep on the dateline getting progressively shallower east of there today. A large pocket of cool water at -3 degs was 150 meters deep at 150W today tracking east with it's leading edge at 105W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/28 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave with warm water falling from 120E down into the dateline at 100m deep peaking in the East Pacific at +2-3 degrees then pushing and rising east to 85W and moving east to just of Ecuador. A pocket of cool water east of there associated with the upwelling phase of the previous Kelvin Wave Cycle was all but gone. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/28) Negative anomalies at -0.5 cms were indicated in the equatorial Pacific between 130-160W, suggestive of a Kelvin Wave blocking pattern setting up. But positive anomalies were building near 160E.

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: (5/1) The latest images indicate warm anomalies were modest along the coast of Chile up into Peru and steady in intensity from days past with warm anomalies continuing up off Ecuador up into Central America. A stream of cool water was fading while moving north along the immediate coast of Peru not pushing north of there. But cool water were starting to appear on and just south of the equator from just west of the Galapagos the whole way out to 165W and building. Otherwise warmer water was steady aligned on and just north of the equator from the Galapagos out to 165W and looking like a weak El Nino. A broad pocket of cool anomalies was all but gone south of the equator off Peru but with a solid but not unusual pocket of cool water off California and Baja.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/1): A building cool pattern was along the coast of Chile and Peru then tracking west on the equator out to 160W. The short term trend is looking like a developing cooling trend/La Nina.
Hi-res Overview: (5/1) A previous pocket of cool anomalies is gone off Peru. A stronger pocket of cooling was off California and Baja Mexico out to 145W. Warm anomalies were building along Chile and Peru then stronger off Ecuador and Central America up to Mainland Mexico and markedly strong just north of the equator from the Galapagos out to 145W. But pockets of cool anomalies were developing on and just south of the equator from 100W out to the dateline. Water temps appear to be stable north of the equator and cool water building south of the equator. Overall the data suggests a fading El Nino and a possible building La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/2) Today's temps were falling to -0.237, overall trending down from a warmer range near +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26. Previously temps had been toggling near neutral. It appears we were in a rising or at least warmer trend, but that is now fading.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/2) Temps were falling some today at +0.363. The trend appears to be falling after previously being in the +0.3 degree range in Feb, and up to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.

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 (5/2) Actual's indicate temperatures were generally +0.65 degs Jan 1 2020 through April 1. The forecast depicts temps falling steadily from there, down to 0.0 in early May then diving negative down to -0.55 July 1 and moving to La Nina down at -1.00 in early Sept holding there into Jan 2021. According to this model sea surface temps should be falling strongly moving towards La Nina as Summer develops. But as of April 30th, we are nowhere near the doom and gloom forecast by this model. Temps should be at 0 and instead they are +0.440
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in August 2020, then holding there through December 2020. 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) (5/2): The daily index was weakly positive today at +3.77. The 30 day average was rising at -0.45. The 90 day average was rising at -2.80, 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): March 2020 -0.11, Feb +0.69, Jan +0.42, Dec 2019 +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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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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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