Thursday, May 3, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 9.3 secs from 284 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 12.7 secs from 287 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.6 ft @ 10.4 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 11.9 secs from 242 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.5 secs from 221 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 11.9 secs from 250 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 3.4 ft @ 9.1 secs from 314 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 4-6 kts. Water temp 51.6 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Thursday (5/3) in North and Central CA local north windswell was fading with waves waist high and heavily textured with lump running through it and soft. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high on the sets and reasonably clean but with some warble intermixed and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California up north surf was waist high and warbled and gutless with calm local wind early. In North Orange Co residual local northwest windswell was hitting producing waves at thigh to waist high and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were flat and heavily textured from north wind. In North San Diego surf was waist high on the sets and lined up with some light textured and mostly closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual local north swell with set waves waist to chest high and clean and soft. The South Shore was looking good wit occasional head high sets and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh high and chopped from northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (5/3) no real windswell was hitting California but small southern hemi swell was hitting Hawaii from a small gale lifted northeast from under New Zealand on Tues-Wed (4/25) producing a tiny area of 32 ft seas. Another modest system developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Sat-Sun (4/29) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east with low odds of anything resulting for even California. Beyond in the North Pacific a small gale is forecast northeast of Hawaii on Sun-Mon (5/7) with 27 ft seas aimed south. On Tues (5/8) another gale is to be over the North Dateline region producing 27 ft seas aimed east. And yet another after that on Thurs (5/10) with up to 32 ft seas aimed east. Down south a small gale is projected developing in the upper latitudes of the South Pacific on Sat-Mon (5/7) pushing northeast producing up to 40 ft seas over a small area. And a stronger system is forecast tracking under New Zealand on Tues (5/8) with 47 ft seas aimed east. So there's something more interesting on the charts now.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (5/3) the jetstream was mostly consolidated pushing northeast over North Japan tracking over the Kurils Islands and the turning east tracking over the West Aleutians, the North Dateline region and over the Eastern Aleutians just south of Alaska with winds up to 150 kt in one pocket and otherwise less. No troughs were indicated. Some wind energy was also running east on the 20N latitude line pushing over the dateline and east over Hawaii into Baja. No troughs were indicated and no support for gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast until Fri (5/4) when a new trough is to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf falling southeast and being fed by 170 kts winds getting pinched and diving to a point in the Central Gulf Sun (5/6) offering limited support for gale development in the apex of the trough 900 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (5/7) the trough is to continue steep and almost cutoff pushing east being fed by only 120 kts winds 1000 nmiles west of Central CA then fading and effectively gone Tues AM (5/8). At that time the jet is to be running flat east on the 43N latitude line over the width of the North Pacific with winds to 150 kts focused on the dateline but with no troughs indicated. But by Thurs (5/10) winds to build to 180 kts and starting to form a trough in the Eastern Gulf perhaps hinting at some hope for the future relative to the US West Coast.
On Thursday AM (5/3) no swell was in the water and no swell producing fetch was occurring, including winds capable of producing local windswell.
Over the next 72 hours some sort of a low pressure/gale is to be developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska on Sun AM (5/6) with 40 kt north winds and seas building from 19 ft at 39N 154W. By evening 40-45 kt north winds are to be building while falling south targeting just east of the Big Island of Hawaii with 28 ft seas at 35N 153W aimed south. On Mon AM (5/7) the gale is to start moving east and fading with 30-35 kts south and west winds and seas fading from 23 ft at 32N 147W targeting Southern CA. In the evening fetch is to hold position at 30-35 kts aimed west and fading in coverage with seas fading to 17 ft at 34N 140W. The gale is to fade from there. Possible sideband swell for Hawaii and later for the Central and South CA coast.
Hawaii: Sideband windswell possibly arriving on Mon (5/7) with real swell into Tues (5/8).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (5/3) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was off the Central CA coast ridging east weakly generating a light northwest flow along the North and Central CA coast at 10 kts. More of the same is forecast Friday into Saturday but with north winds to 15 kts over Pt Conception. Sunday (5/6) weak high pressure at 1020 mbs is to hold off Central CA with north winds 10 kts for all of North CA and and Central CA down to Monterey bay but up to 15 kts south of there to Pt Conception early. Monday more of the same is forecast but with the gradient building slightly early with 15 kts north winds from Pt Arena southward and up to 20 kts from Big Sur to Pt Conception. Also low pressure is to be moving closer to the coast from a position northeast of Hawaii. Tuesday (5/8) light winds are to be over North CA down to Monterey Bay and up to 15-20 kts near Pt Conception. Southwest winds at 10 kts are to be moving into North CA late afternoon. Wednesday (5/9) light southwest winds are forecast north of Pt Arena at 10 kts and light north 10 kts or less south of there and still north 15 kts for Pt Conception. Light rain for Pt Arena northward from early Wed AM and through the day. Thurs (5/10) high pressure is to be in control with north winds 15-20 kts for the entire North and Central CA coast early.
On Thursday (5/3) small swell from a tiny gale south of New Zealand was fading in Hawaii (see Small New Zealand Gale below). Otherwise tiny swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was pushing towards Southern CA (see South Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the upper latitudes of the Central South Pacific on Sat AM (5/5) producing 40 kt southwest winds over a small area lifting northeast with seas building from 20 ft at 52S 152W. In the evening south winds to build in coverage some at 35-40 kts aimed north with 26 ft seas building at 46S 145W. On Sun AM fetch is to build in coverage at 35-40 kts aimed north with 30 ft seas over a tiny area at 45S 140W. In the evening a tiny area of 50 kt south winds to be pushing north with 32 ft seas at 44S 132W. On Mon AM 95/7) a tiny area of 50 kt south winds to persist with seas building to 40 ft at 40S 125W aimed northeast. Fetch and seas to fade fast after that. Something to monitor.
Small New Zealand Gale
A tiny gale developed well south of New Zealand on Mon AM (4/23) starting to generate 40 kt southwest winds. In the evening 40 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 60S 162E. On Tues AM (4/24) the fetch continued lifting northeast at 35-40 kts with 30 ft seas at 57S 172E. The gale faded in the evening with winds dropping from 35 kts and seas fading from 28 ft at 55S 179W.
Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs (5/3) from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees.
South Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Fri PM (4/27) with 40 kt west winds falling southeast starting to produce 30 ft seas over a tiny area just north of the Ross Ice Shelf at 66S 163W. On Sat AM (4/28) 40 kt west winds were pushing east with the gale itself now tracking east building seas to 32 ft at 66S 149W. In the evening a broad area of 40+ kt southwest winds were pushing east fast with 32 ft seas at 66S 135W. The gale is to be fading fast Sun AM (4/29) on the edge of the SCal swell window with 35 kt west-southwest winds and 30 ft seas at 66S 122W. In the evening the gale was east of the California swell window with 30 kt southwest winds and 25 ft seas fading at 64S 110W. Low odds of small sideband swell radiating north towards California.
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/7) building to 1.1 ft @ 17-18 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building slightly on Tues (5/8) pushing 1.2 ft @ 16 secs 1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (5/9) from 1.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours another weak gale is to form over the North Dateline Region on Mon AM (5/7) producing 35 kt west winds and 23 ft seas at 48N 176W. Winds to build while lifting northeast in the evening at 40 kts with seas building to 25 ft at 50N 171W. Fetch is to be fading Tues AM (5/8) from 30-35 kts with seas 25 ft at 50N 166W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.
There's some sense that more low pressure could be developing in the Northern Gulf in the days to follow as the jetstream builds over that area.
A gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Thurs AM (5/10) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 26 ft at 43N 163W. In the evening at broad area of 45 kt northwest winds are to be pushing east with seas building to 33 ft at 45N 157W aimed east. hard to believe at this early date.
Beyond 72 hours a primer gale is to track east under New Zealand on Sun AM (5/6) with 40-45 kt west winds and seas to 36 ft at 54.5S 157E and barely in the NCal swell window (221 degs) but shadowed for SCal and Hawaii. This system to rough the oceans surface up some. Fetch is to fall southeast and fade from 40 kts in the evening with seas fading from 32 ft at 53S 168E. This gale to fade from there.
On Mon PM (5/7) a far stronger system is to follow on the same track producing 50 kt southwest winds and 36 ft seas at 56S 165E aimed east-northeast. On Tues AM (5/8) a broad area of 50 kt southwest winds are forecast southeast of New Zealand with seas building to 45 ft over a decent sized area at 57S 177E. Fetch is to be building in the evening from 45 kts from the west-southwest over a broad area with seas up to 47 ft at 59S 173W aimed east but tracking east-southeast. This system is to fade from there Wed AM (5/9) with west winds 40 kts and seas fading from 42 ft at 60S 163W. Something to monitor.
Additional smaller gales to follow in the same area.
More details to follow...
28 Deg Isotherm Finally Pushes East of Dateline
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina was at hand.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tuesday (5/2) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and calm to light west over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and light to modest westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/3) Modest west anomalies were over the whole of the KWGA with spotty east anomalies east of the dateline to Ecuador and not in the KWGA. This pattern is to hold for the coming week through the end of the model run on 5/10though westerly anomalies are to weaken some. Not a bad pattern with persistent weak westerly now locked from the dateline and points west of there.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (5/2) A dead neutral MJO pattern was over the West Pacific in the core of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a neutral MJO signal holding in the KWGA for the next 15 days. The dynamic model depicts a modest Inactive/Dry pattern building over the far West Pacific at day 5 and moving into the core of the KWGA through day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/3) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the dateline. It is to track east steadily while remaining weak over the next 15 days eventually moving over North Africa and to the Indian Ocean at the end of the model run. The GEFS model depicts effectively the same thing though a little bit stronger.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/3) This model depicts a weak Active Phase is moving through the West Pacific and is to be easing east to the East Pacific and into Central America on 5/23. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 5/9 moving to the East Pacific on 6/3 while a new extremely weak Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 5/23 and moving through the East Pacific into Central America at the end of the model run on 6/12. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/3) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO is developing over the West KWGA with weak to modest west anomalies continuing in control in the KWGA until the Active Phase fades 5/13 with west anomalies continuing over the entirety of the KWGA. A neutral pattern biased Inactive is to develop after that 5/18 and hold through 6/3 but with weak west anomalies in control of the KWGA through the period. A stronger Active Phase to develop 6/5 holding through 7/14 with weak to modest west anomalies strengthening and solid in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that on 7/20 through the end of the model run on 7/31 but very weak west anomalies still in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates the low pressure bias is over 95% of the KWGA and has pushed east of the dateline and is to continue east moving east of the KWGA on 5/5. The high pressure bias is already east of the KWGA focused mainly a few hundred nmiles east of California on the equator. This is hugely good news. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in a few days. The expectation is that the atmosphere and ocean will begin to be coupled 3 months from now (8/8) in a more favorable configuration for storm production in the Pacific. And the low pressure bias is to only strengthen steadily over the KWGA into July.
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 water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has moved significantly eastward to 170W from 75 meters down to the surface now with fingers to 167W. This is a significant development. The 24 deg isotherm was building in thickness while making significant eastward progress at 100 meters deep at 140W and now to 50 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures are gone as warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies were holding in the West at +3.0 degs at 165W down 150 meters pushing east with +2 deg anomalies reaching east to 140W down 100 meters and +1 degs at 100W down 25 meters. We suspect these warm waters are starting to erupt at the surface from 100W to 130W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/28 depicts warm water in the west at +4.0 degs at 170W with a river of warm water at +1 degs pushing east to 105W with the leading edge of that mass touching the surface near 100W. The last of the La Nina cool pool was holding in one shallow pocket in the East Pacific along the coast of Ecuador and being squeezed to the surface by the large approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/28) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5-10 cms centered at 180W with continuous +5 cm anomalies reaching east under the equator to 100W. Negative anomalies were east of there at -5 cms from the Galapagos to Ecuador the down along the coast of Peru. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (5/2) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a pocket of cool anomalies weakening along the immediate coast of Peru reaching northwest up to Ecuador and almost out to the Galapagos but no longer reaching them. Of much interest is a tiny area of warm anomalies building on the oceans surface on the equator over and just west of the Galapagos at 90W with a broad area of less warm water off Peru (90W) out to 110W. Neutral anomalies were west of there. This is likely the start of a defined eruption point for a large Kevin Wave directly below. Warm anomalies were also stable along the immediate coast of Central America and Mexico reaching west to the dateline aligned along and north of the equator. There was no clear indication of La Nina anymore in the oceans surface.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/2): A neutral to weak warm trend was in control of the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos to the dateline. A small pocket of warming was developing over and east of the Galapagos. The breach point for a large Kelvin Wave was estimated between 90-100W on the equator. A small pocket of cooling was on the equator between 100-120W.
Hi-res Overview: (5/2) A tiny pocket of cool water was fading fast along the immediate coast of Peru but not long off Ecuador. Instead warm water was building from Ecuador west to the Galapagos. Weak warming was further off the coast of Peru and reaching north to the equator at 100W. Warming was also along Central America filling the area from the equator northward up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking and warming some limited to a broad pocket south of the equator from 110W to barely the dateline looking like a Modoki La Nina (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west and dissipating). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/3) Today's temps were steady at -0.479 and have slowly rising over the past 3 weeks. Previously temps rose to -0.069 on 4/3 but crashed the week after that to -1.9 degs on 4/10. Prior to that temps had fallen hard to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/3) Today temps were falling some at -0.358 down from -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were about -1.2 degs. A weak surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps backed off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/3) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rising since, up to -0.5 in mid-March and -0.35 in early April. They are forecast to continue a steady increase from here forward to neutral in late May, hovering there then starting to rise into Fall to +0.25 degs in Oct and +0.5 degs in late Dec. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to continue to fade through the Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the late Fall. This model is now falling inline with all the others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume depicts temps at -0.2 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.4 in August and +0.8 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/3): The daily index was rising today to 1.70. The 30 day average was falling some at 1.34 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was rising some at 2.20 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (5/3) Today the index has risen some to -0.50 down from -0.42 on 4/28, down from -0.35 on 4/26, but up from -1.02 on 4/5 and up from -1.13 on 3/27. Still, today's value is less than the -0.33 reading in late Feb, but was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but possibly also reflects the last of the cool subsurface water being squeezed to the surface from an approaching large Kelvin Wave. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan 2018=+0.29, Feb= -0.10, Mar= -0.51. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table