Tuesday, May 4, 2021
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 12.2 secs from 239 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), 78.1 (Lani 239).
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 11.9 secs from 322 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 15.1 secs from 209 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 61.9 degs, 61.5 (Topanga 103), 60.6 degs (Long Beach 215), 64.2 (Del Mar 153), 63.0 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.2 ft @ 14.6 secs from 265 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 16.4 secs from 235 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 15.5 secs from 204 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.9 ft @ 15.0 secs from 216 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.1 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 10.0 ft @ 7.6 secs from 322 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 14-18 kts. Water temp 49.1 (029), 49.5 degs (SF Bar) and 55.4 degs (Santa Cruz).
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 Tuesday (5/4) North and Central CA had waves at shoulder to head high and a bit warbled and mushed but fairly clean with light winds. Protected breaks were shoulder high and mushed and a bit warbled and soft but with light winds early. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high on the sets and lined up and clean with decent form. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up with decent form but with some light northwest winds creating some texture. Central Orange County had set waves at waist to chest high and lined up coming from the south with some intermixed warbled though winds were light. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at chest to shoulder high and lined up but soft and inconsistent with clean conditions. North San Diego had sets waves at waist to maybe chest high and lined up but soft and weak but with clean conditions. Hawaii's North Shore had a few small sets still lapping in at chest to head high and clean but inconsistent. The South Shore was thigh thigh and clean and weak. The East Shore report was not available.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (5/4) Hawaii was getting the last dribbles of late season swell from what previously was Extratropical Storm Surigae. California was getting the tail end of small swell originating from a gale that traversed the South Pacific Tues PM (4/20) into Fri (4/23) with seas 33 ft fading then rebuilding to to 29 ft. Beyond a gale developed under New Zealand Sat-Sun (5/2) tracking northeast producing up to barely 30 ft seas. And maybe another gale is to form tracking east from under New Zealand Tues-Thurs (5/6) producing up to 37 ft seas aimed east over a small area. A secondary gale to follow in the Central South Pacific Sun-Mon (5/10) producing 36 ft seas aimed north. And another is to push under New Zealand Mon-Tues (5/11) producing 36 ft seas aimed east. In North and Central CA local northwest windswell is to fade on Wed (5/5) then rebuilding for CA Fri (5/7) and beyond.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (5/4) swell was fading out in Hawaii from what previously was Extratropical Storm Surigae (see Extratropical Storm Surigae below).
Over the next 72 hours a low pressure system is forecast developing off Northern CA on Wed AM (5/5) producing 35-40 kts northwest winds over a building area starting to get traction producing 16 ft seas at 41N 147W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to rapidly fade from 25 kts with seas fading from 15 ft at 37N 142W aimed southeast. This system is to be gone after that. No swell of interest expected to result.
Extratropical Storm Surigae
The remnants of Typhoon Surigae turned extratropical resulting in Extratropical Storm Surigae half way between Japan and the dateline on Mon PM (4/26) generating 50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 39N 155E aimed southeast. On Tues AM (4/27) west winds were 45 kts with 39 ft seas building over a small sized area at 43.25N 163E aimed east. In the evening 35-40 kt west winds were pushing east with seas 31 ft at 42N 168E aimed east. On Wed AM (4/28) west winds were fading from 30-35 kts approaching the dateline with 26 ft seas fading at 41N 168E aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading with 30 kt west winds and seas fading from 21 ft at 41N 173E aimed east. This system was gone after that.
Oahu: Swell fading on Tues (5/4) from 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 315 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are occurring nor forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
- Wed (5/5) northwest winds are to be fading from 15 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA fading to 10 kts later both for North and Central CA as low pressure builds off the coast. Windswell collapsing.
- Thurs (5/6) low pressure is to be lifting northeast off the Oregon coast generating south winds at 5 kts for Cape Mendocino early and calm down to Monterey Bay and northwest 10 kts down to Pt Conception early. In the afternoon high pressure is to start developing producing northwest winds at 10-15 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA. No windswell forecast. Light rain for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon.
- Fri (5/7) high pressure is to be in control with northwest winds 20-25 kts for North and Central CA early building in the afternoon to 25-30+ kts all locations. Windswell building. Light rain holding for Cape Mendocino
- Sat (5/8) high pressure holds with northwest winds 30-35 kts for North CA early and 20-25 kts for Central CA early but mainly off the coast. Winds building in the afternoon to 35 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts nearshore for Central CA. Windswell holding.
- Sun (5/9) northwest winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for North and Central CA early then shifting northward in the afternoon with northwest winds down to 20-25 kts for Central CA. Windswell holding.
- Mon (5/10) northwest winds are forecast at 30 kts for North Ca early and 10 kts for Central CA nearshore holding all day but fading in coverage later up north. Windswell fading slightly.
- Tues (5/11) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA north of Bodega Bay early and calm south of there. Windswell fading slowly.
Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inches.
Freezing level falling to 12,500 ft on 5/4 holding till 5/5, then falling to 10,500 ft 5/6-5/10. Freezing level building back to 12,000+ ft after that.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
On Tuesday (5/4) the jet was tracking east from under New Zealand to a point just east of there with winds to 150 kts not forming a trough but starting to offering some support for gale development. East of there the jet was very weak tracking east on the 55S latitude line then falling southeast over the far Southeast Pacific offering nothing. Over the next 72 hours winds under New Zealand to push east to the Central South Pacific on Wed (5/5) then starting to form a trough there on Thurs (5/6) and building solidly on Fri (5/7) being fed by a new pulse of winds energy lifting northeast at 140 kts offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough over the Central South Pacific is to build some into SUn (5/9) being fed by 150 kts winds and offering good support for gale development, then getting cut off on Mon (5/10) by a big ridge pushing east down at 70S traversing the entire South Pacific and holding into Tues (5/11). No support for gale development is forecast.
On Tuesday (5/4) tiny swell was hitting California from a gale that previously formed under New Zealand traversing the South Pacific (see New Zealand Gale below). After that a weak gale pushed under New Zealand then faded offering some small swell potential for Hawaii (see Weak New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours starting Tues PM (5/4) a small gale is forecast pushing east under New Zealand with a small area of 45-50 kt west winds with seas building to 33 ft at 53.5S 165.5E aimed east. On Wed AM (5/5) southwest winds are to continue east at 45-50 kts with seas 34 ft at 53.5S 176W aimed east. In the evening southwest winds to continue at 45-50 kts over a small area aimed east with seas 37 ft at 51.5S 159.5W aimed east. On Thurs AM (5/6) fetch is to fade from 40 kts over the Central South Pacific with seas fading from 29 ft at 50S 145W aimed east. The gael is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
On Fri AM (5/7) a new secondary gale is to form in the Central South Pacific producing a small area of 45 kt southwest winds with seas 26 ft at 50S 165W aimed northeast. In the evening 40 kt southwest winds are to be tracking northeast with 28 ft seas at 47S 157W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (5/8) fetch is to hold at 35-40 kts from the south with seas 26 ft at 42S 149W aimed northeast. A broader fetch is to build in the evening over the same area at 35-40 kts from the south with seas 29 ft at 48S 150W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/9) south to southwest winds to build at 40-45 kts with seas 33 ft at 49S 147W aimed northeast. In the evening 40 kt south winds to be pushing north with seas 34 ft at 44S 141W aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading Mon AM (5/10) at 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 434S 133W aimed northeast. This system is to fade and start falling southeast after that. Something to monitor.
New Zealand Gale
Another gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Tues PM (4/20) producing a tiny area of 45-50 kt west winds and seas 33 ft at 62.5S 175W aimed east. On Wed AM (4/21) fetch was lifting gently east-northeast at 45 kts from the west with seas 32 ft over a small area at 60S 163W aimed east. In the evening fetch was pushing northeast at 35-40 kts with seas 30 ft at 59S 152W aimed east-northeast. Fetch was fading Thurs AM (5/22) from 35 kts but over a larger area aimed northeast with seas 26 ft at 58S 143W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was holding at 35 kts from the southwest over a solid area with seas building to 27 ft at 56.5S 133.5W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (4/23) south to southwest winds continued at 35-40 kts over the Southeast Pacific with 29 ft seas at 53.5S 126W aimed northeast. In the evening south winds continued at 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft at 52S 124W aimed northeast. On Sat (4/24) south winds were 35 kts with seas fading from 27 ft at 54.5S 122.5W aimed northeast. The gale faded and moved east of the California swell window after that. Something to monitor.
Southern CA: Dribbles on Tues (5/4) fading from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs(2.5-3.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Wed (5/5) from 1.7 ft @ 13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) early. Swell DIrection: 202 degrees initially then redeveloping from 188 degrees moving to 186 degrees
North CA: Dribbles on Tues (5/4) fading from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Wed (5/5) from 1.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) early. Swell DIrection: 199 degrees initially then redeveloping from 187 degrees moving to 184 degrees
Weak New Zealand Gale
A gale developed south of New Zealand on Fri PM (4/30) with 40-45 kt west winds over a broad area and seas 30 ft at 60.25S 172E aimed east. On Sat AM (5/1) southwest winds were tracking east but fading to 30-35 kts with seas 29 ft at 57.5S 1179.5E aimed northeast. Fetch built in coverage in the evening coming from the south at 30-35 kts with seas 26 ft at 58S 169W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading Sun AM (5/2) from the south at 30 kts with seas 23-24 ft at 55S 162W aimed northeast. In the evening south to southwest winds continued at 30-35 kts over a smaller area with seas fading to 23 ft at 51S 151W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/3) fetch regenerated some at 40 kts over a small area aimed northeast with seas 25 ft at 56S 140W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch built to 45 kts from the southwest over a smaller area with seas 31 ft at 56S 136.5W aimed east. The gale faded out after that. Small swell is radiating northeast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Sat (5/8) pushing maybe 1.0 ft @ 18 secs (1.5 ft). Swell steady on Sun (5/9) at 1.2 ft @ 16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Mon (5/10) from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs early (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/10) building to maybe 1.0 ft @ 18 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell building on Tues (5/11) to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell steady on Wed (5/12) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (5/13) at 2.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/14) from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205 moving to 195 degrees
Northern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/10) building to maybe 1.0 ft @ 18 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell building on Tues (5/11) to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell steady on Wed (5/12) at 2.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (5/13) at 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/14) from 2.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 202 moving to 192 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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Beyond 72 hours another storm is forecast developing under New Zealand on Mon AM (5/10) producing 50 kt west winds and seas building to 38 ft at 55.5S 167E aimed east. In the evening a broad area of 40-45 kts west winds are to be easing east with seas 34 ft at 57S 177E aimed east. On Tues AM (5/11) southwest winds are forecast at 40-45 kts over a decent sized area with seas 36 ft at 59.5S 176.5W aimed east-northeast. Something to monitor.
SOI Neutral - La Nina Fading
Summary - Kevin Wave #1 was pushing east across the Equatorial Pacific poised to erupt along Ecuador. Kelvin Wave #2 was half way across the Pacific. The forecast suggests continued west anomalies in the KWGA for the next 3 months.
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).
Overview: A double dip La Nina occurred through the Winter of 2017-2018. 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 2019, those warm waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, with it fully developing into La Nina in July 2020. We continue in the place in March 2021, but with a Kelvin Wave sweeping east late in March possibly signaling the demise of La Nina.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Spring/Summer 2021 = 4.0/3.5 (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 that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 is on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state will set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But lingering effects of La Nina are forecast to continue over the Pacific for some time as the upper atmospheric circulation slowly transitions to an ENSO neutral state. This scenario tend to favor the Southeast Pacific, therefore favoring California over Hawaii. To counter that is the forecasted movement of the low pressure bias currently in-flight from the Maritime Continent to the West Pacific over the next 3 months. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a slightly less than normal swell production forecast. A somewhat reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected as compared to normal over the South Pacific during the early summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by the Fall and early Winter of 2021/22, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (5/3) 5 day average winds were moderate from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then modest east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and light to moderate west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/3) light west anomalies were fading over the Eastern KWGA with modest east anomalies over the Western KWGA. The forecast calls for mostly moderate east anomalies filling the KWGA tracking west to east over and filling the KWGA 5/5 through the end of the model run on 5/10. Maybe neutral anomalies building over the far West KWGA on the last day of the model run.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:
OLR Models: (5/3) A moderate Inactive MJO pattern filling the KWGA today. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase tracking steadily east and slowly fading lingering over the dateline at the end of the model run on day 15 with a new Active Phase building over the West KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Inactive Phase fading dramatically and gone on day 10 of the model run with a neutral pattern taking hold into day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/4) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was strong over North Africa today and is to track east to the West Maritime Continent by day 15 of the model run and weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase is to race east reaching the West Pacific and very weak on day 15 of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/3) A strong Inactive Phase (dry air) was filling the entirety of the Pacific today. It is to track east and is to move over Central America on 5/13. A moderate Active Phase (wet air) is to push over the KWGA on 5/20 tracking east to East equatorial Pacific reaching Central America on 6/7. A new strong Inactive MJO (dry air) is to be building over the West Pacific on 6/7 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 6/12.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/3) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA with weak to modest east anomalies starting to take control. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to return in the KWGA on 5/10 filling the bulk of it but with east anomalies on the dateline holding through the end of the model run on 5/31. West anomalies to hold over the core of the KWGA during that entire time, even as the Inactive Phase of the MJO traverses the KWGA through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/4 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): The Inactive Phase of the MJO was traversing the KWGA today with weak east in control. The forecast indicates that east anomalies are to hold over the KWGA through 5/10 giving way to weak west anomalies but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO still traversing the KWGA through 6/13. interesting. A new moderate Active Phase is to start building in the west on 6/2 pushing east and holding through 7/23 with moderate to strong west anomalies controlling the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 7/4 through the end of the model run on 8/1 but with weak west anomalies in control. Literally no significant east anomalies are forecast in the KWGA from here forward. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the Central Pacific filling the eastern KWGA but a low pressure bias building over the West KWGA filling the western half of it to 150E. The high pressure bias has 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of the Southwest US. The second contour line is to fade 5/29. The remaining 1 is to be shifting steadily east and losing coverage and no longer in the KWGA after 6/10. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Maritime Continent with it's leading edge half way through the KWGA (at 150E) today. The east edge of the low pressure bias is to track east reaching the dateline (180W) on 6/29 while building to 2 contour lines. We are moving to a neutral ENSO position. East anomalies that have been solid over the KWGA since 10/1/20 are fading and have now migrating east of the KWGA with no return in sight, instead focused over the East Pacific (from the dateline east to a point south of California). Theoretically the end of La Nina is near (starting on 5/1).
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/4) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 167W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and solid in coverage and depth. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +3 deg C are in the West Pacific indicative of a new Kelvin Wave building with 1 deg anomalies reaching across the Pacific to 145W today with +2 degs anomalies pushing to the surface at 110W and reaching into Ecuador indicative of a previous Kelvin Wave poised to impact Ecuador. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/28 indicates a dramatic improvement with warm anomalies moving east subsurface to nearly Ecuador indicative of a Kelvin Wave poised to impact the far East Pacific and barely reaching the surface from 110W and points east of there. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were all but gone with residuals getting squeezed to the surface by the Kelvin Wave near Peru. 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) A dramatic improvement continues with sea heights slightly above neutral (0 to +5 cms) over nearly the entire equatorial Pacific. No negative anomalies were present on the equator or along the coasts of Chile, Peru, Central America and up to Baja Mexico. Only California was measurably negative at -5 cms and that appears to be fading fast. The massive cold triangle that had previously formed over the equator is gone. The demise of La Nina is occurring now.
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: (5/3) The latest images indicate slightly warm water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to almost the dateline in pockets but only reaching 2 degs south of the equator. Cool anomalies were south of equator (-2S) from Peru west to the dateline. A weakening upwelling (cool anomalies) pattern was still present but isolated to the immediate cost of Peru, and even that appeared to be breaking up. Weak warm water was off Ecuador and Central America up to Southern Baja. Overall this seems to indicate the late stages of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/3): Warming temp were indicated along Peru and Ecuador out to the Galapagos in small scattered pockets. Also broad but weak warming was occurring south and north of the equator from 90W out to nearly the dateline.
Hi-res Overview: (5/3) A generic area of warm water was west of Central America. Generic cool water was west of Peru. A weak area of cool water was along the immediate coast of Peru. La Nina appears to be in retreat but not gone.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/4) Today's temps were rising at -0.471 after previously bottoming out at -0.950 on 4/5. Before that temps peaked at +0.714 on 3/16. Temp previously peaked at +0.601 on 3/9 and that after a recent high of +0.100 on 2/1. Temps previously were -0.604 on 1/24. A previous peak of -0.595 occurred on 12/11. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been on a slow but steady increase.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/4) Temps were rising steadily to +0.040 today, a new peak high, the highest in over a year and finally barely positive. They had been steady near -0.222 for 2 weeks previous and peaking on 4/15 at -0.157, beating the recent peak of -0.185 on 3/27. The previous peak was -0.170 on 3/10, the highest in a year. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3, rising to to -0.982 on 1/21. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps were on a steady decline since 7/25 then bottomed out in late October and have been on a slow increase since.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/4) - Actuals per the model indicate temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose steadily to -0.55 degs in mid-April. The forecast indicates temps rising slightly to -0.20 degs in late July, then starting a weak fade falling to -0.50 degs in Oct and rising slightly to -0.45 degs in Dec and early Jan 2022. This model now suggests a demise of La Nina with an ENSO neutral trend beyond biased slightly negative. There is no sense that El Nino will develop. We're still in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier, so no outcome is certain.
IRI Consensus Plume: The March 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.50 degs today, and are to rise to -0.15 in June and stabilizing there through Nov. Most models are suggesting a moderate La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring of 2021.
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 - this is a lagging indicator) (5/4): The daily index was rising today at 7.91. The 30 day average was falling to +0.06 after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling slightly at +2.77 indicating near neutral after peaking at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator.
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
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131
Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
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