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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 1:06 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
3.3 - California & 2.0 - 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 5/8 thru Sun 5/14
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   

2 Small SHemi Swells Pushing North
2 More Forecast - Gulf of Alaska to Stir Too

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Tuesday, May 9, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 12.5 secs from 181 degrees. Water temp 78.1 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.7 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 3.4 ft @ 6.7 secs from 32 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 185 degrees. Wind southwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 60.6 degs, 61.3 (Topanga 103), 59.0 degs (Long Beach 215), 63.3 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 62.8 (Del Mar 153), 62.6 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 219 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 1.7 ft @ 9.7 secs from 238 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.9 ft @ 6.0 secs from 269 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.3 secs from 206 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.6 ft @ 12.9 secs from 203 degrees. Water temperature was 61.2 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 13.0 secs from 284 degrees. Wind northwest at 6-8 kts (46026). Water temp 54.1 (Bodega Bay 46013), 55.0 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 53.6 (San Francisco 46026), 54.3 (SF Bar 142), 55.8 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.0 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/9) North and Central CA had sets at head high and reasonably lined up and clean with good form. Protected breaks were chest high on the sets and super lined up of not closed out and real clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and lined up and clean with decent form. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to maybe waist high and somewhat lined up and weak but fairly clean early. Central Orange County had sets at waist high or so on the peak and weakly lined up and soft with pretty good south lump on it from south winds. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were waist high on the sets and somewhat lined up and soft with south lump intermixed. North San Diego had sets at thigh to waist high and pretty soft and warbled from southerly wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets at waist high and lined up and clean with decent form but soft. The East Shore was waist high and chopped from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/9) California and Hawaii were getting the last dribbles of swell from a gale that developed east of New Zealand pushing northeast Thurs-Sat (4/29) producing up to 37 ft seas aimed well north. Another gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Tues-Thurs (5/4) with up to 29 ft seas aimed north. Swell is radiating north towards California. And another followed again over the far Southeast Pacific Sun-Mon (5/8) with up 35 ft seas over a small area aimed northeast. After that a small gale is forecast developing on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window Tues-Thurs (5/11) producing up to 34 ft seas aimed well north. And yet another to follow Fri-Sat (5/13) in the far Southeast Pacific producing up 34 ft seas aimed east-northeast. The southern hemi is becoming steadily productive. Up north a gale is pushing east towards the North Dateline region Tues-Wed (5/10) generating up to 28 ft seas then fading but forecast being reinforced while falling into the Gulf of Alaska Thurs-Sat (5/13) producing up to 21 ft seas aimed southeast. So maybe some more northerly swell to result for Hawaii and CA.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/9) small windswell from a low pressure system previously in the Gulf of Alaska on Sat AM (5/6) producing 17 ft seas at 45.5N 157W was hitting North CA a little bigger than forecast.

And swell was starting to be generated from a gale over the North Dateline Region that is forecast to fall into the Gulf (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no additional swell production is forecast.

 

Gulf Gale
A gale started developing just east of Kamchatka on Tues AM (5/9) producing 40-45 kts west winds over a small area and seas building from 28 ft at 48.25N 163.25E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 35 kts approaching the dateline with seas 27 ft at 48.5N 171E aimed east. On Wed AM (5/10) fetch is to fade from 30 kts over the dateline and falling southeast fast while building in coverage towards the Gulf of Alaska with seas 23 ft at 46.5N 178.75E aimed southeast. In the evening fetch is to redevelop in the Central Gulf at 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 18 ft at 44.25N 175.5W aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (5/11) northwest winds to be 25-30 kts over a broad area in the Gulf with 16-17 ft seas at 39.5N 157.25W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to build to 30 kts with seas 20 ft at 47N 165W aimed southeast. On Fri AM (5/12) northwest winds to be 30-35 kts stationary in the Gulf with seas 21 ft at 39.25N 158.75W aimed southeast. More of the same in the evening with seas 22 ft at 44.75N 155.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading Sat AM (5/13) from 25 kts with seas fading from 17 ft over a small area at 41.75N 155W aimed southeast. The gale is to fade out from there. Something to monitor. Maybe some north angled swell for Hawaii and northwest swell for HI late in the weekend and CA beyond.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (5/10) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA and 15 kts south of Monterey Bay. Spotty afternoon and evening showers possible for CA focusing on the Sierra later.
  • Thurs AM (5/11) northwest winds to be 5-10 kts for North CA early and 15 kts south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for North and Central CA and 20 kts south of Monterey Bay. No precip forecast.
  • Fri AM (5/12) northwest winds to be 15 kts for North CA early and 15-20 kts south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20+ kts for North and Central CA.
  • Sat AM (5/13) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for North Ca and 15 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA.
  • Sun AM (5/14) northwest winds to be 5-10 kts for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 5 kts for North CA with an eddy flow setting up for Central CA at 5-10 kt. Maybe some rain and light snow for the Southern Sierra building up to Tahoe later in the afternoon and evening.
  • Mon AM (5/15) south winds to be in control at 10 kts for North CA and 5-10 kts for Central CA early. No change in the afternoon. Sierra showers possible in the afternoon.
  • Tues AM (5/16) northwest winds to return at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 0, 0, 0, and 0 inches.

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is to be steady at 8,000 ft through 5/10 then starting to rise 5/11 steadily up to 12,500 by 5/12 and holding somewhere between 11,000 and 12,500 ft beyond.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (5/9) the jetstream was consolidated over the Southwest Pacific forming a solid ridge pushing down to 70S suppressing gale formation. But a trough was building over the Southeast Pacific being fed by 160 kt winds outflowing from the ridge offering decent support for gale formation. Over the next 72 hours the trough over the Southeast Pacific is to building being fed by 160 kts on Wed (5/10) offering good support for gale development right on the eastern edge of the California swell window before starting to pinch off. But on Thurs (5/11) the trough is to reform to the north perhaps offering a 1 day window for yet more gale production before finally fading out. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (5/12) the jet is to be ridging down to 75S over the Southwest Pacific but starting to form yet another trough over the Southeast Pacific with 180 kts winds in it's apex and lifting northeast into early Sat (5/13) on the extreme east edge of the Southern CA swell window offering support for gale development before moving east of the CA swell window. After that a zonal flow is forecast with the jet running flat east to west down at 62S across the South Pacific offering no support for gale development.

Surface Analysis
A gale developed in the South Central Pacific with swell from it all but gone today in both CA and HI (see South Central Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from another gale that developed in the Southeast Pacific Tues-Thurs (5/4) tracking well northeast is to be radiating north (see 1st Southeast Pacific Gale below).

And another gale developed behind that over the deep Southeast Pacific on Sun-Tues (5/9) (see 2nd Southeast Pacific Gale below).

And yet a third gale was developing from the remnants of the previous gale on Tues AM (5/9) over the deep Southeast Pacific with 30-35 kts south winds and seas building. In the evening south winds are forecast at 35-40 kts and seas building from 28 ft at 54.5S 128.5W aimed north. On Wed AM (5/10) south winds are to be pushing north at 45 kts with seas 31 ft at 52.5S 122.25W on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. In the evening south fetch is to be losing coverage from 45 kts with seas 34 ft at 48S 121W aimed north. On Thurs AM (5/11) south winds to be fading from 40+ kts tracking due north with seas 34 ft at 43S 120W aimed north. In the evening fetch is to be fading and tracking northeast at 40 kts with seas fading from 31 ft at 37S 115W and no longer in the SCal swell window. Something to monitor.

 

South Central Pacific Gale
A gale started developing east of New Zealand on Thurs AM (4/27) with 35-40+ kt south winds and seas 30 ft at 48S 166.25W aimed northeast. In the evening south winds built to 45 kts over a small area lifting fast north with seas 37 ft at 40.75S 162W aimed north. Fetch was fading Fri AM (4/28) from 35-40 kts from the south but stalling while building in coverage with 33 ft seas at 37S 156.5W aimed north. In the evening fetch rebuilt some at 35-45 kts from the south with seas 31 ft at 36.5S 150W aimed north. On Sat AM (4/29) south winds consolidated at 40 kts with seas 30 ft at 39.5S 147W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading in the evening from 35+ kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 47S 150W aimed northeast. This system is to fade from there. Swell is radiating northeast.

Southern CA: Swell fading Tues (5/9) from 1.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 212 moving to 202 degrees and mostly shadowed by Tahiti

North CA: Swell fading Tues (5/9) from 1.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 208 moving to 198 degrees and shadowed by Tahiti

 

1st Southeast Pacific Gale
Another gale started developing in the deep South Central Pacific on Mon PM (5/1) producing 30 kt southwest winds and seas building. On Tues AM southwest winds were lifting northeast at 30-35 kts over a solid area with seas 23 ft at 55S 151W aimed northeast. In the evening south winds were lifting northeast at 35-40 kts with seas 25 ft at 50S 145W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (5/3) fetch was solidifying from the south at 35-40 kts with seas 27 ft at 49S 139W aimed northeast. South to southwest fetch was fading in coverage in the evening at 30-35 kts with seas 29 ft at 45.5S 137.75W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (5/4) southwest winds were fading from 35 kts with seas 28 ft at 39.5S 131W aimed northeast. The gale faded from there. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/10) building to 1.6 ft @ 18-19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building on Thurs (5/11) at 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). and holding. On Fri AM (5/12) swell to be fading from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs early (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat AM (5/13) from 2.4 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Residuals on Sun (5/14) fading from 1.9 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 191 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/10) building to 1.5 ft @ 19 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell building on Thurs (5/11) at 2.9 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4.5 ft). and holding. On Fri AM (5/12) swell to be steady at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat AM (5/13) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (5/14) fading from 2.2 ft @ 13-14 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

 

2nd Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale started developing over the deep South Central Pacific Sun AM (5/7) producing 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 64.5S 157W aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds were lifting northeast at 45 kts over the Southeast Pacific with seas 35 ft over a small area at 60.25S 144.25W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/8) southwest winds were fading from 35-40 kts with seas 33 ft at 55.75S 136.5W. In the evening fetch was pure south but fading from 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft at 53.25S 128.5W aimed northeast. Fetch and seas fading quickly after that.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/14) building to 1.4 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/15) to 2.3 ft @ 15 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (5/16) from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Dribbles fading Wed (5/17) from 2.0 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 187 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/14) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (5/15) to 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (5/16) from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.5 ft). Dribbles fading Wed (5/17) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no meaningful swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another gale is forecast developing in the deep Southeast Pacific Fri PM (5/12) producing a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 29 ft at 52.25S 131.25W aimed northeast. on Sat AM (5/13) southwest winds to be 40+ kts with seas 31 ft at 55.75S 131.5W aimed northeast. IN the evening south winds to be 40 kts on the east edge of the SCal swell window with 33 ft seas at 52.25S 118W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/14) fetch is to be tracking northeast at 35+ kts and east of the Southern CA swell window with 33 ft seas at 46.75S 108.75W aimed northeast at Peru and Chile. Something to monitor.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Major Global Weather Pattern Change Occurring - El Nino Developing
Kelvin Wave #3 Poised to Erupt - Active MJO #4 Developing - Equatorial Sea Surface Temps Rising Fast
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd in Mar-April. And Westerly Winds are fully established filling the KWGA. And Sea Surface Temperatures continue warming. The last link in the chain is to see the SOI falling deep into negative territory. The outlook is optimistic.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
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: In 2019 warm equatorial 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 evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. That basically continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Summer 2023 = 3.7 (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: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 3 Active MJO's produced 3 Kelvin Waves with the 3rd in that series poised to start erupting off Ecuador now (May 2023). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias on the dateline and forecast to nearly fill the Pacific during June. We are in a state of transition from ENSO neutral to El Nino during the summer of 2023. As a result we will be moving from a period of reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the early part of Summer towards a period of enhanced storm production starting Late July and beyond, getting fairly intense come Fall. This should result in a slightly below normal level of swells, with swells being below normal duration and period over early Summer. But by late July 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as El Nino starts getting a solid footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after late July 2023. The swell pattern will be normal to somewhat below normal before July and above normal after July 23. And By Sept, the El Nino footprint should be solid. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early and based mostly on the CFS model and it's projection of a building ENSO footprint getting solid by Sept.

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 (5/8) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate to strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light west over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and neutral over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/9) A mix of weak west and east anomalies were over the KWGA. The 7 day forecast has mostly weak to modest west anomalies in control of the bulk of the KWGA building to strong west anomalies filling the KWGA on 5/14 and holding through 5/22 then starting to fade but with west anomalies still moderate on the dateline through the end of the model run on 5/15. it looks like the Active Phase of the MJO is coming.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/8) The Active Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active MJO is to continue building over the the KWGA on days 5 and 10 then fading some but still present on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with a little less strength on day 5 and 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (5/9) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the East Maritime Continent and is to move to the East Pacific at strong status 2 weeks out. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase is to move to the same location but only at modest strength on day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/9) A moderate Active (wet) pattern was filling the KWGA with the Inactive (dry air) all but gone from the Pacific. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) pushing east over the KWGA through 5/24 then easing east over the Central and East Pacific 5/29 and out of the Pacific on 6/8. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start building over the KWGA starting 5/24 and in control 6/3 and holding through the end of the model run on 6/18 with perhaps some weak signs of the Active Phase building in the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/8)
Today west anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO were building over the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal is to move east filling the KWGA through 5/23 with west anomalies building and filling the KWGA reaching strong status 5/15-5/20. Even as the Active Signal fades west anomalies are to only solidify their grip on the KWGA filling it 5/27 through the end of the model run on 6/5. This is an upgrade and much like the GFS model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(5/9) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA but with the Active Phase and weak west anomalies starting to build over the West KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to fade on 5/13 with weak west anomalies holding. The Active Phase of the MJO is to continue building over the KWGA through 6/2 with west anomalies holding steady. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 5/20-6/16 but with west anomalies holding centered over the dateline. Then next Active Phase of the MJO is to follow starting 6/28 holding through the end of the model run on 8/6 with west anomalies building to strong status filling the KWGA. A solid El Nino is developing. The shift to El Nino started on 2/15. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 1 contour line centered at 120W with its western perimeter at 150W today and well east of the KWGA and moving east fast. A broad low pressure bias is established over the West KWGA centered at 150E with 2 contour lines and it's leading edge on the dateline today (it started pushing east on 2/15). A hard push east is occurring and is to continue into June 9 with it's leading edge then stalling at 145W filling most of the Pacific with it's leading edge more slowly moving east to 130W at the end of the model run with it's center at 165E. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next since Oct 2022. It appears an El Nino is developing.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/9) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 29 degree isotherm was steady at 180W (previously 170E). The 28 deg isotherm line was running the whole way across Pacific but shallow east of 145W. The 26 degree isotherm has pushed the whole way across the Pacific and getting deeper. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C were in a river traversing the Pacific with a building pocket of 3-5 degs anomalies in the far East Pacific. Amazing. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/3 indicates a huge very warm stream of 3+ degs anomalies extending from the far West Pacific east to 100W (leading edge of Kelvin Wave #2) and then upwards from there over the far East Pacific with +4 degs anomalies from Kelvin Wave #1 erupting there into Ecuador. And another pocket of warming waters were in the far West Pacific at 125E at +3 degs. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/3) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific connected to the East Pacific at +5-10 cms over the entirety of it's width with a pocket of +10 cms in the west and a pocket of +10-15 cms in the east extending north into Central America and south to Chile. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram warm water continues building in intensity and coverage at +1.00-1.50 degs over the width of the Pacific connected to a second pocket starting at 130W at at +1.5-2.0 degs reaching east to Ecuador.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (5/8) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador and now building up to Mexico and a bit weaker along Peru and Ecuador compared to weeks past but with a building tongue extending west over the Galapagos continuing along the equator reaching to 145W (results of Kelvin Wave #1). Warm temps continued west from there on the equator across the dateline and beyond. This is a clear El Nino signal. And warmer than normal temps were present well off the coasts of Chile and Peru and building in intensity and weaker over the entirety of the deep South Pacific. The last remnants of La Nina are gone on the equator and a clear El Nino signal is building. But, remnants of La Nina are still evident along the California and Baja coast with cold temps and the normal La Nina enhanced Springtime upwelling pattern in control.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/8): A weakly cooling trend was along the coasts of Chile and Peru and Ecuador as Kelvin Wave #1 starts fading there. But a solid stream of warming temps were along the equator from the Galapagos west to 140W and weaker but still warming out to New Guinea. The pattern of adding energy to the warm surface pool has moved from Ecuador to the equator west of there. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15 except for the time frame from 4/23 to today.
Hi-res Overview: (5/8) Warming waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru, Ecuador and north up to Mexico with strong warming along the immediate cost of Peru and Ecuador. And an El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably on the equator west to 140W and from there to the dateline and beyond. No cool waters were on the equator anymore. There no sign of La Nina on the oceans surface and everything is now looking like El Nino. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/9) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps are steady at +2.247 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/9) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Temps were rising today at +0.353, beating the previous peak of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. Then had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

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 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs above the La Nina threshold on 2/12.
Forecast (5/9) - Temps are slowly climbing above neutral (0.40 degs today) and are forecast rising to +1.50 degs in July and +2.55 degs in Nov and solidly into El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast rising to +1.30 degs in July and +2.00 degs in Nov. According to this version of the model we are building into ENSO neutral in Spring and into El Nino in Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 19, 2023 Plume depicts temps are +0.434 degs today and it's the second month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to +0.711 degs in May rising to +1.149 in July and up to +1.269 degrees in Oct then fading from there. This is an upgrade from previous runs. The CFS model is on the upper range of all models. This model suggests a transition to El Nino.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (5/9) the Daily Index was negative at -10.48 and has been toggling between -10 to +10 the last 11 days, but negative the previous 15 days, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling at -1.98 after falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling at +1.20 and has not been negative (yet) in a long time, after peaking at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
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:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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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