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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2020 7:50 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
4.1 - California & 2.5 - 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 5/11 thru Sun 5/17

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   

Japan Swell Hitting CA
More Swell To Follow From Both North and South

On Thursday, May 14, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 17.4 secs from 197 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 11.9 secs from 326 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.1 secs from 195 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 63.3 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.3 ft @ 14.5 secs from 241 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.6 secs from 204 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.4 ft @ 13.6 secs from 197 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 192 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 247 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was southeast at 10-15 kts. Water temp 55.2 degs (013), 54.1 degs (012) and 58.8 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Thursday (5/14) small northwesterly swell was hitting North and Central CA mixed with southern hemi swell producing waves at head high and with decent form and clean with no wind and overcast making for rideable surf. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean early but fairly closed out. All parking lots closed. At Santa Cruz Southeast Pacific swell was fading producing set waves in the chest high range and clean and lined up but slow. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high and pretty lumpy due to local northwest winds and with poor form. In North Orange Co set waves were occasionally head high but mostly waist to chest high and still pushing hard from the south but a little lumpy from northwesterly winds. Orange Country's best summertime breaks had sets in the head high range and lightly textured and soft but lined up and peeling. North San Diego had waves at chest high on the sets and lined up and peeling with some heavy texture on it but still rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was shoulder high and clean and peeling and fun looking. The South Shore was thigh high and clean but with some intermixed warble and weak. The East Shore was near flat and clean with slack trades for the moment.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (5/14) southern hemi swell was still hitting California though smaller originating from a small gale that developed in the Southeastern Pacific Sat-Mon (5/4) producing up to 40 ft seas aimed well northeast. Small residual swell from a gale previously off Japan was fading in the Hawaii and starting to arrive at exposed breaks in North CA. For the future another gale pushed under New Zealand on Wed-Fri (5/8) producing up to 39 ft seas aimed east then redeveloped over the Central South Pacific Sat-Sun (5/10) producing 35 ft seas aimed northeast. That swell is supposedly starting to hit Hawaii and radiating north towards California. Beyond a gale developed over the North Dateline region today falling southeast to the Western Gulf through early Fri (5/15) producing up to 27 ft seas aimed southeast. And maybe another is to push off Japan on Wed (5/20) with 29 ft seas pushing east. Down south possibly a gale is to form southeast of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/17) tracking east gale with up to 50 ft seas aimed east then fading over the Central South Pacific Mon-Tues (5/19) with seas in the 27 ft range. And maybe another gale is to push under New Zealand on Thurs (5/21) with 34 ft seas aimed east.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (5/14) swell from a gale previously off Japan was fading in Hawaii and starting to hit the US West Coast (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a gale previously over the North Dateline region is to be arriving in Hawaii (see North Dateline Gale below).


North Dateline Gale
Another gale has developed on the North Dateline region Tues AM (5/12) producing 35+ kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 46.5N 173.5E aimed southeast. In the evening the gale fell southeast over the dateline with a solid area of 35 kt northwest winds and seas 27 ft at 46N 177.5E aimed southeast. More of the same occurred on Wed AM (5/13) with 26 ft seas moving over the dateline at 44.5N 179W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale was fading with northwest winds 30-35 kts in the Western Gulf with 25 ft seas at 41N 173W aimed southeast targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. The gale was fading on Thurs AM (5/14) with 30 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 39N 168W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kt west winds to move east with 20 ft seas at 38N 160W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival late on Fri (5/15) building to 5.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.5 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (5/16) fading from 6.9 ft @ 14 secs (9.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (5/17) from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs (5.0 ft). Dribbles on Mon (5/18) fading from 2.8 ft @ 10-11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 330 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/17) building to 4.8 ft @ 14-15 secs alter (7.0 ft). Swell fading Mon AM (5/18) from 6.7 ft @ 13 secs early (8.5 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (5/19) from 5.6 ft @ 11 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees


Japan Gale
And yet another gale formed Thurs PM (5/7) just off North Japan producing 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 24 ft at 42.5N 155.5E. The gale built in coverage Fri AM (5/8) with winds fading from 40 kts from the west and seas 25 ft at 43.5N 164E. The gale was lifting northeast fast after that in the evening with 35 kts west winds and seas holding at 27 ft at 46.5N 172E aimed east. On Sat AM (5/9) the gale was lifting north into the Bering Sea with 35 kt west fetch just south of the Aleutians producing 26 ft seas aimed east at 49N 175E aimed east. This system to be gone after that. Small swell expected to radiate into Hawaii on Tues (5/12) and likely the last of the Winter season.

Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs (5/14) from 2.7 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/14) building to 3.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (5/15) at 2.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell gone on Sat (5/16). Swell Direction: 300 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/14) light winds were occurring along North and Central CA except north at 15 kts from Morro Bay southward and building to near 20 kts in the afternoon south of Big Sur. Light rain forecast building south to Pt Reyes in the afternoon. Fri (5/15) light winds are forecast for North CA down to Big Sur then building from the northwest to 20 kts south of Monterey Bay in the afternoon. No precip forecast. Sat (5/16) light winds are forecast for North CA with low pressure again off the coast and north winds 15-20 kts south of Monterey Bay all day. South winds building for Cape Mendocino to 20 kts in the afternoon. Rain for Cape Mendocino starting late AM building south to Pt Reyes overnight. Sun (5/17) southwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA holding all day with low pressure fading just off the Oregon coast. Light rain is expected from Monterey Bay northward early reaching south to Pt Conception in the afternoon. Snow developing for the higher elevation of the entire Sierra overnight. Mon (5/18) west to northwest winds at 5-10 kts are forecast for North CA early and northwest winds 5 kts for Central CA building to 10 kts from the northwest for Big Sur southward later. Light rain from Morro Bay northward holding through the day. Snow fading for the Sierra at sunset. Tues (5/19) high pressure is to return with northwest winds 10-15 kts along North CA early and 15 kts for Central CA building to 15-20 kts everywhere later in the afternoon. No precip forecast with a drying pattern setting up. Wed (5/20) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts over all of North and Central CA all day. Thurs (5/21) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts for North CA early and 15-20 kts for Central CA early building to 25-30 kts for North CA later and 20 kts for Central CA.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 10, 11, 12 and 4 inches respectively.

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (5/14) the jetstream was split over the entirety of the South Pacific with the southern branch tracking weakly flat east on the 67S latitude line and withering to nothing over the far Southeast Pacific. There were no troughs and no support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours a pocket of 160 kt winds is to be building over the South Tasman Sea starting Sat (5/16) falling southeast hard while sweeping east and possibly providing some support for gale development on it's eastern edge reaching the Central Pacific on Mon (5/18) but also flattening out then and losing support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a recurrence of a weak southern jetstream pattern is to return until Thurs (5/21) when a new trough is forecast building under New Zealand, with 140 kt winds pushing northeast solidly offering decent support for gale development there.


Surface Analysis
On Thursday (5/14) Swell #1S from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was fading out in California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a gale that built under New Zealand then swept northeast was radiating northeast (see New Zealand - Central Pacific Gale below).

And a storm is forecast developing under New Zealand on Sat PM (5/16) pushing east with 55 kt west winds producing 50 ft seas aimed east at 59.5S 164.5E. The storm is to fade to gale status pushing east on Sun AM (5/17) with 40-45 kt west winds over a solid area and seas 46 ft at 61S 177E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to continue tracking east with 35-40 kt west winds and seas to 39 ft at 61S 174,5W aimed east. Fetch is to hold coverage Mon AM (5/18) but down to 35 kts starting to lift northeast some with seas 33 ft over a large area at 59.5S 170.5W aimed east-northeast. The gale is to be fading in the evening with 30 kt southwest winds and 30 ft seas fading at 58.5S 163W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/19) the gael is to be gone. Something to monitor.


Southeast Pacific Gale - Swell #1S
A gale started developing in a building trough over the Central South Pacific on Fri AM (5/1) producing south winds at 30+ kts producing 24 ft seas at 42S 158W aimed north-northeast. 30-35 kts southwest winds were lifting northeast producing 15 ft seas at 40S 150W aimed northeast. On Sat AM fetch was building well to the north at 35 kts at 35S producing seas at 26 ft at 38S 142.5W aimed northeast. On Sat PM (5/2) a broad area of 30-35 kts southwest winds continued with a core developing at 45-50 kt aimed almost north with 24-28 ft seas at 37.5S 133.5W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/3) south winds are to be 45 kts over a small area aimed northeast with seas building to 36 ft at 44.5S 125W aimed northeast. In the evening a broad fetch of 40-45 kt southwest winds were blowing with 39 ft seas at 43.5S 122W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/4) south winds were fading at 35-40 kts with seas fading from 35 ft at 42.5S 120W aimed northeast and moving out of the CA swell window. This gale was gone after that. Swell is radiating north.

Southern CA: Dribbles on Thurs (5/14) fading from 2.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 moving to 185 degrees.

North CA: Dribbles on Thurs (5/14) fading from 2.9 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft).Swell Direction: 195 moving to 180 degrees


New Zealand - Central Pacific Gale
A gale started tracking east through the Southern Tasman Sea on Wed AM (5/6) with 40 kt west winds and seas 34 ft at 53.5S 157E aimed east. In the evening the fetch built in coverage with winds to 45 kts from the southwest and seas 37 ft at 57S 159E aimed east. The gale eased east on Thurs AM (5/7) producing 40 kt southwest winds over a solid area and seas to 36 ft at 52.5S 173E aimed northeast. The gale started lifting northeast in the evening with 35-40 kt southwest winds lifting northeast and seas 29-31 ft over a solid area at 50.5S 180W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/8) the gale was covering a large area but weaker with 30-35 kts southwest winds and seas 29-31 ft at 57S 170W but reaching up to 48S aimed northeast. In the evening the gale continued in the large category with 35-40 kt southwest winds with 29-30 ft seas over a large area centered at 52S 168W aimed northeast. Fetch continued easing east on Sat AM (5/9) but growing in coverage at 35-40 kts over a large area from the south with seas 34 ft over a solid area at 47S 160.5W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was large in coverage with a new building fetch of 40 kt south winds developing south of the previous core and seas 30-34 ft aligned north-south from 41S to 58S 153W aimed north. On Sun AM (5/10) south to southwest fetch was fading at up to 40 kts in pockets embedded in a broad area of 30-35 kt southwest winds lifting north with seas 30-33 ft from 53S 154W up to 41S 141.5W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading in coverage from 30-35 kts tracking north with seas fading from 25 ft at 49S 152W and 34 ft at 44S 133W aimed mostly east. On Mon AM (5/11) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts with seas 32 ft at 45.5S 129W aimed mainly east and no longer of interest. This system was gone after that. Good odds of swell resulting. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell building some on Thurs (5/14) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs mid-afternoon (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding Fri (5/15) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft) with secondary energy building underneath to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell getting more solid on Sat (5/16) pushing 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (5/17) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Residuals on Mon (5/18) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 195 turning to 183 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/16) building to 2.6 ft @ 18-19 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell building on Sun (5/17) to 2.9 ft @ 17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell holding on Mon (5/18) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (5/19) from 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206 degrees

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/16) building to 1.6 ft @ 20 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building on Sun (5/17) to 2.4 ft @ 17-18 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell holding on Mon (5/18) at 2.6 ft @ 16 secs early (4.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (5/19) at 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 204 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing off North Japan on Wed PM (5/2) producing 40 kt northwest winds and seas building to 28 ft over a small area at 41.5N 157E aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (5/21) the gale is to track east with 35 kt winds and seas 28 ft at 42N 162.5E aimed east. The gael is to be fading in the evening with 30+ kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 43N 169.5E aimed east. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gael is forecast developing under New Zealand on Thurs AM (5/21) with 35-40 kt west winds over a a large area and seas 29-31 ft at 53S 162E aimed east. Fetch is to consolidate more in the evening at 40-45 kts from the southwest with seas building from 34-36 ft at 55S 170E aimed northeast. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Equatorial Cool Pool Building Again

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool had collapsed with warm water starting to build on the equator.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (5/13) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and continuing unchanged over the Dateline and KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning light easterly over the Central Pacific and light easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/14) weak east and west anomalies were over the KWGA with stronger east anomalies east of the dateline. The forecast calls for a continuation of this pattern but with the stronger east anomalies retrograding west starting 5/15 and filling the KWGA 5/16, and building to strong if not above strong status 5/17 holding through the end of the model run on 5/21.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/13) A neutral MJO to light Inactive pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates a continuation of a light Inactive MJO phase over the KWGA on days 5, 10 and 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates essentially the same thing but with a weak Active signal lightly filling the KWGA on day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/14) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak to non-existent over the Indian Ocean today and is to slowly ease east to the Maritime Continent and still exceedingly weak at day 15 of the model run. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to track east but still fairly weak over the West Pacific at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/14) This model depicts the Inactive Phase over the East equatorial Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to track east pushing into Central America 5/24. A modest Active Phase is supposed to start building in the West Pacific on 5/29 moving to the East Pacific and over Central America on 6/18. A modest Inactive MJO is forecast developing over the far West Pacific 6/8 pushing slowly east to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 6/23.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/13) This model depicts no MJO signal anywhere today with weak west anomalies present over the bulk of the KWGA. The forecast indicates a neutral MJO is to continue but with moderate east anomalies developing in the KWGA on 5/14 and strong through 5/20, then fading but still present at moderate strength through the end of the model run on 6/10 filling the KWGA non-stop. The low pass filter indicates high pressure is over the KWGA and holding through 6/8, then fading.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/14 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase was starting to build over the Western KWGA but with east anomalies developing further in the KWGA. The Active Phase is fill the KWGA through 5/30 but with weak west anomalies building the last week of that window. A neutral MJO is forecast after that from 6/1-7/17 27-6/13 with mostly east anomalies holding over the dateline and weak west anomalies in the far West KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to set up on 7/16 holding through the end of the model run on 8/11 with east anomalies filling the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates no low or high pressure bias present in either the Indian Ocean or the Pacific. A high pressure bias is to appear over the East Pacific on 7/23 building through the end of the model run and reaching west into the eastern KWGA at the end of the model run on 8/11. And at the same time the low pressure bias is to reappear over the Indian Ocean starting 8/2 building through the end of the model run. East anomalies set up in the Indian Ocean last Fall and held through Jan 10, 2020, then started to become more episodic. But starting today they are mostly gone from the Indian Ocean and are repositioning themselves in the Central Pacific by late May and then holding through the end of the model run while west anomalies are migrating west and taking root in the Indian Ocean 7/12 and building through the end of the model run. Based on this model it appears a transition to La Nina is starting today and is to become entrenched in late June.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/14) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was all but gone. The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 176E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 164W today. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador but getting steadily shallower. Anomaly wise, neutral anomalies were between 110W to 160W. Weak warm anomalies were west of there. There was no indication of any Kelvin Waves left. Instead a large pocket of cool water at -3 degs was 150 meters deep between 170W to 100W looking to be pushing up towards the surface but not quite there yet but only down 50 meters at 115W. It is likely poised to push to the surface in the next week. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/8 indicates the same thing with warm anomalies evaporating fast in the East Pacific with cool water at depth getting ready to erupt in the east. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/8) Negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms were over the equatorial Pacific between Ecuador and 170W, suggestive of a cool subsurface pool developing below the equator and growing in coverage. Positive anomalies at +5 cms were isolated in the far West Pacific in a horseshoe pattern indicative of cool water encroaching upon it from the east on the equator.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (5/13) The latest images indicate cool water was building solidly over the equator from just west of the Galapagos the whole way west to the dateline, looking like the start of a La Nina pattern. Warm anomalies were modest along the coast of Chile up into Peru continuing up off Ecuador up into Central America reaching west to 100W. And warmer water was steady aligned just north of the equator from Central America out to 165W, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. A broad pocket of cool anomalies was all but gone off California and Baja. Overall the Cool pool on the equator was unmistakable.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/13): A previous pocket of solid cooling waters on the equator from just west of Ecuador out to 160W is fading limited to the area between 110-150W. There is warming occurring north of the equator from Central America to 135W. The short term trend is looking like a pause is occurring in a likely push towards the development of La Nina.
Hi-res Overview: (5/13) A stream of cool water was holding on the equator from 100W west to the dateline. Warming temps were along the coast of South and Central America. Water temps appear to be stable north of the equator and cool water building on and south of the equator. Overall the data suggests a fading El Nino and a possible building La Nina.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/14) Today's temps were steady at +0.214, but overall trending down from a warmer range near +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26. Previously temps had been toggling near neutral. It appears we were in a rising or at least warmer trend, but that is now fading.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/14) Temps were fading steadily today down to -0.116, appearing to be on a firm downward trajectory. The trend appears to be falling after previously being in the +0.3 degree range in Feb., and up to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/14) Actual's indicate temperatures were generally +0.65 degs Jan 1 2020 through April 1 then falling to 0.0 mid-May. The forecast depicts temps falling steadily from there, down to -0.50 July 1, then fading more slowly into early Aug, then falling more and moving to La Nina down at -0.70 in Sept and holding there to Jan 2021, then starting to rise. According to this model sea surface temps should be falling strongly moving towards La Nina as Summer develops.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs, and are to slow fade to neutral +0.00 in August 2020, then holding there through December 2020. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (5/14): The daily index was positive today at +8.90. The 30 day average was rising at +0.59. The 90 day average was rising at -2.19, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): April 2020 -0.62, March -0.11, Feb +0.69, Jan +0.42, Dec 2019 +0.46, Nov +1.03, Oct +0.27 Sept +1.11, August +0.60, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Local Interest

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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