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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 9:47 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
Swell Potential Rating = 3.0 - 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 5/12 thru Sun 5/18

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   

Modest New Zealand Swell on the Way
Another Behind - More Possible Long Term


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.


Current Conditions
On Thursday
(5/15) in North and Central CA local north windswell was knee to thigh high and a bit warbled with light northwest wind and fog back in the picture. Down in Santa Cruz small southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist high and clean with clear skies. In Southern California up north surf was knee high or so and clean but week. Down south southern hemi swell was producing waves in the waist to chest high range and clean and lined up.  Hawaii's North Shore was receiving northerly windswell with waves still waist to chest high and clean. The South Shore was flat. Exposed breaks on the East Shore were also in the waist high range coming from the north and lightly chopped from easterly trades.    

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

Meteorological Overview
No swell producing fetch is occurring or forecast for the North Pacific other than local windswell.  Down south swell from a a small system that developed in the Southeast Pacific on Tues (5/6) with 28 ft seas mainly targeting Chile and Peru was pushing into California but fading. A tiny gale tracked through the Central South Pacific on Thurs-Fri (5/9) with 36 ft seas aimed northeast setting up small background swell for all of CA, arriving in SCal on Sat (5/17). And a broader system developed east of New Zealand Thurs-Sun (5/11) with 32 ft seas pushing decently  to the northeast.  Swell arriving in HI on Fri (5/16) and CA on Sun-Mon (5/19). Yet another gale developed south of New Zealand early Wed (5/14) with seas to 39 ft aimed east then quickly faded. More small swell for Tahiti, Hawaii (Wed 5/21) and the US West Coast (Sat 5/24). And maybe another small system is projected under New Zealand on Sun (5/18) with 40 ft seas aimed east.  Another for the same area Tues (5/20) with 38 ft seas and yet a third on Thurs (5/22) with 40 ft seas. All to push east and be small in coverage. Lot's of background swell for Hawaii over to the mainland, but nothing more size-wise unless you head to the South Pacific.  

Details below...

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis  - On Thursday (5/15) no swell producing weather systems were occurring. Trades were light over Hawaii at less than 15 kts. No north winds of interest were occurring near the California coast with a weak surface pressure pattern in.cgiay. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to try and start organizing mid-way between Hawaii and California on Sat (5/17) with trades building to 15 kts over and east of Hawaii with north winds also starting to build along the Central CA coast building to 20 kts Sunday relative to California with local windchop increasing in size and expected to hold. Trades to falter for Hawaii.  


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

No tropical systems of interest were being monitored or forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (5/15) a light pressure and wind pattern was in.cgiay with no windswell producing fetch indicated.  By Friday high pressure at 1022 mbs is to start building off the Central Coast with 15 kt north winds in control from Pt Conception up to Pt Arena and pushing 20 kts over Pt Conception by sunset. Southern CA to be protected. Northwest winds to build to 20-25 kts later Sat (5/18) reaching up to Pt Arena and holding Sunday and Monday with strongest winds focused down on Pt Conception. On Tuesday the fetch is to consolidate to the north over Cape Mendocino at 25 kts building in coverage up there on Wednesday while relinquishing coverage over Central CA. The usual Cape Mendocino gradient producing 25 kt north winds is expected on Thursday with an eddy flow (south winds) taking over Central CA. 


South Pacific

Jetstream - On Thursday (5/15) the jetstream was .cgiit wand running parallel across the South Pacific. The southern branch was ridging slightly south under New Zealand then formed a weak trough over the Central Pacific but with only 90 kt winds pushing up into it, offering no fuel to support gale development there. East of there the jet was falling steadily south forming a ridge pushing into Antarctica and shutting down the Southeast Pacific from gale production.  Over the next 72 hours the southern branch is to track more of less flat west to east (zonal flow) offering nothing to support gale development. Beyond 72 hours new wind energy is to start building south of New Zealand on Sun-Mon (5/19) at 110 kts lifting just slightly north offering minimal odds to support gale development there.  Another trough is to form in the same area on Tues (5/20) with 110 kt winds possibly fueling gale development with yet a third weaker trough there on Thurs (5/22).  none of these trough is to make it much east of New Zealand though.  Still, it's a push in the right direction. 

Surface Analysis  -  On Thursday (5/15) swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was fading over California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Another gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Thurs AM (5/8) producing small swell pushing up towards all of California (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below). And a storm formed in the Southwest Pacific, the first of the season, on Thurs-Fri (5/9) (See Southwest Pacific Storm below). Another gale formed under New Zealand on Wed (5/14) (see 2nd New Zealand Gale below). And more are forecast for this area over the next 72 hours.  A small storm is forecast developing under the southern tip of New Zealand on Sat Pm (5/17) with southwest winds 55 kt over a small area aimed northeasterly with seas building from 40 ft at 52S 164E (HI - shadowed by New Zealand, 220 degs SCal and unshadowed, 218 degs NCal and unshadowed). 50 kt southwest winds to hold into Sun AM (5/18) with 40 ft seas at 53S 176E (HI 196 degs, SCal 215 degs, NCal 214 degs and not shadowed).  45 kt southwest winds to hold into the evening with 40 ft seas holding at 53S 173W and aimed decently northeastward (190 degs HI, 210 degs SCal and 209 degs NCal and becoming shadowed). 40 kt southwest winds to hold into Mon AM (5/19) with seas still 36 ft at 53S 163W (HI 182 degs, 205 degs SCal, 204 degs NCal and shadowed).  This system to fade thereafter.  

Over the next 72 hours a small gale was trying to develop south of New Zealand on Tues AM (5/13) with 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas on the increase.  In the evening a solid fetch of 45 kt west winds is to be just southeast of New Zealand with seas building from 34 ft over a modest area at 59S 170E (197 degs HI, 212 degs SCal and shadowed, and 211 degs NCal and almost shadowed). 45 kt west winds to be fading Wed AM (5/14) with and seas peaking at 37 ft at 57S 178E (193 degs HI, 209 degs SCal and 208 degs NCal and shadowed). The gale is to be fading fast with barely 40 kt west winds left in the evening with seas fading from 32 ft and lifting east-northeast from 53S 170W (187 degs HI, 208 degs SCal and 207 degs NCal and shadowed). Small inconsistent background southwest swell the likely result for CA with a little better size for Hawaii.  

Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale and associated fetch developed in the Southeast Pacific on Mon PM (5/5) with 45 kt winds pushing northeast and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. 45 kt southwest winds continued Tues AM (5/6) with seas building to 28 ft at 49S 131W aimed at Southern CA up the 188 degree path. In the evening the fetch started loosing areal coverage and fading from 40 kts with seas 29 ft over a tiny area at 45S 119W (181 degs SCal). On Wed AM (5/7) the gale was east of the Southern CA swell window with 26-30 ft seas over a tiny area taking aimed only on Chile and Peru from 50S 109W.

Southern CA: Swell fading from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft) early Thurs (5/15). Swell Direction:  182 degrees.


Another Southeast Pacific Gale
And yet another gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Thurs AM (5/8) producing a small area of 45 kt southwest winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening 45-50 kt west-southwest winds were blowing with seas building to 35 ft over a small area at 59S 147W (194 degs SCal, 192 degs NCal). 45 kt southwest winds held into Fri AM (5/9) with 36 ft seas at 55S 134W (189 degs SCal, 187 degs NCal). By evening fetch was fading from 35-40 kts with seas dropping from 32 ft at 54S 121W (181 degs SCal, 180 degs NCal). Some degree of rideable southern hemi swell is expected into Southern CA.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sat AM (5/17) with swell 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.8 ft faces) then fading Sunday (5/18) from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft) and getting absorbed into a new swell. Swell Direction: 194 degrees.    


Southwest Pacific Gale
On Thurs PM (5/8) a storm started developing under New Zealand with 50 kt southwest winds pushing east with 32 ft seas building at at 59S 179E (192 degs HI, 208 degs NCal and in the core Tahitian shadow, 209 degs SCal and about to move east of the shadow).  The storm faded to gale status Fri AM (5/9) with winds down to 40-45 kts in the west quadrant and seas fading from 34 ft at 60S 174W aimed more east than up into our forecast area (188 degs HI, 204 degs NCal and almost east of the shadow, 205 degs SCal and unshadowed). Of more interest was a secondary fetch of 40 kt southwest winds that developed just southeast of New Zealand Friday evening with 28-30 ft seas building over a moderate area with the north most extent near 50S 177W (192 degs HI, 212 degs NCal and unshadowed, 213 degs SCal and shadowed) and aimed decently to the northeast. 40 kt southwest winds held into Sat AM (5/10) with 30-32 ft seas at 46S 170W (188 degs HI, 210 degs NCal and just barely shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed) with 31 ft seas south of it at 58S 170W (186 degs HI, 204 degs NCal and still barely shadowed, 206 degs SCal and clear). 35-40 kt southwest winds continued in the evening with seas fading but still 32 ft and covering a solid area with its core at 57S 160W (181 degs HI, 202 degs NCal, 203 degs SCal). This system was fading after that with perhaps 32+ ft seas Sun AM (5/11) at 53S 153W and bypassing any route to Hawaii and on the 198 degree path to NCal and the 199 degree path to SCal. This system dissipated after that. A modest and long lasting pulse of the first southwest swell of the season could result for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast. 

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs PM (5/15) at sunset with pure swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces). Swell on the increase peaking Fri AM (6/16) at 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). swell continuing on Sun AM (5/17) at 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell starting to fade after that but still 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) Sun AM (5/18). Swell fading Monday from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees    

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun afternoon (5/18) pushing 1.4 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building Mon AM (5/19) pushing 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft) holding Tues (5/20) at 2.6 ft @ 16 secs early (4 ft with sets to 5 ft). Residuals on Wed (5/21) at 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 204-210 degrees    

North CA: Expect swell arrival on on Sun afternoon (5/18) pushing 1.5 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building Mon AM (5/19) pushing 2.3 ft @ 17 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft) holding Tues (5/20) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Residuals on Wed (5/21) at 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 203-209 degrees    

2nd New Zealand Gale
On Tues PM (5/13) a gale quickly developed under New Zealand generating a solid area of 45 kt west winds with seas responding quickly pushing up to 36 ft at 59S 170E (196 degs HI, 212 degree SCal and shadowed, 211 degs NCal and not quite shadowed). By Wed AM (5/14) winds were fading from 45 kts but lifting a bit to the northeast with seas 38 ft at 57S 178E (193 degs HI, 210 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 209 degs NCal and shadowed. By evening fetch was fading from 35 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 54S 172W (189 degs HI, 208 degs SCal and shadowed, 207 degs NCal and shadowed). Small southwest swell is in the water pushing towards Tahiti, Hawaii but not aimed ideally. A better angle is expected for California but distance/decay and the Tahitian swell shadow will take it's toll.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival in the early hours of Wed (5/21) with swell building through the day pushing 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.5 ft with some bigger sets). Swell fading on Thurs (5/22) from 1.3 ft @ 16 secs (2 ft). Swell Direction 190-194 degrees

Southern CA:  Expect swell arrival on Fri (5/23) with period 18-19 secs and size small but building. Swell Direction: 209-211 degrees

Northern CA:  Expect swell arrival on Fri (5/23) with period 18-19 secs and size small but building. Swell Direction: 208-210 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 high pressure is to hold off the North CA coast with the usual summer-time pressure gradient taking over and north winds building to 20-25 kts over Point Conception on Mon (5/19) and migrating north to Cape Mendocino by Wed (5/21) and holding through Thursday generating small north short period windswell for exposed breaks. Nothing remarkable.   

Note: 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet. 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. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).

As of Thursday (5/15) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was holding at 0.09. The 30 day average was holding at 0.45 and the 90 day average was rising slightly at -3.20. The near term trend based on the 30 day SOI was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO turning slightly Active. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator running a week behind surface level weather trends.  

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicates that weak to modest west anomalies have developed over the Eastern Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline. Neutral to light west anomalies continued east of there extending to a point south of Hawaii and then neutral over the Galapagos Islands. A week from now (5/23) neutral anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline, and continuing to a point south of Hawaii perhaps with a slight tendency towards an easterly direction, then turning neutral from there and turning westerly over the Galapagos and into Central America. In all this suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was gone over the dateline with remnants of the Active Phase all but gone over the Galapagos. The issue with this past Inactive Phase is that it's easterly anomalies have likely shut down the transport of warm water to the east. This would mark the first stoppage of warm water transport since the beginning of the year, potentially cutting the legs of the evolving warm water pool in the East Pacific. Westerly anomalies need to redevelop in the West Pacific. 

A previous WWB created a large Kelvin Wave tracking towards South America in January (starting 1/8, peaking 1/28 then fading the first week of Feb) followed by a second strong WWB in Feb-Mar (as strong as the first one starting 2/15 and peaking 2/20-3/2 then fading 3/10) setting up and offering yet more reinforcing transport warm water east. And then a third weak westerly wind burst developed (starting 3/12 and faded out by 3/28). And a fourth weaker one started 4/7 and held through 4/20, and was strong enough to be considered a minimal Westerly Wind Burst WWB. As of right now all this does not mean El Nino is in.cgiay. Still the pattern is something more than coincidental and strongly suggests some degree of pattern change has developed for the tropics. Of historical note: The big El Nino's of '82/32 and '97/98 both started forming in the February timeframe and progressed non-stop through the Summer and Fall months. A article presenting a Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and this 2014 WWB event has been posted here.     

The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/14 are in sync. They both suggest the Inactive Phase of the MJO was all but gone with remnants positioned over the dateline. Looking forward a dead neutral pattern is to set up. The statistic model depicts a new weak version of the Active Phase building in the far West Pacific 10-15 days out while the dynamic model show a pure neutral pattern holding. The ultra long range upper level model suggests the Inactive Phase was gone (much earlier than expected) and a new weak Active Phase was developing over the West Pacific and is to push east reaching the East Pacific 6/4. beyond a dead neutral pattern is to take over holding through June 24. This is the pattern one would expect if an El Nino were to develop - namely that the MJO would all but disappear. That is the hallmark of El Nino, a very weak MJO signal. Seeing how by early June (17 days from now) we'll be moving out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier, the development of a weak to non-existent MJO pattern would be right on-time and expected. So as of right now there is to be effectively only one Inactive Phase for the whole first 6 months of 2014, before we push out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier and into a weak summer time MJO pattern. Interesting. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

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.  As of the most recent imagery (5/15), a markedly warm water regime is building from Ecuador west over the Galapagos and drifting west from there peaking at 2.7-2.8 deg C above normal with a more modest warm pool ranging in the +0.5-1.0 deg C range extending west from there to the dateline and reaching 5 degrees north and south of the equator. There are embedded warmer pockets (3) in the +1.5 deg C range. Of notice is markedly warmer water now building down into Peru and up into Southern Central America. The signature warm triangle bound by Peru, Costa Rica and the Galapagos is developing. But of most interest continues to be the evolution of the smaller and warmer pool between the Galapagos and Ecuador (which first appearing about 5/1). This hot spot is the breech point of a large Kelvin Wave that has been lurking just below the surface for a month now and built by consecutive Westerly Wind burst Jan-April. The larger equatorial warming pattern started in earnest on 3/29 and has been solidifying it's grasp every since, and is being fed by the Galapagos warm pool. In comparison to water temp anomalies for the '97 El Nino event, Galapagos waters reached a similar state on 4/25 or about 10 days earlier than water temps on 5/5 in this 2014 event. And by 5/10/97 the footprint was marked with +3.5 deg C anomalies. So by 5/20 this 2014 event will have to rapidly deepen to be considered similar (+3.5 deg C anomalies required, or another +0.7 deg C warmer -  within the realm of possibility). In fact - give the rapid warming of the past 4 days, this might actually occur. If the Galapagos warm pool does not reach that critical 3.5 deg C anomaly point, then there will start to be doubts about how strong this 2014 event will become (as compared to the so called 'Super El Nino' '97 event). But even if it doesn't reach 'super' status, a solid El Nino still looks likely. Elsewhere the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water as is the West Pacific (north and south). There are only weak signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California either as would be expected for this time of year. This is significant. And the only cool water present is streaming off Southern Chile pushing west almost reaching up to the equator, but getting shunted south by the warm water on the equator. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific is impressive. But all eyes remain on the developing breech of warm water along the western coast of Ecuador as a gauge of what's to come atmospherically.          

Subsurface waters temps on the equator remain solid. Of great interest is a large area of warm +3-5 deg C above normal water in.cgiace and tracking east with it's core 150 meters down somewhere near 115W.  As best as can be identified this Kelvin Wave covers the area from 180W to Ecuador with the core between 140 and 90W. The leading edge is impacting Ecuador and the Galapagos. We've expecting surface water temps to rise rapidly and over a larger area than is currently the case (5/15), but we believe it's just a matter of time with the cutoff date set at 5/20. Given the lack of sensors between 155W and 110W, exact details concerning the core of the Kelvin Wave remain sketchy, but the leading edge waters temps are not in doubt. The Kelvin Wave has also been confirmed via satellite in the form of increased surface water heights at +10 cm from the Galapagos to Ecuador (5/3), with +5 cm anomalies extending west of the dateline. This suggests warm water at depth is di.cgiacing the surface upwards. Also data from the TOA array suggests warm water is again building just west of the dateline at 155W at +4 degs C, likely the result of the 4th WWB in April. So another pulse of warm water is en-route to reinforce the existing warm water currently erupting off Ecuador. 

Based on previous history the evolution pattern would follow this general pattern: A large Kelvin Wave will erupt along the South American coast, and the increase in water temps should reduce trades above it (by reducing surface air pressure), which in turn could support yet more warm water build-up (heated by the sun and through reduced upwelling). Aided by yet another WWB in the West Pacific fueled by warm water tracking west from the initial eruption site over the Galapagos) and more eastward moving warm subsurface water, a feedback loop could develop, reinforcing the warm water flow and buildup off Central America into the Fall. But we're a long ways from that occurring just yet. What is needed is another Westerly Wind burst or at least continued westerly anomalies.  Anything that reduces or suppresses trades in the equatorial West Pacific will suffice to continue the transport mechanism. So out-and-out west surface winds are not required. Anything that reduced trades in the east (like increasing water temps) will continue to stabilize the warm pool that is hopefully evolving there.

Projections from the CFSv2 model run 5/15 have notched down some. The model had been continuously suggesting some form of warming starting in March 2014 (which did occur) with temps reaching +0.5 in the Nino 3.4 zone by April 1 (also occurred). It now suggests water temps building to +1.0 deg C by early July peaking now at +1.45 deg C by Nov 2014 (down from previous highs near +1.75). Our guess is that some form of El Nino warning could be declared in the late May/early June timeframe if all stays on track. For reference, the big El Nino of '82/83 was at +2.0 degs and '97/98 was +2.2 degs at their respective peaks). The El Nino of 09/10 was +1.4 degs. 

Previously a pattern of mult.cgie strong Westerly Wind Bursts occurred Jan-March 2014, but then moderated in late March, but never gave way to a fully Inactive Phase (with no hint of easterly anomalies west of the dateline) till early May. Then weak eastern anomalies developed May 5 and are to hold through May 15th, then returning to a neutral if not weak westerly flow. This is great news with westerly anomalies in.cgiay for 4 full months and forecast to give way for only 10 day for the first 6 months of 2014. Longterm this signal (suppressed trades in the far equatorial West Pacific) will have to hold into at least August with warm water building greater than 0.5 deg C over the tropical East and Central Pacific (120W to 170W) before one could declare the development of El Nino, though that already appears to be the case. There remains much unknown as we traverse the Spring 'Unpredictability Pattern" (mid-March through early June), though any sort of a total collapse is looking much less likely. But the further into the unpredictability barrier we get with west anomalies continuing, and then into Summer, the lower the likelihood of a total collapse becomes. 

Overall the immediate outlook remains unchanged, but potentially trending towards something that would be considered warm by June-July 2014, assuming one is to believe the models and the subsurface water configuration. At a minimum the ocean is in recharge mode, with cold water from the 2010-2011 La Nina dispersed and temperatures on the rise in fit's-and-starts. Regardless of the WWBs etc, we are in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern at this time with neither any form of El Nino or La Nina present or imminent. Given all current signs, warming could start developing by May in earnest over the equatorial Pacific possibly increasing during the summer, intensifying into Fall. Monitoring the affects when and if the Kelvin Wave arrives along the equatorial East Pacific will be key to the potential evolution of a warm event. Still there remains 6 months ahead where any number of hazards could derail this event. But this is a better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. And it seems apparent we've finally recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. In a normal situation one would expect there to be at least one or two years of neutral temperatures ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2015 or 2016). Historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms). We've turned the corner, but it is still unknown what impact it will have on the atmosphere especially in light of what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998).

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 

See a 'Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and the 2014 WWB Event' Here  (posted 4/5/2014)  


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to form under New Zealand on Tues AM (5/20) closer to the Ross Ice Shelf generating a small area of 45-50 kt west winds and seas building to 38 ft over a tiny area at 59S 172E (194 degs HI, 210 degs SCal and shadowed, 209 degs NCal and moving into the Tahiti swell shadow). This system to push east in the evening with winds fading from 40 kts and seas dropping from 36 ft at 58S 178W. This system is to fade out thereafter. Given this ones small footprint and easterly trajectory, only tiny swell to result.

And yet one more is forecast just southeast of New Zealand on Wed PM (5/21) with 55 kt southwest winds building 34 ft seas at 54S 174E.  55-60 kt southwest winds to continue on Thurs AM (5/22) with seas building to 40 ft at 55S 172W. 50-55 kt southwest winds to continue in to the evening with seas still 42 ft at 58S 160w but tracking southeast pushing less swell northeastward at our preferred targets. 

But it's way too early to know with any confidence if either of these systems will materialize. But it's something to monitor.   

Details to follow...


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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Mavericks Invitational 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.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way! .xml

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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