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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 12:54 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
3.8 - 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 5/15 thru Sun 5/21
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   

3rd SE Pacific Swell Arriving In CA
4th One Right Behind - Another Gale Forecast

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Wednesday, May 17, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 12.3 secs from 185 degrees. Water temp 78.4 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 78.3 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 8.7 secs from 77 degrees. Water temp 76.3 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 15.6 secs from 180 degrees. Wind west at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 61.5 degs, 62.2 (Topanga 103), 59.2 degs (Long Beach 215), 62.8 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 62.4 (Del Mar 153), 63.0 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.9 ft @ 16.6 secs from 194 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 1.9 ft @ 11.5 secs from 262 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.6 ft @ 16.8 secs from 193 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.5 ft @ 14.7 secs from 192 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.0 secs from 191 degrees. Water temperature was 62.2 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 16.7 secs with southern hemi swell 2.4 ft @ 16.9 secs from 188 degrees. Wind northwest at 10-14 kts (46026). Water temp 52.7 (Bodega Bay 46013), 52.2 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 55.8 (San Francisco 46026), 56.8 (SF Bar 142), 57.4 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 54.5 (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 Wednesday (5/17) North and Central CA had sets at waist high and junky and mushed with northwest warbled intermixed and not very rideable. Protected breaks were flat to thigh high and clean and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was head high on the sets and lined up and clean and with good form but a little warbled with a fog deck off the surface. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist to maybe chest high and reasonably lined up with decent form and clean but with some warbled outside the break and light northwest winds and soft. Central Orange County had sets at up to 2 ft overhead and lined up and clean with alot of water moving around and somewhat closed out. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets a 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and real clean with good form. North San Diego had sets at 1 ft overhead and super lined up and mostly closed out with a little warble intermixed but otherwise clean. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high on the sets and clean and soft with some warbled intermixed. The South Shore had sets at thigh high or so and real clean and a little lined up and soft. The East Shore was getting northerly windswell at thigh high and pretty warbled bordering on chopped early from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Wednesday (5/17) California was getting the tail end of southerly swell from a gale that developed in the far Southeast Pacific Sun-Mon (5/8) with up 35 ft seas over a small area aimed northeast. And new swell is starting to show from a small gale developed on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window Wed-Thurs (5/11) producing up to 36 ft seas aimed well north. And yet another developed Fri-Sat (5/13) in the far Southeast Pacific producing up 31 ft seas aimed east-northeast. Swell from that is tracking towards CA as well. But after that things quiet down until Fri-Sun (5/21) when a gale is forecast developing in the Southeast Pacific (again) producing 37 ft seas aimed northeast.

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 Wednesday (5/17) no meaningful swell of interest was hitting
Hawaii or California generated from the Northern Hemisphere.

Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

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

  • Thurs AM (5/18) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA early continuing if not building slightly in the afternoon.
  • Fri AM (5/19) northwest winds to be 15 kts for North Ca and 10-15 kts for Central CA early building to 15 kts for all of North and Central CA in the afternoon.
  • Sat AM (5/20) northwest winds to be 15 kts for North and Central CA early building to 15-20 kts for North CA but holding at 15 kts for Central CA in the afternoon.
  • Sun AM (5/21) northwest winds to be building at 20-25 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 20 kts solid for Central CA. Local northwest windswell building.
  • Mon AM (5/22) northwest winds to be 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and 25 kts down to the Golden Gate early with northwest winds 15-20 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be building for Cape Mendocino at 35 kts and 20-25 kts down to Pt Reyes and northwest 10 kts south of there if not starting to turn to an eddy flow (south). Windswell building.
  • Tues AM (5/23) northwest winds to be 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and 25 kts down to the Golden Gate early with likely an eddy flow at 10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon more of the same is forecast with northwest winds 30-35 kts for most of North CA a weak eddy flow (south winds) for Central CA. Windswell holding.
  • Wed AM (5/24) the gradient is to be fading in coverage for North CA with northwest winds 30-35 kts limited to Cape Mendocino with south winds 5-10 down to Pt Reyes and south winds 5-10 kts for Central CA early. Windswell fading some.

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 12,500 ft today and is to hold through 5/22 falling to 10,500 ft on 5/24 and holding beyond. The big melt is underway.

- - -

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 Wednesday (5/17) the jetstream was split over the Southwest Pacific with the southern branch running east on the 63S latitude line the whole way cross the South Pacific at 110-120 kts forming a ridge and offering no troughs and no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast with, if anything, the jet moving further south until Fri (5/19) when the southern branch starts lifting northeast over the Southeast Pacific forming a trough being fed by 120 kts winds lifting northeast offering some support for gale development into Sun (5/21) before pushing east of the California swell window. At that time in the west the jet is to be pushing into Antarctica offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet over the Central South Pacific is to be pushing hard south into Antarctica Sun-Wed (5/24) providing absolutely no support for gale development. Get what you can now.

Surface Analysis
Swell from the second in a series of gales that developed in the Southeast Pacific was fading out in California today (see 2nd Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from yet a third gale that developed in the Southeast Pacific Tues-Thurs (5/11) is to be building (see 3rd Southeast Pacific Gale below). And a fourth developed behind that and is pushing north (see 4th Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Otherwise no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

2nd Southeast Pacific Gale
A second 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: Dribbles fading Wed (5/17) from 2.0 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 187 degrees

North CA: Dribbles fading Wed (5/17) from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

 

3rd Southeast Pacific Gale
Yet a third gale developed from the remnants of the 2nd Southeast Pacific 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 were 45 kts over a small area and seas building from 28 ft at 54.5S 128.5W aimed north. On Wed AM (5/10) south winds were pushing north at 45 kts with seas 30 ft at 52.25S 123W on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. In the evening south fetch was losing coverage from 45 kts with seas 36 ft at 49S 121.5W aimed north. On Thurs AM (5/11) south winds were fading from 40 kts tracking due north with seas 35 ft at 43S 120.5W aimed north. In the evening fetch was fading and tracking northeast at 35 kts with seas fading from 31 ft at 38S 117W and no longer in the SCal swell window. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/17) building to 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (5/18) to 3.4 ft @ 16-17 secs early (5.5 ft) and holding. Swell fading on Fri (5/19) from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (5/20) fading from 2.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 moving to 185 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/17) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (5/18) to 3.0 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (5.0 ft) and holding. Swell peaking Fri (5/19) at 3.8 ft @ 15-16 secs early (6.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (5/20) fading from 3.1 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft). Dribbles Sun (5/21) fading from 2.3 ft @ 13 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 181 moving to 179.5 degrees

 

4th Southeast Pacific Gale
And yet another gale started building in the deep Southeast Pacific Fri PM (5/12) producing a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 27 ft at 55S 125W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (5/13) southwest winds were 40+ kts with seas 31 ft at 55S 121W aimed northeast. In the evening south winds were down to 35 kts mostly east of the east edge of the SCal swell window with 29 ft seas at 52.25S 117W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/14) fetch was tracking northeast at 35+ kts and east of the Southern CA swell window with 28 ft seas fading aimed northeast at Peru and Chile. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (5/20) building to 1 ft @ 20 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell building on Sun (5/21) 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (2.5 ft) and holding. Swell fading Mon (5/22) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Tues (5/23) from 1.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction 181 moving to 178 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/21) building to 1.3 ft @ 17 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell holding Mon (5/22) at 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Dribbles fading on Tues (5/23) from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction 180 moving to 175 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 a gale is forecast developing in the deep South Central Pacific just off the north edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on Fri PM (5/19) producing 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 35 ft at 63.75S 149.25W aimed east-northeast. On Sat AM (5/20) the gale is to move to the Southeast Pacific producing 45 kt south winds and seas 33 ft at 61.75S 135.5W aimed northeast. In the evening south winds to build in coverage a 40-45 kts with seas 36 ft at 59S 122.25W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/21) fetch is to be 40-45 kts but moving east of the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window with 33 ft seas at 54.25S 118W aimed northeast into he Southern CA swell window with up to 37 ft seas east of the swell window targeting mainly Peru and Chile now at 54.25S 115.25W. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with south winds 35-40 kts and seas 35 ft at 51.25S 103.75W aimed northeast at South and Central America. The gale to fade fast after that. Something to monitor.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

El Nino Development Building on the Oceans Surface
Kelvin Wave #3 Poised to Erupt - Active MJO #4 Developing - NINO3.4 In El Nino Territory and Rising While Expanding 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 which it appears to be starting. 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 (5/16) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and light west 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): (5/17) Moderate to strong west anomalies were filling the KWGA. Strong west anomalies are to hold over the West KWGA through the end of the model run on 6/2 and strongest 5/18-5/30. 2 pockets of east anomalies are forecast on the dateline 5/19-22 and 5/27-31. But It looks like the Active Phase of the MJO is setting up solidly now.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/16) a weak Active Phase of the MJO was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active MJO is to continue weakly over the the KWGA on day 5 fading on day 10 then gone on day 15 as the Inactive Phase of the MJO eases into the West KWGA and filling it. The dynamic model indicates the Active MJO holding steady through day 15 and way stronger than the statistic model.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (5/17) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the West Pacific and is to track east over the East Atlantic 15 days out and split between very weak and moderate. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase is to noodle around the West Pacific building to strong status 5 days from now then dropping to weak status 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): (5/17) A moderate Active (wet) pattern was filling the KWGA with no Inactive (dry air) signal in the Pacific. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) pushing east over the KWGA through 5/27 then easing east over the East Pacific on 6/1 and out of the Pacific on 6/11. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start building over the KWGA 6/6 and in control 6/1 holding t0 6/27 then moving to the East Pacific the last day of the model run on 6/26 with the Active Phase stating to build in the West Pacific at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/16)
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 5/25 with west anomalies building and filling the KWGA at strong status now through 5/15-5/25. Even as the Active signal fades west anomalies are to only solidify their grip on the KWGA filling it through the end of the model run on 6/13. This is an upgrade and much like the GFS model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(5/15) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Active Phase and weak west anomalies are building over the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to continue building and then holding over the KWGA through 6/18 with west anomalies holding steady. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 5/25-6/18 but with west anomalies holding centered over the dateline. Then next Active Phase of the MJO is to follow starting 6/26 holding through 7/26 with west anomalies building to strong status filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 8/14. 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 145W 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 just east of the dateline at 177W today (it started pushing east on 2/15). A hard push east is occurring and is to continue into June 15 with it's leading edge then stalling at 145W filling most of the Pacific with a third contour lined developing on 6/26 and the primarily contours leading edge more slowly moving east to 130W at the end of the model run with it's center at 170E. 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: (5/17) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 29 degree isotherm was steady at 178W (previously 170E). The 28 deg isotherm line was running the whole way across Pacific but a bit more shallow at 50 meters deep from 150W and points east of there. 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 but with a break between 155-165W but still 1 degree above normal even there. A building pocket of 5 degs anomalies were in the far East Pacific. Amazing. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 indicates a huge very warm stream of +2-3 degs anomalies extending from the far West Pacific and building while tracking east and then upwards from there over the far East Pacific with +4-5 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: (5/13) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific at +5 cms solid in the west to the dateline connected to the East Pacific at +5 cms with a pocket of +10 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 110W 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: (5/16) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador and now building up to Mexico reaching the tip of Baja and the core hot pool steady along Peru and Ecuador with a building tongue extending west over the Galapagos continuing along the equator reaching to 155W now (previously 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. The classic El Nino triangle was developing. 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 but somewhat weaker then weeks past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/16): A neutral trend was along the coasts of Chile and Peru with a weak cooling trend from Ecuador out to 90W on the equator as Kelvin Wave #1 starts fading and the Inactive Phase of the MJO passes over there. But a broad diffuse stream of warming temps were along the equator from 120W to 165E (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: (5/16) 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 the classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably on the equator west to 155W 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: (5/17) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps are steady at +2.125 and have been in this range since 4/3 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:
(5/17) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Temps continued rising today at +0.507 and now in the El Nino threshold, 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. They 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 (Nino3.4 Region)
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. Temps were +0.45 degs today.
Forecast (5/17) - Temps are slowly climbing above ENSO neutral at +0.5 degs and are forecast rising to +1.30 degs in July and +2.25 degs in Nov and solidly into El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast rising to +1.00 degs in July and +1.80 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 (5/17) the Daily Index was hard negative at -11.40 and has been negative the last 9 days with a peak down to -31.31. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, 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 -6.37 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 -2.14 and turned negative the first time in a very long time on 5/12. It previously peaked 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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