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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:34 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
3.9 - California & 2.1 - 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 5/17 thru Sun 5/23

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

2 More Swells For CA
2 Weaker Gales to Follow

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, May 18, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 11.1 secs from 187 degrees. Water temp 77.0 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.2 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 7.5 secs from 29 degrees. Water temp 77.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.0 secs from 205 degrees. Wind at the buoy was calm. Water temperature 63.9 degs, 60.8 (Topanga 103), 60.3 degs (Long Beach 215), 64.8 (Del Mar 153), 62.4 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.1 ft @ 6.6 secs from 311 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.9 ft @ 14.2 secs from 200 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 14.8 secs from 202 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 14.7 secs from 200 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 14.4 secs from 197. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 10-16 kts. Water temp 50.2 (029), 53.8 degs (SF Bar 142) and NA degs (Santa Cruz).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/18) North and Central CA had waves at thigh to maybe waist high and lightly warbled and soft with some textured coming from the northwest. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and lined up and fairly clean but soft and mushed with reasonably clean conditions. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and fairly lined up and clean but drained early. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high and clean but weak. Central Orange County had set waves chest to near head high and lined up coming from the south and pretty textured from northwest wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at head high and lined up but inconsistent coming from the south and still pretty warbled from northwest winds off the coast. North San Diego had sets waves at waist high and lined up but warbled from incessant onshore wind. Hawaii's North Shore was getting limited windswell with waves waist to maybe chest high on the peaks and fairly clean with some north texture running through it. The South Shore was near flat with rare sets to waist high and clean and lined up. The East Shore report was not available.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/18) California was getting fading southern hemi swell from a gale that originated in the Central South Pacific Fri-Mon (5/10) producing 39 ft seas aimed north. Another gale pushed southeast from under New Zealand Mon-Tues (5/11) producing 39 ft seas aimed east-northeast. Swell from it is starting to how at the buoys in California. And another gale traversed the South Pacific from under New Zealand Wed-Sat (5/15) producing 30 ft seas initially building to 42 ft aimed north over the far Southeast Pacific. In North and Central CA, local northwest windswell is to start rebuilding on Thurs (5/20) and continue non-stop from there. Longer term a gale is forecast developing under New Zealand today tracked slowly east with seas building to 35 ft on Wed (5/19) and hanging on but weaker over the Central South Pacific into at least Fri (5/21). There's a sense of maybe another trying to develop under New Zealand on Sun (5/23) but any specifics would be premature to speculate on.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/18) no swell of interest was hitting the coast and no swell producing weather systems were occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather system are forecast other than local windswell.

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are occurring nor forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed (5/19) high pressure is to be in control at 1028 mbs filling the Gulf of Alaska producing northwest winds at 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA early but pretty shallow and holding all day offering only limited support for windswell production.
  • Thurs (5/20) more of the same is forecast with northwest winds 20 kts from Cape Mendocino southward building to 25 kts at Pt Arena continuing solid and building to 30 kts near Big Sur continuing southward and holding all day. Northwest windswell trying to build. Snow forecast for the high Sierra down to Tahoe and pushing south over night.
  • Fri (5/21) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts solid for all of North and Central CA early shifting north slightly in the afternoon with 25-30 kt north winds anchored over North CA and 20+ kt northwest winds elsewhere and 15+ kts northwest winds building over Southern CA later. Windswell production increasing north of Pt Conception. Additional snow potential for all the high Sierra down to Mammoth.
  • Sat (5/22) northwest winds to be 20 kts over all of North CA and over outer waters of Central CA early (10-15 kts nearshore) and holding all day. Limited windswell production holding. Maybe some more light snow up high for Tahoe southward.
  • Sun (5/23) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA early and 10 kts nearshore for Central CA early (15 kts just off the coast) holding all day. Limited windswell production possible.
  • Mon (5/24) northwest winds to fade in coverage at 20-25 kts limited to Pt Arena to the Golden Gate early and 10 kts south of there holding all day. No real windswell resulting.
  • Tues (5.25) the winds machine starts regenerating with northwest winds 25+ kts for all of North CA early and 20 kts down to Cambria and holding. Windswell starting to redevelop.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 8 inches, 8 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches all on May 21-22.

Freezing level 12,000 ft through 5/19 then falling to 6,500 ft on 5/20 holding through early on 5/22, then slowly building to 10,500 ft on 5/24 pushing to near 12,000 ft on 5/27.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (5/18) the jet was generally ridging south down to Antarctic Ice over the bulk of the South Pacific offering no support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. But a trough was developing with it's apex just southeast of New Zealand being fed by 110 kts winds offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to track east through Wed (5/19) then getting better formed on Thurs (5/20) but with winds still pretty weak at 110 kts offering some limited support for gale development. The gale is to get cut off on Fri (5/21) but the trough itself is to persist over the upper reaches of the Central South Pacific tapping into energy from the northern branch at 150 kts perhaps offering support for redevelopment of a gale into Sun (5/23) but that seems a bit optimistic. Beyond 72 hours another trough is to try and develop just over and north of the Ross Ice Shelf (south of New Zealand) being fed by 130 kts winds on Tues (5/25) offering limited support for gale development.


Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/18) swell from a small gale that developed in the upper reaches of the Central South Pacific and fading in California (see Central South Pacific Gale below). And swell from a fourth system that developed under New Zealand and tracked east from there was starting to hit California (see 4th Storm below). And yet a 5th storm developed in the Southeast Pacific producing swell that is pushing northeast (see Southeast Pacific Storm below). The last 2 swells of a 5 swell run were poised relative to California.

Over the next 72 hours a small gale developed just under New Zealand on Mon PM (5/17) producing 35-40 kt southwest winds over a small area and seas 28 ft at 49S 166.5E aimed east. On Tues AM (5/18) southwest winds were free and clear of New Zealand at 40 kts from the southwest with 27 ft seas at 49.5S 171E aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 28 ft at 47S 179E aimed northeast. On Wed AM (5/19) secondary fetch to build in the same area lifting hard north at 45-50 kts from the south over a small area with seas 34 ft at 47.5S 170.5W aimed northeast. Fetch to be fading while pushing hard northeast in the evening at 40 kts over a broad area with seas 33 ft at 44S 163W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (5/20) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts aimed northeast with seas fading from 30 ft at 42.5S 155W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to hold while pushing east at 35 kts with seas 27-28 ft at 42S 150W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/21) fetch is to rebuild at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 28 ft at 45S 147W aimed northeast. in the evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts while lifting northeast with seas fading from 27 ft at 40S 144W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (5/22) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 38S 142W aimed northeast. This system to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

Central South Pacific Gale
On Fri PM (5/7) a new but weak gale formed in the Central South Pacific producing 35 kt southwest winds tracking northeast with 25 ft seas at 49S 158.5W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (5/8) fetch built to 35-40+ kts over a building area from the south with seas 27 ft at 42S 150.5W aimed northeast. A broader fetch built in the evening over the same area at 40-45 kts from the south with seas 27 ft solid at 40S 143W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/9) south to southwest winds were building at 45-50 kts with seas 38 ft over a small area at 41S 136.5W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading from 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft over a small and shrinking area at 38S 129W aimed northeast. Fetch is to be fading Mon AM (5/10) at 35 kts from the southwest with seas 27 ft at 40S 123W aimed northeast. This system was gone after that. Small swell is being generated mainly for California. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Residuals fading on Tues (5/18) from 2.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 201 degrees

North CA: Residuals fading on Tues (5/18) fading from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs(2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees

 

4th Storm
A storm started developing south of New Zealand Sun AM (5/9) producing 50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 61S 174E aimed northeast. In the evening the storm tracked east producing a solid area of 45-50 kt southwest winds with seas building from 37 ft at 61.5S 172.5W aimed northeast. The gale tracked rapidly east-northeast Mon AM (5/10) producing 40-45 kt west winds and seas 36 ft at 59.5S 153.5W aimed northeast. In the evening a broad area of 40 kts southwest winds were lifting northeast with seas 34 ft at 57.5S 140.25W aimed east. On Tues AM (5/11) a broad fetch of southwest winds were lifting northwest at 40 kts solid and seas 34 ft over a solid area centered at 53.25S 131.25W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 40 kts aimed east-northeast and almost out of the Southern CA swell window with 32 ft seas at 50.25S 121W aimed northeast. Fetch fading Wed AM (5/12) from 35 kts with seas 33 ft and east of the California swell window. This system to dissipate from there. Swell is radiating northeast.

Hawaii: No meaningful swell is to radiate north towards Hawaii.

Southern CA: Swell building through the day Tues (5/18) pushing 2.1 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (5/19) at 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell holding solid on Thurs (5/20) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/21) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

North CA: Swell building through the day Tues (5/18) pushing 1.9 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (5/19) at 2.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.3 ft). Swell holding solid on Thurs (5/20) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (5/21) from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 191 degrees

 

5th Storm
Fetch started developing under New Zealand on Wed AM (5/12) producing a large area of 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 60S 153E aimed entirely at the Ross Ice Shelf. In the evening fetch was pushing east and turning more westerly at 40-45 kts over a large area southeast of New Zealand producing 31 ft seas at 62.5S 177.5W aimed east. On Thurs AM (5/13) a more classical storm was building over the Central South Pacific producing 45-50 kt southwest winds with seas building from 34 ft at 61.75S 151.75W aimed east. In the evening fetch built to 50 kts solid aimed north-northeast over the Southeast Pacific with 35 ft seas over a solid area at 58.5S 131W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/14) 50 kt southwest winds were on the eastern edge of the CA swell window producing 42 ft seas at 55S 122.5W in the CA swell window aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds were 35-40 kts over a broad area half in and half east of the CA swell window with 30-33 ft seas in the swell window at 51S 118-120W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (5/15) secondary fetch built at 40 kts from the south with 28-33 ft seas at 49S 119-121 W aimed due north. In the evening south winds to be 35-40 kts aimed north-northeast but mostly east of the NCal swell window with seas 24-26 ft at 53S 118W aimed north in the Scal swell window with larger seas to 30 ft east of there aimed only at Mexico down to Peru and Chile. On Sun AM (5/16) south winds to be fading from 35 kts stationary with 25 ft seas at 52S 112W and east of the CA swell window. This system is to be entirely east of the CA swell window after that and fading fast.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/20) building to 1.0 ft @ 21-22 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (5/21) 2.5 ft @ 19 secs later (4.5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell peaking on Sat (5/22) at 2.7 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.8 ft). Swell still decent on Sun (5/23) at 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft) fading steadily. Residuals on Mon (5/24) fading from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles on Tues (5/25) at 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Maybe a slight resurgence on Wed (5/26) pushing 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading fast from there. Swell Direction: 186-190 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (5/21) building to 2.1 ft @ 20 secs later (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell solid on Sat (5/22) at 2.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell still decent on Sun (5/23) at 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs early (4.8 ft with sets to 6.0 ft) fading steadily. Residuals on Mon (5/24) fading from 2.4 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Dribbles on Tues (5/25) fading from 1.9 ft @ 14 secs (2.5 ft). Maybe a slight resurgence on Wed (5/26) pushing 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading fast from there. Swell Direction: 186-190 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 swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is to be developing under New Zealand on Sun (5/23) producing a small area of 40 kt southwest winds with seas building. In the evening southwest winds to build to 40 kts lifting northeast with seas building to 28 ft at 57.5S 178.5E aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/24) southwest winds are to be fading from 35 kts with seas 26 ft at 51.2S 170.5W aimed northeast. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

 

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Weakly Warming Temps Take Over Equator
Summary - Kevin Wave #1 was pushing east across the Equatorial Pacific poised to erupt along Ecuador. Kelvin Wave #2 was half way across the Pacific. The forecast suggests continued west anomalies in the KWGA for the next 3 months.

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: A double dip La Nina occurred through the Winter of 2017-2018. Warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In 2019, those warm waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, with it fully developing into La Nina in July 2020. We continue in the place in March 2021, but with a Kelvin Wave sweeping east late in March possibly signaling the demise of La Nina.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Spring/Summer 2021 = 4.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 is on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state will set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But lingering effects of La Nina are forecast to continue over the Pacific for some time as the upper atmospheric circulation slowly transitions to an ENSO neutral state. This scenario tend to favor the Southeast Pacific, therefore favoring California over Hawaii. To counter that is the forecasted movement of the low pressure bias currently in-flight from the Maritime Continent to the West Pacific over the next 3 months. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a slightly less than normal swell production forecast. A somewhat reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected as compared to normal over the South Pacific during the early summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by the Fall and early Winter of 2021/22, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (5/17) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then moderate east east over the Central Pacific and moderate plus east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/18) moderate to strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA and tracking east. The forecast calls for strong east anomalies pushing east focused over the dateline by 5/20 and then nearly easing out of the KWGA at the end of the model run on 5/25 while modest west anomalies start building over the West KWGA on 5/21 solidifying and nearly filling the KWGA at the end of the model run. East anomalies are to be solid over the Central and East Pacific at that time.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/17) A modest Inactive MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase fading and moving over the dateline on day 5 of the model run then gone on day 10 while the Active Phase builds from the far West KWGA taking over the KWGA on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/18) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to track slowly east to the East Maritime Continent by day 15 of the model run and weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase is to steadily push east reaching the West Pacific at moderate strength on day 15 of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (5/17) A moderate Inactive Phase (dry air) was over the Central Pacific today. It is to track east pushing into Central America on 6/1 while a modest Active Phase (wet air) develops over the KWGA on 5/22 pushing east to Central America on 6/11. A very weak Inactive Phase (dry air) is to be building over the KWGA on 6/11 pushing east to the East Pacific at the end of the model run (6/26) while a very weak Active Phase (west air) builds over the far West KWGA at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/17) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was tracking through the KWGA with moderate east anomalies in control. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase is to exit the KWGA on 5/19 with west anomalies returning to the KWGA at that time in the west building eastward and filling the KWGA by 5/25 and possibly strong near 5/31. The Active Phase of the MJO is to traverse the KWGA 5/25-6/7. West anomalies to hold over the Western KWGA through the end of the model run on 6/14 but with a bubble of east anomalies setting up on the dateline 6/4 through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/18 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): The Inactive Phase of the MJO was 65% of the way through traversing the KWGA today with weak east anomalies in control. The forecast indicates that east anomalies are to hold over the East KWGA through 5/20 then giving way to weak west anomalies in the West KWGA that are to be filling the KWGA on 5/24 even as the Inactive Phase of the MJO was still traversing the KWGA through 5/30. A new moderate Active Phase is to start building in the west on 5/24 pushing slowly east and filling the KWGA on 5/31 holding through 8/5 (3 distinct pockets centered on 6/3, 7/4 and 7/28) with modest to moderate west anomalies controlling the KWGA building to strong status late May. Literally no significant east anomalies are forecast in the KWGA from today forward. A weak Inactive MJO is to try and set up 8/6 holding through the end of the model run on 8/15 but with west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the Central Pacific filling the eastern KWGA but a low pressure bias building over the West KWGA filling the western half of it to 150E. The high pressure bias has 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of the Southwest US. The second contour line is to fade 6/4. The remaining 1 is to be shifting steadily east and losing coverage and no longer in the KWGA after 6/20. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Maritime Continent with it's leading edge half way through the KWGA (at 150E) today. The east edge of the low pressure bias is to track east reaching nearly the dateline on 6/27 and holding into late July, then backtracking some. We are moving to at least a neutral ENSO position. East anomalies that have been solid over the KWGA since 10/1/20 are fading and have now migrating east of the KWGA with no return in sight, instead focused over the East Pacific (from the dateline east to a point south of California - aka the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge). The end of La Nina is here according to NOAA.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/18) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was pushing east to 155W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and was 100 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C are in the West Pacific indicative of a new Kelvin Wave building with 1 deg anomalies reaching across the Pacific to 140W today with a second Kelvin Wave with +2 degs anomalies in the East Pacific pushing near the surface at 110W but just 5 meters under it and holding that way into Ecuador. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 indicates a dramatic improvement with warm anomalies moving east subsurface to 85W just off Ecuador indicative of a Kelvin Wave poised to impact the far East Pacific and just below the surface at 100W and points east of there. Negative anomalies in the East Pacific were all but gone with residuals getting squeezed to the surface by the Kelvin Wave near Peru. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/13) A dramatic improvement continues with sea heights slightly above neutral (0 to +5 cms) over the entire equatorial Pacific and one large pocket of +5 cm anomalies embedded in it from 165E extending east to 145W. No negative anomalies were present on the equator or along the coasts of Chile, Peru, Central America and up to Baja Mexico or Southern California. The massive cold triangle that had previously formed over the equator is gone. The demise of La Nina is occurring now.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (5/17) The latest images indicate neutral to weakly warm water temps on the equator across the width of the Pacific except one pocket of weakly negative anomalies just west of the Galapagos. A previous upwelling event (cool anomalies) along Peru was fading and all but gone. A pocket of warm water was off Ecuador and Central America up to Southern Baja. Overall this seems to indicate the late stages of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/17): A neutral temperature trend was along Peru and Ecuador out to the Galapagos. Warming temps were over the equator from 110W out to 170W. There was no sign of an upwelling warm water event (yet).
Hi-res Overview: (5/17) Weakly warmer than normal waters were on the equator from 110W to the dateline and also east of the Galapagos. A generic area of warm water was west of Central America. Generic cool water was west of Peru. A very weak area of cool water was along the immediate coast of Peru. La Nina appears to be in retreat but not gone.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/18) Today's temps were falling slightly at -0.795 after rising to -0.471 on 5/3. Previous to that temps recently bottomed out at -0.950 on 4/5. Before that temps peaked at +0.714 on 3/16. The longterm trend has been stable.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/18) Today temps were rising to to +0.066, beating the previous peak of +0.040 on 5/3, the highest in a year and barely positive. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3, rising to to -0.982 on 1/21. Temps are on a steady increase.

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 (5/18) - Actuals per the model indicate temps bottomed out in early Nov at -1.25 degs then rose steadily to -0.25 degs in mid-May. The forecast indicates temps rising to -0.05 degs in late June holding till late-Sept, then starting a weak fade, falling to -0.35 degs in Nov and holding to mid-Jan before rising to -0.2 degs in early Feb 2022. This model suggests a demise of La Nina with an ENSO neutral trend beyond biased slightly negative. There is no sense that El Nino will develop. We're still in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier, so no outcome is certain.
IRI Consensus Plume: The March 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.50 degs today, and are to rise to -0.15 in June and stabilizing there through Nov. Most models are suggesting a moderate La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring of 2021.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (5/18): The daily index was falling at -1.44. The 30 day average was rising at +7.63 after falling to +0.02 on 4/26 and that after peaking at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling slightly to +2.80. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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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