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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:23 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
3.0 - 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 5/20 thru Sun 5/26

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   

Final Gulf Swell Poised for CA
Small N. Zealand Swell Tracks Northeast

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 3.4 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 16.7 secs from 191 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 6.2 secs from 62 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 6.5 secs from 250 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 16-21 kts. Water temperature 60.4 degs. At Harvest (Buoy 071) swell was 6.4 ft @ 10.4 secs from 292 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 16.7 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 18.2 secs from 211 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.3 ft @ 12.4 secs from 266 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.1 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 9.8 secs from 299 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was west at 16-20 kts. Water temp 57.2 degs (042) and 54.9 (013).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/21) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at chest to head high and pretty warbled from local northwest wind with larger swell building up north. Protected breaks were waist high or so and pretty warbled from northwest wind. At Santa Cruz northwest swell was shoulder high or so and clean but soft. In Southern California/Ventura northwest windswell was producing waves at chest high or so and pretty lumpy and warbled though local wind was calm. In North Orange Co surf was head high on the sets coming from the north and jumbled but still rideable with calm local wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and jumbled from the interaction of south swell and north windswell. North San Diego had surf at chest to maybe head high and soft and warbled with calm local wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had rare sets to head high but mostly waist high and clean and lined up. The East Shore had no swell of interest with waves knee high and chopped from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/21) in California a mixture of Southeast Pacific swell was hitting while new Gulf swell was building in from the northwest and swell from a previous Gulf gale was fading in Southern CA but with jumbled conditions. Hawaii was getting background southern hemi swell. A decent gale developed in the Gulf on Sun-Mon (5/20) with 27 ft seas aimed east. Down south a decent gale developed in the deep Southeast Pacific Sat-Sun (5/12) with up to 49 ft seas barely in the California swell window. And behind that a gale developed in the Central South Pacific Mon-Wed (5/15) with up to 49 ft seas but was pushing due east if not southeast offering little in terms of direct swell pushing up into our forecast area. And on Sat-Wed (5/23) a small gale was tracking east from a point just under New Zealand with seas between 33-40 ft offering some smallish swell for Hawaii and California longer term.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/21) swell from a gale that developed in the Gulf of Alaska was fading in North and Central CA (see 1st Gulf Gale below). And swell from a second gale in the Eastern Gulf was pushing towards the North CA coast (see 2nd Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast other than local windswell.


1st Gulf Gale
A small gale developed in the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs AM (5/16) with 35 kt west winds over a modest sized area aimed east with seas building to 20 ft at 44N 157W. In the evening fetch built while tracking steadily east with winds 35 kts from the west and seas building to 23 ft at 43N 150W aimed east. Fetch faded Fri AM (5/17) from 30 kts from the west and seas faded from 20 ft at 43.5N 143.5W aimed east. A smaller secondary gale formed from it's remnants on Fri PM with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 19 ft at 41N 146.5W aimed east. On Sat (5/18) AM 30-35 kt northwest winds were building with seas 21 ft at 39.5N 140W aimed east. Northwest fetch is to move closer to Cape Mendocino in the evening at 30-35 kts with seas building to 22 ft at 39N 133.5W aimed east. The gale is to fade off San Francisco Sun AM (5/19) no longer generating seas of interest.

North CA: Residuals on Tues (5/21) fading from 5.5 ft @ 10 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 187 degrees


2nd Gulf Gale
Another small gale developed in the Gulf of Alaska on Sun AM (5/19) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft at 43N 156W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds were building as the gale tracked east with 27 ft seas at 44N 148W aimed east. On Mon AM (5/20) the gale was off Oregon with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 26 ft at 44N 141W aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading just off Oregon with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 24 ft at 42.5N 134W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate off Oregon on Tues AM (5/21) with winds fading from barely 30 kts from the northwest fetch and seas 20 ft at 42.5N 129W aimed southeast. The gale to dissipate from there. Modest size northwest swell is possible for Oregon down into Central CA. Something to monitor.

North CA: Expect swell arrival late afternoon on Tues (5/21) with swell building to 11.5 ft @ 14 secs (15 ft) at sunset and partially shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Wed AM (5/22) from 10 ft @ 12 secs (12 ft) and being overtaken by locally generated north windswell. Swell Direction: 296-302 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/21) northwest winds were building from 15-20 kts early for all of California building to 20-25 kts later as high pressure builds in behind low pressure that is pushing from North California into Nevada. Local windswell developing. Light rain early for North CA falling south through the day while dissipating near Pt Conception. Light snow for the Tahoe region early building south over all of the Sierra and into the evening. Wednesday (5/22) a solid pressure gradient is to take over the entire CA coast with 25 kt north winds from Cape Mendocino south to San Diego and holding all day. Raw local windswell expected for the entire coast. Significant windswell production possible. Light rain is possible for the Central Coast early. Light snow for the Central and South Sierra early. Thursday (5/23) the focus of the gradient is to be lifting north with north winds 30 kts over all of North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA slowly fading in coverage with north winds 30 kts over Cape Mendocino later and 10-15 kts for Central CA. Light snow for the Southern Sierra in the evening. Friday (5/24) north winds to be 20 kts limited to Cape Mendocino and over outer waters but calm south of there and fading. Light winds to hold on Sat (5/25) over all of California. Light rain for the Sierra in the evening and snow for the highest elevations attributable to low pressure locked over Nevada. Sat (5/25) north winds are to be fading from 20-25 kts limited to North CA early and 15 kts only over Cape Mendocino late afternoon and 5 kts from the north for the rest of North and Central CA. Rain for the Sierra and snow for highest elevations. Sunday (5/26) a weak pressure and wind pattern is forecast. Scattered showers are forecast for the Sierra and reaching to the Central CA coast. Snow limited to the highest elevations of the Sierra. Monday (5/27) a weak wind flow is forecast but with high pressure building off the coast with north winds to 15 kts limited to Pt Conception. Tues (5/28) north winds are forecast at 5-10 kts except at 15-20 kts for Pt Conception. No rain is forecast.

Snow is forecast for Tahoe for the week ending Tues PM (5/28): 12-20 inches and 12 inches for Mammoth

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (5/18) the southern branch of the jetstream was split with the southern branch lifting north just south of New Zealand forming a new trough being fed by 150 kt winds and offering good support for gale development in the Southwest Pacific.East of the trough the jet was weak and tracking east then falling steadily southeast starting in the Southeast Pacific forming a ridge that covered the Southeast Pacific providing no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east Sun (5/19) while building being fed by 130 kts winds still offering good support for gale development but steadily weakening into Tues AM (5/21) while migrating to the Central South Pacific. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to dissipate by Wed (5/22) with a weak jetstream pattern forecast through Sat (5/25) neither forming a ridge but not forming any troughs either. No support for gale development is indicated.

Surface Analysis  
A gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific with small swell now hitting CA (see Southeast Pacific Storm below). And another smaller but strong storm developed southeast of New Zealand falling southeast (see Central Pacific Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours the focus is to be the gale currently traversing the South Pacific (see new Zealand Gale below).


Southeast Pacific Storm
A storm developed Sat PM (511) in the far Southeast Pacific with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 57S 135W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (5/12) southwest winds were 45-50 kts tracking east with seas 43 ft at 58.5S 125.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch was moving out of the Southern CA swell window at 45-50 kts over a diminishing area with 50 ft seas at 57S 115W and outside/east of the SCal swell window targeting only Chile and Peru. There's low odds for maybe some minimal sideband swell from early in this systems lifecycle radiating north into mainly Southern CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Swell peaking on Tues (5/21) at 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (5/22) from 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/23) fading from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (5/23) fading from 2.1 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees moving to 179 degrees

North CA: Swell peaking on Tues (5/21) at 2.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (5/22) from 2.6 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft) early. Residuals on Thurs (5/23) fading from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft) early. Swell fading Fri (5/24) from 1.9 ft @ 13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 183 degrees moving to 177 degrees


Central Pacific Storm
Another storm started building southeast of New Zealand on Mon AM (5/13) with 45-50 kt south winds and seas building from 27 ft over a tiny area at 50S 174W aimed north. In the evening 55 kt southwest winds were falling southeast over a solid area with seas building to 38 ft at 56S 165W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/14) the storm was falling south with west winds 55-60 kts over a large area aimed east with seas 43 ft at 60S 154.5W aimed east. The remnants of the storm held while easing east with 45-50 kts west winds and seas 49 ft at 62S 142.5W aimed due east. On Wed AM (5/15) the gale was fading with winds 45 kts over a small area aimed east. Seas were fading from 44 ft at 63.5S 131W aimed east to southeast. The gale faded from there with all fetch aimed southeast. No additional potential swell production occurred. We suspect there are some odds of small swell resulting but the big concern is the southward heading of the fetch. Will monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on late on Tues (5/21) building to 1.0 ft @ 19 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (5/22) to 1.5 ft @ 18 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (5/23) to 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft) early. Swell fading some on Fri (5/24) at 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell dissipating from there. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees

North CA: Swell arrival is expected on Wed (5/22) building to 1.0 ft @ 19 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (5/23) at 1.1 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0 ft). Swell fading some on Fri (5/24) at 1.0 ft @ 16 secs (1.5 ft). Swell dissipating from there. Swell Direction: 200 degrees


New Zealand Gale
A gale started developing just south of New Zealand on Sun AM (5/19) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 31 ft at 49.5S 175E aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was building in coverage at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 33 ft at 47.5S 174W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading Mon AM (5/20) from the southwest at 35 kts over a small area with seas 31 ft at 45S 167W aimed northeast. In the evening additional fetch was building at 40-45 kts from the southwest over a small area with seas 29 ft at 43.5S 160W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/21) fetch was holding while falling southeast some at 40-45 kts from the south and southwest with 31 ft seas at 43S 158W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to hold at 40 kts from the southwest with 33 ft sea at 45S 146W aimed northeast. Fetch is to hold at 40 kts from the southwest on Wed AM (5/22) with seas 31 ft over a solid area at 43S 150W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade in the evening with 35 kts south-southwest winds over a solid area aimed northeast with 32 ft seas at 43N 141W aimed northeast. The gale is to collapse Thurs AM (5/23) with 30-35 kts southwest winds fading in coverage and seas fading from 28 ft at 44.5S 136W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.

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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a small gale is to develop southeast of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/26) tracking northeast with 40-45 kt southwest winds and sea possibly building to 33 ft over a small area. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Kelvin Wave #3 is Gone - Warm Temps Build in W. Pacific

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

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and did not stop, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

Summer 2019 = 5.5 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that weak borderline El Nino condition continue , and assuming a weak ocean-atmospheric coupling holds and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 hold in the +0.8 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the South Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere Summer time months. There is slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 Summer seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (5/20) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific turning light east over the Central Pacific then turning weak westerly in the West Pacific. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific but modest west in the Central Pacific and solidly westerly in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (5/21) moderate plus west anomalies were filling the KWGA. The forecast is for west anomalies weakening steadily into 5/24 then fading to neutral in the KWGA and moving quickly east into the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 5/28. There is to be an increase in support for storm development now and continuing for the next few days, then fading.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/17) An Active MJO pattern was all but gone over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is to be small and fading on the dateline through day 5 of the model run with the Inactive Phase of the MJO moving into the West Pacific and taking over the KWGA at days 10-15 at moderate strength. The dynamic model indicates a variation on the same theme with the Active Phase fading slower at day 10 and with the Inactive Phase making steady but limited headway into only the far West Pacific at day 15. The 2 models are mostly in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/21) The statistical model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO over the Atlantic, and is forecast to push east into the West Indian Ocean at day 15 and becoming weak. The GEFS model suggests the same but with the Active Phase not even making it to the West Indian Ocean.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (5/18) This model depicts a weak Active Phase in the East Pacific today and is forecast tracking east into Central America on 5/27. A strong Inactive Phase is developing in the West Pacific on 5/18 pushing east into Central America on 6/12. A moderate Active MJO signal is to build over the West Pacific 6/4 pushing east to Central America at the end of the model run on 6/27. A weak Inactive Phase to follow over the West Pacific 6/27.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/20) This model depicts a solid Active Phase of the MJO past its peak and fading over the dateline today with solid west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase tracking east while filling the bulk of the KWGA through 5/27 with moderate plus west anomalies pushing east. A weak Inactive Phase is to push into the West KWGA on 5/28 but stalling there and making no eastward progress east of 150W through the end of the model run on 6/17 while weak west anomalies hold centered on the dateline.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/21) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was past it's peak over the dateline today and is forecast to be out of the KWGA on 5/28 with west anomalies holding in the KWGA. A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO sets up 5/24 in the West Pacific building east and filling the KWGA through 6/27 but with very weak west anomalies in the KWGA near the dateline. A modest Active Phase is to develop 6/25 building east through 8/3 with solid west anomalies in the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 7/24 through the end of the model run on 8/18 but with weak west anomalies barely holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines is in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California and forecast to retract to 160W at the end of the model run possibly indicating a drier Winter for CA during 2019-2020. The second contour line is to fade on 6/27. This model indicates that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during the Fall of 2018, but has been steadily fading since then and is to continue a steady decline into mid-August, then possibly shifting to the Indian Ocean then. Basically we are moving from a pattern biased towards El Nino to one biased towards ENSO neutral.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/21) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a small area reaching east to 155E while the 29 degs isotherm was creeping east to 158W today. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov into late Feb. But it made a major push east starting 3/16 from 150W and reached Ecuador on 5/5, but started retrograding after that and today was steady at 142W. It appears Kelvin Wave #3 was nearly done erupting in the East Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 30 meters down. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs from the surface to 150 meters down. There was no embedded pockets in that flow. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 indicates warm water from Kelvin Wave #3 was filling the equatorial Pacific from 155E eastward at +1 degs reaching east to 115W. A small pocket of cool water was drawing up from depth to the surface in the east at 110W. There was a stream of warm water flowing into the far West Pacific at 140E attributable to a WWB currently occurring. 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) Positive anomalies were all but gone over the equatorial Pacific except with one 1 small area at 150E to 180W (West Pacific) attributable to the WWB occurring there. From this data it looks like the Kelvin Wave #3 was dissipating and maybe Kelvin Wave #4 was developing.

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: (5/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were steady from 10S to 20N on the equator from 105W west to the dateline but limited from 10S to 3N from Ecuador to 105W. Temps on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador and out to the Galapagos are slightly warmer than normal compared to recent days. There is some weak indication of a El Nino but nothing strong.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/20): A previous cooling trend was fading from Peru tracking northwest to the Galapagos then out to 140W on the equator and has been replaced with a thin warming stream extending from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 160W on the equator. Otherwise weak warming was over the Central equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (5/20) Warmer than normal water was from just off Peru up to Central America west over the Galapagos 20 degrees north and south of the equator continuing west of there to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/21) Today's temps were steady at -0.004. Overall the trend is steady.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(5/21) Today temps were fading at +0.404 today. Temps have been generally steady the last week.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/21) The model indicates temps were +0.75 degs in early May and are to be rising to +1.00 degrees in early June then fading to +0.6 in July and holding into October, then fading to +0.2 in Dec 1 then rising to +0.45 degs on Fed 1, 2020. A weak El Nino like pattern is to hold into early Fall, then slowly fading through the later Fall and Winter of 2019/20 with no more Kelvin Waves forecast. A multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The April 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.82 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.75 range into October, then fading to +0.70 through Dec 2019. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (5/21): The daily index was negative today at -6.26, falling over the past 3 days. The 30 day average was rising at -3.23 today suggesting a fading Active MJO. The 90 day average was rising some at -5.19, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards El Nino (for now).
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (4/23) There has been no update recently. At that time the index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), then fell some but started rising again and was up to +1.10 today. It is approaching El Nino territory but still indicted mostly ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, 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 -0.23, Feb -0.55 This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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