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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 6:45 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
4.2 - California & 2.0 - 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 5/21 thru Sun 5/27

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   

Swell #1S Hitting California
Tasman Sea to Light Up


On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 :

  • Buoy 1306 (Waimea - winter)/Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor entrance - summer): Testing with new buoy 233. Seas were 3.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 167 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 18.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 18.3 secs from 191 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 6-8 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.2 ft @ 18.1 secs from 190 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 19.3 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 3.0 ft @ 18.6 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.0 ft @ 18.5 secs from 191 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 10.0 secs with northwest windswell 5.1 ft @ 8.8 secs from 311 degrees and southern hemi swell 2.2 ft @ 18.3 secs from 198 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temp 53.4 degs.

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 (5/22) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at waist to chest high and heavily warbled from northwest winds with overcast and high fog in control. Protected breaks were waist high and soft and warbled but much cleaner than exposed breaks. At Santa Cruz the first real signs of Swell #1S were showing with waves occasionally chest high and lined up and clean but inconsistent and a bit unorganized. In Southern California up north surf was flat to thigh high and warbled early but clean. In North Orange Co southern hemi Swell #1S was hitting producing waves at chest high or so when they came and lined up but pretty raw with south wind generated textured on it. South Orange Country's best breaks had surf in the head high range and lined up and powerful and clean but a bit inconsistent and unfocused. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high on the bigger sets but pretty textured coming from the south. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was small at thigh to waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at waist high and chopped from east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (5/22) southern hemi swell from the first pulse of Storm #1S previously southeast of New Zealand was hitting California and the second pulse is to build underneath through the day. The last remnants of this swell were fading in Hawaii. Storm #1S formed south of New Zealand on Sat-Sun (5/13) producing up to 39 ft seas aimed northeast with it's remnants tracking east into the Central Pacific then started lifting northeast Mon-Wed (5/16) while redeveloping producing up to 46 ft seas aimed northeast but small in coverage. This is the last real swell in the water targeting California with no other swell producing weather systems on the charts for the next week. Instead the storm track has shifted west focused on the Tasman Sea and Fiji with 2 solid systems charted there with potential filtered energy eventually reaching Hawaii.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (5/22) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in control of the North Pacific generating no swell nor any windswell relative to Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours no swell production is forecast.

A series of weak weather systems are to track through the Northern Gulf of Alaska but none with fetch exceeding 30 kts nor seas reaching 18 ft. No swell is to result.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (5/22) weak high pressure at 1022 mbs was ridging east from a point northeast of Hawaii producing northwest winds at 15-20 kts over North CA and 10-15 kts over the Central CA coast and forecast to fade in the later afternoon to 15 kts from the north limited to North CA. Wednesday a light northerly flow is forecast for the entire state at 5-10 kts with low pressure building just off the Oregon-CA border. More of the same on Thursday (5/24) as the low builds and falls south, off Pt Arena in the afternoon with south winds 15 kts from Monterey Bay up to the point at Cape Mendocino. Friday light west winds are forecast at no more than 10 kts all day for the entire state as the low moves inland over Central CA. Sat (5/26) high pressure ridges east again and north winds are to build from 15 kts early to 20-25 kts later over all of North and Central CA. Sunday (5/27) north winds continue at 20 kts for all of North and Central CA and pockets to 25 kts over Pt Arena and off Pt Conception. Monday (5/28) more high pressure builds ridging from north of Hawaii with north winds 25 kts from Cape Mendocino south to Pt Reyes and 15-20 kt north winds a bit off the coast south of there to Pt Conception. Tuesday (5/29) the gradient lifts north at 25-30 kts over North CA with 15-20 kts north winds just off the coast of Central CA. No indication of an eddy flow developing there yet.

South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (5/22) the southern branch of the jetstream was forming a steep trough lifting hard north being fed by 140 kts winds pushing up into the Tasman Sea then ridging hard south east of there over the far Southwest Pacific and continuing south into mainland Antarctica over the Southeast Pacific locking down the entirety of the South Pacific and suppressing potential for gale formation. But the trough in the Tasman Sea is supportive of gale formation. Over the next 72 hours another trough is to start building under Tasmania on Thurs (5/24) lifting steadily northeast into Fri AM (5/25) producing a backdoor trough and good winds in the upper atmosphere pushing up to the northeast corner of New Zealand aimed north before the trough moves fully over Northern New Zealand and support for gale formation dissipates. Meanwhile in the greater South Pacific a large ridge is to continue in control starting just southeast of New Zealand pushing the jet south to 70S on Tues (5/22) pushing south into Antarctica again on Thurs (5/24) and sweeping east across the bulk of the South Pacific through Fri (5/25) offering no support for gale formation. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (5/26) there's indications a trough might start building just east of the New Zealand with then jet pushing north starting down at 75S lifting north to 40S but winds only 90 kts pushing up into the trough offering only minimal support for low pressure development. The trough is to hold into Sun (5/27) then start fading and by Tues (5/29) a ridge is to be pushing hard south through the Tasman Sea and then continuing east over the Southwest Pacific. No support for gale development is forecast in the Tasman Sea or the South Pacific.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (5/22) swell from a solid gale that tracked northeast through the Southwest Pacific then redeveloped and lifted north through the Central Pacific was starting to show in California (see Central Pacific Gale - Swell #1S below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast for the greater South Pacific. But for the Tasman Sea a series of 3 storms are forecast/developing providing potential for filtered energy eventually reaching Hawaii.


Tasman Sea Gale #1
A gale tracked southwest of Tasmania on Tues PM (5/15) with southwest fetch fading from 40 kts and seas 46 ft at 55.5S 131W targeting the Tasman Sea area. On Wed Am (5/16) southwest fetch was fading from 40 kts and seas 39 ft at 55S 140.5E aimed northeast. The gale pushed east in the evening with southwest winds fading from 35 kts and seas fading from 35 ft at 52.2S 151.5E. On Thurs AM (5/17) the gale was fading with 30 kt southwest winds mainly targeting Southern New Zealand with seas fading from 31 ft at 51.5S 161E. This system dissipated in the evening while pushing east into the Southwest Pacific.

Hawaii: Filtered swell to reach Oahu's South Shore on Wed (5/23) building to 1.2 ft @ 19 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (5/24) peaking at 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5-3.0 ft - biggest later). Swell starts fading on Fri AM (5/25) from 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) but holding decently though the day. Residuals on Sat AM (5/26) fading from 1.2 ft @ 15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees.


2nd Tasman Sea Gale
Another gale developed southwest of Tasmania on Mon AM GMT (5/21) producing up to 35-40 kt southwest winds aimed up the Tasman Sea with seas building to 30 ft at 52S 140E. The gale built while pushing up into the Tasman Sea in the evening with 40 kt southwest winds and 31 ft seas at 42S 155E. On Tues AM (5/22) fetch is to be well up in the Tasman Sea at 30-35 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 39S 158E aimed northeast. By evening the gale is to be fading with 30 kt south winds off Northwest New Zealand and seas fading from 27 ft at 37S 165E.

Fiji: Expect swell arrival on Fri (5/25) at 3 AM local time with period 18 secs and size building. Swell to peak starting 7 AM Fri (5/25) with pure swell 7.0-7.5 ft @ 17 secs (11.9-12.8 ft). A few sets to 8.5 ft @ 16 secs (13.5 ft). Swell holding through the day as period drops towards 15 secs around 6 PM. Swell Direction 212-214 degrees

Hawaii: Expect filtered swell to arrive on Tues AM (5/29) with period 17 secs and size building through the day to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs later in the day (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 217 degrees


3rd Tasman Sea Gale
A stronger storm is forecast developing on Wed AM (5/23) under Tasmania with 45 kt southwest winds over a broad area aimed northeast and seas 39 ft at 51S 149E aimed northeast. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds to continue lifting northeast with 41 ft seas at 49.5S 153E. On Thurs AM (5/24) fetch is to regenerate some while lifting north into the core of the Tasman Sea at 45 kts and 39 ft seas at 44S 160E. The gale is to lift north on the evening with 35-40 kt south winds and seas 38 ft at 40S 165E aimed north. South fetch is to be fading from 35 kts and seas fading from 32 ft at 36S 169E just off the northwest most point of New Zealand. The gale to be gone after that. Something to monitor.


Central Pacific Gale (Swell #1S)
Another gale started forming south of New Zealand on Sat AM (5/12) with 50 kt southwest winds over a small area and seas building from 37 ft at 59S 164E. In the evening it moved south-southeast of New Zealand with a smaller area of 45 kt southwest winds with seas building to 38 ft at 57.5S 179W. On Sun AM (5/13) the gale tracked east with winds 40 kt over a small area aimed northeast with seas 34 ft at 55.5S 168.5W. In the evening the original fetch faded from 35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 55S 157W. Also a new fetch associated with the gale started building west of the original fetch from 35 kts aimed northeast. On Mon AM (5/14) fetch in the new area built to 40-45 kts from the southwest with seas building from 31 ft at 52.5S 154W. In the evening this system built though over a small area with south winds 55 kts aimed north with seas 44 ft at 52S 147W. On Tues AM (5/15) south winds were fading from 45 kts aimed north-northeast with seas 42 ft over a tiny area at 48S 139W. In the evening fetch faded from 35-40 kts from the south with seas fading from 35 ft at 46S 131W. A last pulse of south winds developed Wed AM (5/16) at 45 kts over a tiny area pushing north with seas 31 ft up at 42S 128W. Fetch faded in the evening from 35+ kts and seas fading from 32 ft at 40.5S 126W. Limited energy from the first part of this storm expected for Hawaii with more energy from the second part of the storm targeting California.

Southern CA: Swell building Tues (5/22) pushing 3.9 ft @ 18 secs early afternoon (7.0 ft with sets to 8.5 ft). Swell continues Wed (5/23) at 4.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (7.0 ft with sets to 9.0 ft). Swell fading some Thurs (5/24) from 3.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft).Swell Direction: 187-197 degrees

North CA: Swell building Tues (5/22) pushing 3.3 ft @ 18-19 secs late afternoon (6.0 ft with sets to 7.5 ft). Swell continues Wed (5/23) at 3.8 ft @ 17 secs (6.5 ft with sets to 8.0 ft). Swell holding on Thurs (5/24) at 3.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185-195 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast for the greater South Pacific. The models are teasing concerning formation of a gale a southeast of New Zealand on Mon AM (5/28) with 40 kt south winds and seas building to 32 ft over a small area aimed north in the evening and holding in some fashion into Tues (5/29). Something to monitor.

More details to follow...


SST's Building Slightly Over the Equatorial 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 have not stopped, 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 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (5/21) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and also over over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/22) Moderate east anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. They are forecast to slowly ease to the east through the forecast period with neutral anomalies starting to develop in the West KWGA on 5/27 and then building into the Central KWGA at the end of the model run on 5/29. This is associated with the Inactive Phase of the MJO moving through the West Pacific. West anomalies are presently south of California on the equator but are to be fading out at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/21) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was moderate over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase is to track east while weakening in the KWGA slowly fading and all but gone at the end of the model run (day 15) with the Active Phase of the KWGA building over the Maritime Continent. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO holding over the far West Pacific through the period. So the 2 models are still a bit divergent in their views.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/22) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the West Indian Ocean. It is to track east steadily through the Indian Ocean and holding strength moving over the Maritime Continent and poised to enter the West Pacific at day 15. The GEFS model depicts the Active Phase far weaker and faltering making it only to the West Maritime Continent and very weak at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/22) This model depicts a moderate Inactive Phase is over the Central Pacific and is to be moving east to Central America on 6/4 while a new weak Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 6/1 and moving through the Pacific into Central America on 6/24. A very weak Inactive Phase is to be developing over the West Pacific on 6/16 pushing to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 7/1. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/21) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with modest east anomalies in control of the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to hold through 6/6 but with weak east anomalies gone by 5/23 then turning to neutral anomalies and then to weak west anomalies by 6/4. The Active Phase to develop 6/6 holding with weak west anomalies holding if not building. A stronger and more coherent push of the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop 6/23 with modest west anomalies forecast in the KWGA and holding through 7/31. A very weak Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that on 8/8 holding through the end of the model run on 8/18 but with weak west anomalies still be in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is now fully filling the KWGA reaching east to 150W and building with 2 contours in the heart of the KWGA now. This is good news for the coming Fall-Winter season. The high pressure bias is limited to an area south of California and shrinking at the end of the model run and almost inland over California. La Nina bias is gone. The expectation is that the atmosphere and ocean will begin to be coupled starting 8/8 (low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA on 5/8) in a more favorable configuration to support storm production in the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/22) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line continues moving eastward from it previous location at 180W last winter to 165W on 5/15 to 160W today from the surface to 75 meters deep with fingers to 158W. So the 28 degs isotherm continues to march east. The 24 deg isotherm was steady in thickness at 100 meters deep at 140W and 50 meters deep at 120W rising to 35 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures are gone as warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies at depth were holding in the West at +3.0 degs at 170W down 150 meters pushing east with +2 deg anomalies reaching east to the Galapagos. We're waiting for these warm anomalies to erupt to the surface. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/18 depicts warm water in the west at +4.0 degs at 170W with a river of warm water at +1 degs pushing continuously east to 100W with pockets reaching east from there to the Ecuadorian Coat. The last of the La Nina cool pool was gone with one tiny pocket along Ecuador down 50 meters being forced to depth by the large approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/18) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5-10 cms centered at 180W with continuous +5 cm anomalies reaching east under the equator and 10 degrees north and south of the equator to 115W continuously with one pocket east of there at 105W. Negative anomalies have completely dissipated east of there including along the coast of Peru. The La Nina cool pool is gone.

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: (5/21) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a pocket of cool anomalies are fading along the immediate coast of Peru. Weak warm anomalies are holding on the oceans surface on the equator from Ecuador west over the Galapagos and west of there out to 160W reaching both north and south of the equator, though more prevalent north of the equator. Also warm water was also off Peru (90W) down to 10S aligned along the equator out to 110W. Cooler water was at 15S from just off Peru westward to 155W, likely the last of the the La Nina cool pool.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/20): A warming trend is holding over the equatorial Pacific from 100W west out to 160W from 5N down to 10S likely indicative of the Kelvin Wave at depth now starting to leach to the surface. No defined cooling pockets are indicated anywhere on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (5/20) A tiny weak pocket of cool water was wisping along the immediate coast of Peru but not further. Warm water was building from Ecuador west over the Galapagos and west from there to the dateline on the equator to 3S and building in coherence. Weak warming was also further off the coast of Peru to 105W and reaching north to the equator. Warming was also along Central America filling the area from the equator northward up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking and warming some limited to a broad pocket south of the equator from 110W to barely the dateline and south of 3S looking like a Modoki La Nina (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west and dissipating). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/22) Today's temps were falling slightly at -0.819, down from a recent peak rising to +0.459 on 5/13. This is part of a larger rising trend stat started 4/10 indicative of the collapse of La Nina. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Peak low temps in this area occurred on 12/23/17 at -2.1 degs, -2.248 degs on 11/5/17, and -1.9 degs on 10/11/17.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/22) Today temps were holding at at -0.179, up from -0.427 on 5/12 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were down at -1.2 degs. Previous peak lows were observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577, -1.219 on 12/7, -1.156 on 11/22/17, and -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a rising pattern.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/22) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rising since, up to -0.5 in mid-March and -0.30 in early April. The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward reaching neutral about now, pushing up to 0.25 degs in early June and rising July-Oct to +0.50 degs and +0.65 degs in late Dec and holding there into Feb 2019. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to continue to fade through the Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the late Fall. This model is known to be biased cold. Most other models are suggesting a possible turn to minimal weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume depicts temps at -0.2 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.4 in August and +0.8 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/22): The daily index was falling today from +3.85. The 30 day average was rising some at -1.95 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building some. The 90 day average was rising some at 5.62 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was holding in the atmosphere biased towards La Nina. This is expected for a few more months.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (5/22) Today the index was rising to -0.57, up from -0.70 on 5/20 and -0.60 on 5/17, but not reaching the high of -0.36 on Fri (5/11) and -0.38 on Thurs (5/10), down from -0.35 on 4/26, but up from -1.02 on 4/5 and up from -1.13 on 3/27. The trend is upward but still less than the -0.33 reading in late Feb. That was was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but fading steadily. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+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= -0.10, Mar= -0.51. 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): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+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. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool


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

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