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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, May 23, 2021 1:18 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
2.4 - California & 2.3 - 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 5/24 thru Sun 5/30

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   

Weaker Swell Pattern for Now
Another Solid Gale Forecast for SE Pacific

On Sunday, May 23, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 14.8 secs from 171 degrees. Water temp 77.4 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.5 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 6.5 secs from 45 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.4 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 16.2 secs from 191 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.4 degs, 58.3 (Topanga 103), 60.1 degs (Long Beach 215), 65.7 (Del Mar 153), 62.4 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.0 secs from 187 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 16.2 secs from 206 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.2 ft @ 15.9 secs from 194 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.6 ft @ 15.7 secs from 186 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.5 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 16.5 secs from 186 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was west at 6-10 kts. Water temp 48.9 (029), 52.3 degs (SF Bar 142) and 54.9 degs (Santa Cruz 254).

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 Sunday (5/23) North and Central CA had waves at thigh to maybe waist high and warbled and crumbled with modest west winds. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and soft and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high and clean and lined up and occasionally peeling but a bit crumbled. In Southern California/Ventura waves were shoulder to head high on the sets and lined up but crumbled and soft with some sideshore lump from northwest wind. Central Orange County had set waves at head high to maybe 1 ft overhead and lined up coming from the south and clean with only a light texture on the surface. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and peeling and cleaner than days past but still with some troublesome texture on it. North San Diego had sets waves at waist to chest high and clean and lined up but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The South Shore was near flat with sets at thigh high and clean. 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 Sunday (5/23) California was getting swell originating from a gale that 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. This was the last of the relatively larger surf. In North and Central CA, local northwest windswell is not present but is to return modestly on Tues (5/25) and continue beyond. Down south a gale developed under New Zealand on Tues (5/18) then tracked slowly east with seas building to 34 ft on Wed (5/19) then faded slowly on Thurs (5/20) with seas dropping from 26 ft aimed northeast. Swell is radiating northeast. Beyond the models continue suggesting a reasonably strong system forming in the upper reaches of the Southeast Pacific on Wed-Thurs (5/27) with up to 40 ft seas aimed northeast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (5/23) 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

  • Mon (5/24) northwest winds to build some in coverage at 15 kts for all of North CA and 20 kts for Central CA south of Monterey Bay early and holding all day. Very limited windswell to result at best.
  • Tues (5/25) the winds machine starts regenerating with northwest winds 20+ kts for all of North and Central CA early and pushing 25 kts in the afternoon. Windswell trying to redevelop.
  • Wed (5/26) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for all of North CA early and 15-20 kts for Central CA early then fading to 20 kts everywhere in the afternoon as low pressure moves up to the Washington Coast. Windswell fading some through the day.
  • Thurs (5/27) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for North and Central CA early and holding as low pressure moves inland over the Pacific Northwest. No real windswell expected.
  • Fri (5/28) high pressure returns with northwest winds 15-20 kts for North and Central CA early building to 20-25 kts in the afternoon. Windswell trying to regenerate.
  • Sat (5/29) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA holding up north and fading to 10-15 kts from Pt Reyes southward later. Windswell holding.
  • Sun (5/30) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts limited to North CA and 10 kts south of there. Limited windswell still being produced.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0, and 0 inches respectively.

Freezing level 7,000 ft on 5/23 rising to 9,000 ft on 5/25 then 12,000 ft on 5/26 holding then rising to 14,000 ft on 6/1.

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


South Pacific

On Sunday (5/23) the jet was lifting northeast under New Zealand forming a weak trough behind fed by 120 kts winds offering some weak support for gale development there, then ridging south into Antarctica over the Southeast Pacific offering nothing. a solid cutoff trough was holding over the upper reaches of the Southeast Pacific being fed by 150 kts winds perhaps offering some hope. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand trough is to lift northeast and quickly fade on Mon (5/24) offering nothing but continuing to hold together in some fashion while tracking east to the Southeast Pacific on Wed (5/26) being reinvigorated as it joins with the northern branch of the jet later in the day producing 150 kts winds and offering improved support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to continue circulating into Thurs (5/27) offering good support for gale development with the trough then falling south on Fri (5/28) and taking aim for to the east targeting mainly Chile. By Sun (5/30) remnants of that trough are to persist over the Southeast Pacific but weak likely offering nothing. And a ridge is to be in control under New Zealand suppressing support for gale development there.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (5/23) swell from a the 5th storm in the series developed in the Southeast Pacific producing swell that is just past it's peak hitting California (see Southeast Pacific Storm below). And swell from a weaker system that tracked under New Zealand was pushing northeast for HI and the US West Coast (see Southwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is to try and develop southeast of New Zealand Sun PM (5/23) producing 45 kt southwest winds and seas building. On Mon AM (5/24) southwest winds are to be fading from 40 kts with seas 26 ft at 59S 162.25W aimed northeast. Fetch is to fade from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 25 ft at 59.25S 155W aimed northeast. This system is to fade from there. Low odds of any swell resulting.


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: 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: 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


Southwest Pacific Gale
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 50S 166.5E aimed east but mostly shadowed by Southern New Zealand relative to HI and CA. On Tues AM (5/18) southwest winds were free and clear of New Zealand at 40 kts from the southwest over a small area with 27 ft seas at 49.5S 171E aimed northeast. Fetch was fading in the evening from 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 28 ft at 47S 179W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (5/19) secondary fetch was building in the same area lifting hard north at 45 kts from the south over a small area with seas 32 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 32 ft at 43.25S 162.5W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (5/20) fetch was fading from 35 kts aimed northeast with seas fading from 27 ft at 42.5S 155W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch is to hold while pushing east at 30-35 kts with seas 25 ft at 42S 150W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/21) fetch dissipated. Small swell to result.

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected on Tues (5/25) building to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (2.5 ft). Swell holding on Wed (5/26) at 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell dissipating on Thurs (5/27) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 sec early (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 196 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/27) building to 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (5/28) to 1.6 ft @ 16 sec later (2.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (5/29) at 1.9 ft @ 15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading some on Sun (5/30) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Dribbles on Mon (5/31) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200-210 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/27) building to 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (5/28) to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 sec later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding on Sat (5/29) at 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading some on Sun (5/30) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Dribbles on Mon (5/31) fading from 1.7 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 198-208 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 a gale is forecast developing into he upper latitudes of the Southeast Pacific on Wed AM (5/26) producing 40-45 kt south winds and seas building from 23 ft. 55-60 kt south to southwest winds to build in the evening producing 37 ft seas at 33.75S 131W aimed north. On Thurs AM (5/27) the gale is to be fading with 45-50 kt south winds tracking east and seas 44 ft at 32.75S 123W aimed northeast. In the evening the gael is to fall south fast with 40-45 kt southwest winds and 37 ft seas at 38,25S 119.5W aimed northeast. On Fri AM (5/28) 40-45 kt southwest winds to hold position with seas 36 ft at 43.2S 119W aimed mostly east. The gale is to rapidly fade and fall south from there. Something to monitor.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


ENSO Neutral Taking Hold - Weak Warming Near Galapagos
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.

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 (5/22) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then strong east east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and modest 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 (5/23) modest west anomalies were filling the west half of the KWGA and moderate to strong east anomalies were filling the east portion of the KWGA and also filling the entire Central and East equatorial Pacific. The forecast calls for no change for the next 7 days but with the west anomalies building in strength to moderate status in the west KWGA and east anomalies building to strong status on 5/28 in the east KWGA focused on the dateline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/22) A weak Active MJO pattern was building over the western KWGA today. The statistic model projects the Active Phase building to moderate strength over the KWGA and holding through day 10 of the model run then fading to weak status at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase weaker at days 5 and 10 building to moderate status at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/23) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Maritime Continent today and is to track east to the East Pacific by day 15 of the model run and at moderate strength. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase is to ease east while losing strength and weak over the East Maritime Continent on day 5, then rebuilding to moderate strength over the West Pacific 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): (5/22) A moderate Active Phase (wet air) was over the KWGA today and is to push east into Central America on 6/11. A modest Inactive Phase (dry air) is to be building over the KWGA on 6/3 pushing east to the East Pacific and over Central America on 6/23 while a second pulse of the Inactive Phase (dry air) builds over the far West KWGA on 6/16 making it to the Central Pacific and fading at the end of the model run on 7/1 while a new weak Active Phase builds in the west.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/22) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA today with moderate plus strength west anomalies mostly filling the KWGA.Solid east anomalies were on the dateline and filling the Eastern Pacific. The forecast indicates west anomalies holding and filling the KWGA through 6/1 then retrograding to 150E and holding over the Western KWGA there through the end of the model run on 6/19. East anomalies on the dateline are to fade by 5/24 then return at weak status on 6/4 holding from 150E and points east of there to the dateline through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (5/23 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): The Inactive Phase of the MJO was 85% of the way through traversing the KWGA today with a new Active MJO building over the far West KWGA and weak east anomalies mainly on the dateline and points east of there with west anomalies filling the bulk of the KWGA. The forecast indicates that east anomalies are to hold over the dateline into 5/30 then fade with modest west anomalies controlling the KWGA and the ACtive Phase of the MJO traverses the KWGA through 6/11. A second Active Phase is to develop directly after and holding through 8/1 with modest west anomalies controlling the western KWGA and east anomalies over the dateline and much of the East Pacific. And even when a weak Inactive Phase develops 8/3 through the end of the model run on 8/20, weak west anomalies are to prevail in the KWGA. No significant east anomalies are forecast filling the KWGA from today forward. 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 6/25. 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 the 170E on 6/25 and holding into early Aug, 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: (5/23) Today in the far West Pacific the 28 deg isotherm line was inching east to 153W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing the whole way across the equatorial Pacific and was 100 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +1 deg C are in the West Pacific indicative of a Kelvin Wave pushing east with +2 deg anomalies reaching across the Pacific from 145W and +3 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 5/18 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: (5/18) 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 150E extending east to 175E. 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: (5/22) 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 continuing but weak. A pocket of warm water was off Ecuador and Central America up to Southern Baja. Another weak pocket of warm water was off Chile and outer waters off Southern Peru. Overall this seems to indicate the late stages of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/22): A neutral temperature trend was along Peru and Ecuador out to the Galapagos. Weakly warming temps were over the equator from Ecuador to the Galapagos. There was no clear signs of an upwelling warm water event (yet).
Hi-res Overview: (5/22) Weakly warmer than normal waters were on the equator from 120W to the dateline and stronger east of the Galapagos into Ecuador. A generic area of warm water was west of Central America. A mix if generic cool and warm water was west of Peru. A very weak area of cool water was along the immediate coast of Peru and fading fast. La Nina appears to be in retreat but not gone.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/23) Today's temps were fading slightly at -0.877 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:
(5/23) Today temps were falling slightly at +0.017 after rising to +0.071 on 5/20), a recent peak high, beating the previous peak high 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 (5/23) - Actuals per the model indicate temps have been steadily rising from early Nov down at -1.25 degs, up to to -0.25 degs in mid-May. The forecast indicates temps rising to -0.05 degs in late June then starting a slow decline falling to -0.50 degs in mid-Oct and holding to mid-Jan before rising to -0.25 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) (5/23): The daily index was holding at 6.68. The 30 day average was falling to +6.35 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 +1.82, the lowest in a year. 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
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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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