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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:04 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 Fading in CA
Tasman Sea Storm Building


On Thursday, May 24, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea - winter)/Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor - summer): Testing with new buoy 233. Seas were 3.1 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 17.8 secs from 173 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 15.3 secs from 197 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 8-10 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.8 secs from 187 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.6 ft @ 15.5 secs from 201 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 3.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 213 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.5 ft @ 15.1 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 15.9 secs with northwest windswell 3.8 ft @ 13.9 secs from 260 degrees and southern hemi swell 3.7 ft @ 15.8 secs from 191 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 2-4 kts. Water temp 54.5 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 Thursday (5/24) in North and Central CA Gulf windswell was producing surf at head high and heavily textured with overcast and high fog. Protected breaks were shoulder high and soft but clean. At Santa Cruz Swell #1S was producing waves at shoulder to head high and clean and lined up but a bit on the slow side. In Southern California up north surf was waist high on the sets and clean and lined up but very slow. In North Orange Co southern hemi Swell #1S was still hitting producing waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and organized, but heavily textured from south wind. South Orange Country's best breaks had surf in the 1-2 ft overhead and clean but a bit warbled and particularly well organized. In North San Diego surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and closed out and heavily textured from south wind. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high and clean but with north warble running through it. The South Shore was small at waist high and clean but lined up. The East Shore was getting east 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 Thursday (5/24) southern hemi swell from Storm #1S previously southeast of New Zealand was past it's peak in California.This storm 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 nothing more than one small cutoff gale forecast southeast of New Zealand Sun-Mon (5/28) with 35 ft seas aimed north and then possibly redeveloping in the Central South Pacific Wed-Thurs (5/31) with 32 ft seas aimed north. But of more interest is the Tasman Sea where a solid gale is pushing north with seas in the 40 ft range targeting Fiji.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (5/24) weak swell from a gale previously in the Western Gulf that produced 18 ft seas aimed east at 45N 158W on Sun (5/20) was hitting exposed breaks in North CA. Otherwise a weak wind and pressure pattern was in control of the North Pacific generating no swell nor any windswell relative to Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours another weak swell is possible from a gale that developed over the North Dateline region Tues AM (5/22) with 30 kt west winds and 18 ft seas at 48N 170E. In the evening winds build to 35 kts from the west with seas building to 20 ft at 49N 174E aimed east. The gale faded Wed AM (5/23) with 30 kt west winds and seas fading from 20 ft at 50N 180W. The gale dissipated from there.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/28) with period 13 secs and size building through the day to 3.8 ft @ 12 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell fading overnight and buried in local windswell. Swell Direction: 307 degrees

No other swell production is forecast.


  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 Thursday AM (5/24) weak low pressure continued circulating off the Southern CA coast generating a light wind pattern that is to hold through the day. 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 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 25 kts over Pt Arena and Cape Mendocino. Monday (5/28) more high pressure builds ridging from north of Hawaii with north winds 25-30 kts from Cape Mendocino south to Pt Arena and and eddy flow south of there. Tuesday (5/29) the gradient builds with north winds 30 kts over North CA down to Pt Reyes with 10-15 kts north winds just over the coast of Central CA. More of the same on Wed and Thurs (5/31).

South Pacific

On Thursday AM (5/24) the southern branch of the jetstream was forming a steep trough lifting hard north pushing up into the Tasman Sea being fed by 130 kt winds then tracking over mid-New Zealand before falling/ridging hard south a bit east of New Zealand in into the deep 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 New Zealand on Sat (5/26) lifting steadily north being fed by only 90-100 kts winds pushing up to north New Zealand pushing east into the Southwest Pacific before falling hard south a bit east of there. Very limited support for low pressure development is possible in the trough through late Sun (5/27). Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (5/28) the southern branch of the jet is to tracking east across the South Pacific down at 70S except for a break in the flow forecast developing on Tues (5/28) over the Central Pacific with the jet lifting north some but winds only 90 kts perhaps supporting low pressure development. By Wed (5/30) the trough is to cut off with the jet again flowing west to east down at 68S across the width of the South Pacific no longer supporting gale formation and that pattern holding into Thurs (5/31).

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (5/24) swell from a solid gale that tracked northeast through the Southwest Pacific then redeveloped and lifted north through the Central Pacific was starting to fade 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 have developed providing potential for filtered swell energy eventually reaching Hawaii (see Tasman Sea Gale #1, 2nd Tasman Sea Gale, and 3rd Tasman Sea Gale below).


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 continue 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 building on Wed (5/30) to 2.0 ft @ 15-16 sec early (3.0 ft0. Swell fading Thurs (5/31) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 217 degrees


3rd Tasman Sea Gale
A stronger storm started developing on Wed AM (5/23) under Tasmania with a broad area of 45 kt southwest winds aimed northeast and seas 39 ft at 51S 149E aimed northeast. In the evening 40-45 kt southwest winds continued lifting northeast with 41 ft seas at 49S 152.5E. On Thurs AM (5/24) fetch regenerated some while lifting north into the core of the Tasman Sea at 45 kts and 41 ft seas at 44.5S 159E. The gale is to lift north on the evening with 35-40 kt south winds and seas 37 ft at 39S 163E aimed north. South fetch is to be fading in the evening from 30 kts and seas fading from 31 ft at 33S 168E just off the northwest most point of New Zealand. The gale to be gone after that. Large swell is expected for Fiji on Sun (5/27) (local time) with filtered swell radiating northeast towards Hawaii. 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 fading some Thurs (5/24) from 3.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (5/25) fading from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (5/26) fading from 2.2 ft @ 13 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 187-197 degrees

North CA: Swell holding on Thurs (5/24) at 3.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (5/25) fading from 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft). Dribbles on Sat (5/26) fading from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 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.

Local windswell relative to North/Central California is possible from a gradient/fetch forecast developing over Cape Mendocino on Mon (5/28) driven by high pressure at 1036 mbs in the Gulf of Alaska ridging east. this gradient is to produce 30 kt north winds pushing 35 kts later in the day over North California and holding if not building in areal coverage on Tuesday (5/29) and holding Wed (5/30) before fading some on Thurs (5/31). Windswell is expected to result.

East fetch is forecast also developing pushing into the Hawaiian Islands starting Wed (5/30) at 15+ kts over a decent sized area starting well east of the Islands and continuing on Thurs (5/31) resulting is easterly windswell relative to Hawaii. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast for the greater South Pacific.

The models continue suggesting formation of a gale a southeast of New Zealand on Sun PM (5/27) with 45 kt south winds and seas building to 33 ft over a small area aimed north at 48S 169W. On Mon AM (5/28) south fetch is to be fading in coverage from 45 kts aimed north with 34 ft seas over a tiny area aimed north. In the evening south fetch is to fade from 40 kts with seas barely 30 ft at 47S 161W. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

The gale is to redevelop east of it's original position on Wed PM (5/30) with 45 kt south winds and seas 30 ft at 50S 150W. On Thurs AM (5/31) fetch is to be fading from 40-45 kts from the south with 31 ft seas at 46.5S 150W aimed north.

More details to follow...


SST's Building Slightly Over the East 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 Wed (5/23) 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 moderate easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/24) 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 to light east anomalies building over the West KWGA on 5/27 and then building into the Central KWGA at the end of the model run on 5/31. 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 at the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (5/23) 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): (5/24) 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 moving into 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: (5/24) This model depicts a moderate Inactive Phase is over the West Pacific and is to be moving east to Central America on 6/13 while a new weak Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 6/3 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 7/3. 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 peaking over the KWGA with modest east anomalies in control of the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to hold through 6/1 but with weak east anomalies gone by 5/25 then turning to neutral anomalies and then to weak west anomalies by 6/1. The Active Phase to develop 6/1 holding with weak west anomalies holding if not building into 7/3 with modest west anomalies forecast in the KWGA and holding through 7/31 with west anomalies pushing into the moderate category. A very weak Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that on 8/6 holding through the end of the model run on 8/21 but with weak west anomalies still be in control of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 150W and forecast to hold for the foreseeable future. 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. The 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: (5/24) 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 5/22 and to 159W today from the surface to 75 meters deep with a finger 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 coast. 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 continuously to 105W with a few pockets east of there. 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: (5/23) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a pocket of cool anomalies are fading along the immediate coast of Peru with warm anomalies build in pockets along and just off the peruvian Coast. Weak warm anomalies are holding if not build some 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 (5/23): A warming trend is building over the equatorial Pacific from 80W west out to 135W 2 degs north and south of the equator. No defined cooling pockets are indicated anywhere on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (5/23) A tiny weak pocket of cool water was wisping along the immediate coast of Peru but not further and appears to be fading. 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: (5/24) Today's temps were rising slightly at -0.637, up from -0.819 two days earlier on 5/22, and that 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: (5/24) Today temps were holding at at -0.172, 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 (5/24) 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 0.20 degs in early June and rising July-Oct to +0.55 degs and +0.70 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 (5/24): The daily index was up some today at +4.54. The 30 day average was rising some at -1.20 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building some. The 90 day average was falling some at 5.262 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): (5/24) Today the index was falling some at -0.61, 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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Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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