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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 10:18 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
Swell Potential Rating = 3.0 - California & 3.0- 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 5/25 thru Sun 5/31

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

2 Modest Swells Hitting California
Swell #2S Queued Up - Pushing Towards Hawaii First

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.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2015 :

  • Buoy 51201 (Waimea): Seas were 4.8 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 7.5 secs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 15.0 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 16.0 secs. Wind north 4-8 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 0.8 ft @ 17.8 secs from 234 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.2 ft @ 16.8 secs from 219 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.7 ft @ 15.8 secs from 203 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 5.6 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 2.9 ft @ 15.7 secs. Wind southwest 6 kts nearshore. Water temp 54.5 degs.

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/26) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at waist to chest high and textured but rideable with some with sun poking through. Down in Santa Cruz waves were up to head high on the sets and clean coming from the south but gloomy. In Southern California up north surf was waist high with some bigger sets and clean but generally weak. Down south waves were chest high on the sets when they came coming from the south and clean with perhaps some light texture on top. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell in the waist to chest high range and warbled with sideshore winds. The South Shore was getting New Zealand swell with waves to head high at top spots and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting east windswell at waist high and nearly chopped from northerly winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific no swell was in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast for the next week. It's summer. Regarding windswell, trades were suppressed relative to Hawaii and are forecast to remain that way for the next week. Relative to California, high pressure generated north winds were suppressed except for a tiny area of 20 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino resulting in minimal north windswell at exposed breaks down into Central CA. And even that is to fade quickly ,with no other local windswell source forecast. From the southern hemisphere, a small gale passed under New Zealand on Fri (5/16) generating 34 ft seas aimed east. Small swell is starting to hit CA. That is mixing with leftover swell from a small gale developed on the edge of the South CA swell window on Sat-Sun (5/17) producing 26-28 ft seas aimed well north. Another gale developed pushing under New Zealand on Mon (5/18) with seas to 44 ft, but quickly fading. Swell from that system is hitting HI and starting to show on the buoys in CA. And another broad but modest strength system developing southeast of New Zealand on Mon (5/25) generating 40 ft seas aimed north-northeast. So more small swell is possible. But beyond that, there is nothing on the charts.   


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/26) weak low pressure was 1000 nmiles west of Central CA mostly suppressing high pressure in the Northeastern Pacific. Even so, there was a small pocket of high pressure at 1022 mbs just off British Columbia trying to ridge down the Pacific Northwest into North CA generating a mini-gradient resulting in 20 kts north winds over a tiny area near Cape Mendocino which was producing rideable north windswell pushing into exposed breaks in Central CA. Also tiny swell from what was Super Typhoon Dolphin was starting to show along the North and Central CA coast (for details see Tropical Update section below). Relative to Hawaii no trades capable of generated east windswell were indicated. 

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to remain suppressed along the California coast with weak low pressure holding if not easing east towards Central CA  into the coming weekend. No north winds of interest are forecast over Cape Mendocino offering no support to generate north windswell for North and Central CA. Relative to Hawaii trades to remain suppressed with no significant east windswell expected to result.

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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored. The GFS model suggests a system developing 1500 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas on Fri (5/29).  Not believable at this early date. 

What was Super Typhoon Dolphin had sustained winds up to 140 kts on Sat AM (5/16) tracking northwest positioned 900 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan. Dolphin held into the evening with winds to 140 kts (161 mph) turning north.  By Sun AM (5/17) winds were down to 125 kts tracking north and then northeast by Mon AM (5/18) with winds fading from 90 kts and seas 42 ft at 23N 139E. Dolphin started accelerating in the evening with winds getting less traction and seas fading from 35.9 ft @ 24N 140W. Dolphin steadily became absorbed by a broad low pressure system tracking off the Kuril Islands and North Japan on Wed (5/20) and loosing identity 24 hours later about half way to the dateline. There is some odds of small swell pushing towards Hawaii from a very westerly direction. But by Fri (5/22) this system was in the Bering Sea and fully shadowed by the Aleutian Islands, eventually fading out there.

North CA:  Swell started arriving on Tues (5/26) at 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 294 degrees. Swell building on Wed (5/27) at 3 ft @ 15 secs late (4.5 ft faces). Residuals on Thurs (5/28) fading from 3 ft @13 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 294-298 degrees

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/26) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was in the Northeast Gulf of Alaska ridging south along the US West Coast generating a weak pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino CA resulting in a small area of north winds at 20 kts there. Weaker winds at less than 10 kts were over Central CA nearshore waters. The gradient is to fade early Wednesday, then redevelop later with north winds 15 kts for all of North and Central CA continuing Thursday and Friday, then retreating some Saturday and near calm on Sunday (6/31) and Monday as low pressure near stationary well off the CA coast slowly starts easing east. Perhaps high pressure to get a toe in the door on Tues (6/2). 


South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (5/26) the jet was still pretty well .cgiit over the width of the South Pacific with the southern branch pushing north and forming a trough just east of New Zealand but with winds only 70 kts flowing up into it, providing no real fuel to support low pressure development down in lower levels of the atmosphere. East of the there the jet fell hard south pushing into Antarctica and tracking east over land into the far Southeast Pacific (east of the California swell window), finally lifting north at 100W but again only with winds 70 kts eventually turning tot he east and pushing into South America. The northern branch continued tracking east and positioned north of New Zealand generally tracking east on the 30S latitude line eventually running into Chile. Overall the jet was providing no real support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs (5/28) the ridge in the east is to evaporate. The jet is to be .cgiit over New Zealand but is to join into a single flow east of there up at 35N tracking east into Chile. A bit of a trough is to develop just east of the point where the two streams merge, but winds to be only 90-100 kts, offering little support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to try and hold together through Sat (5/30) but winds are to get progressively weaker offering no support for gale development. By Sun (5/31) the .cgiit flow over New Zealand is to build and push east eventually taking over the entire South Pacific by Tues (6/2) with the southern branch totally disconnected from the northern branch running flat west to east down at 70S offering no support for gale formation in lower levels of the atmosphere. 

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (5/26) swell from a weak gale previously under New Zealand was starting to show at buoys in CA (see Small New Zealand gale below). Residual swell from a broad but weak gale that previously was in the Southeast Pacific was fading in CA and will be of no interest by Wed (5/27). The leading edge of swell from a stronger storm previously south of New Zealand was peaking in Hawaii and starting to register at buoys in California (see Stronger New Zealand Storm below). And yet one more gale was tracking east from a point southeast of New Zealand (see Broad New Zealand Gale below). No other swell producing fetch was in.cgiay.  

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast other than the residuals from the Broad New Zealand Gale (see below) tracking east through the Southwest Pacific.


Small New Zealand Gale
On Fri AM (5/15) a small gale developed southwest of New Zealand producing 50 kt west winds with seas building from 32 ft at 58S 151E (218 degs CA but shadowed by New Zealand relative to HI). The Jason-2 satellite passed over the core of the fetch reporting a 15 reading average of 31.4 ft with a single reading to 36 ft where the model indicated 31 ft seas should be.  The model was right on track. In the evening the gale was fading fast with winds down to 45 kts from the west-southwest winds seas peaking at 35 ft at 58S 164E (215 degs CA and unshadowed, 200 degs HI). The satellite passed over the south edge of the fetch at 06Z Sat (5/16) and reported seas at 31.5 ft with one reading to 35.8 ft where the model suggested seas should be 30 ft. Again the model was on track.  Very small and inconsistent swell to result from HI and CA. 

California:  Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (5/26) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs by noon (2.5-3.0 ft).  A little more size expected on Wed (5/27) with swell to 2.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3 ft). Residuals on Thurs (5/28) fading from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215-216 degrees

Stronger New Zealand Storm
A gale started developing south of the Tasman Sea Sun AM (5/17) producing 50 kt west winds and 35 ft seas at 55S 156E (shadowed relative to HI by New Zealand, 221 degs CA). In the evening winds were up to 55 kts out of the southwest aimed northeast with seas building to 44 ft at 55S 166E (201 degs HI, 215 degs CA and unshadowed by Tahiti). At 06Z Mon (5/18) the Jason-2 satellite made a pass over the core of the fetch reporting a 15 reading max average of 44.7 ft with a single reading to 54.1 ft where the model projected 43 ft seas. If anything the model understated reality. By Mon AM (5/18) winds were fading fast but aimed well north-northeast at 40-45 kts with 39 ft seas at 52S 174E (196 degs HI, 215 degs NCal/SCal and unshadowed). Fetch was gone in the evening with seas from previous fetch fading from 32 ft at 52S 178W. The Jason-2 satellite made another pass at 06Z Tues(5/19) reporting seas at 32.0 ft with one reading to 37.2 where the model projected 29 ft seas. Again the model was on the low side. 

Hawaii:  Swell fading on Wed (5/27) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3 ft).  Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees. 

California:  Swell building on Wed AM (5/27) with period slowly dropping to 18 secs by 2 PM. Swell 1.7 ft @ 17-18 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell peaking Thurs AM (5/28) at 2.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees (218 degs SCal)    


Broad New Zealand Gale - Swell #2S (HI)
A broad fetch started developing under New Zealand on Fri PM (5/22) generating 40 kt southwest winds and starting to get traction resulting in 29 ft seas at 58S 155E. By Sat AM (5/23) that fetch became more defined with a solid area of 40 kt south-southwest winds developing with one patch to 45 kts embedded generating 32 ft seas aimed northeast over a modest sized area at 53S 165E (219 degs CA and barely on the 201 deg track to HI). 45 kt south winds continued in the evening lifting north with seas 31 ft over a tiny area at 52S 166E (219 degs CA, barely in the 201 degs window to HI). By Sun AM (5/24) this system started taking shape with fetch fading from 40-45 kts but now covering a solid if not large area aimed due north with 30 ft seas at 48S 167E tucked right up under the Southeast New Zealand coast and mostly obscured by land. The Jason-2 satellite passed over the fetch and reported at 15 reading average of 34.5 ft with one reading to 38.1 ft where the model suggested 31 ft seas. In the evening a secondary fetch built in the lows south quadrant at 45 kts aimed north with 32 ft seas redeveloping a bit to the east at 54S 177E again aimed north (195 degs HI, 212 degs NCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, 213 degs SCal and in the heart of the shadow). This system peaked on Mon AM (5/25) with fetch building over a moderate area aimed north at 45 kts with a a core to 50 kts from the south with seas to 34 ft at 50S 179E (195 degs HI, 213 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and still barely shadowed). Winds were  fading from 45 kts in the evening with seas peaking at 41 ft at 50S 177W (193 degs HI, 211 degs NCal and barely shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed). The Jason satellite passed just south of the core of the fetch at 02Z 5/26 reporting a 15 reading ave of 40.4 ft with one reading to 46.8 ft where the model projected 37-38 ft seas. The model was down.cgiaying it. On Tues AM (5/26) winds were dropping from 40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 36 ft at 48S 167W aimed northeast (186 degs HI, 207 degs NCal and shadowed, 210 degs SCal and barely shadowed). Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 45S 162W.     

This system has developed pretty decently, especially considering the lack of solid upper level support from the jet. Solid swell is expected tracking towards Tahiti and Hawaii, but less so for CA given shadowing from Tahiti. 

Hawaii:  Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/31) with period 19 secs early and building, pushing 3 ft @ 18-19 secs late (5.5 ft with bigger sets).  Swell building over night peaking Mon AM (6/1) at 3.6 ft @ 17 secs  (6.0 ft with sets to 7.5 ft -  excluding affects from favorable bathymetry). Swell still decent on Tues AM (6/2)  fading from 3.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 186-201 degrees focused on 195 degrees

California:  Expect swell arrival on Wed (6/3) near sunset with period 20 sec and size tiny if noticeable. Swell to start getting solid as period hits 18 secs on Thurs (6/4) near 3 PM. Swell to peak overnight into Fri AM (6/5) as period moves towards 17 secs.  Swell Direction: NCal 207-219 focused on 212 degrees, SCal 210-219 degs focused on 212 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 generation is forecast. Trades to remain suppressed in Hawaii and no north winds exceeding 15 kts are forecast along the California Coast suggesting no real high pressure is forecast. Weak low pressure is to hold off North and Central CA through Sun (5/31). 

Note: 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet. 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. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).

(1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data. 2nd paragraph where present is analysis data and is updated only as required).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) As of Tues (5/26) the daily SOI was holding at -0.60. The 30 day average was steadying at -17.10 (the most negative in years) and the 90 day average was rising from -9.96. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of steady Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady state Active Phase of the MJO or a building El Nino. A weak high pressure pattern was over Tahiti with stronger high pressure at 1024 mbs over Southeast Australia. By Thursday (5/28) falling pressure is to start building near Tahiti with low pressure developing by Sat (5/30) west of Tahiti while weaker high pressure starts building over Western Australia. The SOI might start falling some then. 

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak to modest westerly anomalies in.cgiay over the Maritime Continent fading to the weak category over the dateline then redeveloping south of Hawaii in the moderate category before fading to neutral near 135W. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated modest west anomalies over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area to the dateline, south of Hawaii and half way to the Galapagos. A week from now (6/3) a neutral wind anomaly pattern is to set up over the Eastern Maritime Continent with west anomalies developing in the moderate category over the dateline extending the rest of the way into the Galapagos.  This suggests the Active Phase (or at least continued westerly anomalies) is to be migrating east. A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May and now more west anomalies are to continue east of there and forecast pushing into the east equatorial Pacific. There has been zero easterly anomalies so far this year. This is a good sign. But more is needed, especially in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area.   

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/25 suggests a weak Inactive MJO signal was in the far West Pacific trying to reach towards the dateline. The Statistic model suggests this Inactive Phase is to hold it's ground and fade over the next 10 days, gone with a dead neutral pattern in.cgiay at 15 days out. The Dynamic model suggests the exact same thing with the Inactive Phase moving through the West Pacific but instead of fading, it is to build becoming moderate on the dateline 15 days out. If this outcome were to develop, it would not be good and could stall the development of El Nino. The ultra long range upper level model run on 5/26 depicts a small and fading Active MJO pulse over the extreme East Pacific moving east and over Central America on 5/30. A weak Inactive Phase was trying to build over the far West Pacific and forecast pushing steadily east peaking on the dateline on 6/10 at modest strength at best, then fading while tracking east and hitting Central America on 6/20. An even weaker Active pattern is to track east starting 6/15 reaching the East Pacific on 7/5. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

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.  

As of the most recent low-res imagery (5/25) a modest but more defined and building warm water/El Nino-like regime continues developing over the entire equatorial Pacific, getting a better grasp with each update. Warmer water is building over Ecuador and the Galapagos, steadily per the last 6 updates, the likely result of a new strong Kelvin Wave impacting the coast there. But it's development is still not striking, but getting closer. Warm water is also building solidly along the Peruvian coast pushing north up to the equator. Warmer water extends west from the Galapagos along the equator but only reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator near dateline, but expanding in coverage close to the South America Coast (down to 20S) and then again near the dateline. In comparison to last years massive Kelvin Wave which was hitting at this same time, the warming this year is looking much stronger. Compared to '97 (a super El Nino), it is similar if not slightly warmer near the Galapagos. TAO data indicates +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years. +1.5-2.0 deg anomalies are depicted advecting west from the Galapagos. Peak temps at +4-5 degs above normal. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps dipped for a week but are now back up to +1.0 above normal. One would expect this area to start warming markedly as the big Spring Kelvin Wave starts erupting and advecting west into the Nino3.4 area, starting about 5/28. Will be monitoring for this. 

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline are warming again, up to +2-3 degs C, the result of a WWB earlier in May. And more warm water is falling down into it from the surface. But the big story remains very warm anomalies under the equator in the East Pacific pushing up and east into the Galapagos and Ecuador. As of 5/26 this large pocket of +4-5 deg anomalies were impacting the Galapagos Islands driven by the extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 and additional strong westerly anomalies in March, feeding even more warm water into that Kelvin Wave. This Kelvin Wave is expected to start peaking over the Galapagos on 6/10. Peak water temps (anomalies > 4 degs C) still extend westward to 140W, meaning there is 3.5 weeks of peak warm water still in the pipe (into 6/15 maybe more). Also of interest is the apparent downwelling of more warm water on the dateline, the result of non-stop westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. that Kelvin Wave should arrive on Aug 10. Satellite data from 5/18 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 170E with a core to +10 cm in pockets from 140W to the Galapagos, indicative of an open pipe with an embedded solid Kelvin Wave. But this image definitively indicates the Kelvin wave is on the decline compared to previous data. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (5/18) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 168E and the Ecuador coast (expanding some) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 175E eastward (also expanding) and +1.5 deg anomalies from 148W eastward (holding). And a core of 2 deg anomalies are indicated from 92W eastward with a small pocket of 2.5 degs anomalies now rolling off the chart. This suggests the peak of the Kelvin Wave is impacting the coast. In short, a strong Kelvin Wave is impacting the Galapagos, and likely to peak in the next 1-2 weeks. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

It is do or die time. Either the ocean temps will warm significantly enough to kick off some degree of real El Nino, or it's more Modoki El Nino. We'll know more as we move into the expected peak warming, June 1-10. The good news is westerly anomalies are holding over the dateline, complete with previous tropical development north of the equator, suggestive perhaps of developing co.cgiing between the ocean and the atmosphere (in the classic El Nino sense). Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 5/22 continues to improve. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire equatorial Pacific with strongest velocity in the heart of the Kelvin Wave generation Area. Weaker velocities extended from the dateline to 110W, turning neutral near the Galapagos. A very weak easterly current was positioned 2-3 degrees south of the equator, weaker than 2 weeks ago. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific reaching to the dateline, then moving just north of the equator and continuing modestly to 110W. A pocket of easterly anomalies was present just south of the equator from 145W-170W. This continues to look like El Nino is setting up.

Compared to 1997 at this time, the pattern and strength is similar.  But in '97 the strongest anomalies were in the East Pacific near the Galapagos rather in the West Pacific.  Looking 30 days ahead, if any similarities to '97 are to be maintained, strong to massive west to east velocities and anomalies will need to develop by the end of June.

This data suggests a general west to east bias in the current suggesting warm water transport to the east. 

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model (PDF Corrected) run 5/26 for the Nino 3.4 region remain solid. It suggests water temps are at +1.0 deg C and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.4 degs C, and continuing to +1.8 degs by Oct and +1.9 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests that perhaps we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to perhaps a full blown El Nino, and strong at that. But it is too early to believe just yet. The same thing happened last year. The model is likely just picking up on the Kelvin Wave in flight, and will settle back down in July after it erupts over the Galapagos. Much more warm water would need to be transported east over the coming 6 months for a legit El Nino to develop (including surface warm water currently locked over the dateline), especially of the magnitude projected by the model (approaching the all time great '97 El Nino at +2.2 degs). The mid-May consensus Plume suggests development of El Nino with peak temps 1.2-1.5 degs above normal. See the chart based version here - link. 

Analysis: Mult.cgie downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts occurring late 2013 though 2014 in the West Pacific. Those Kelvin Waves warmed waters over the Eastern equatorial Pacific, but not sufficiently to declare an official El Nino until Feb 2015, and then very weak at that. Still some degree of teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere was in.cgiay with some greater force dictating the pattern (possibly the PDO).  The focus now becomes whether this warming and resulting teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). The real teller will be during the month of June. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are warming due to the arrival of a large Kelvin Wave currently in flight (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, then continued westerly anomalies and WWBs should continue through July-Sept and beyond, with a full scale El Nino developing. But if the cool upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle develops in mid-June, then it will likely be another year of the Modoki El Nino cycle. The real interesting thing is westerly anomalies and a certified WWB developed in early to mid May over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area indicating another Kelvin Wave is in development, much different than what occurred last year. But the Inactive Phase of the MJO is now trying to develop over the West Pacific (5/21), which already appears to be dampening the development of further westerly anomalies with the west winds anomaly pattern shifting to the equatorial East Pacific. The June to early July timeframe will either make or break development of a legit El Nino. If more WWBs develop, then odds of El Nino development increase. If not, then all the warm water that has moved east will effectively dissipate, much like it did in 2014. All the other signals (recurving early forming tropical systems, warm water along the US West Coast, falling SOI etc) all mean nothing unless there are solid WWBs to continuously build sea surface temp anomalies rover the Galapagos. In other words, the WWB are what drive El Nino, Everything else is symptoms.    

We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming East Pacific equatorial waters for the 2015 (meaning enhanced support for the jetstream and storm development in Fall/Winter 2015-2016). 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 


South Pacific

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

Details to follow...


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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