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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2015 10:14 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 & 4.0- 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 6/1 thru Sun 6/7

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   

Small South Swell Pushing Towards California
El Nino Building on Equator

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 Thursday, June 4, 2015 :

  • Buoy 165 (Barbers Point): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 15.8 secs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 16.0 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 16.5 secs. Wind northwest 3-6 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 1.0 ft @ 16.9 secs from 243 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.3 ft @ 16.8 secs from 220 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 3.0 ft @ 16.5 secs from 220 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 10.0 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 11.0 from the northwest and 2.5 ft @ 16 secs from the southwest. Wind northwest 17-21 kts offshore and 5-7 kts nearshore. Water temp 53.4 degs.


Current Conditions
On Thursday (6/4) in North and Central CA windswell was producing surf at chest high and chopped with whitecaps in.cgiay. Down in Santa Cruz southern hemi Swell #2S was producing waves at head high up to maybe 2 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up. In Southern California up north southern hemi swell was producing waves waist to chest high and textured. Down south waves were chest high with some bigger sets and clean, but textured or worse down into San Diego. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting leftovers of Swell #2S with waves waist to chest high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high and chopped from trades. 

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. 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 blowing over Cape Mendocino with the normal pressure gradient in.cgiay, producing local short period north windswell. It is expected to start fading Sat AM (6/6). No return of windswell projected until maybe Thurs (6/11). From the southern hemisphere, Swell #2S was fading out in Hawaii and the US West Coast. Beyond that, a weak and poorly organized gale tracked through the Southeast Pacific on Mon-Tues (6/2) generating up to 30 ft seas aimed northeast. Small swell to result for California early next week. Otherwise no swell producing fetch is forecast.     

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (6/4) high pressure at 1024 mbs was located 600 nmiles off Central CA producing the usual summertime pressure gradient over North California and northwest winds at near 30 kts there resulting in north angled short period windswell at exposed breaks. Relative to Hawaii trades were barely 15 kts locally but were up to 15 kts east of the Islands and extending up into the North CA pressure gradient, resulting in small waist high local east windswell. 

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to continue impacting mainly the North CA coast on Friday (6/5) continuing the gradient over Cape Mendocino with winds up to 30 kts there producing modest windswell for North and Central CA. But by Saturday the gradient is to start fading and winds shrinking in coverage and barely 25 kts holding into Monday (6/8). Small windswell to result for exposed breaks. Relative to Hawaii trades at 15 kts associated with the same high pressure system to try and hold on Friday (6/5), then drop out with easterly windswell all but gone by Saturday.     


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


Tropical Update
The remnants of what was Hurricane Andres were 750 nmiles south-southwest of Southern CA down to tropical storm status with winds 35 kts. No swell production is forecast with Andres down to Depression status in 24 hrs and dying. No swell to result. 

Hurricane Bianca was positioned 600 nmiles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Thurs AM (6/4) with winds 95 kts and starting to move north-northwest. Bianca is to peak Fri AM (6/5) with winds 105 kts and accelerating to the north-northwest with winds still 105 kts. Bianca is to hold this track while fading, positioned 120 nmiles west of Cabo San Mon AM (6/8) with winds down to 50 kts. At no time is Bianca expected to move into the Southern CA swell window.    

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/4) high pressure was generating the usual summer time pressure gradient and north winds at 25 kts over North and Central CA. The core of the gradient is to move north to Cape Mendocino on Friday with winds 30 kts while an eddy flow (south winds) develops for Central CA. the gradient and north winds to slowly start giving up ground Saturday AM with north winds fading from 25 kts and the eddy holding for Central CA. More of the same is forecast Sunday and Monday, before north winds fade to 20 kts for Cape Mendocino northward on Tues/Wed (6/10). The gradient is to start rebuilding Thursday at 25 kts with an eddy redeveloping for Central CA.  


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (6/4) the jet was well .cgiit south of Australia with the southern branch then lifting northeast under New Zealand forming a trough with winds 120 kts feeding up into it and offering some support for gale development. From there the southern branch dipped southeast forming a broad ridge that was blocking the entire Central and Southeast Pacific offering no support for gale development.  The northern branch was running flat west to east on the 30N latitude line, eventually impacting Southern Chile. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand trough is to weaken and wash out by Sat AM (6/6) no longer offering support for gale development, with the ridge east of it still in control if not building south into Antarctica further shutting down gale potential there. Beyond 72 hours a fully .cgiit jetstream flow is forecast taking over the entire South Pacific with the northern branch up at 32N and the southern branch falling from 50S under New Zealand to 65S over the Southeast Pacific, driving the storm track southeast into Antarctica through Tues (6.9). And beyond that a building ridge to take over the Central Pacific on Wed (6/10) locking it down further. But, a decent trough is forecast again building just south of New Zealand with winds pushing briefly north at 170 kts Wednesday, then fading Thurs (6/11) perhaps opening up a little opportunity to support gale formation.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (6/4) swell from Swell #2S was fading out in Hawaii and also fading some in California (see Broad New Zealand Gale below). Otherwise residual fetch from that gale had organized in the Southeast Pacific and generated additional swell (see Secondary SE Pacific Fetch below).And swell from a small gale in the Tasman Sea was hitting Fiji (see Tasman gale below). 

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast. 


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 a 15 reading average of 34.5 ft with one reading to 38.1 ft where the model suggested 31 ft seas. The model was undercalling it. 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. 

Southern California: Swell to continue fading Friday (6/5) from 1.9 ft @ 15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) and gone by Sat AM (6/6). Swell Direction: 210-219 degs focused on 212 degrees

North California: Swell to continue fading Friday (6/5) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft) and 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs Sat AM (6/6) (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 207-219 focused on 212 degrees

Secondary SE Pacific Fetch
Fetch from the original system above tracked east and started developing on Sun PM (5/31) producing 35-40 kt southwest winds and 27 ft seas over a small area at 35S 123W. A more defined area of 35-40 kt southwest fetch developed Mon AM (6/1) generating 27 ft seas at 41S 135W aimed well to the northeast continuing into the evening with winds still 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft at 38S 127W but aimed more easterly. More 35 kt southerly fetch continued Tues AM (6/2) generating 30 ft seas at 38S 122W, then dissipating in the evening while pushing out of the CA swell window. 

Small 15 sec period swell is expected somewhat targeting California but mainly Central America down into Peru.

Southern CA:  Expect swell arrival on Mon (6/8) at 3 ft @ 17 secs early (5.0 ft) building to 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs late (5.5 ft). Swell holding on Tues (6/9) at 3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft) fading from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft) on Wed (6/10). Swell Direction: 185-194 degrees     

North CA:  Expect swell arrival on Mon (6/8) building to 2.8 ft @ 17-18 secs late (5.0 ft) peaking on Tues (6/9) at 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft).  Swell fading Wed (6/10) from 3.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 183-192 degrees  

Tasman Gale
A small gale formed in the Tasman Sea on Mon PM (6/1) generating 40-45 kt south winds aimed due north with seas on the increase from 24 ft at 37S 162E targeting Fiji directly. Fetch peaked at 45 kts overnight then was fading Tues AM (6/2) from barely 45 kts with seas barely 33 ft at 36.5S 165.5E.  This system was gone by evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas dropping from 24 ft at 34S 168E targeting Fiji. 

Fiji: Swell to peak Fri AM (6/5) Fiji Time at 8.4 ft @ 15 secs (12.5 ft). Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft) Sat AM (6/6).  Swell Direction: 200-210 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 the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient is to fade out completely by Tues (6/9) with no windswell resulting. It is forecast to start rebuilding on Thurs (6/11) isolated to North CA with winds 25 kts perhaps starting to generate small weak windswell.  

Relative to Hawaii trades to remain suppressed (not exceeding 15 kts) with no east windswell forecast.

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 Thurs (6/4) the daily SOI was falling from 1.10. The 30 day average was rising from -12.52 and the 90 day average was rising from -9.16. 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 weak El Nino. A building pressure pattern is expected over Southeast Australia starting Fri  (6/5) through the weekend  while a weak low is to build south of Tahiti falling south likely resulting in a few days of falling SOI numbers. Then next week high pressure is to start building south of Tahiti with another building high pressure system forecast south of Australia by Tues (6/9) into Friday. Neutral SOI numbers expected.

Current equatorial surface wind analysis (per 850 mb charts - really 4,000 ft up) indicated weak easterly anomalies in.cgiay over the Western Maritime Continent with neutral anomalies over the Eastern Maritime Continent reaching over the dateline. Westerly anomalies developed on the dateline building to the moderate category south of Hawaii and holding to a point over the Galapagos Islands. Down at the surface the TOA array (hard sensors reporting with a 24 hr lag) indicated modest west anomalies over the Western Kelvin Wave Generation Area, building to moderate strength on the eastern edge over the dateline, continuing south of Hawaii and half way to the Galapagos (better than what the 850 mb model suggested). This is very good news. In fact, legit west winds were in the Western Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) per TAO. A week from now (6/11) weak west anomalies to a dead neutral pattern is to set up over the Maritime Continent with neutral anomalies continuing over the dateline and holding to almost the Galapagos with one small patch of westerly anomalies over the Galapagos. This suggests the Active Phase (or at least the area of westerly anomalies) is to be gone, migrating east and almost off the charts. Interesting but the GFS model at the surface suggests a small area of east winds near New Guinea at 14 kts Fri-Sun (6/7), then a dead calm wind pattern takes over the whole of the KWGA into Fri (6/12), suggesting at least continued westerly anomalies. So there is some disagreement as to what might transpire. A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May with weaker but still solid anomalies continuing into late May while easing east out of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. There has been zero easterly anomalies so far this year, with good westerly anomalies still in.cgiay as of 6/4 (latest TAO data). Still more westerly anomalies are needed, especially in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area if a legit El Nino is to develop. The good news is that the 850 mb forecast charts appear, at least at this time, to not be reflecting what's really occurring at the surface.      

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 6/3 suggests a moderate Inactive MJO signal was over the West Pacific almost reaching the dateline. The Statistic model suggests this Inactive Phase is to slowly fade over the next 10 days, gone with a dead neutral pattern in.cgiay at 15 days out and an Active Phase building in the Indian Ocean easing east. The Dynamic model is more troubling suggesting the Inactive Phase is peaking and is to hold 5 days out, then starting to decay but still in control 15 days out with a very weak Active Phase trying to develop in the Indian Ocean. This would not be a good thing and would suggest the atmosphere is not as co.cgied from a ENSO perspective as some might think and could stall the development of El Nino. The truth at the surface will be know in the next week (by 6/10). The ultra long range upper level model run on 6/4 is picking up on this trend depicting a moderate Inactive Phase building over the far West Pacific 6/7 and forecast pushing steadily east peaking on the dateline 6/14 at moderate strength, then fading while tracking east and hitting Central America on 6/25. A weak Active pattern is to develop over the far West Pacific starting 6/24 taking over the equatorial Pacific and easing east through 7/14. The issue is we have to survive what is looking like development of the Inactive Phase of the MJO over the next 1-2 weeks. This could be a signal for the upwhelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave lifecycle (an atmospheric component of what is typically thought of as purely a oceanic pattern). 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 (6/4) first impressions indicated a moderate and well defined warm water/El Nino-like regime is in.cgiace and building over the entire equatorial Pacific. This area took a step upwards starting 5/25 and is currently holding. Warmer water stalled it's buildup over Ecuador and the Galapagos per the 5/25 image, suggesting the most current Kelvin Wave impacting the coast has peaked out. Todays image depicts a bit broader coverage near the Galapagos compared to the past 5-10 days, but not warmer. Warm water is in.cgiace along the Peruvian coast, then extends west from the Galapagos along the equator reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator near dateline, no longer expanding in coverage close to the South America Coast (down to 20S). Compared to last year at this time when a similar large Kelvin Wave was impacting the Ecuador Coast, water temps are warmer now, both along the Galapagos and advecting west, but not strikingly so. In the latest image, cool water has now started developing along West Africa and advecting west along the equator there. In the past we've used this as a sign of impending Inactive Phase upwelling in the Galapagos area. But that approach works only during normal MJO Phases. Now compared to the '97 Super El Nino, todays image indicates water temps are similar, though slightly weaker and with slightly less coverage near the Galapagos. But the cold water African signature is also present in the '97 image, though markedly stronger. We believe this reverse signal in the Atlantic this year is a good sign, suggesting a global scale atmospheric component to this years event, something not present last year. It is the permanent set up of a Inactive like Phase over Africa and a semi permanent Active State over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area tracking slowly east that we are looking for. 

TAO data indicates +1.5 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years, presumably advecting west from the Galapagos covering the entire area west to the dateline. There are embedded 2 deg anomalies at 110W and south of Hawaii. Even more interesting is that the broad pocket of warm water that have been camped out on the dateline for a year now is starting to migrate east, currently centered at 160W.  This is a key component of El Nino, The migration east not only subsurface waters, but also surface waters forced by continued anomalous westerly winds pushing across the dateline. 

The most recent hi-res data (6/2) indicates peak temps between the Galapagos and Ecuador are rebounding some, back to +4.4-4.5 degs above normal. They peaked on 5/23 at +4.59 then fell to +4.1 degs near 5/26. All this per one virtual station near the Galapagos. But the hi-res satellite data tells the broader story, specifically the coverage of those waters. See the coverage on May 24 versus June 3. Coverage of the warmest waters are down in the Galapagos. But that is not a bad thing. It presumably means some of that warmth is being transported west by trades. The CDAS Nino 1+2 index reflects this well also, peaking at +2.3 degs on 5/23 bottoming out at +0.55 degs June 1, and now climbing back at +0.95. The Nino 1.2 area is not of prime concern, and is very volatile and noisy. Though it is the source of much warm water (erupting Kelvin Waves), it is the Nino 3.4 region that is the hallmark indicator of El Nino, covering far more area and therefore having a greater impact on the atmosphere. Think of Nino1.2 as an early indicator only. And as warm water from the second Kelvin Wave impacts the Galapagos, temps should spike again. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps are +1.1 degs above normal and have been holding relatively steady since 4/19. One would expect this area to start warming markedly as the current big Kelvin Wave starts advecting west into the Nino3.4 area, starting about 5/28. We'll be monitoring for that outcome. 

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline (160-180W) have warmed, up to +2-3 degs C, the result of a WWB in early May. And more warm water is downwelling from the surface, the result of ongoing westerly anomalies. So the pipe is open. 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 6/4 a large pocket of +4-5 deg anomalies were impacting the Galapagos Islands driven by the extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 with additional strong westerly anomalies in March. This Kelvin Wave was expected to peak over the Galapagos anywhere from 5/28-6/10. We believe that peak occurred on 5/24 (see surface analysis above). Peak subsurface water temps (anomalies > 4 degs C) have actually expanded their coverage to the west (western extent moving from 137W to 155W - not trivial). This suggests there are not weeks but perhaps 2 months of warm water still in the pipe (into 7/28). This expansion of the subsurface warm pool is the result of the second WWB in May now starting to merge with the first Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-March. And more warm water is downwelling on the dateline, the result of westerly anomalies that have been in.cgiay since the May WWB in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. This second Kelvin Wave should peak on Aug 1. 

Satellite data from 5/28 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 165E with a core to +10 cm in 3 broad pockets, one at 170W, the second between 100W-150W and the third from 95 into and over the Galapagos. All this is indicative of a wide open pipe with mult.cgie embedded and merging Kelvin Waves. This is the classic El Nino setup. And not just a run-of-the-mill El Nino. 

The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (5/28) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 172E and the Ecuador coast (holding) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 178E eastward (holding) and +1.5 deg anomalies from 155W eastward (expanding). But no 2+ deg anomalies are indicated. The peak of the Kelvin Wave has impacted the Ecuador Coast and the next wave or warming is building behind. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

Pacific Counter Current data as of 6/2 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 100W, turning neutral near the Galapagos. This is an expansion from the last update. A very weak easterly current was positioned 3 degrees south of the equator, an irrelevant. Anomaly wise - moderate to strong west anomalies were in control on the equator over the far West Pacific, with steady west anomalies pushing over the dateline, then moving just north of the equator near 140W  and continuing modestly to 100W (near the Galapagos). A pocket of easterly anomalies was present just south of the equator near 135W. This continues to look like El Nino is setting up but does not compare to west velocities and anomalies that were raging near 170W in the '97 El Nino at this time. 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 start developing in the next 2 weeks (unlikely).

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

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model (PDF Corrected) run 6/4 for the Nino 3.4 region remain solid. It suggests water temps are at +1.0 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.4 degs C, and continuing to +1.75 degs by Oct and +1.9 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to a full blown moderate.cgius El Nino, and solid 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. The mid-May consensus Plume suggests development of a modest 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 (likely the PDO). The focus now becomes whether this warming and teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are now out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). June will reveal what is to come, be it a weak El Nino or something stronger. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are generally warming and advecting warmer waters over the entire equatorial Pacific due to the arrival of a building Kelvin Wave (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, which we suspect is already the case given cooling temps off Africa, 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. Per the models the Inactive Phase of the MJO is now trying to develop over the West Pacific (5/21), but surface data from TAO does not indicate any impact, yet. But there tends to be a delayed reaction between the OLR models and surface wind impacts.   

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. But as of right now the scales are tipped in favor of El Nino. A si.cgie glance a the SST Anomaly charts can tell that.  Peak warming from the first big Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-March has hit. Westerly anomalies are holding over the dateline at the surface (regardless what the 850 mb charts and OLR models suggest), 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). And east anomalies previously forecast at 850 mbs over the coming week is backing off per the models. Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season. And two early season hurricanes (Andres and Bianca) formed in the East Pacific with Andres topping out at 125 kts (145 mph). But these are symptoms of previous warm water in that area co.cgied with westerly anomalies over the equator in that area, and not a signal of anything new developing. 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 over the Galapagos feeding the Nino3.4 region into November. In other words, the WWB are what drive El Nino. Everything else is symptoms.  The focus continues to be the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and the presence of surface westerly anomalies and whether the Kelvin Wave hitting Ecuador actual manifests itself with an expanding area of warming surface waters in the Nino 3.4 Area. The real good news is the Kelvin Wave is expanding, starting to fill the East Pacific subsurface reservoir. The bigger, and warmer the better. This is required for a legit El Nino to develop.

We are out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier and the Nino regions have emerged stronger and with much warm water in the subsurface pipe. We are supposedly moving towards the peak of an Inactive MJO phase in the next week per the models, but so far there is no surface data to suggest a cessation of westerly anomalies. It seems we should be able to make a reasonably confident call by June 15 for the coming Fall, assuming the Inactive Phase of the MJO does not come to fruition. But if it does, and the cool water off Africa is really a signal of something more ominous rather than a symptom of atmospheric co.cgiing, then much of the ground gained so far this year will be lost and we'll be back where we were last year, in Modoki territory. The next 2 weeks are critical. But if the forecast charts start depicting the rapid demise of the Inactive Phase, then the answer will be apparent.     

e continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming of East Pacific equatorial waters for Sept-Dec 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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