Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - 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).
Summer - 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.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
- Buoy 165 (Barbers Point): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 12.3 secs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 14.0 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 14.2 secs. Wind southeast 4-6 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 0.8 ft @ 12.8 secs from 234 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.0 ft @ 14.4 secs from 203 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.9 ft @ 14.2 secs from 191 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 5.6 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 12.6 secs. Wind southwest 2-4 kts. Water temp 58.1 degs.
On Thursday (6/11) in North and Central CA windswell was producing surf at waist high.cgius on the sets and clean but foggy. Down in Santa Cruz fading southern hemi swell was producing waves at maybe waist high and clean. In Southern California up north fading southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist high and clean but weak. Down south waves were waist high textured with cross lump and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was small with sets in the thigh high range and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves thigh high and chopped from trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
For the North Pacific a small gale tracked east just south of the Eastern Aleutians on Tues (6/9) generating small swell pushing mainly towards the US West Coast for the weekend. Regarding windswell, trades were generally suppressed relative to Hawaii offering no windswell generation potential. Relative to California, high pressure generated north winds started blowing again today, isolated to Cape Mendocino, ad starting to produce minimal local short period north windswell down into Central CA. Those winds and resulting windswell to continue if not build, holding into Sunday AM (6/14). From the southern hemisphere no real swell was in the water. A gale tracked southeast under New Zealand on Tues (6/9) with up to 38 ft seas, but all aimed southeast with little energy tracking northeast towards our forecast area. A better gale remains on the charts forecast to develop in the same area Fri-Sun (6/14) but tracking northeast up long the east coast of New Zealand with seas to maybe 36 ft. Possible small southern hemi swell to result.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (6/11) no swell producing fetch capable of generating period of 13 sec or greater was occurring. But modest high pressure at 1028 mbs was located 1in the Gulf of Alaska ridging towards the Pacific Northwest producing the usual summertime pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino generating a small area of north winds at 30 kts there resulting in increased production of north angled short period windswell at exposed breaks down into North and Central CA. Relative to Hawaii, winds from that gradient were trying to build southwest towards the Islands in the form of trades, but only reaching half way towards the Islands offering no support for windswell production.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to building to 1036 mbs pushing towards Oregon on Fri (6/12) producing a stronger version of the gradient over Cape Mendocino with winds building to 35 kts there and holding till Sun AMt (6/14) producing modest north windswell with a bit longer period than usual reaching down into exposed breaks of North and Central CA while an eddy flow holds south of Pt Arena. But by Sunday the gradient is to collapse and fall south with 20 kt north winds building down into the San Francisco area and 15 kts to Pt Conception, with windswell size and period dropping and conditions deteriorating. Relative to Hawaii trades are to remain below the 15 kt threshold with no windswell of interest expected to be generated for exposed breaks on the East Shores of Hawaii.
Tiny Aleutian Gale
On Monday PM (6/8) a small gale developed over the Central Aleutians producing a small fetch of 35 kt west winds and seas to 21 ft at 50N 171W aimed east. On Tuesday AM (6/9) that gale tracked over the Eastern Aleutians generating more 35 kt west to southwest winds just south of there over exposed waters generating 23 ft seas at 51N 164W aimed mainly at British Columbia. Winds faded from 30 kts in the evening with seas fading from barely 20 ft at 53.5N 159W.
Small northwest swell possible for North CA starting late Fri (6/12) after dark pushing 4 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft) Sat AM (6/13) though shadowed in the SF Bay area. Swell Direction: 305 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Tropical Storm Carlos developed Thurs AM (6/11) with winds 35 kts positioned 150 nmiles south-southwest of Acapulco Mexico. Carlos is forecast to slowly build while drifting north reaching hurricane strength Sat AM (6/13), then turning northwest and strengthening minimally to 75 kts on Tues (6/16), 150 nmiles south of Puerto Vallarta and still a long ways from the Southern CA swell window.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/11) high pressure was generating the usual summer time pressure gradient and north winds at near 30 kts over North CA with an eddy flow (south winds) in control over Central CA. More of the same is forecast with the gradient building later Thursday to 35 kts still isolated to Cape Mendocino with the eddy continuing for Central CA and holding through Sun (6/14) and theoretically helping to rebuild warm surface waters along all the CA coast. Upwelling is to be suppressed. But by Sunday PM the gradient is to start fall south with north winds taking over Central and North CA waters at 20 kts Monday AM continuing through Thurs (6/18), with water temps taking the commensurate hit.
On Thursday AM (6/11) the southern branch of the jet for the most part was tracking zonally west to east-southeast, .cgiit from the northern branch, moving from a point south of New Zealand into Antarctic Ice in the far Southeast Pacific. A weak trough was trying to develop just east of New Zealand, but was being undercut offering no support for gale development. No other troughs were present. The northern branch was running flat west to east up at 25S, eventually pushing into Chile. Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs PM (6/11) a new trough is forecast developing just east of New Zealand with 140 kt winds pushing well to the north with the trough easing east and winds fading to 100 kts on Sat AM (6/13) steadily fading but covering a broad area. The trough is to hold just southeast of New Zealand into Monday (6/15) getting better organized but with winds only 70 kts offering little in terms of support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to get cut off with a .cgiit flow returning with no troughs forecast through Thurs (6/18).
On Thursday (6/11) no swell of interest was in the water. A gale previously tracked under New Zealand on Tues (6/9) but was falling southeast offering no support for swell development. Details provided below (1st New Zealand Gale).
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing south of New Zealand on Thurs PM (6/11) generating 50-55 kt south winds over a small area with seas on the increase. By Fri AM (6/12) a decent sized fetch of 50-55 kt south winds are to be holding while easing east generating 37 ft seas at 59S 169E. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds to be lifting northeast and loosing coverage generating 36 ft seas over a small area at 55S 172E. 40-45 kt southwest winds to be pushing hard northeast Sat AM (6/13) with 34 ft seas at 51S 179E. 40 kt southwest winds to be holding in the evening with 32 ft seas at 47S 173W aimed decently to the northeast. Residual 40-45 kt west fetch holding into Sun AM (6/14) with 32 ft seas at 49S 174W. This system is to be gone after that. If all is to develop exactly as forecast some decent swell would result for Hawaii and less so for the US West Coast. Something to monitor as this system has continued to hold on the charts for days now.
1st New Zealand Gale
A gale develop under Tasmania on Mon (6/8) falling southeast and was clearing the New Zealand shadow Tues AM (6/9) producing 45 kt west-northwest winds and 39 ft seas over a tiny area at 53S 168E (200 degs HI and barely unshadowed by NZ, 217 degs NCal & SCal). The fetch continued falling southeast in the evening with 45 kt west to west-northwest winds remaining and seas fading some from 36 ft at 56S 179E (192 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and shadowed and barely shadowed relative to NCal). 40 kt west winds held into Wed AM (6/10) resulting in 33 ft seas at 58S 172W before crashing into the Ross Ice Shelf in the evening. Low odds of any swell resulting seeing how the fetch in this system was all aimed east to southeast and the core of the gale falling in that direction too. Minimal odds of sideband swell radiating northeast towards the US West Coast and even less odds for Hawaii. Will monitor.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient is forecast fading on Mon (6/15) with it's core over Pt Arena producing barely 25 kt north winds. It is to hold in that position and strength with 20 kt northwest winds down to Pt Conception through Thurs (6/18) producing limited short period north windswell with poor conditions. The net effect is to be a resurgence of upwelling and colder nearshore water temps for Central CA.
Relative to Hawaii no trades exceeding the 15 kts threshold are forecast until (6/18) when a minor gradient builds over the ISlands and just east of there resulting in 15 kt easterly trades and perhaps minimal east short period windswell.
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 (6/11) the daily SOI was falling from -3.20. The 30 day average was rising from -4.22 and the 90 day average was rising from -7.67. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of fading Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a slowly fading Active Phase of the MJO or a building weak El Nino. A high pressure system at 1032 mbs was over Southeast Australia while a gale low was falling south of Tahiti likely resulting in falling SOI numbers into Fri (6/12). But beyond a weakening high pressure pattern is forecast for Australia while weak high pressure builds near Tahiti into Tues (6/16) with rising SOI numbers suggested. Weak low pressure is to again build south of Tahiti by Thurs (6/18).
Current equatorial surface wind analysis per 850 mb charts (4,500 ft up) indicated weak westerly anomalies were in.cgiay over the Maritime Continent with weak easterly anomalies over the dateline fading to neutral south of Hawaii on into the Galapagos Islands. Down at the surface the TOA array (hard sensors reporting with a 24 hr lag) indicated weak easterly anomalies isolated to 145E (in the Western Kelvin Wave Generation Area - KWGA), but with west anomalies developing at 165E building to moderate strength on the dateline, continuing south of Hawaii and fading to neutral holding all the way to the Galapagos. The Inactive Phase of the MJO was having a minimal impact on what was omnipresent westerly anomalies in the western Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Still, the erosion was not troubling with westerly anomalies holding east of there. A week from now (6/19) a dead neutral pattern is to set up over the Maritime Continent with light west anomalies continuing over the dateline to a point south of Hawaii. Light east anomalies are forecast 1/2 way to the Galapagos, then neutral anomalies continuing into the Galapagos. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO, at least from a wind anomaly perspective, is to have a fading influence over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area and is to be moving east. The sooner the better. The GFS model (surface) suggests a small area of east winds fading near New Guinea and also over the dateline at 14 kts. But by Fri AM (6/12) those areas to dissipate with a dead calm wind pattern taking over the whole of the KWGA and expanding the week beyond. Based on the models, whatever opportunity there is for east anomalies to develop is effectively gone. Now we need west anomalies to develop, and that is expected once dead air takes over the KWGA (which is effectively westerly anomalies relative to normal for that area where trades should be blowing). The exact size and strength of those anomalies is TBD but the 2 week GFS suggests a dead neutral surface wind pattern taking hold of the KWGA. A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May with weaker but still solid west anomalies continuing into late May while easing east out of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. West anomalies have held through 6/10 (per TAO data) with zero easterly anomalies so far this year. More westerly anomalies are needed, especially in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area if a legit El Nino is to develop. The good news is the GFS and other models project what is believed to be westerly anomalies starting a day out and holding for the foreseeable future. Will believe it when it happens but it is encouraging.
See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.
The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 6/10 suggest a modest Inactive MJO signal was over the West Pacific reaching almost to Central America. The Statistic model suggests this Inactive Phase is to fade over the next 5 days, gone with a dead neutral pattern 8 -10 days out with an Active state building in the West Pacific and taking over 15 days out. The Dynamic model depicts the exact same thing in regards to the Inactive Phase, but fading to a dead neutral pattern 8 days out and holding 15 days out. The dynamic model, if realized suggests 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 known in the coming days through 6/16. The ultra long range upper level model run on 6/11 depicts a modest Inactive Phase fading over the East equatorial Pacific tracking east and all but gone by 6/28, much quicker than previous projections. A weak Active pattern is already developing over the far West Pacific tracking east over the equatorial Pacific through 7/21 with a weak Inactive Phase developing in the west starting 7/11. Until we see westerly anomalies redeveloping in the West Pacific (hopefully in the next 1-2 days) we will not declare that we have survived the Inactive Phase of the MJO. This could have been a potential catalyst for development of an impending upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave lifecycle, which could have stalled the developing El Nino. It all depends what surface winds do in the next 2 days. If westerly anomalies redevelop in the KWGA, then we are golden and El Nino is in.cgiay. If not, then El Ninos strength for the future will come into doubt. 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 (6/11) first impressions continue indicating a moderate and well defined warm water/El Nino-like regime in.cgiace and building over the entire equatorial Pacific.The most recent image depicts a slowly building broader coverage near the Galapagos over the last 15 days, but not warmer, just broader. But warmer water is building steadily west of there in the Nino 3.4 region from south of California to the dateline 2-3 degree north and south of the equator, presumably advecting west from the Galapagos area. Warm water continues in.cgiace along the Peruvian coast. Cool water continues building it's coverage along and west of West Africa. 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. Compared to the '97 Super El Nino, today's image indicates the warm water temps pattern is very similar, though slightly stronger over the Nino 3.4 region (impressive). The cold water African signature is also present in the '97 image, though stronger, though 2015 appears to be rapidly catching up. 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 West Africa and a semi permanent Active State over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area tracking slowly east, and high pressure locked over Southeast Australia 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 is an embedded area of nearly +2 deg anomalies 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 (6/11) indicates peak temps between the Galapagos and Ecuador are rebuilding, all that while presumably advecting west. Still a peak single pixel station reading at the Galapagos peaked at 4.65 degs above normal on both 6/4 and 6/7, and was 4.62 today, averaging +4.5 degs above normal. These recent reading eclipse the peak on 5/23 at +4.59 and area getting more consistent. The hi-res satellite data tells the broader story, specifically the coverage of those waters. See the coverage on May 24 versus June 3 and June 11. Coverage of the warmest waters was down some over the Galapagos but now holding steady. And that is not a bad thing. It just 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 quickly to +2.2 degs on 6/11. 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 slowly but steadily rising, at +1.3 degs above normal yesterday but dipping to 1.2 degs today. One would expect this area to start warming as the current big Kelvin Wave starts advecting west into the Nino3.4 area, starting about 5/28. It appears to be doing just that in fits and starts.
Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator under the dateline (160-180W) have cooled a little, or at least tracked east some (as one would expect), still 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 6/11 a significant reorganization is in-flight with +5 deg anomalies impacting the Galapagos Islands, up from a week ago. And a large pool of +5 degs anomalies is building from 140W to Ecuador. Most impressive. This pocket is a mixture of warm water driven by an extended WWB that occurred Jan-March.cgius water from an additional WWB in early May. The first 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 152W - 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 continues downwelling on the dateline, the result of westerly anomalies that have been in.cgiay since the May WWB in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area to 6/5. This second Kelvin Wave should peak on Aug 1.
This is exactly how the '97 El Nino.cgiayed out, with not individual Kelvin Waves impacting the coast, but a huge pool of warm water developing at this time of year in the East Pacific creating a continuous upwelling of warm water off Ecuador, with continuous westerly anomalies in the KWGA feeding yet more warm water into that subsurface pool for 6+months. This is a significant development.
Satellite data from 6/7 has upgraded significantly. It depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 170E with a core now to +15 cm between 115-145W. All this is indicative of a wide open pipe with embedded and merging Kelvin Waves forming into a large subsurface reservoir. This is a classic major El Nino setup, not a standard El Nino.
The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (6/7) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 175E and the Ecuador coast (holding) with +1.0-1.5 degs from 175W eastward (loosing a little ground). But +1.5 deg anomalies are expanding significantly from 120W now to 162W. And +2 deg anomalies are holding between 120-150W. The first Kelvin Wave has impacted the Ecuador Coast and the next wave of warming is building behind looking every bit as strong. This is a very good sign. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here.
Pacific Counter Current data as of 6/7 continues to improve. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire equatorial Pacific with strongest velocity filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area over the dateline to a point south of Hawaii. Weaker velocities extended from Hawaii to the Galapagos. This is an expansion from the last update. No easterly current of interest is present. Anomaly wise - moderate west anomalies were in control on the equator over the far West Pacific, reaching over the dateline and south of Hawaii to a point just east of the Galapagos both north and south of the equator. This continues to look like a significant 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. In '97 the anomalies and current were more concentrated, suggesting stronger westerly wind anomalies. Looking 30 days ahead (7/5), 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. We're starting to think that is actually possible. 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 6/11 for the Nino 3.4 region remain unchanged. It suggests water temps are at +1.2 deg C (confirmed) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +1.3 degs C, and continuing to +1.8 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, maybe bordering on the strong side. But it is too early to believe just yet. The model overhyped it last year, then the atmospheric picture collapsed in June. Much more warm water would need to be transported east over the coming 5 months for a moderate to strong 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 moderate El Nino with peak temps 1.2-1.5 degs above normal. See the chart based version here - link.
Analysis: In late 2013 into 2014 mult.cgie downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts 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. Those were in effect primers to help move the atmosphere out of a perpetual La Nina biased pattern that had been in.cgiay for the past 15 years. 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 warming solidly and advecting warmer waters west over the entire equatorial Pacific due to the arrival of the first of two 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 creating another Kelvin Wave, much different than what occurred last year. And westerly anomalies continue to date. The latest subsurface anomaly charts have pretty much confirmed that too as of 6/2 data with a large reservoir of warm water now lodged just west of the Galapagos and continuously erupting. Per the models the Inactive Phase of the MJO has peaked over the West Pacific, but surface data from TAO does not indicate any significant impact, yet. And the models are now suggesting a total collapse of trades in the equatorial West Pacific in the next 24 hours. But we will remain cautious.
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 this week have not developed. Two tropical system in the West Pacific (Noul and Dolphin) have recurved northeast, and early in the season. And two early season hurricanes formed in the East Pacific with Andres topping out at 125 kts (145 mph) and Blanca at 115 kts (133 mph). And a third is in development. 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 sub 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 1st and 2nd Kelvin Waves targeting Ecuador actual manifest themselves by expanding the area and magnitude of warming surface waters in the Nino 3.4 Area. The real good news the second Kelvin Wave is expanding and organizing better than hoped for, not only starting to fill the East Pacific subsurface reservoir again, but expanding it significantly in the past week. The bigger, and warmer the better. This is required for a major 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 at or past 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, or at least the development of easterly 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 days are critical. But if the forecast charts are right (projecting dead winds over the KWGA in 24 hours), then the answer will be apparent. And at this time we're not just thinking about this being a El Nino event, but an upgrade to a major El Nino.
We 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
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch 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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