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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2018 3:19 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.3 - California & 1.7 - 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 7/9 thru Sun 7/15

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 SHemi Swell Hitting HI and CA
2 Gales Tracking Under New Zealand


On Thursday, July 12, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 15.1 secs from 189 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 154 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 68.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 189 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 200 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.7 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.0 secs from 192 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 10.8 secs with northwest windswell 3.5 ft @ 10.0 secs from 302 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 10-12 kts. Water temp 57.4 degs.

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Thursday (7/12) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the shoulder to chest high range and heavily warbled from south winds. Protected breaks were chest high and lined up and a bit textured from south wind. At Santa Cruz minimal southern hemi swell was producing rare stets in the thigh to maybe waist high range and clean but mostly just flat. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to waist high and weak with some modest southerly texture on it. In North Orange Co weak southern hemi swell was occasionally producing sets in the waist high range and clean early. South Orange Country's best breaks had some sets at head high or so and clean and lined up but still a bit on the slow side. In North San Diego surf was waist high with a few bigger sets and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat with sideshore warble. The South Shore was near flat with rare thigh to waist high sets and clean. The East Shore was small with waves waist high and chopped from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (7/12) swell was hitting California from a weak gale that developed in the Southeast Pacific on Mon (7/2) with 26 ft seas aimed northeast. Supposedly swell was hitting Hawaii from a stronger gale that developed Tues-Wed (7/4) under New Zealand with 35-37 ft seas but all fetch was aimed east. And backup swell is pushing north towards California from a third tiny gale that developed on Wed (7/4) in the upper reaches of the Southeast Pacific with 28 ft seas aimed north. A gale developed targeting the Tasman Sea Sat-Sun (7/8) and filtered swell from it is expected to seep north towards Hawaii. A weak gale pattern is developing under and east of New Zealand barely moving into the Southwest Pacific with the first gale in the series developing Thurs (7/12) with 40 ft seas aimed east and supposedly to be followed by another on Sat-Tues (7/17) lifting northeast through the Central Pacific with up to 35 ft seas. Otherwise some weak to modest form of windswell is expected at exposed breaks in California through Sat (7/14) and possibly developing more in Hawaii by Sun (7/15).


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (7/12) no swell of interest was in the water nor being generated in the North Pacific other than local windswell.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast other than windswell.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (7/12) high pressure at 1034 mbs was over the Gulf of Alaska ridging east producing the usual pressure gradient with north winds at 25 kts but displaced north over waters of Oregon and off the coast of North CA resulting in some north windswell mainly for North CA with the eddy flow in place for all of North and Central CA. Friday (7/13) the gradient is to start fading positioned off the coast of Oregon and extreme North CA with north winds 20 kts with a light eddy flow over all of California with only minimal windswell expected. On Saturday (7/14) the gradient is to fade in coverage off Southern Oregon with north winds 20 kts offering only minimal support for windswell production while a weak eddy flow starts degenerating over the entire state by afternoon. Sunday (7/15) the gradient is to be fading more while falling south with north winds 15 kts covering all of North CA late afternoon and 10-15 kts for Central CA resulting in minimal junky north windswell down to maybe Pigeon Point. See QuikCASTs for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (7/12) a small fetch of east winds at 15 kts was building extending 900 nmiles east-northeast of the Islands associated with high pressure at 1034 mbs centered 1400 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii resulting in small junky short period east windswell. The fetch is to be less developed and covering less contiguous area on Fri (7/13) with winds at 15 kts offering little odds for windswell development. On Saturday (7/14) a small fetch of east winds at 15 kts are forecast trying to develop associated with high pressure at 1036 mbs centered 1300 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii and a tropical wave 900 nmiles east-southeast of Hawaii with fetch extending 700 nmiles east of the Islands later in the afternoon perhaps resulting in small junky short period east windswell. More of the same is forecast on Sunday (7/15) with winds to 20 kts north of the tropical wave now 600 nmiles east-southeast of Hawaii with improved odds for short period windswell development. See QuikCASTs for details.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (7/12) light south winds (eddy flow) are expected for all of North and Central CA and holding Fri (7/13). A weak north flow at 5-10 kts is forecast for all of North and Central CA on Sat (7/14) building to 15 kts over Pt Conception in the afternoon. Sunday (7/15) northwest winds to continue at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA and pushing 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early and growing south to Pt Reyes late afternoon. Monday (12/16) north winds to build to 20-25 kts for North CA down to Pt Arena, but only 10 kts south of there. More of the same on Tues (7/17). Wednesday (7/18) a light wind flow if not weak eddy flow (south winds) is expected nearshore for the entire state. No change expected on Thurs (7/19).

South Pacific

On Thursday (7/12) the southern branch of the jetstream was lifting north under New Zealand up to 54S and forming something that sort of looked like a weak trough being fed by 110 kt winds tracking east offering limited support for gale development and extending east to 160W. East of there the jet was falling hard south forming a ridge pushing into Antarctica and actively suppressing gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the ridge over the Central Pacific is to continue slowly sweeping east over Antarctica into Sat (7/14) actively suppressing trough formation there. But the troughing pattern under New Zealand is to start building while tracking east and starting to be fed by a building area of 130-140 kts southwest winds on Fri (7/13) and pushing northeast offering improved odds for gale development there. The trough is to hold decently into Sunday (7/15) reaching up to 45S repositioned in the Central South Pacific still being fed by up to 120 kt winds offering decent support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Monday (7/16) additional wind energy is to be feeding the trough at 130 kts again offering more support for gale development before the trough finally starts to weaken and pinch off later Tues (7/17) repositioned in the far Southeast Pacific. If all goes as forecast a possible decent push of gale activity is possible from an upper atmospheric perspective. But by Wed (7/18) a solid ridge is forecast setting up well south of New Zealand pushing down to Antarctica and sweeping east effectively covering the entire South Pacific by Thurs (7/19) suppressing support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (7/12) small swell was hitting California from the first of two weak gales previously in the Southeast Pacific (see Weak Southeast Pacific Gale and Tiny Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a gale previously under New Zealand was radiating northeast and supposedly hitting Hawaii and bound for California (see New Zealand Gale below) but that swell was tiny in size.

Over the next 72 hours another gale started to form while tracking east under New Zealand Wed PM (7/11) with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 38 ft over a small area at 58S 161E. On Thurs AM (7/12) fetch was building in coverage but fading in velocity from 45 kts from the west-southwest and seas 40 ft at 56.5S 178.5E. This gale is to fade in the evening from 40 kts from the west-southwest with seas fading from 35 ft at 57S 169.5W aimed east. This gale is to dissipate from there Fri AM (7/13) with southwest winds fading from 35 kts and seas 31 ft at 55S 158W. The eastward track of this system likely means most swell energy is to be tracking east, not northeast. Limited sideband swell energy expected for Hawaii and California.

Another gale is forecast developing southeast of New Zealand on Sat AM (7/14) tracking northeast with winds from the southwest at 40 kts over a solid area and seas building from 29 ft at 55S 175W and building while lifting hard northeast. In the evening a broad fetch of 40-45 kt southwest winds is to be lifting east-northeast with seas 35 ft at 49S 159W. On Sun AM (7/15) fetch is to fade but still 40 kts from the southwest with seas 35 ft at 48S 154.5W. In the evening the fetch is to fade to 30-35 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 47S 143W. Secondary fetch at 45 kts is to be tracking northeast right behind the main fetch with seas building from 30 ft down at 58S 165W tracking northeast. On Mon AM (7/16) only the secondary fetch is to be viable at 40 kts from the south-southwest lifting northeast with seas 34 ft at 48.5S 153.3W. The gale is to fade in the evening with south winds 30-35 kts and seas fading from 29 ft at 41S 144W aimed north-northeast. Something to monitor.


Weak Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sun PM (7/1) a small weak gale started to develop in the Central Pacific producing a fetch of 35 kt southwest winds resulting in a small area of 24 ft seas at 50S 149W. Fetch continued in coverage Mon AM (7/2) at 35 kts from the southwest with seas to 26 ft at 45S 134W aimed east-northeast. Additional 35 kt southwest fetch developed in the evening generating a larger area of 26 ft seas at 45S 125W aimed northeast. This system was tracking east Tues AM (7/3) while moving to the edge of the SCal swell window with southwest winds at 40 kts and seas 27 ft at 44S 120W aimed northeast. The gale to move out of the CA swell window after that. Low odds of meaningful swell resulting targeting California. Better odds for Central America.

Southern CA: Swell holding on Thurs (7/12) at 2.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (7/13) fading from 1.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees This swell being overridden by swell from another gale in the Southeast Pacific (see below).

North CA: Swell peaking on Thurs (7/12) to 1.9 ft @ at 14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 185 degrees This swell being overridden by swell from another gale in the Southeast Pacific (see below).


Tiny Southeast Pacific Gale
Also on Wed AM (7/4) a tiny gale developed in the upper reaches of the Southeast Pacific with 50 kt south winds over a tiny area aimed north with seas to 28 ft at 33S 135W. By The evening fetch was fading fast from 40 kts in pockets aimed north to east with seas 27 ft at 33S 130W. The gale dissipated from there. Small swell is possible radiating north.

Southern CA: Swell arrival on Thurs (7/12) building to 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (7/13) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell continues on Sat (7/14) at 2.9 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft) early. Swell fading Sun (7/15) from 2.3 ft @ 12-13 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 188 degrees

North CA: Swell arrives on Thurs (7/12) but buried in swell above. On Fri (7/13) swell takes over at 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (7/14) from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (7/15) from 2.3 ft @ 13 secs early (3.0 ft).Swell Direction: 187 degrees


New Zealand Gale
Of more interest was a broad gale that developed south of New Zealand on Tues AM (7/3) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 35 ft at 58S 155E (217 degs CA) and shadowed by New Zealand relative to HI). In the evening southwest fetch held at 40 kts with seas 36 ft at 58S 165E (213 degrees CA and unshadowed for NCal but shadowed by Tahiti for SCal). Swell also unshadowed for HI (194 degrees). On Wed AM (7/4) fetch was loosing coverage but holding velocity at 40 kts with seas 33 ft at 59S 175E (193 degs HI, 208 degs NCal, 210 degs Scal and shadowed by Tahiti). This gale was fading fast in the evening with southwest fetch fading from 30 kts and seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 28 ft at 60S 175W (206 degs CA and shadowed). Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell peaking on Thurs (7/12) 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft) early. Swell fading Fri (7/13) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (7/14) fading from 1.3 ft @ 13 secs early (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 189 degrees

Southern CA: Swell arrival in CA on Fri afternoon (7/13) at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continues Sat (7/14) at 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (7/15) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles on Mon (7/16) fading from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction 210-215 degrees.

North CA: Swell arrival in CA on Fri afternoon (7/13) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continues Sat (7/14) at 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (7/15) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles on Mon (7/16) fading from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction 210-215 degrees.


Tasman Sea Gale
On Sat PM (7/7) a gale moved into the Tasman Sea from under Tasmania with 35-40 kt south-southwest winds and seas 32 ft at 48S 146E. On Sun AM (7/8) 35-40 kt south winds continued moving into the Tasman Sea and nearly filling it with up to 30 ft seas at 46S 153E aimed northeast. Fetch lifted northeast in the evening with 30-35 kt south winds and seas 29 ft at 42S 158E. This system faded from there. Swell possible for Fiji with filtered energy pushing towards Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on later Sun (7/15) pushing 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (7/16) 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (7/17) from 1.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 217 degrees


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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

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

Windswell Forecast
On Mon (7/16) the pressure gradient over North CA is to hold with 20-25 kt north winds from Pt Arena and areas north of there offering only minimal support for windswell production mainly for North CA with a very weak eddy flow from Bodega Bay southward. More of the same expected on Tues (7/17) but with winds in the gradient at 25 kts offering somewhat better odds for windswell production. Wednesday (7/18) the gradient is to retreat northward over Cape Mendocino and South Oregon at 20-25 kts with light northwest winds 10 kts or less down into the bulk of California. Low odds for meaningful windswell to result. on Thurs (7/19) the gradient is to fade more at 20 kts limited mainly to the Oregon coast. No windswell to be produced.

Hawaii: Monday (7/16) east fetch to continue at 15 kts extending 900 nmiles east of Hawaii producing more limited short period east windswell and holding into Tues (7/17) but only extending 600 nmiles east of the Islands. On Wed (7/18) east fetch at 15 kts is to fade in coverage limited to an area 450 nmiles east of Hawaii with odds for windswell development fading steadily. More of the same expected on Thurs (7/19) with east fetch 15 kts limited to within 250 nmiles east of the Islands. No real windswell expected.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast with a ridging pattern in the upper atmosphere pushing the jetstream south and preventing gale formation.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast

ESPI Continues Falling - Despite Warming SSTs

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and was building over equatorial waters in early June, suggesting the demise of La Nina and possibly turning towards El Nino.

Summer 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 4.0
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (7/11) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then weakening starting on the dateline and moderately east over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were mostly neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and mixed neutral and light easterly in pockets over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (7/12) weak west anomalies were over the western KWGA and strong easterly anomalies supposedly were over the dateline/Eastern KWGA. The forecast suggests strong east anomalies are to continue on the dateline backfilling the KWGA to 150E by 7/13, then slowly easing east to the dateline at the end of the model run on 7/19 while weakening but still moderate in strength. This seems very strange given the complete opposite forecast from the CFS model (below).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (7/11) A moderate Active/Wet MJO signal was building into the Western KWGA. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet MJO signal is to build in the KWGA filling it at day 3 and holding through the end of the model run/next 2 weeks though slowly weakening. The dynamic model depicts the same thing except holding moderately strong through the end of the model run. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/12) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Maritime Continent and is to track steadily east while building solid 4 days out, approaching the West Pacific and making it to the West Pacific then fading some the last 3 days of the model run. The GEFS model depicts a variant on the same theme.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/12) This model depicts an Inactive/Dry MJO signal was building while tracking east over the Central America and moving out of the picture by 7/17. A moderate strength Active/Wet Phase was over the West Pacific and is to be easing east over Central America on 8/11. A modest Inactive pattern is to follow in the West Pacific on 8/6 making slow east headway reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 8/21.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/11) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the Western KWGA with light east anomalies on the dateline and building west slightly to 150E on 7/12, then dissipating by 7/16. West anomalies are to hold in the west KWGA then building steadily east to 170E on 7/18 and holding from there forward in the core of the KWGA and building to the dateline on 8/6 holding through the end of the model run on 8/8. No significant easterly anomalies are indicated with a steady westerly wind anomaly pattern building in the heart of the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/12) This model depicts a neutral Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA but with a weak west anomaly wind pattern in control centered at 150E with weak east anomalies on the dateline. A weak Active MJO pattern to follow starting 7/16 with modest west anomalies slowly building in coverage and strength in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to continue through 8/11 with west anomalies building in the KWGA and strong 7/19-8/8. A neutral MJO signal to follow but with steady modest west anomalies filling the KWGA through 8/20. Another pulse of the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop 9/18-10/1 with west anomalies still in control. The Inactive Phase is to start building on 9/28 holding through the end of the model run on 10/9 but with west anomalies holding in the KWGA, just weaker than previously. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and has built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 and forecast to hold for the foreseeable future (through Winter 2019). This means we are in full El Nino mode starting today through the coming Fall-Winter season. The eastern edge of the Low Pressure bias is to ease east to 125W (just off Calfiornia0 by 10/6. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking steadily and is to be gone by 9/26. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and should fully reach that state 3 months after the start of the transition or by 8/8 (low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA starting on 5/8). This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/12) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs reaching east to 167E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and is holding there today due to weakening Kelvin Wave conditions under the West Pacific. The 28 degs line was stationary on the dateline last winter, then started moving east on 5/15 to 165W, then to 160W on 5/22 then to 154W on 6/19 and to 150W on 6/24 from the surface to 75 meters deep. The 24 deg isotherm was stable at 115 meters deep at 140W and 75 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are focused in the East Pacific at depth. Warm anomalies at +1.0 deg C were moving east from the far West Pacific and building to +2.0 deg C at 165W 125 meters down and pushing east to the Galapagos. There were no longer any +3.0 degs anomalies indicated. These warm waters are breaching the surface from 135W and points east of there. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/2 depicts a river of warm water pushing east from the West Pacific with a large Kelvin Wave embedded in it starting at 135W building to +3.5 degs extending unbroken to the east to Ecuador and breaching the surface between 100W-150W. No residual cool water from La Nina are indicated. And more warm water was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline and joining the existing Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/7) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific reaching east to the Ecuador with no breaks and anomalies 0-5 cm over that entire area with multiple imbedded pockets at 5+ cms. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (7/11) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a near neutral area of anomalies biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile and shrinking as compared to days past. But of more significance was an area of warm water erupting on the oceans surface on the equator from the Galapagos west to 160W, strongest at 105W. This area was fully coherent and was completely filling the equator from 90W to the dateline 4 degs north and south of the equator. But, it was not as warm as days and week past suggesting the peak of the Kelvin Wave eruption was over. A broad area of generic warming was also filling the area south of Mexico out to the dateline, but loosing some coherency south of Mexico at 115W in the last few days. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were south of the equator between 115W-150W and south of 5S and all but gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/11): Mixed pockets of mainly cooling were scattered along the equator from Ecuador to 120W suggesting the peak of the Kelvin Wave has past. Temps were warming weakly along the coasts of Chile and Peru and on the equator near 130-140W.
Hi-res Overview: (7/11) An area of weak cool water was all but gone along Chile and Peru and weakening compared to days past. Otherwise warm water was building on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N and building in coherence, but still just in the mild warming category. The only cool water was in the fading remnant pocket from La Nina limited to an area south of the equator starting at 4S between 115W-145W and steadily loosing coverage and mostly irrelevant now.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/12) Today's temps were steady at -0.383, up from -0.428 on 6/7, up from -0.819 on 5/22, and that down from a recent peak rising to +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.75 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/12) Today temps were holding today at +0.367 after having fallen to +0.298 on 7/7. Temp previous rose to +0.490 on 7/2. and were -0.266 on 6/2, -0.427 on 5/12 after having reached up to -0.254 degs on 5/1. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were down at -1.2 degs.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/12) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.35 degs and to +1.50 degs in Nov then slowly fading from there but still above the +1.0 range into March 2019 and 0.9 degs in April. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Summer and Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-June Plume depicts temps at +0.3 degs in late June and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in January holding there. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (negative is good, positive bad) (7/12): The daily index was rising today at +13.85. The 30 day average was rising today to -5.23 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was falling some to -2.68, turning negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (7/12) Today the index was falling again at -1.04 after nearing the highest it's been in a year at -0.09 on 7/2. This is not good news suggesting La Nina has not completely given up it's grip on equatorial precipitation yet and if anything is surging again. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan 2018=+0.29, Feb= -0.10, Mar= -0.51, April = -0.85, May =-0.61. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar = -0.05. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 



External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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