Sunday, July 19, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 15.6 secs from 191 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 6.5 secs from 47 degrees. Water temp 79.7 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 5.0 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 12.8 secs from 179 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 68.4 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.8 ft @ 9.9 secs from 312 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.9 ft @ 14.6 secs from 200 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.4 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.5 secs from 208 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 9.2 secs from 306 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 8-10 kts. Water temp 52.2 degs (013), 59.2 degs (SF Bar) and 59.2 degs (042).
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).
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.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Sunday (7/19) in North and Central CA locally generated north windswell was producing waves at waist high and slightly warbled and crumbled with steady south winds early. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean and weak and mushed. At Santa Cruz no swell was hitting with rare stray waves occasionally at thigh to maybe waist high on the peaks and clean and weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high and weak with clean surface conditions but with much underlying lump. Central Orange County had waves at thigh to maybe waist high on the rare sets and somewhat warbled from northwest wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at waist to chest high on the peaks and lightly warbled from northwest winds. North San Diego was flat to thigh high with clean surface conditions but with underlying lump. Hawaii's North Shore was thigh high on the sets and with some north sideshore lump. The South Shore was getting some weak swell with set waves at chest to head high on the bigger sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high or so and chopped early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (7/19) southern hemi swell was hitting Hawaii originating from a small gale that developed under New Zealand on Fri-Sat (7/11) producing up to 35 ft seas aimed east. Swell is radiating northeast and expected to reach California in 24 hours. Otherwise exposed breaks in California were seeing the typical summer locally generated northwest windswell. Beyond the models are suggesting low odds of a small gale developing just southeast of New Zealand on Thurs (7/23). Otherwise no meaningful swell producing weather systems are forecast. The doldrums of summer continue.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (7/19) no swell of interest was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored or are forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (7/19) north winds continued blowing at 20-25 kts mainly just off the coast of Cape Mendocino with an weak eddy flow (south winds) south of there and fetch fading to mostly 20 kts in the afternoon with support for windswell production starting to fade out. On Mon (7/20) north winds are forecast at 20 kts off the coast of Cape Mendocino with a light southerly flow south of there down to Pt Conception offering only modest odds for windswell production and the fetch fading in coverage as the day progresses with windswell generation potential fading some. On Tues (7/21) north winds are to show some signs of regrouping along Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts holding all day with a light northwesterly flow at 5-10 kts is forecast for all of North and Central CA with only minimal windswell producing potential indicated. On Wed (7/22) no real change is forecast with north winds 20-25 kts limited to Cape mendocino with local northwest winds 5-10 kts from Pt Arena southward to Pt Conception offering limited local northwest windswell production potential. Thurs (7/23) the gradient and north winds are to collapse over Cape Mendocino blowing at only 20 kts early over a small area and fading to 15 kts while falling south with a weak local northwesterly flow at 5-10 kts south of there offering no meaningful windswell production potential. On Fri (7/24) the gradient is to try and start rebuilding later with northwest winds 20 kts over all of North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 20-25 kts for North CA later and 15-20 kts over Central CA later. On Sat (7/25) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts just off all of North CA with windswell production potential building. Central CA to have northwest winds 10-15 kts early holding all day. Sun (7/26) the gradient is to start fading with north winds 20 kts off Cape Mendocino early offering fading windswell production potential with a light northwest flow at 10 kts south of there and conditions holding all day.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 14,000 ft or higher for the week.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
On Sunday (7/19) the jetstream was well split over the width of the South Pacific with the southern branch building energy but ridging south under and southeast of New Zealand reaching down to 68S and over Antarctic Ice offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that ridge is to sweep east filling the entirety of the South Pacific on Mon (7/20) only to get reinforced over the Central South Pacific later on Tues (7/21) continuing the lockdown of gale production until at least Thurs (7/23). Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (7/24) something that looks like a weak almost cutoff trough is forecast developing just southeast under New Zealand but quickly fading by Sat (7/25) as another ridge starts building under New Zealand sweeping east. That ridge is to get reinforced by more southward falling wind energy on Sun (7/26) tracking west to east down at 68-70s extending over the entirety of the South Pacific offering no support for gale development. The lockdown of the South Pacific continues being likely fed by easterly wind anomalies over the equatorial Pacific (see MJO/ENSO Discussion below).
On Sunday (7/19) small swell from a gale previously under New Zealand was fading in Hawaii and bound weakly for California (see Small New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Small New Zealand Gale
On Thursday PM (7/9) a small gale tried to develop south of the Tasman Sea producing 30-35 kt west winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. On Fri AM (7/10) the gale was south of New Zealand producing southwest winds at 45-50 kts over a tiny area tracking east with seas 30 ft at 58.5S 160E aimed east-northeast. Fetch held in the evening aimed east at 45 kts with seas 35 ft over a tiny area at 57.5S 175.5E aimed east-northeast. On Sat AM (7/11) fetch was fading from 35-40 kts with seas 27 ft at 55S 177.5W mainly form previous fetch with the core of the system falling southeast. Fetch and seas are to be gone in the evening. Low odds of meaningful swell resulting.
Oahu: Swell fading on Sun (7/19) from 1.3 ft @ 15 secs (2.0 ft). Dribbles on Mon (7/20) fading from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs early (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (7/20) building to 1.3 ft @ 17 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (7/21) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell steady on Wed (7/22) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/23) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft).Swell Direction: 214 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (7/20) building to 1.3 ft @ 17 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (7/21) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell steady on Wed (7/22) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (7/23) from 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 214 degrees
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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Beyond 72 hours there's low odds of a gale trying to develop just along New Zealand on Thurs AM (7/23) producing a modest sized area of southwest winds at 35-40 kts with seas building to 30 ft over a tiny area at 52S 178E aimed swell northeast. In the evening fetch is to hold at 35-40 kts if not growing in coverage with 32 ft seas at 49.5S 174W aimed northeast. Fetch is to barely hold into Fri AM (7/24) at 35-40 kts while losing coverage with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 47.5S 166W aimed northeast. The gale is to dissipate in the evening. Something to monitor.
East Wind Anomaly Forecast Backs Off Some
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).
Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control 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 continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
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)
Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (7/18) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific then weakening but still modest east over the KWGA. Anomalies were mostly easterly over the East equatorial continuing over the Central Pacific then neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (7/19) moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA and east over the whole of the equatorial Pacific. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding steadily for the next 4 days then building to strong status 7/23 in the heart of the KWGA and holding through the end of the model run on 7/26. But west anomalies are forecast developing over the far east equatorial Pacific from south of California into Ecuador starting 7/21 building to moderate strength on 7/22 and holding through the end of the model run. This might open a little window for tropical storm activity there.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (7/18) A weak Inactive MJO pattern was filling the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates this pattern is to hold on day 5 of the model run then significantly weakening on day 10 and gone on day 15 with no MJO signal forecast. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Inactive signal building on day 5 and almost at strong status on day 10 fading some on day 15. The two model are clearly not in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/19) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to slowly ease east and weaken and all but gone over the Eastern Maritime Continent at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase weak over the West Pacific on day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (7/18) This model depicts a strong Inactive Phase moving over the Central America today tracking east and effectively out of the picture. A weak Active MJO pulse is over the Central Pacific today and is forecast tracking east and into Central America on 8/2. A modest Inactive MJO is developing over the far West Pacific today and is to push east over the Central Pacific and into Central America on 8/17. A broad but modest Active MJO is forecast developing over the KWGA on 8/4 pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 8/27 while strengthening. At that time a developing Inactive MJO is forecast over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/18) This model depicts no coherent MJO signal over the KWGA today with east anomalies filling the KWGA at modest strength but with a weak pocket of west anomalies fading rapidly on the dateline. East anomalies are also extending east reaching Ecuador on the equator. The forecast indicates a continuation of no MJO signal but with modest east anomalies in control over the KWGA and the entirety of the Pacific through the end of the model run on 8/15 but with occasional pockets of westerly anomalies in the Central Pacific. East anomalies are to build in strength over the KWGA starting 8/2 and holding through the end of the model run on 8/15. A long run of easterly anomalies is setting up but not as strong as what the model depicted 3 days ago.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/19 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO tracking over the KWGA today with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA and reaching east to Ecuador on the equator but with a patch of weak west anomalies limited to the immediate dateline region. The forecast depicts no change with the Inactive MJO holding while slowly easing east through 8/21 with modest east anomalies holding in the KWGA and reaching east to Ecuador. A broad Active MJO is forecast moving over the KWGA 8/15 and then filling it by 8/23 and holding through 9/28 producing modest west anomalies limited reaching east to 170E, filling a little more than half of the KWGA. Moderate to strong east anomalies are to prevail from 180E and points east of there to Ecuador through 9/13. After than a weak Inactive Phase is forecast moving into the KWGA 9/21 through the end of the model run on 10/16 with weak west anomalies in control of more of the KWGA. This is a step in the right direction. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the dateline today and is to build steadily in coverage through the end of the model run with a second contour setting up on 8/20 filling the equatorial Pacific by 8/20. A single contour low pressure bias is to appear over the Indian Ocean starting 8/21 building in coverage through the end of the model run. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean are migrating east today into the West Pacific are to set up on the dateline and points east of there by 7/27 and then building over that entire area till 9/13, then possibly weakening some. Based on this model it appears a transition towards La Nina is possible, but not guaranteed.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/19) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone (previously at 163E). The 29 deg isotherm was steady at 170W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking slightly to 158W today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 115W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies 0-1 deg C were previously isolated to the West Pacific were today pushing east on the surface and reaching east to 110W almost filling the equatorial Pacific. Cool anomalies that have been upwelling to the surface from a rapidly collapsing subsurface pocket of cool water -1 degs off Ecuador are not longer even reaching the surface. But a second pocket of cool anomalies was now developing under the West Pacific pushing east to 140W today with temps building down to -2 deg C. It appears a conveyor belt of cool water was trying to set up subsurface 150m deep over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/12 indicates the cool water bubble at depth was erupting in the east to the surface between 110W to 85W at -3 degs C with warm water on the surface west of 115W but shallow. A broad pocket of water was in place at depth under the entirety of the West Pacific 150m down trying to connect with the cool pocket in the east. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/12) Negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms had collapsed over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific limited today between Ecuador and 110W (previously 140W). Neutral anomalies were west of there to 160E. Negative anomalies were along and down the coast of Peru and up the coast of Central America to mainland Mexico but weaker than days and week past at only -5 cms. But no positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific either, except west of 160E.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (7/18) The latest images indicate cold water was holding along Peru tracking northwest over Ecuador and building in strength some while tracking east on the equator over the Galapagos out to 110W then weakening but continuing cool west to 160W, looking like the start of a La Nina pattern. The stream was steady today after previously being weaker days previous. Warm anomalies were gone off the coast of Chile up into Peru turning decidedly cooler and appearing to be feeding the cool stream. Warm water was off Central America reaching west to the dateline but only north of the equator, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/18): Pockets of cooler water were developing over the Galapagos pushing west on the equator out to 140W with some warm pockets interspersed. The short term trend is looking like a weak La Nina pattern at best. At this time what looked like a solidly developing La Nina pattern is now stalled, but could return to ' building' status as easterly anomalies start building again in the KWGA (assuming that occurs).
Hi-res Overview: (7/18) A stream of cool water is entrenched along the coast of Peru lifting northwest to the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and building in coverage from Ecuador to 110W. Warmer than normal temps were stable north of the equator with cooler than normal water building on and south of the equator out to the dateline. Overall the data suggests a stable weak La Nina like pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/19) Today's temps were rebounding slightly at -1.790, after previously down to -1.970 on 7/17. Temps have been dropping steadily since March 26. Overall the trend is towards cooling after having previously been in a warmer range at +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/19) Temps were falling slightly to -0.071 after being up to +0.224 on 7/11. Previously temps were rising the last past 3 weeks after bottoming out at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend is steady if not warming after previous being on a downward trajectory April and May. Temps were in the +0.3 degree range in Feb., and up to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/19) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range 1/1/2020 through 4/1/2020, then started falling hard down to -0.20 in late-May and held through late June. The forecast depicts temps restarting a precipitous fall, down to -0.50 in late July, continuing down reaching -1.00 on Oct 1 dropping to -1.10 in early Nov and holding through mid Dec, then starting to rebound at -0.5 in Feb 2021 and neutral April 1. According to this model sea surface temps should be falling strongly moving towards La Nina as Summer progresses. as of today (7/19) actual temps suggest a neutral trend in the Nino3.4 region, so some dramatic cooling is going to have to happen for this model to verify. We're begining to think this model might not be on track and that all the dynamic models might be overstating this cool burst.
IRI Consensus Plume: The June 19, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.35 degs, and are to hold in that range into November then rising some to -0.1 by Feb 2021. The low outliers are the dynamic models (NCEP CFS, NASA GMAO and the COLA CCSM4) all suggesting solid La Nina. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (7/19): The daily index was negative today at -1.79. The 30 day average was rising to +0.80. The 90 day average was falling to -1.41, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was in control.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table