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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:46 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
Swell Potential Rating = 1.5 - 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 7/28 thru Sun 8/3

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 Southern Hemi Gale Pushing East
Another Small Swell in the Water Pushing Towards Hawaii


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.


Current Conditions
On Tuesday
(7/29) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the thigh to maybe waist high range and modestly textured, more at exposed breaks. Down in Santa Cruz surf was effectively flat and textured with chop outside the kelp. In Southern California up north no rideable swell of interest was hitting. Conditions were textured. Down south background southern hemi swell was producing waves in the waist high range and heavily textured if not warbled early. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean early. The South Shore was getting waist high background swell with trades in effect and clean conditions. Trade wind generated east windswell was producing waves at thigh high and chopped at exposed breaks on the East Shore.    

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

Meteorological Overview
No swell producing fetch is occurring or forecast for the North Pacific other than local windswell and limited to North and Central CA and small at that. The tropics remain active with a depression (formally Genevieve) continuing to track east and positioned southeast of Hawaii, while Tropical Storm Hernan was fading east of Cabo San Lucas. And Tropical Storm Halong was east of the Philippines and building. In the southern hemisphere a very modest gale developed under New Zealand on Wed (7/23) producing 28 ft seas, then faded. Small swell possible for Tahiti and Hawaii. A second equally weak system developed Sun (7/27) east of Northern New Zealand and was tracking east positioned 1200 nmiles south of Tahiti with 28 ft seas. Maybe another  pulse of background swell to result. A gale is to track east across the southern Tasman Sea with up to 37 ft seas on Wed (7/30) but fade before entering the Pacific. Possible swell for Fiji. It's remnants might track southeast from southern New Zealand briefly putting 40 kts seas into the South Pacific Thurs (7/31) then falling into Antarctica.  Theoretically remnants of that system are to redevelop in the Southeast Pacific on Mon (8/4) with 42 ft seas targeting primarily Chile but with sideband energy for the US West Coast with luck. And yet more energy is forecast targeting Fiji on Mon (8/4) if one is to believe the models. 

Details below...

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis  - On Tuesday (7/29) trades were holding in the 15 kt range east of the Islands in association with 2 tropical low pressure systems  southeast of Hawaii and high pressure at 1026 mbs in the Western Gulf offering minimal support for generation of easterly windswell along east facing shores there. Modest high pressure at 1024 mbs was just east of Central CA ridging into the Pacific Northwest generating a weak version of the usual summer time pressure gradient over North California producing north winds at 15 kts resulting in bare minimal north local short period windswell for exposed breaks in Central CA while a weak eddy flow was in control nearshore.

Over the next 72 hours generally more of the same is forecast relative to the US West Coast with north winds over North CA building to 20 kts on Wed (7/30) pushing 25 kts on Thursday and building in converge slightly Friday offering marginally better odds for development of short period north windswell for exposed breaks in Central CA. But the nearshore eddy is to collapse for Central CA during that window. 

Easterly trades relative to Hawaii to hold steady on Wednesday (7/30) then start building in coverage on Thurs-Fri (8/1) east of and over the Islands at 15 kts fueled by a developing gradient between tropical low pressure south of the Islands and high pressure to the north. The remnants of Genevieve to move to a point 220 nmiles south of the Big Island Thurs PM (7/31) with winds 25 kts with more low pressure falling in line behind. So windswell seems like a pretty sure bet for east facing shores for quite a while. 


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

Tropical Depression Genevieve was positioned 900 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii tracking east with winds 30 kts on the 125 degree track. This motion is to continue into Thurs PM (7/31) with a slight jog to the north putting it 220 nmiles south of Hawaii with winds down to 25 kts. This system is to continue off to the west and likely dissipate. 

The GFS model also has a new tropical depression developing mid-way between Hawaii and Mexico on Sun (8/3) tracking west and moving on a path similar to previous systems, bound for a point theoretically south of the Big Island later next week.  Something to monitor. 

What was Hurricane Hernan was down to minimal tropical storm status (35 kt winds) positioned a few hundred nmiles west of Southern Baja and tracking west-northwest, expected to dissipate on Friday (8/1).  No more swell production is forecast. Previously Hernan developed 350 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Sun (7/27) with winds 65 kts tracking west-northwest with seas 18 ft and not quite in the swell window relative to Dana Point yet. But by 0Z Mon (7/28) this system is to be in the Dana Point swell window at 159 degrees with winds still 65 kts 850 nmiles away. A slow decay is forecast with winds fading after that and a gradual turn to the west is forecast. Low odds of some 11 sec period energy to result starting at sunset on Tues (7/29) relative to Dana Point. 

A broad area of tropical low pressure was circulating 550 nmiles east of the Northern Philippines generating southerly winds at 30 kts producing 18 ft seas aimed north. Development seems likely. 

And Tropical Storm Halong was east of it or about 1500 nmiles east-southeast of the Northern Philippines with winds 55 kts and tracking west. Slow strengthening and a turn to the west-northwest and then northwest is forecast with this system peaking on Fri (8/1) with winds 105 kts positioned 1200 nmiles east-southeast of the Northern Philippines. Weakening to follow as this system moves towards Central Japan.  It's is unknown whether a turn to the north or northeast will occur. 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (7/29) weak high pressure was positioned off Central and North CA producing a modest version of the usual summer time pressure gradient and north winds at 15 kts over a small area off Cape Mendocino, with an eddy flow nearshore to the Central and South CA coast. By Wednesday north winds are to be slowly be rebuilding at 20 kts over Cape Mendocino pushing 25 kts on Thursday and Friday but with the nearshore eddy flow collapsed and local northwest winds likely. The gradient is to expand some Sat (8/2) with north winds 25 kts over a broader area over Cape Mendocino then fading some on Sunday but with the eddy flow (south winds) starting to get a toe-hold in nearshore waters for Central CA. The gradient is to cover a larger area early next week with a better organized eddy flow in control of Central CA.  Southern CA to be under the influence of an eddy flow for the next 7 days.  

South Pacific

Jetstream - On Tuesday (7/29) the southern branch of the jet was di.cgiaced south down at 70S running over Antarctic Ice in the west and southward from there pushing into mainland Antarctica in the Southeast Pacific offering no support for support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. A cutoff trough was in.cgiay 1200 nmiles south of Tahiti merging with the northern branch of the jet with winds pushing 180 kts there offering some support for  gale development there. Over the next 72 hours a large trough is to build under and reaching over Tasmania with winds 140 kts providing support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere there, but with a ridge also building east of there over the Southwest Pacific suppressing gale development there. entire southern branch is to fall even further south and then dissipate. A new ridge is to build southeast of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (7/29) but only weakly so. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to slide east under the Tasman Sea on Fri (8/1) with 110 kt winds tracking northeast but 140 kt winds pushing southeast tracking southeast into the Ross Ice Shelf likely shutting down gale production there. But there's some suggestions that a trough might start  developing east of New Zealand starting Sun (8/3) with winds 110 kts lifting northeast and with the whole trough pushing east into the workweek perhaps setting up some support for gale development in the Central Pacific long term. 

Surface Analysis  -  On Tuesday (7/29) weak and small background swell from a tiny gale under New Zealand last week was pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast (see Tiny New Zealand Gale below). Another tiny gale developed Sun (7/27) east of northern New Zealand and was still tracking east (see South Pacific Gale below). Also a gale was developing in the South Tasman Sea on Tues AM (7/29) with potentially 37 ft seas aimed somewhat up the great circle tracks to Fiji in the evening (7/29) at 44S 156E (211 degs Fiji), 1900 nmiles out. A small shot of 17-18 sec period swell could result.  remnants of that system possibly could redevelop under New Zealand on Thurs AM (7/31) producing 55 kt west winds falling southeast resulting in a small area of 42 ft seas at 58S 172E.  No swell of interest expected with most energy targeting the Ross ice Shelf.    

South Pacific Gale
A new gale developed Sun AM (7/27) with a tiny area of 40 kt southwest winds and seas building to 26 ft over a infinitesimal area at 40S 163W. 40 kt south winds held in the evening with 26 ft seas holding at 39S 159W. On Mon AM (7/28) 35-40 kt south winds eased east with 27 ft seas at 40S 154W. More of the same occurred in the evening with 26 ft seas at 39S 147W. This system continued east on Tues AM (7/29) with 40 kt winds building in coverage with finally a respectable coverage of 28 ft seas at 38S 140W (195 degs NCal, 198 degs SCal and unshadowed). In the evening winds to hold with seas 26-28 ft at 38S 135W (197 degs SCal, 192 degs NCal and unshadowed). Winds to build to 40 kts Wed AM (7/30) with seas to 30 ft at 40S 130W (187 degs NCal, 190 degs SCal).   This system is to stall there in the evening with more 28-30 ft seas over a tiny area at 41S 130W aimed swell to the northeast. On Thurs AM (7/31) 40 kt south winds to lift north with 32 ft seas projected at 39S 128W (186 degs NCal, 188 degs SCal) then moving east of the CA swell window thereafter. This is one worth monitoring.  

Small swell is expected for Hawaii but with modest swell for CA possible (2.5 ft @ 15 secs - 3.5-4.0 ft faces) mid-week (8/6) and beyond.   


Tiny New Zealand Gale
On Tues PM (7/22) a small area of 40 kt west winds built under New Zealand resulting in seas of 32 ft over a tiny area at 59S 158E (215 degs NCal and SCal and unshadowed by Tahiti, completely shadowed by New Zealand relative to Hawaii). Winds barely held on at 40 kts Wed AM (7/23) while lifting northeast with seas 28 ft at 53S 167E (barely in the 210 degree path to Hawaii and 218 degs NCal/220 degs SCal and unshadowed). This system was gone by evening.

Hawaii: Tiny swell to arrive on Thurs (7/31) with swell building to 1.3 ft @ 15-16 sec late (2 ft). Swell continues on Fri (8/1) at 2 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Residuals into Sat (8/2) at 2 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195-201 degrees  

California: Expect swell arrival on Sun (8/3) with swell 1.2 ft @ 16 secs (2 ft). Swell peaking Mon (8/4) with swell 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (2 ft). Swell Direction: 215-220


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 high pressure is to hold off North CA from Sat (8/2) onward with the normal gradient in.cgiay over Cape Mendocino resulting in north winds 25 kts there producing limited windswell for the weekend onward at least into Tues (8/5). And an eddy flow to remain in effect for South CA and take effect for Central CA starting Sun (8/3). 

Relative to Hawaii, high pressure north of the state is to continue holding while a string of weak tropical low track west positioned south of the Hawaiian Islands resulting in steady trades in the 15 kt range resulting in more easterly windswell for exposed breaks.

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).

On Tuesday (7/29) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was up to 4.06. The 30 day average was up some to -5.11 and the 90 day average was stable at -0.37. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a neutral Phase of the MJO. High pressure is forecast to build in southwest of Tahiti for the balance of the coming week with rising SOI numbers expected.

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated and north-south flow in control of the Maritime Continent associated with tropical development there moderating and turning westerly over the dateline and reaching east of a point south of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies were east of there reaching over the Galapagos and Ecuador. A week from now (8/6) modest easterly anomalies are forecast over the equatorial Maritime Continent then turning neutral at 150E reaching to the dateline and holding to a point south of Hawaii.  Neutral anomalies are projected east of there to the Galapagos. The reality is there has hardly been a extended period of trades so far this year, and we're over 210 days into the year.  Since the big westerly winds bursts of Jan-April, there was a neutral period in May to early June. Then the TOA array indicated westerly anomalies developed 6/25 west of the dateline (at the surface - the ground truth) and held through 7/6 in the moderate range, then turned neutral on 7/7 but were trending light westerly on 7/11 through 7/20.  A legitimate Westerly Wind Burst formed on 7/23 and held through 7/28. Compared to La Nina where enhanced trades (20+ kts) would be blowing non-stop, we're in great shape.

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

Previously a series of WWBs occurred 1/8-4/20 creating a large Kelvin Wave that is now impacting Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru. And weak westerly anomalies continued through the month of May. This was very similar situation that led up to the big El Nino's of '82/32 and '97/98. But in those instances the WWBs and Kelvin Wave generation progressed non-stop through the Summer and Fall months. 

An article presenting a Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and this 2014 WWB event has been posted here.
A second analysis from 5/28 is posted here.  

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 7/28 are generally in sync. They both suggest a weak Active MJO signal is in effect in the West Pacific reaching to the dateline. 5 days out it is to fade with the statistic model suggesting a weak Active Phase building in the far West Pacific 8 days out holding 15 day out. The dynamic model perhaps suggests a return to a weak active Phase 15 days out. The ultra long range upper level model indicates a weak Active Phase is currently fading over the Central Pacific and is to track slowly east through 8/13. A modest Inactive Phase is forecast to follow pushing over the West Pacific starting 8/3 reaching east into South America by Sept 7. A weak Active Phase to follow in the west. We're looking for a very weak MJO pattern biased Active if an El Nino were developing. This is what happened during July, even though the model suggested an Inactive Phase was to develop. This suggests that warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some impact on the atmosphere above. 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 (7/28), a warm water regime remains in control from Ecuador west over the Galapagos and drifting west from there, but with warm anomalies extending only to 120W. West of there cool anomalies in pockets are in control, looking very much like a small La Nina setting up between the dateline and a point south of California, covering the entire Nino 3.4 area. A pocket of +0.5 degs C anomalies were over the dateline, likely the start of a new Kelvin Wave. Hi-res SST data depicts the extent of +2.25-4.0 deg anomalies embedded in the Galapagos triangle failing, covering less area. And the cool pool along the immediate Peruvian coast is holding, extending up into Ecuador. Once small pocket of +4.0 deg anomalies is holding off Central Peru. This only confirms that the bulk of the massive Kelvin Wave generated by Westerly Wind Bursts in Jan-April and that erupted at the surface near Ecuador in late May peaking late June is now dispersing. Reinforcements are needed, but are not coming immediately. Water temps off Peru are the proverbial tail of the dog, while Westerly Wind Bursts are the nose. The issue remains getting more warm water into the pipe to eventually erupt near the Galapagos.

Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water as is the West Pacific (north and south). Signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California has dissipated completely. In fact, serious warm water is building along the California coast, the exact opposite of the trend of the past 3+ years. This is expected if El Nino was in.cgiay. This is significant in that is suggests high pressure induced north winds are less than normal off California for this time of year. Cool water remains present streaming off Southern Chile pushing west reaching up to the equator just south of Hawaii feeding the cool pool developing on the equator there. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific remains impressive, while the South Pacific appears cooler than normal. 

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator are in decline in the east. Residual warm subsurface water from the previous Kelvin Wave faded dramatically over the past 7 days, from +3 degrees to effectively neutral today. And -1 degs C anomalies are starting to build near the Galapagos. Temps previously were up to +6 degs C above normal on 6/21. As best as can be identified the residuals of the Kelvin Wave are all but gone. Satellite data from 7/12-7/22 depicts no elevated surface water heights in the Galapagos region indicating the Kelvin Wave has dissipated. Subsurface models as of 7/14 depict the flow from the West Pacific to the east was still open, but with no significant warm water is in it. A building pocket of +0.5-1.0 anomalies is theoretically in.cgiace under the dateline and building while easing east suggestive of a new Kelvin Wave trying to take shape. But even if it is real, at this point in time it's a bare minimal Kelvin Wave and would not even warm waters above what they already are in the Galapagos region. A far stronger Kelvin wave is required, meaning a strong WWB is required. And even at that, the existing weak Kelvin Wave will take 2-3 months before it would arrive at the Galapagos (~Sept 30). 

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 7/29 suggest water temps building to +1.0 deg C by early Oct peaking at + 1.45 deg C (down from the +1.55 deg C predicted in early July and +1.75 in May) holding into Jan 2015, then fading. Interestingly this model actually depicts warm waters dissipating in the Nino1+2 regions in August then redeveloping in the Nino 3.4 regions in Sept and gaining momentum and areal coverage while building back into Nino1.2 into Jan 2015 link.

Analysis: As of right now hopes for a strong El Nino in the Fall/Winter of 2014-2015 are non-existent. The massive Kelvin Wave that was generated by successive Westerly Wind Bursts in Jan-April has erupted in the Galapagos region and is now all but dispersed. The WWB ended on 5/1 with all warm water from it arriving 3 months later over the Galapagos, or by 8/1 with neutral water temps taking over the Galapagos-Ecuador-Peru triangle expected developing at that time unless something occurs to reinforce it. All evidence clearly suggest the warm pool is in rapid decline exactly as projected. A new weak WWB appears to be developing in the West Pacific (starting 6/28). But even if it were to continue, it would not reach the Galapagos till 9/28. So there's a 8 week 'hole' with no significant warm water to resu.cgiy the Ecuador triangle between 8/1 and 9/28. This will likely cause water temps to decease in the Nino1+2 regions, likely to near neutral. That means that even if another weak Kelvin Wave were to arrive in the Galapagos, it will have to warm water temps from dead neutral, rather than acting as reinforcements to already warmed waters. And if no additional Westerly Wind Bursts occur, warm water in all Nino region will dissipate completely.

Of course the other option is that the June easterly wind burst was the start of the 'upwelling' Phase of the Kelvin Wave. It's normal after a downwelling Kevin Wave impacts the Ecuador coast, that some period of upwelling (cooling) occurs. And for that to be true, the upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle would be facilitated by a lack of westerly winds in the West Pacific (as is currently occurring). The long range (2 week) experimental hi-res GFS model continues to suggests a total collapse of trades from 7/27-8/10 but di.cgiaced north of the equator a few degrees, or limited to the northern half of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. And it is also typical for trades to start falling into decline in the later half of summer.  Many an El Nino has not developed till the Fall.  And only a few (namely the '97 Super El Nino) developed and survived strong through the summer and over the span of an entire year. A more 'normal' development life cycle would favor the alternating 'downwelling/upwelling' Kelvin Wave cycle. Perhaps we've put too much focus on the '97 El Nino lifecycle model (attributed to the impressive WWB/Kelvin Wave that started this years event off, making it easy to think this years event would be a semi-d.cgiicate of the '97 event), when instead we should have defaulted to considering a more normal lifecycle approach. 

And of yet more interest, the CFSv2 model depicts exactly this scenario.cgiaying out, with water temps in Nino1.2 fading in August then redeveloping in September, exactly filling the 'hole' scenario described above. If a sudden redevelopment of westerly winds occurred in late July into August, and a new Kelvin Wave were to develop starting early August, the 'upwelling Kelvin Wave' theory would have credence towards e.cgiaining the current pause in WWB activity. 

But without another WWB building on the dateline in late July/August to set up another downwelling Kelvin Wave event, then the developing El Nino pattern would dissipate. Monitoring surface wind anomalies in the West Pacific remains critical to determining the future of this years potential El Nino pattern.  And believing model projections weeks if not months in advance is a proven risky proposition. Therefore, we will continue to believe the above e.cgianation is more of a last grasp than a certainty.        

And finally, there's the 'feedback loop' consideration.  We're currently waiting for a feedback loop to develop, reinforcing the warm water flow and buildup of warm water off Central America into the Fall. There are signs of that trying to happen now, mainly in the form of sporadic but not steadily negative SOI numbers, and tropical low pressure systems recurving northeast off Japan and significantly reduced high pressure induced north winds along the CA coast resulting in warming waters locally. The big arguments against a feedback loop being in.cgiace are the easterly wind event of the week of 6/17, the development of a west moving Pacific Counter Current, a dissipating Kelvin Wave and the degradation of peak water temps in the Ecuador triangle, and continued hints of trades building in the West Pacific. All these could be attributable to the macro level influence of the upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. Though the change in the counter current remains a bit beyond even that e.cgianation.  Or just as easily it could be attributable to the fact that the East Pacific warm pool has NOT been in.cgiace long enough to develop a co.cgiing with the atmosphere above it, so we end up with a bunch of mixed signals. Only once the ocean and atmosphere are co.cgied on a global level (that is the ocean has imparted enough heat into the atmosphere to start changing the global jetstream pattern) can one begin to have confidence that a feedback loop is developing and a fully matured El Nino can result. About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. From a skeptics perspective, that's another 3 weeks before anything is guaranteed, at exactly the same time the warm pool is projected to be dispersed. But if we're just in the 'Upwelling Phase' of the Kelvin Wave Cycle, and more west anomalies and a new Kelvin Wave are to be generated in the West Pacific, then all will remain on-track. The next 3 weeks are critical. 

Speculating some: What if it does falter completely, like the 2012 False Start El Nino?. What does this say about the atmosphere, especially considering the voracity of the Jan-March WWBs? Two false starts in a 2 year time span is not unheard of, but not common, especially considering the size of this years failure (if it were to fail). Perhaps the decadal bias towards La Nina is stronger than we suspected, leading credence to the theory of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Or better yet, maybe we'll just muddle along for the next 2+ years in a weak warm pattern, not quite tripping into El Nino territory, but not falling back into La Nina either, slowly feeding the jetstream all along. The environment is not binary organism, being either one way or the other at any point in time. Sometimes it progresses at it's own rate and defies categorization, often to our benefit. We'll just have to wait and see.         

Overall the immediate outlook remains unchanged, but potentially trending towards something that would be considered warm by Aug-Sept 2014. At a minimum the ocean is well past recharge mode, with cold water from the 2010-2011 La Nina dispersed and temperatures on the rise. Regardless of the WWBs etc, we are still in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern at this time with neither any form of El Nino or La Nina present or imminent. But given all current signs, atmospheric transition appears to be underway, and hopefully intensifying into Fall. There remains 1 month ahead where any number of hazards could derail this event. But this is a better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. And it seems apparent we've recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. In a normal situation one would expect there to be at least one or two years of neutral temperatures ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2015 or 2016). Historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms). We've turned the corner, but we'll remain cautious and not say to much yet, especially in light of what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998).

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


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a new gale is to develop in the Southeast Pacific on Sun PM (8/3) with a solid area of 50 kt west winds and 36 ft seas forecast at 55S 141W. Fetch is to fade in coverage in the Mon AM (8/4) pushing east with 42 ft seas peaking at 53S 128W. Additional 40 kt fetch to build south of that location in the evening with seas from the original fetch fading from 32 ft at 51S 120W, barely in the CA swell window (180 degrees). The new fetch is to lift north with 40 kt winds on the edge of the CA swell window and 32 ft seas down at 58S 122W and lifting north-northeast. Possible modest south angled swell to result targeting Southern CA, Mexico and Peru best.  Something to monitor.

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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Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way! .xml

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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