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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2023 2:06 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
2.0 - California & 2.5 - 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 7/31 thru Sun 8/6
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 Tasman Swell Tracking To HI
Small Gale Developing East of New Zealand

Tuesday, August 1, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 7.4 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 18.1 secs from 200 degrees. Water temp 80.1 degs (Barbers Pt), 80.1 (Pearl Harbor 233), 80.2 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down. Using Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 5.4 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 6.7 secs from 72 degrees. Water temp 79.5 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 195 degrees. Wind west at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 67.6 degs, 73.5 (Topanga 103), 69.4 degs (Long Beach 215), 72.3 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 71.6 (Del Mar 153), 70.9 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.0 ft @ 6.8 secs from 316 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 3.1 ft @ 7.6 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 13.3 secs from 197 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.1 secs from 192 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.9 ft @ 12.7 secs from 185 degrees. Water temperature was 70.2 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.4 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 7.4 ft @ 6.9 secs from 328 degrees with southern hemi swell 1.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 188 degrees. Wind northwest at 10-12 kts (46026). Water temp 50.7 (Bodega Bay 46013), 51.4 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.7 (San Francisco 46026), 57.6 (SF Bar 142), 59.2 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 54.9 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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 Tuesday (8/1) North and Central CA waves were thigh to waist high coming from the northwest and warbled if not nearly chopped. Protected breaks were thigh high and warbled and mushed and formless. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high on the sets and warbled and soft with whitecaps just outside the break. Central Orange County had sets at chest high and lined up coming from the south but somewhat warbled with light onshore wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at up to shoulder high and lined up but a little uneven with glassy conditions and very inconsistent. North San Diego had sets at thigh to waist high and fairly lined up and clean but soft. Oahu's North Shore was flat and clean with sideshore lump. The South Shore had some waist high sets and soft but clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at waist to near chest high and chopped from moderate easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (8/1) minimal swell was hitting the South Shores of Hawaii generated by a pair of gale previously in the tasman Sea with sea to 36 ft. But no defined swell was hitting California other than locally generated northwest windswell. Beyond no solid swell producing weather systems have occurred with no swell is in the water tracking towards our forecast area. But a minimal gale is forecast east of New Zealand on Thurs (8/3) producing 28-30 ft seas aimed north. So there's a little hope. But after that nothing is forecast. We continue to waist for something to break up the log jam over the Pacific.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (8/1) no swell of interest was in the water or being generated relative to Hawaii or California.

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


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored. The GFS model suggests some sort of tropical system developing southwest of mainland Mexico on Wed (8/2) tracking due west bound for the open waters between there and Hawaii. And another is to be right behind it on Fri (8/4) also following a similar track. Will monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (8/2) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA from Big Sur southward. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA south of Monterey Bay. No windswell forecast.
  • Thurs AM (8/3) weak low pressure is to be over the Gulf of Alaska with limited high pressure ridging into CA producing northwest winds at 10-15 kts for North CA and 15+ kts for Central CA early south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA but building to 25 kts over Pt Conception. No real windswell expected.
  • Fri AM (8/4) low pressure continues in the Gulf with northwest winds 15-20 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts from Big Sur southward. In the afternoon the low is to start lifting north with high pressure rebuilding and northwest winds 20 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA. Windswell building.
  • Sat AM (8/5) high pressure builds more and the gradient continues with northwest winds 25 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts solid for Central CA. In the afternoon the gradient lifts north some with northwest winds 25 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA. Windswell building.
  • Sun AM (8/6) gradient start looking like a normal summer-time situation rather than a Springtime one with northwest winds 25-30 kts limited to North CA with northwest winds 10-15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds start fading from 20-25 kts for North CA and 10 kts if not a weak eddy from low Central CA. Windswell fading some.
  • Mon AM (8/7) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts for North CA and northwest 5-10 kts for Central CA if not a weak eddy flow. In the afternoon no real change is forecast. Windswell holding.
  • Tues AM (8/8) northwest winds to be 25 kts mainly for Cape Mendocino with northwest winds 5-10 kts south of Pt Reyes if not a weak eddy flow. The gradient is to be fading some in the afternoon. Windswell fading out. The lingering La Nina/Negative PDO pattern is well dug in but is finally shifting north resembling more of a normal summertime pattern that one would expect in mid-June.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 0, 0, 0, and 0 inches.

Freezing level for the Pacific Crest Trail and Tioga Pass Road intersection: 12,500 ft on 8/1-8/3 then rebuilding to 14,000+ ft beyond an steady.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

On Tuesday (8/1) a trough was in place lifting north over New Zealand being fed by 130 kts winds lifting north supporting gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to be tracking east and holding together reaching a point just east of New Zealand on Wed (8/2) before pinching off there on Thurs (8/3) and dissipating. There's a little hope for small gale development. Otherwise at that time the jet is to be split with the northern branch running east on the 30S latitude lined with winds to 150 kts pushing into Patagonia with the southern branch riding hard south moving inland over Antarctica over the entire width of the south Pacific Ocean offering no support for gale development if not outright suppressing it. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (8/5) the ridge is to be moderating with the jet generally flowing eat on the 65S latitude line running over the north edge of Antarctic Ice at 90 kts and not providing any troughs or support for gale development through Tues (9/8). A fading La Nina pattern continues to have a massively negative effect on the storm machine.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (8/1) small swell originating from 2 gales in the Tasman Sea is to continue impacting Oahu filtered by Fiji (see 1st and 2nd Tasman Sea Gales below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Mon AM (7/31) a small gale developed just south of Tasmania with 45-50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 37 ft at 45S 148.75E starting to Target Fiji. In the evening the gael was racing east across the Tasman Sea with 45 kt west winds and seas 44 ft at 46S 159.75E aimed northeast. On Tues AM (8/1) a gale was pushing over New Zealand with 35 kt southwest winds still in the Tasman Sea and 31 ft seas at 46.25S 166.25E still targeting Fiji. In the evening 40-45 kts southwest winds are to be pushing northeast off the east coast of New Zealand getting traction with seas building from 23 ft at 46S 175E aimed north. On Wed AM (8/2) south winds to be 35-40 kts embedded in a broad area of 30 kt south winds just east of New Zealand with 26 ft seas at 44S 178W aimed north starting to impact Chatham Island. In the evening south winds are to build to 45+ kts solid east and clear of Chatham Island with seas 30 ft over a microscopic area at 46S 177W aimed north but still obscured by Chatham Island. On Thurs AM (8/3) 40+ kt south winds are to be pushing hard north with seas 28-30 ft over a small area at 40S 175W aimed north and clear of any land. In the evening fetch is to be collapsing from 35 kts with seas 26-28 ft at 38S 173W well east of the northeast tip of New Zealand. The gale to dissipate from there. Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii and even less for the mainland. Something to monitor.


1st Tasman Sea Gale
A gale developed south of Tasmania on Mon AM (7/24) tracking northeast producing a broad area of 35-40 kts southwest winds and seas building to 37 ft at 49S 143.5E aimed east-northeast. In the evening 30 kt southwest winds were over the Southern Tasman Sea producing seas of 29 ft at 50.25S 150.25E aimed northeast targeting Fiji. On Tues AM (7/25) 30 kt southwest winds were snuggled up to the west side of New Zealand with 26 ft seas targeting Fiji and NZ at 43.5S 164.75E aimed northeast.

Oahu: Swell peaking on Tues (8/1) at 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (8/2) from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 212 degrees


2nd Tasman Sea Storm
On Tues evening (7/25) a new fetch of 50 kt southwest winds developed in the South Tasman Sea producing 36 ft seas at 50.22S 150.5E aimed northeast targeting Fiji. On Wed AM (7/26) 50 kt southwest winds were near the southern tip of New Zealand producing 36 ft seas at 48.75S 162.75E targeting Fiji and New Zealand but not in the Pacific. In the evening the fetch was impacting and easing east of southern New Zealand at 35-40 kts with all seas impacting the southern tip of New Zealand at 28 ft. All seas and fetch were gone after that.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (8/3) building to 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-day (2.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/4) from 1.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (8/5) fading from 1.0 ft @ 13 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


El Nino Slowly Moving Forward - Weak Active MJO Progresses
Kelvin Waves #3, #4 and #5 Erupting - NINO3.4 SSTs well in El Nino Territory and Slowly Rising
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd and 4th in March-April and a 5th in May. But after the last Active MJO in mid-to-late May, the MJO stalled, until Possibly restarting in Aug. Sea Surface Temperatures in the east are very warm and holding, but not expanding. The atmosphere is showing only the weakest signs of being coupled with the ocean mainly in ORL and surface currents. Fortunately, another Active MJO is getting limited traction (8/1) and seems to be creating one last Kelvin Wave that will help push the atmosphere towards El Nino.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
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: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. That pattern continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing. But it was not coupled with the atmosphere as of 7/20/2023.

Summer 2023 = 3.7 (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: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 3 Active MJO's produced 3 Kelvin Waves with the 3rd in that series poised to start erupting off Ecuador now (May 2023). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias on the dateline and forecast to nearly fill the Pacific during June. We are in a state of transition from ENSO neutral to El Nino during the summer of 2023. As a result we will be moving from a period of reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the early part of Summer towards a period of enhanced storm production starting Late July and beyond, getting fairly intense come Fall. This should result in a slightly below normal level of swells, with swells being below normal duration and period over early Summer. But by late July 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as El Nino starts getting a solid footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after late July 2023. The swell pattern will be normal to somewhat below normal before July and above normal after July 23. And By Sept, the El Nino footprint should be solid. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early and based mostly on the CFS model and it's projection of a building ENSO footprint getting solid by Sept.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (7/31) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific but weak west over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and moderate west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/1) Modest to moderate west anomalies were just west of the dateline today but with weak east anomalies west of there. The forecast indicates west anomalies holding over the eastern half of the KWGA through about 8/8 then limited to the dateline area with east anomalies fading in the west on 9/6. But on 8/8 east anomalies are to build filling most of the KWGA other than on the dateline until 8/15, then fading with west anomalies returning weakly through the end of the model on 8/17. The GEFS and ECMWF show west anomalies holding solid filling the KWGA through 8/11. The GFS seems to be the only model suggesting east anomalies a weeks out.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (7/31) A neutral MJO was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a neutral MJO pattern continuing over the KWGA through the 15 days model run but trending weakly Inactive on days 5 & 10. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (8/1) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was very weak over the Atlantic and is to hold at very weak status 15 days out while moving to the Indian Ocean. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase noodling around in the Atlantic at very weak weak status slowly tracking to the Maritime Continent and very weak 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (8/1) A moderate Active (wet) pattern over over the West Pacific today. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) continuing over the KWGA through 8/6 then fading while pushing east of the KWGA and into Ecuador on 8/26 and weak. A new Inactive Phase (dry air) is to develop over the the KWGA on 8/16 filling it through 8/31 and fairly strong then fading while moving over the Central and East Pacific through the last day of the model run on 9/10.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/31)
Today a weak Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA with moderate west anomalies filling it. A small Westerly Wind Burst occurred 7/14-7/27 and might still be occurring today. The forecast indicates west anomalies continuing over the KWGA at moderate status through 8/6, then fading some with a small pocket of east anomalies 8/8-8/15, then west anomalies returning at moderate strength filling the KWGA 8/16 through the last day of the model run on 8/28.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(8/1) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Active Phase was filling the KWGA with west anomalies at modest strength filling the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase holding through 8/12 with west anomalies solid. A weak Inactive Phase is to pas over the KWGA 8/3-8/21 but with moderate west anomalies still in control. Another Active Phase is to follow 8/25 through the end of the model run on 10/29 with moderate to strong west anomalies forecast over that entire period. Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) suggests cloud activity took over the KWGA on 6/24 and is holding if not building today and forecast to build even more solid moving forward. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 170E with 3 contour lines and it's leading edge well east of the dateline at 140W today (it started pushing east on 2/15). The primarily contours leading edge is to slowly ease east to 122W (Up to the California coast) at the end of the model run with it's center easing east to 178E. The high pressure bias was south of California at 120W and is to dissipate on 10/13. 7/18 was the start of a major positive change in the development of El Nino with a advent of the Active Phase of the MJO and west anomalies. It appears a borderline strong El Nino is developing.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/1) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was backtracking to 178W (previously 175W). The 29 degree isotherm was steady at 161W (previously 160W). The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 143W. The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific and was a little shallower at 45 M down (previously 65 m) in the far East. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C started at 151W (previously 156W) pushing east with +3-5 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting at 133W (145W on 7/20). +6 degree anomalies were gone. The warm pool is discharging to the surface and no new warm water other than a steady base warm state at +1 to +2 degs were in the West Pacific, meaning no new Kelvin Wave were in-flight. A tiny pocket of +2 deg anomalies is still hanging on over the dateline. There's about 2 months of warm water backed up off the Ecuadorian Coast today. Of some concern was a cool pocket at -2.0 degs developing down 150m centered at 150W in mid-July. It's gone for the moment. It was at -1.0 deg at 140W prior to that for months up through 7/9. We will monitor this. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/27 indicates a large very warm stream of +1-2 degs anomalies extending west to east over the whole subsurface Pacific and building while tracking east with 2 deg anomalies from 138W and point east of there and +4-5 degs anomalies from 122w and point east of there erupting into Ecuador. +2 degree anomalies were falling off the Maritime Continent reaching east to 150E degs (Kelvin Wave #6). In other words, this image suggests there more warm water flowing east from the Maritime Continent than what the TAO array suggesting perhaps another Kelvin Wave is developing. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/27) Sea heights were positive across the whole equatorial Pacific at +0-5 cms with a small pinched area at 155W. A pocket of +10 cm pocket embedded from 95W east into Ecuador. Positive anomalies extending north into Central America and south to Chile. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram warm water continues building in intensity and coverage at +1.00-2.00 degs over the East Pacific from 125W and east of there. A broad pocket of near neutral temps was in place west in the West and Central Pacific (140E-145W) but now appears to be warming again with warm pockets appearing between 160E to 180W. The warm water flow had backed off some with nothing to force more warm water east (i.e. no Active MJOs occurring). But perhaps that pattern is changing for the better now. Otherwise there's been no change since mid March, a steady flow of warm water pushing east.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (7/31) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador but far weaker than 2 weeks ago being affected by east winds blowing solidly over this area making it diffuse out to 110W with lesser but still serious heat extending west to about 130W. Lesser heat extended west to the dateline and beyond. Heat also extends north up Mexico reaching the middle of Baja and south down into Patagonia. There is a very clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place. The last remnants of La Nina are gone on the equator but remnants are still evident along the California and Baja coast though collapsing fast over the past 2 weeks with cold temps and a Springtime upwelling pattern mainly limited to a space off Pt Conception to a point south of Hawaii. La Nina is theoretically collapsing atmospherically over the Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/31): A neutral pattern was in control of the equatorial Pacific but with just tiny pockets of warming and cooling interspersed on the equator between Ecuador and 125W. East anomalies appears to be fading there. It's not surprising there's no clear warm signal along Ecuador because temps are already so warm they can't get any hotter. A neutral trend was along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Warming is building solidly along California and Mexico indicative of the weakening of the upwelling pattern there. The pattern of adding energy to the warm surface pool is stable if not inching backwards. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15 except for the time frame from 4/23 to today. But note there is strong warming along California and Mexico, and very warm from Cape mendocino northward. This possibly signals the demise of the cool upwelling 'La Nina hangover' pool.
Hi-res Overview: (7/29) Warmer than normal waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru, Ecuador and north up to Mexico with strong warming in many pockets along the immediate cost of Peru and Ecuador out to 110W. And the classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably over the equator west to the dateline and beyond. No cool waters were on the equator anymore. Everything is now looking like El Nino. But the La NIna enhanced cool pool off California persists, though weaker. Very perplexing. It's a clear sign of the negative PDO and it is not budging.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/1) (Coral Reef temps run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps were rising some today at +3.02 degs after being up to +3.391 (on 7/20) and had been rising from +2.906 (starting 7/3) rising from +2.451 after peaking at +2.7926 on 6/13 and have been up in the +2.0 to +3.0 degs range since 4/1 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(8/1) (Coral Reef anomalies run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today temps are rising some at +0.967 up from +0.873 degs on 7/25 after peaking at +0.985 (7/18). Previously temps were rising slightly at +0.882 (7/9) after being steady at +0.794 4-5 days and that after being steady at +0.895 (3 days near 6/25) after being in the +0.712 range the previous 9 days after previously rising to +0.975 on 6/9. We are now 31 days into a trend of being above the El Nino threshold (for the 2nd time). Temps reached the El Nino threshold for the first time on 5/17 at +0.507 then quickly fell over the next 10 days down to +0.378 (5/26). Previous peaks of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. They had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, reaching +1.15 degs early Aug.
Forecast (7/30) - Temps are are to slowly rise to +1.25 degs in mid-Aug and +1.65 degs mid Sept, then start rising quickly, to +2.15 degs in Nov and solidly in El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast holding at 1.05 degs into mid-Aug then steadily rising to +1.25 degs in Sept, +1.50 degs in Oct and +1.70 degs in Nov-Dec. According to this version of the model we are building into El Nino through the Summer. But max temps are down from previous runs.
IRI Consensus Plume: The July 19, 2023 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.262 degs today and it's the 5th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward up to +1.573 degrees in Oct then fading from there. The dynamic model suggest temps peaking at +1.809 in Oct while the statistic models show +1.128 degrees. The dynamic models are running much hotter than the statistic models. The CFS model is right in the middle of the dynamic model range.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (8/1) the Daily Index was negative at -6.37 after plunging to -37.30 on 7/25 and being negative 15 days previous. It was positive the previous 21 days and had been negative 11 days prior to that and positive 5 days previous to that then negative for 27 days previous ending 6/6 with a peak down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling at -4.83 and fell below the neutral point on 7/26. It rose above positive 7/3-7/25. It previously fell to -19.64 on 6/5 had been falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was steady at -7.59 and turned negative the first time in years on 5/12. A recent max low was -7.57 on 6/6. It previously peaked at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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