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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, August 19, 2018 3:44 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 & 1.9 - 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 8/20 thru Sun 8/26

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 Gale in Northwest Gulf
South Pacific is Asleep


On Sunday, August 19, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 13.0 secs from 182 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 13.9 secs from 166 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 68.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.5 secs from 182 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.6 secs from 202 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.7 secs from 206 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.8 secs from 194 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 13.5 secs from 182 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temp 60.1 degs.

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Sunday (8/19) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves in the waist to maybe chest high range and heavily textured from south winds in the San Francisco area. Protected breaks were up to o waist high on the sets and soft but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high on the sets and clean but very slow. but it's a start. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high or so on the sets and somewhat lined up and clean but slow and soft. In North Orange Co waves were chest to head high on the sets and somewhat lined up and clean but pretty soft. South Orange Country's best breaks were getting residual sets at shoulder to head high and clean but weak and a shadow of what it was days before. In North San Diego surf was waist to maybe chest high on the sets and clean but soft and weak and inconsistent. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and real clean. The South Shore was flat and textured with east trade wind side bump running through it. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell with waves waist high and heavily textured from modest east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (8/19) southern hemi swell from the Southeast Pacific was fading in California. This swell was generated by a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed-Thurs (8/9) with up to 32 ft seas briefly aimed north. Beyond no gales have formed with no other swell in the water and no swell producing weather systems are forecast in the southern hemi for the next week. Up north a small gale was in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska producing 22 ft seas aimed south targeting Hawaii. And minimal windswell was being produced for North and Central CA expected to hold for one more day then fade. And windswell was also occurring at exposed east facing shores in Hawaii and possibly building courtesy of Hurricane Lane as it moves very close to the Big Island beyond.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Sunday AM (8/19) swell associated with a Gale in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska was pushing south (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

Gulf Gale
A gale low started developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Fri PM (8/17) at 990 mbs producing north winds 30 kts in it's west quadrant aimed towards Hawaii but not getting any real traction on the oceans surface yet. On Sat AM (8/18) the gale lifted rapidly north just south of the Eastern Aleutians producing 40 kt northwest winds over a short fetch aimed south and southeast with seas building from 18 ft at 49N 163W. In the evening fetch held 40 kts from the north just south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas building to 21 ft at 49N 167W targeting mainly Hawaii and building to 22 ft at 48N 167W at 11 PM PDT. The gale fell south some and faded Sun AM with north winds fading from 30 kts and seas pushing south at 21 ft at 45N 166W targeting mainly Hawaii. The gale to dissipate thereafter.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (8/21) at sunset with period 13 secs and size tiny peaking at 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) near 1 AM Wed (8/22). Swell fading a sunrise from 3.7 ft @ 12-13 secs at sunrise (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Sunday (8/19) high pressure at 1032 mbs was 600 nmiles west of Oregon barely ridging into North California continuing to generate a weak gradient and north winds at 20+ kts early along the Cape Mendocino coast but light south of Pt Arena but forecast to build south to Bodega Bay late afternoon offering continued potential for weak north windswell production relative to North and Central CA. On Monday (8/20) the gradient is to start fading with north winds to 20+ kts early down to Pt Arena then fading in coverage steadily through the day offering some continued hope for windswell production in North and Central CA. By Tuesday (8/21) the gradient is to dissolve with north winds limited to 15 kts early off Cape Mendocino and shrinking in coverage through the day with no hope for windswell production forecast. And by Wed (8/22) a light local wind flow is forecast for the entire CA coast offering no potential for windswell development. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Sunday (8/19) high pressure at 1030 mbs was in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska ridging south some producing easterly trades at 15-20 kts starting 300 nmiles east of the Big Island and with the high interacting some with Hurricane Lane 700 nmiles southeast of the Big Island producing additional fetch targeting the Big Island (see Tropical Update below). Improved odds for windswell and tropical swell production was occurring. By Monday (8/20) high pressure in the Eastern Gulf is to hold at 1028 mbs ridging south with Hurricane Lane 450 nmiles southeast of the Big Island pushing west-northwest producing a gradient and east winds at 20+ kts generating east windswell pushing into the Big Island and exposed east facing shores of the other Islands. More of the same is forecast Tues (8/21) with Lane moving to with in 225 nmiles southeast of the Big Island with a broad area of 20+ kt east winds pushing up to the Big Island and 15 kt east winds for the other Islands. Improved odds for windswell for the other islands and hurricane swell production for the Big Island at that time. On Wednesday (8/22) Lane is to be 225 nmiles south-southeast of the Big Island early with a potential turn tracking north-northwest and moving to within 120 nmiles of the south shore of the Big Island with a broad fetch of 30 kt east winds sweeping over the Big Island late and 20 kts east winds over all other Islands. Windswell building. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Lane: On Saturday AM (8/18) Lane was 1100 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 120 kts/135 mph tracking on a generally westerly course with seas estimated at 35 ft. This was Lanes peak. In the evening winds were down some at 115 kts/132 mph with seas 36 ft positioned 900 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island. On Sunday AM (8/19) Lane continued on it previous heading with winds down to 105 kts (120 mph) positioned 730 nmiles east-southeast of Hilo HI with seas 33 ft. Current projections have Lane continuing on a generally westerly track passing 200 nmiles south of the Big Island later on Tues (8/21) with winds 80 kts (approx 92 mph) then turning on a west northwest heading passing 280 nmiles south of Maui on Thurs AM (8/23) with winds 70 kts and then 300 nmiles south of Kauai on Fri AM (8/24) with winds 65 kts. The official forecast has Lane bypassing all the Hawaiian Islands. There's a high likelihood for solid easterly swell impacting the East Shore of the Big Island, but only windswell for the other islands. Something to monitor.

Southeast Shore of the Big Island: Expect swell arrival on Mon AM (8/20) with swell building to 5.4 ft @ 14-15 secs later (7.5-8.0 ft). Swell building Tues AM (8/21) to 6.2 ft @ 12-13 secs and holding all day (7.5-8.0 ft). Swell holding on Wed AM (8/22) at 6.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.5-8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 110 degrees

Otherwise no swell producing tropical systems were being monitored.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (8/19) north winds were 10 kts or less south of Pt Arena down to Pt Conception with north winds 20 kts over Cape Mendocino. On Mon (8/20) north winds to hold at 20 kts over Cape Mendocino and then 10-15 kts from south of Pt Arena down to Pt Reyes and 10 kts or less south of there. Tues (8/21) north winds to be 10 kts or less for all of North and Central CA continuing Wednesday and Thurs (8/23). Friday (8/24) north winds are to build to 15 kts over all of Central CA and up to 20-25 kts over North CA and holding Sat (8/25). On Sun (8/26) north winds to be fading from 15 kts for all of North and Central CA.

South Pacific

On Sunday AM (8/19) the southern branch of the jetstream was weak running zonally west to east on the 63S latitude line barley over the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with winds 60 kts offering no support for gale development and with no troughs occurring. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast but with the flow moving further south to 65S again suppressing gale development and again with no troughs present. Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs (8/23) more of the same is forecast but with a ridge starting to build southward on Fri (8/24) over the Southwest Pacific and pushing into Antarctica again suppressing support for gale development. But on Sun (8/26) the models are teasing concerning a trough starting to build under New Zealand with winds 150 kts perhaps offering some support for gale development. Will believe it when it happens.

Surface Analysis  
On Sunday (8/19) swell from a gale previously in the deep Southeast Pacific was fading in California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

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


Southeast Pacific Gale (Swell #5S)
A gale developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Wednesday PM (8/8) with 45 kt south winds pushing well north producing 29 ft seas at 60S 122W. On Thurs AM (8/9) fetch is to fade from barely 40 kts over a tiny area and seas 32 ft at 54.5S 121W. The gale is to fade and move east of the Southern CA swell window and of no interest after that. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Swell fading Sun (8/19) from 2.7 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Residuals fading Mon (8/20) from 2.1 ft @ 13 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Nothing after that. Swell Direction: 180-182 degrees

North CA: Swell fading on Sun (8/19) from 2.9 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (8/20) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Nothing after that. Swell Direction: 178-180 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

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

Windswell Forecast
A light local wind flow is forecast on Thurs (8/23) except for north winds at 15 kts for Cape Mendocino offering no support for windswell production. But on Fri (8/24) broad high pressure at 1034 mbs is to set up in the Central Gulf ridging east producing a small area of north winds at 20+ kts over North CA and 15 kts north winds down to Pt Conception generating limited north windswell. Those winds to build Sat (8/25) to 25 kts over North CA and 15-20 kts north winds expected down to Pt Conception increasing odds for windswell production. Sun (8/26) north winds are to be fading at 15 kts along both the North and Central CA coast. as the high retrogrades away from the coast and odds for windswell production start fading.

Hawaii: On Thursday (8/23) Hurricane Lane is to continuing lifting north-northwest per the GFS model but not per the official track (see Tropical Update) with the eye just southwest of the Big Island after sunset with east winds 25 kts over all the Islands with east windswell on the increase along east facing shores and south swell pushing into the Big Island and building up into Maui and maybe Oahu overnight. This is a worst case scenario per the GFS model. Friday Lane is to dissipate while turning and again taking a westerly track over or just south of Maui and Oahu and not at hurricane force with east winds 25-30 kts early for all Islands resulting in raw east windswell. Monitor this situation closely. Saturday (8/25) Depression Lane is to be 50 nmiles south of Kauai tracking west with 20-25 kt east winds over all the ISlands resulting in more raw local windswell along east facing shores and steadily fading. Sunday (8/26) east fetch driven by high pressure to the north of the Islands is to continue along all east facing shores generating larger raw east windswell.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


ESPI Holds Steady - Kelvin Wave #2 Building

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

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

Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 6.5
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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (8/18) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then weakening some south of Hawaii and turning calm if not weak westerly from the dateline westward filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific then turning moderately westerly starting on the dateline and building to moderately westerly over the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/19) Light east anomalies were filling the KWGA and forecast to hold through the end of the model run on 8/26. A short lived Westerly Wind Burst (2 week duration 8/7-8/17) is over.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (8/18) A weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the west KWGA. The statistical model depicts that an Active/Wet MJO signal is to hold unchanged through the 2 week model run. The dynamic model depicts the same thing through a little weaker. The models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/19) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and stalled mid-way between the Maritime Continent and the West Pacific. It is to build slightly through the next 2 weeks but remaining generally weak. The GEFS model depicts a variant of the same pattern.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/19) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO signal was over the dateline region and is to be easing east over Central America on 9/13. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific starting 8/27 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 9/28. At that time a weak Active/Wet pattern is to be developing over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/18) This model depicts neutral anomalies over the KWGA today driven by Equatorial Rossby Wave. The forecast indicates that wave is to be gone in the next 7 days with westerly anomalies starting to rebuild from the dateline to the west and filling the KWGA 8/27 and holding there after. By 9/1 west anomalies are to be building to WWB status and holding through the end of the model run on 9/15. Basically non-stop west anomalies are on the charts for the next month. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/18) This model depicts the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO is all but gone over the KWGA with a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO starting to build in the far West Pacific. The Inactive MJO signal is to hold through 9/4 but with modest west anomalies holding over the KWGA. A neutral phase of the MJO is to hold 9/5-10/6 but with moderate west anomalies in the KWGA but not at WWB status. The Active Phase is to build some 10/10 through 10/23 with westerly anomalies holding and continuing through the end of the model run. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 145W and built from 2 contour lines to 3 on 7/8 then building in coverage 7/24 and is to hold solid through the end of the model run. This means we are biased towards El Nino through the coming Fall season. The eastern edge of the Low Pressure bias is to ease east to 120W (over California) by 10/6. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking steadily and is to be gone by 9/22. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and were originally thought to reach that state on 8/8 or 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8). Based on current data, we're thinking coupling should occur more like 8/28 now. This pattern is more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and migrating east now to 170E. The 28 deg isotherm line started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 to 153W on 7/10 and to 163W on 8/10). It is now moving east again at 160W due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was 100 meters deep at 140W but retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 125W on 8/10. Today it is moving east again at 112W. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave are gone with neutral anomalies in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 170W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 132W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/11 is a little more optimistic, with remnants of the first Kelvin Wave still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 140W eastward building to +3.5 degs centered at 115W extending east to 105W but not reaching Ecuador. It was breaching the surface between 120W-145W. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.0 degs reaching east to 140W and building in coherency with broken fragments of warm water joining the existing Kelvin Wave east of there. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/11) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 130W at +5-10 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in pockets east to 110W, but no further east, remnants of Kelvin Wave #1. There were no breaks over that entire area. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino appears to be developing.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (8/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile. But solid warm anomalies were building from Ecuador west on the equator to 110W and continuous aided by dissipation of easterly wind anomalies over this area. Moderate warm anomalies continued from 110W west of out to the dateline except for 2 small cool pockets at 115W and 130W. A broad area of generic warming was also filling the area north of the equator from Central America and South Mexico out to the dateline and very warm from North Mainland Mexico out to the dateline. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/18): An elongated area with pockets of alternating warming and cooling but biased in favor of warming were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with a fading easterly wind burst over that area supporting cool upwelling. Temps were steady along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Cooling previously solid off Central West Africa has dissipated and are replaced with a warming pattern. And that warming trend appears to start being mirrored west of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (8/18) An area of weak cool water was present along Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with pockets of strong warming and west from there to the dateline from 10S up to 20N, but with 2 pockets of cooler water at 115W and 135W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E. The remnant pocket of cool water from La Nina was limited to an area south of the equator starting at 4S between 140-160W and steadily loosing coverage.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/19) Today's temps were steady at -0.261 degs. That is up some but still lower than the big peak at +0.459 on 5/13. Overall temps here are steady in the -0.50 deg range and slowly rising.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/19) Today temps were rising some at +0.267, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are holding steady in the +0.25 degs range the past month.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/19) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.30 degs and to +1.55 degs in Nov holding through January 2019 then slowly fading through April 2019 down to +1.15 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-July Plume depicts temps at +0.5 degs in July and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.6 in August and +0.8 in October and +1.0 in Nov and holding there into Feb 2019. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the high end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (8/19): The daily index was rising some today at +1.94 and has been positive the last 3 days. The 30 day average was falling today to -4.92 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling at -2.82. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (8/16) Today the index was steady at +0.12. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year and beats the previous highest peak (-0.09 on 7/2). This suggest that perhaps El Nino is starting to get better coupled in the atmosphere. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. 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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