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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2019 2:37 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
1.5 - California & 2.2 - 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 9/2 thru Sun 9/8

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   

Gale Developing in Northwest Gulf
4 Gales for New Zealand Corridor

On Saturday, August 31, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 2.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 14.4 secs from 202 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 9.6 secs from 310 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 165 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 70.9 degs (46086). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.7 secs from 191 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.8 ft @ 18.0 secs from 236 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.1 ft @ 15.5 secs from 204 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.7 secs from 187 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 14.7 secs from 181 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temp 58.8 degs (013) and 62.4 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- 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 Saturday (8/31) in North and Central CA surf was flat to knee high and warbled from some local northwest wind. Protected breaks were flat and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was occasionally waist high or so and clean and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were knee high and clean but encased in fog early. In North Orange Co waves were waist to chest high on the sets and lined up and rideable and clean through inconsistent. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were chest high on the sets and soft wit a little texture on it from a light northwesterly flow. North San Diego had surf at waist high on the sets and mostly clean but very soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and heavily textured from northeasterly trades. The South Shore was waist high on the sets and clean and slow. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high or so and lightly chopped from modest northeasterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (8/31) in California no real swell was hitting. For Hawaii the final tiny remnants of swell was hitting from a modest gale that developed in the Tasman Sea targeting Fiji Tues-Fri (8/23) with 28-34 ft seas aimed north. But the models grossly overhyped the expected size of this swell for the Islands and the same is expected for California. The first is a series of small gales developed under New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (8/29) with up to 39 ft seas, but mainly falling and aimed southeast at Antarctica. Another developed right behind Thurs-Fri (8/30) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed due east. And a third is developed Fri-Sun (9/1) producing up to 41 ft seas aimed east-northeast offering some better hope. And maybe a fourth is possible Sun-Tues (9/3) with seas building to 45 ft aimed northeast nearly traversing the South Pacific. But in all cases, fetch size is to be small, limiting the fetch's footprint and ability to generate meaningful swell momentum. In the North Pacific a small fetch developed in the Gulf of Alaska on Thurs (8/29) with 18 ft seas aimed south-southeast somewhat towards Hawaii. Windswell is pushing towards there. And another was developing in the Northwestern Gulf Sat-Mon (9/1) with 36 ft seas aimed east. A weaker pattern is to follow. So the transition to Fall is starting to occur, but we're not quite there yet.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii. But windswell from a low pressure system previously in the Gulf of Alaska was propagating south towards the Islands (see Gulf Low Pressure below). And swell was starting to be generated from a gale developing over the Northwestern Gulf (See Northwestern Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell production is forecast other than what is mentioned above.


Gulf Low Pressure (Hawaii)
A low pressure system started developing in the Gulf of Alaska later on Tues (8/27) and by Wed AM (8/28) it was producing a small area of 25-35 kt north winds aimed south and seas starting to build from 12 ft. In the evening 40 kt north winds were increasing their footprint at 47N 153W aimed just a bit east of Hawaii with a tiny area of 18 ft seas at 47.5N 153W targeting Hawaii. On Thurs AM (8/29) 30 kt north to northwest winds were falling south and fading producing 17 ft seas at 44.5N 153.5W targeting Hawaii somewhat. In the evening the gale is to fade while tracking southeast with 25 kt northwest winds and seas 15 ft at 41.5N 151W aimed southeast and bypassing Hawaii but likely to far from California to be of interest there. Bare minimal windswell is possible to result for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Possible windswell arriving on Sun (9/1) building to 2.6 ft @ 11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (9/2) from 2.0 ft @ 9-10 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 5-10 degrees


Northwestern Gulf Gale
A small gale started to develop on the northern dateline region on Fri PM (8/30) producing 35-40 kt north to northwest winds with seas starting to build. On Sat AM (8/31) the gale was blooming with 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas 32 ft over a tiny area at 47N 176W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to sweep east comfortably in the Northwestern Gulf with 45 kt west winds with 37 ft seas at 48.5N 169.5W aimed east. On Sun AM (9/1) the gale is to lift northeast slightly with 35 kt west winds reasonably well south of the Eastern Aleutians with 32 ft seas at 51.5N 162.5W aimed east. In the evening 30 kt easterly fetch is to hold somewhat exposed south of the Aleutians with 25 ft seas fading at 54N 157.5W aimed east. On Mon AM (9/2) the gale is to be gone with it's core in the Eastern Bering Sea offering no more sea production potential. The first modest swell of the Fall 2019-2020 season is to result.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival starting Tues (9/3) building to 2.8 ft @ 14 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell holding on Wed (9/4) at 2.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Residuals fading on Thurs (9/5) from 2.2 ft @ 11 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 332 degrees

North CA: Expect the first signs of this swell arriving on Tues (9/3) pushing 2 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (9/4) at4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.5 ft) but shadowed by the Faralones in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading on Thurs (9/5) from 4.0 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (9/6) fading from 3.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 303 degrees


Windswell Outlook
No meaningful windswell is expected for California or Hawaii until maybe Tues (9/3) when north winds starting building to 15 kts along the entire North and Central CA coast. Also a small fetch of 15 kt east winds is to develop 300 nmiles east of the Big Island of Hawaii possibly starting to produce windswell propagating west.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are being monitored. A tropical system is forecast developing 450 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Mon (9/2) lifting well north-northwest through the work week. Something to monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (8/31) light winds are forecast except for south of Monterey Bay to Pt Conception with north winds 15 kts, mainly in the afternoon. On Sunday (9/1) northwest winds are to be 15-20 kts from Pt Reyes south to Pt Conception. On Mon (9/2) northwest winds are forecast for North and Central CA at 15 kts and up to 20 kts in pockets in the afternoon. On Tues (9/3) 15 kts northwest winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA. Wednesday (9/4) northwest winds are forecast at 15+ kts for all of North and Central CA. Thurs (9/5) and Fri (9/6) north winds are to be 15 kts for all of North and Central CA. On Sat (9/7) 15+ kt north winds are forecast over all of North and Central CA nearshore waters.

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (8/31) the jetstream was well split with the influential southern branch of the jet tracking east under New Zealand then lifting northeast forming a trough being fed by 140 kt winds with it's apex at 55S 163W offering decent support for gale development well southeast of New Zealand. But east of there the jet was falling hard southeast pushing over Antarctic Ice near 135W offering no support for gale development in the upper atmosphere. The only window was directly under New Zealand reaching to maybe 155W. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to steadily weaken while tracking east and be exceedingly weak by Sun PM (9/1) no longer support gale development. And a ridge is to start pushing south under New Zealand eliminating support for gale development in the far Southwest Pacific and sweeping east. Remnants of the previous trough are to continue migrating east into Tues (9/3) reaching 145W but again no winds of interest are to be fueling support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (9/4) a weak ridge is to be in control of the Southwest Pacific while a weak trough pushes east through the Southeast Pacific offering nothing. But then on Thurs (9/5) wind energy is to again develop at 110 kts and start feeding the trough perhaps offering some support for gale development in the Southeast Pacific, then building strongly late Thurs (9/5) with winds pushing due north at 120-130 kts feeding support for gale development at 120W, on the edge of the Southern CA swell window. That trough is to move east quickly and out of the CA swell window later Fri (9/6). And back to the west a weak jetstream is to be offering nothing into Sat (9/7).

Surface Analysis  
Swell from a gale previously in the Tasman Sea is fading out in Hawaii and was far weaker than the model suggested it would be and is pushing towards California (see Tasman Sea Gale below). A gale developed under New Zealand falling southeast (See First New Zealand Gale below) followed by a more interesting gale behind (see Second New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours yet a third small gale was developing under New Zealand on Fri AM (9/30) with 50 kts southwest winds and seas on the increase from 30 ft at 57S 168E aimed east. In the evening southwest winds were 50-55 kt over a modest area aimed northeast with seas 44 ft over a tiny area at 55S 179.5E aimed east-northeast. On Sat AM (8/31) 45 kt southwest winds were in-play with 36 ft seas at 50.5S 169W aimed east-northeast. In the evening 40 kts southwest winds are to be fading aimed northeast with 33 ft seas at 49S 159W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (9/1) the gale is to be fading with barely 35 kts southwest winds remaining and 29-30 ft seas fading at 49S 151W aimed northeast. Some swell is to be radiating northeast.

And yet a larger 4th gale is to follow under New Zealand on Sat PM (8/31) producing a broad area of 30-35 kt west winds and seas building from 29 ft at 55S 155E aimed east. On Sun AM (9/1) a broad fetch of southwest winds are forecast with a core at 50-55 kts just south of New Zealand with 35 ft seas building at 56.5S 171E aimed northeast. In the evening the gale is to be lifting solidly northeast with 50-55 kt southerly fetch developing with 44 ft seas building at 53.5S 177W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (9/2) a solid fetch of 50 kt southwest winds are forecast with seas 42 ft at 50.5S 166W aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds are to push northeast at 45 kts with seas 43 ft at 48S 157W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (9/3) southwest winds are to be 35-40 kts over the Central South Pacific with 37 ft seas at 46S 149W. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 29 ft at 44.5S 141.5W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.


Tasman Sea Gale
On Tuesday AM (8/20) a gale started building just south of Tasmania producing 40 kt southwest winds and seas to 35 ft at 46S 148E aimed northeast. In the evening 35-40 kt southwest winds were building north into the Tasman Sea proper with 34 ft seas 46S 151E targeting Fiji. On Wed AM (8/21) 30-35 kt southwest winds were almost filling the Tasman Sea with 30-36 ft seas at 45S 155.5E aimed northeast targeting Fiji. In the evening secondary fetch built at 35-40 kts filling the western Tasman Sea aimed north with 28-30 ft seas at 42S 155E aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (8/22) south fetch at 35 kts was filling the Tasman Sea with seas 28-30 ft slid at 32S-42S and 160E aimed north. Fetch was fading fast in the evening at 30 kts with seas fading from 26-28 ft at 39S 164E aimed north. The gale fading from there.

Hawaii: Dribbles fading Sat AM (8/31) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees

Southern CA: Note - This projection is likely overhyped. Expect swell arrival on Sat (8/31) building to 1.7 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell builds on Sun (9/1) to 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft). Swell continues on Mon (9/2) at 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Residuals fading on Tues (9/3) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 230 degrees

North CA: Note - This projection is likely overhyped. Expect swell arrival on Sat (8/31) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell builds on Sun (9/1) to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell continues on Mon (9/2) at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Residuals fading on Tues (9/3) from 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 230 degrees


First New Zealand Gale
A tiny storm developed just south of New Zealand on Wed AM (8/28) with 50-55 kts west winds over a small sized fetch area and seas building from 39 ft aimed east to southeast at 59S 171.5E. In the evening 45 kt west winds were over a small area with the core of the gale falling southeast with seas 39 ft at 61S 177.5 aimed east to southeast. On Thurs AM (8/29) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the west with the core of the gale tracking east and seas fading from 31 ft at 62.5S 168W aimed east and nearly impacting Antarctic Ice. The gale is to dissipate and track southeast from there over the Ross Ice Shelf. Doubtful much if any swell will be radiating northeast given it's southeasterly trajectory.


Second New Zealand Gale
Another gale developed south of New Zealand on Thurs AM (9/29) with 45-55 kt southwest winds with the gale itself tracking east and up to 39 ft seas at 57.5S 168E aimed east. In the evening a core of 55 kt southwest winds are to build pushing east with a tiny area of 46 ft seas building at 55.5S 178E aimed east. On Fri AM (8/30) southwest winds to be building in coverage but fading in velocity at 40 kts with 38 ft seas at 54S 171.5W aimed northeast. Fetch is to be collapsing through the day and gone by evening with seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 31 ft at 57S 161W aimed east. Maybe some small swell to result.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (9/5) building to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). On Fri (9/6) swell to build to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Sat (9/7) at 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat afternoon (9/7) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206-211 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat afternoon (9/7) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206-211 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 clearly defined swell producing weather systems are forecast. But the transition from Summer to Fall is to continue.

A small low pressure system is to build in the Central Gulf lifting north on Wed Am (9/4) producing 30+ kt north winds no getting good traction on the oceans surface. The gael is to continue lifting north in the evening with 30-35 kts northwest winds producing 15 ft seas at 47N 150W aimed southeast. The gale is to stall on Thurs AM (9/5) with 30+ kts northwest winds and seas 14 ft targeting the Pacific Northwest down into Northern CA at 48N 148W. In the evening the gale is to start fading with barely 30 kt northwest wind and seas fading from 13 ft at 48N 147W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.


Windswell Outlook
Wed (9/4) northwest winds at 15+ kts are forecast from Pt Arena to Pt Conception offering some support for windswell production. East fetch at 15-20 kts is to hold mostly 350 nmiles southeast of the Big Island offering low odds for windswell production. On Thurs (9/5) north winds are to be fading in coverage at 15 kts over North and Central CA offering only limited odds of windswell production down into Central CA. A weak tropical low is to be 300 nmiles south-southeast of the Big Island offering only low odds for windswell production radiating northwest. Fri (9/6) northwest winds at 15 kts are forecast in patches along the North and Central CA coast offering low odds for windswell production. A building fetch of east winds at 15 kts is forecast over the Hawaiian ISlands and extending east 900 nmiles offering improved odds for windswell production along east facing shores of all the Islands. Sat (9/7) high pressure is to be building in the Gulf of Alaska driving northwest winds at 15-20 kts along the coasts of North and Central CA producing limited short period windswell there. And trades to hold at 15 kts solid up to 900 nmiles east of the Hawaiian Islands producing windswell there too.

MJO/ENSO Forecast


Cool Water Building on Equatorial Pacific - Models Suggest It Fading

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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (8/30) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific shrinking in coverage but still present over the Central Pacific with east winds at moderate strength extending west to the dateline then fading and turning calm from 160E and points west of there over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central equatorial Pacific to 170E then turning modestly westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (8/31) mostly weak west anomalies were filling the KWGA with west anomalies a bit more prevalent and focused in the core of the KWGA. The forecast is for this pattern generally holding for the coming week but with west anomalies weakening steadily through the end of the model run on 9/7. A neutral MJO pattern is forecast over the next 7 days.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (8/30) A neutral MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA today biased weekly Active over the extreme west Pacific. The statistic model indicates it is to hold for the next 15 days, if not building some more towards the Active Phase. The dynamic model indicates a neutral pattern holding through the 15 days model run (but weakly biased towards the Inactive Phase 15 days out).
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/31) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak in strength over the Western Maritime Continent and is to migrate slowly east to the West Pacific 15 days out and still very weak. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase migrating to the far West Pacific and exceedingly weak at day 15 of the model run and stalling there.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (8/31) This model depicts the Inactive Phase moving east over Central America today with a neutral pattern if not weakly Active over the Central Pacific. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO is to develop over the West Pacific 9/13 tracking east moving over the Central Pacific and dissipating at the end of the model run on 10/10. A weak Inactive MJO is to be setting up over the far West Pacific 10/5 easing east through the end of the model run.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/30) This model depicts no MJO signal present in the Pacific today but with modest west anomalies on the dateline. The forecast depicts these west anomalies building in coverage completely filling the KWGA by 9/6 and holding solidly through the end of the model run on 9/27.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/31) This model depicts a neutral MJO pattern over the KWGA today but with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has a dead neutral MJO signal holding from now through 9/10 when a very weak Active MJO develops holding through 10/1. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 9/25 through 10/17 followed by a continued weak MJO pattern through the end of the model run (11/28). During that entire period weak west anomalies are to hold in the core of the KWGA if not building pretty solid from 10/18 through the end of the model run. The low pass filter changed on 7/25 and is building yet more today with a low pressure bias with 1 contour line in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California. This single remaining contour line is to hold for the foreseeable future, with a second contour line developing 10/26 and possible a third contour line on 11/25. If this pattern holds into early Fall it would constitute a significant upgrade. This model indicates that a weak El Nino pattern is to maybe rebuild. That is not believable at this early date. Basically we are moving from a pattern biased towards El Nino to one biased towards ENSO neutral. No sign of La Nina is depicted per this model.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/31) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a decent size area reaching east to only 180W while the 29 deg isotherm was steady at 172W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 161W today. The 24 deg isotherm previously pushed into Ecuador at 30 meters down, but retrograded on 7/11 from 107W to 119W today. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the West Pacific at +1-2 degs from the surface to 150 meters down (deepest on the dateline) and indicative of a possible stationary Kelvin Wave #5 there reaching east to 150W. East of there in the East Pacific NO warm anomalies remained with a cool pocket with a core at -1 degs down 100 meters at 130W but fading compared to day past. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/26 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 has formed a small stationary Kelvin Wave under the Dateline with cool anomalies from 150W into Ecuador drawing up from depth to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/26) A small area of weak positive anomalies were on the dateline from 165E to 165W. Negative anomalies were fading west from Ecuador at -5 cms reaching to 150W but still suggestive of La Nina.

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: (8/30) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate weak warm anomalies are present north of the equator from Central America west to 140W and holding in coverage and then with broader coverage west of 140W to the dateline. Of more interest was a pool of cool waters along the coasts of Chile up to Peru then streaming west on the equator off Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 160W solidly suggestive of La Nina. That stream appears to be rebuilding some today from the Galapagos to 100W. Warm anomalies south of the equator are steady but very weak today from just of Peru east to 140W centered on 10S. There had been a steady push towards the evaporation of El Nino in the East equatorial Pacific with La Nina developing there.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/30): A solidly cooler trend has set up on the equator from Ecuador to 130W with a few interspersed pockets of warming intermixed. The trend is definitely towards the cooler end of the spectrum.
Hi-res Overview: (8/30) A clear La Nina cool stream was pushing west starting with a broad bubble of cool water along Chile and Peru then streaming west off Ecuador to 175W indicative of La Nina. Warmer than normal water was straddling the equator from the remnants of El Nino, mainly north of the equator and all but gone south of the equator. El Nino appears to be in retreat and La Nina appears to be developing.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/31) Today's temps were steady today at -0.434 degs, but have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(8/31) Today's temps were rising slightly at -0.404 degs after bottoming out on 8/28 at -0.510 degs. The trend has been generally downward since mid-June.

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 Uncorrected Data (8/29) The model indicates a cooling trend set up with temps down to -0.05 degs in early August. The forecast has temps rising through Sept into early Oct reaching +0.45 degs then falling in Dec to +0.20 degrees. On Jan 1 2020 temps are to start rebuilding steadily from there reaching +0.70 degs by April and +0.8 degs on May 1. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern is forecast, neither El Nino nor La Nina in the Fall then trending warm after that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Aug 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs in August, and are to hold in the +0.50 range into Dec/Jan, then fading slightly to +0.45 in May/April 2020. 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) (8/31): The daily index was negative today at -11.90. The 30 day average was negative at -3.00. The 90 day average was falling at -6.32, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (April) +0.34, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. It is approaching El Nino territory but still indicted mostly ENSO neutral conditions.
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

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Local Interest

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