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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 5:25 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
2.5 - California & 3.5 - 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 9/3 thru Sun 9/9

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   

One Southeast Pacific Swell Pushing North
Two More SPac Gales Forecast


On Tuesday, September 4, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 202 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.4 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 5.9 secs from 251 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 2-6 kts. Water temperature 71.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.4 ft @ 5.9 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.5 ft @ 6.0 secs from 266 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.7 ft @ 6.0 secs from 272 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 6.0 secs from 285 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 8.3 secs from 315 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4 kts. Water temp 59.2 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 Tuesday (9/4) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing waves at waist to maybe chest high and heavily textured from south winds but rideable if you're desperate. Protected breaks were waist high with bigger peaks and fairly clean but weak but rideable. At Santa Cruz surf was knee to maybe waist high and clean and weak. In Southern California/Ventura surf was up to waist high on the peak of the sets and clean and weak. In North Orange Co waves were chest high on the sets coming from the south and pretty textured from northwest wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to shoulder high on the sets and pretty warbled from northwest wind. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high and lined up and cleaner. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting rare background southern hemi swell with set waves shoulder high and clean and lined up but slow. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves thigh high and chopped from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (9/4) no meaningful swell was hitting California or Hawaii. Windswell was minimal but rideable mainly in North and Central CA. No gales have formed nor are forecast for the North Pacific. But the tropics continue to be busy between Mexico and Hawaii with Hurricane Norman 750 nmiles east of the Big Island tracking west and Hurricane Olivia 900 nmiles south of California tracking west. In the southern hemisphere aa gale produced up to 43 ft seas just east of the Southern Ca swell window pushing north, so some swell is finally tracking barely towards CA but more so for Mexico. And another gale is to produce 38 ft seas in the Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/5) while at the same time another gale produces 38 ft seas in the Southwest Pacific aimed east. And maybe more activity to follow in the Southeast Pacific by the weekend. So there is some hope finally.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (9/4) no swell was hitting and no swell was in the water moving towards Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather system are forecast. But there is a weak low that is to try and develop in the Gulf of Alaska on Wed (9/5) producing 30 kt north winds over a small area. At least it's a weak start.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Tuesday (9/4) high pressure at 1026 mbs was small and centered 700 nmiles west of North CA ridging east producing the normal summertime pressure gradient with north winds 25 kts limited to an area along Cape Mendocino but with light winds south of there generating limited short period north windswell down to Pt Conception. By Wed (9/5) all north fetch is to fade to 15 kts or less as the high weakens and low pressure builds in the Northeastern Gulf with quickly fading potential for windswell production. Fetch is to dissipate totally on Thursday (8/30) as low pressure continues in the Northeastern Gulf only producing 15 kt northwest winds and also not offering any potential either. On Fri (8/31) the high is to start pushing east again ridging under the low and well into North and Central CA while the low lifts north slightly resulting in north winds building from 15 to 20 kts later in the day with odds for windswell production starting to increase some. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Tuesday (9/4) east winds were 15+ kts from 300-1200 nmiles east of the Islands driven by high pressure at 1026 mbs 1300 nmiles northeast of Hawaii forming a gradient with Hurricane Norman generating windswell pushing west targeting all exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands. On Wed (8/29) more of the same is expected but with the fetch moving closer at 100-800 nmiles east of the Islands and windswell production potential increasing with Norman moving closer (See Tropical Update below). Thurs (9/6) fetch is to turn more northeasterly with northeast winds 15+ kts from all Hawaiian Islands to 600 nmiles east of the Islands and Norman moving closer while turning to the northeast 300 nmiles northeast of the Islands again resulting in solid potential for windswell production. Friday (9/7) Normal is to be tracking north and the gradient between it and high pressure to the north is to be lifting north and aimed mostly north of the Islands with windswell from it starting to fade. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Norman: On Tues (9/4) Hurricane Norman was positioned 750 nmiles east of Hilo Hawaii with winds 75 kts (86 mph) tracking due west at 15 kts producing 27 ft seas and those seas were tracking west towards Hawaii. On Wed AM (9/5) Norman is to peak with winds 80 kts (92 mph) positioned 450 nmiles due east of Hilo with peak swell generation relative to the Big Island and Maui's exposed easterly shores. By Thurs AM (9/6) Normal is to have made a turn to the northwest positioned 300-350 nmiles east-northeast of Hawaii to Oahu and with winds still hurricane force at 75 kts (86 mph) but moving over cooler water and wind velocity fading fast later in the day, but with the core now in the swell window for Oahu's east shore. On Fri AM (9/7) Norman is to be tracking fully northwest with winds down to tropical storm strength 55 kts (63 mph) and 300 nmiles northeast of Oahu with most fetch aimed north of all the Hawaiian Islands, and swell generation potential dissipating. Some swell is expected as defined below assuming Normal holds on the forecast track.

Oahu (exposed breaks on the East Shore): Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (9/5) getting solid midday at 3.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces). Swell peaks on Thurs (9/6) at 5.9 ft @ 13 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (9/7) at 5.9 ft @ 12 secs (7.0 ft faces). Residuals fading on Sat (9/8) from 4.3 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 85 degrees moving to 60 degrees

Hurricane Olivia: On Tues AM (9/4) Hurricane Olivia was positioned 1000 nmiles south of Los Angeles CA or about 2300 nmiles east of Hawaii with winds 90 kts (104 mph) tracking west at 10 kts with seas 23 ft. No swell was being produced relative to either Hawaii or California. Olivia is to continue on a westerly track for the next 24 hours peaking Wed AM 99/5) with winds 100 kts (115 mph), then jogging on a more west-northwesterly track positioned 1320 nmiles west of the Big Island on Fri AM (9/7) with winds 75 kts (86 mph) and fading to tropical storm status 24 hrs later. The GFS model has tropical storm force remnants of Olivia moving to within 600 nmiles east-northeast of the Hawaiian Islands on Mon (9/10) and drifting a bit west of there 24 hours later possibly producing some small swell from the northeast radiating towards all the Islands. Something to monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/4) a light wind pattern was set up along the entire California coast other than Cape Mendocino where high pressure was producing a gradient and north winds at 20-25 kts there. That pattern is to continue Wed (9/5) but with north winds fading from 20 kts over Cape Mendocino early to 10-15 kts late afternoon. Thurs AM (9/6) north winds to hold at 10-15 kts over Cape Mendocino falling south to Pt Arena to Bodega bay later. Friday (9/7) north winds to build at 15+ kts over all of North and Central CA early pushing 20 kts down to Big Sur later. Sat (9/1) north winds to hold control at 20+ kts over all of North and Central CA nearshore waters and continuing Sun (9/9) and Monday (9/10). On Tues (9/4) north winds to be 20-25 kts over Pt Arena and 20 kts down to Big Sur and holding.


South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (9/4) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging southeast of New Zealand down to 66S with winds up to 120 kts in pockets suppressing gale production there pushing east then starting to lift northeast over the Southeast Pacific forming a trough there lifting north to 61S with winds still 120 kts offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Fri (9/7) the same basic pattern is to hold with a ridge controlling the Southwest Pacific and a weak trough in the Southeast Pacific generally near 130W offering some support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (9/8) a pocket of wind energy at 160 kts is to be moving east from the ridge in the west and starting to feed the trough in the east offering s short window to enhance support for gale development there then slowly weakening into Sun (9/9). The ridge over the West Pacific is to hold suppressing support for gale development there. Additional wind energy is to start feeding the trough in the east now at 120W on Mon (9/10) at 130-140 kts moving to 100W and out of the CA swell in the evening with winds up to 160 kts. At that time solid ridging is to continue over the Southwest Pacific reaching south to 74S actively suppressing support for gale development there. For now, the focus is looking to be the Southeast Pacific.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (9/4) no swell of interest was hitting. But swell from a gale previously in the far Southeast Pacific is radiating north towards California and Mexico (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours more swell generation is expected in the Southeast and Southwest Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale and Southwest Pacific Gale below).

Another Southeast Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a new gale is to be developing in the Southeast Pacific with a broad area of 45 kt southwest winds building and getting traction on the oceans surface aimed northeast with seas building to 37 ft at 56S 136W. Fetch is to be fading fast ain the evening at 35-40 kts with seas 36 ft at 52S 121W. Fetch to be 40 kts from the west Thurs AM 99/6) with seas 35 ft at 56.5S 118W and pushing mostly east of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. Something to monitor.

Southwest Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a solid gale is to be building under New Zealand on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with west winds 45 kts and seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 62S 175E hugging the ice. In the evening fetch is to be fading while lifting east-northeast with winds fading from the southwest at 40 kts and seas 38 ft at 61.5S 172W. Fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts from the southwest lifting northeast with seas 33 ft at 59S 158W aimed northeast. Small swell is possible pushing up into Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast.


Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat PM (9/1) a small gale started to form in the deep Southeast Pacific generating 31 ft seas at 50S 126W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (9/2) the original fetch faded while a new fetch developed further south with 34 ft seas building at 52S 122W, on the edge of California swell window and up to 43 ft mid-morning at 48.5S 115W and effectively out of even the SCal swell window. By evening the storm was well east of the CA swell window with 41 ft seas at 45.5S 133W aimed northeast. Small swell is radiating north towards CA but more so at Mexico down into Central America.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/8) building to 2 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell to continue upwards on Sun (9/9) building to 3.2 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell holding on Mon (9/10) 3.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (9/11) from 3.1 ft @ 14-15 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175-185 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/8) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell to continue upwards on Sun (9/9) building to 2.8 ft @ 18 secs later 5.0 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell holding on Mon (9/10) at 2.8 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell fading some on Tues (9/11) from 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170-180 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. But two low pressure systems are forecast, suggesting that the atmosphere is trying to turn towards a Fall pattern.

Windswell Forecast
By Saturday (9/8) high pressure is to continue ridging east from the Southern Gulf into California with north winds 25 kts over North CA and 20 kts over Central CA producing raw local north windswell for that area. And by Sunday (9/9) more of the same is forecast with north winds 20-25 kts over all of North and Central CA with raw local north windswell expected reaching down into Southern CA too. Monday (9/10) more of the same is forecast. On Tuesday (9/11) low pressure in the Northern Gulf is to move east and inland with the high under it lifting north some resulting in the gradient lifting north too with north winds 25 kts over North CA with 20 kts north winds just off the coast from Pt Reyes south to Morro Bay again offering good odds for windswell production.

Hawaii: On Saturday (9/8) no fetch exceeding 15 kts if forecast near the Hawaii Islands other than the fading remnants of Norman 320 nmiles northeast of Hawaii and fading with little to no fetch aimed southwest at Hawaii. But Olivia is to be moving west about 900 nmiles out and positioned north enough to be targeting swell production at all the Hawaiian Islands. More of the same on Sun (9/9) through Mon (9/10) with swell from Olivia hitting but with Olivia slowly weakening and turning to the northwest. Tues (9/11) only Olivia to be of interest positioned 430 nmiles northeast of the Islands possibly turning to the west again and possibly offering more swell production potential.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Mon AM (9/10) a gale is to build in the far Southeast Pacific with 45 kts southwest winds and seas building in the Ca swell window at 27 ft at 60S 120W. In the evening fetch is to be lifting northeast at 45 kts with seas 42 ft at 61S 109W and outside even the SCal swell window targeting mainly Chile. The gale is to continue east from there. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


ESPI Weakly Positive - SST's Mostly Neutral

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 Mon (9/3) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, but not further, with light west anomalies west of there and mostly filling the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral to light easterly in pockets over the East equatorial Pacific building slightly on the dateline, but held there with modest west anomalies directly west of the dateline and filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/4) Light to modest west anomalies are filling the KWGA continuing east and filling the entire East Pacific and are forecast to hold like this solidly for the next week (through 9/11).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/3) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold for the next week then a light Active/Wet pattern is to start building in week 2 over the far West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive/Dry Phase setting up in week 2. The models are mostly in sync at least in the short term.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/4) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was almost nonexistent and it is to remain weak while drifting east to the Atlantic over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/4) This model depicts a dead neutral MJO signal over the Pacific. That pattern is to hold until a weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to develop in the West Pacific starting 9/25 making slow east headway reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/14 and effectively dissolving. This is typical of El Nino development (i.e. the MJO disappears).
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/3) This model depicts weak to modest west anomalies over the entirety of the KWGA today. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to build in coverage and intensity over the next week just east of the dateline while holding modestly from the west over the entirely of the KWGA. And that pattern is to hold for the next 2 months unchanged other than a slight weakening around 9/15 for 2-3 days, only to rebuild directly afterwards. Basically non-stop west anomalies are on the charts for the 2 months. It certainly smells of El Nino if the model is correct.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/4) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was fading over the West Pacific weak to modest west wind anomalies in play. The Inactive MJO signal is to fade on 9/5 only to rebuild 9/12-9/28 but with weak to modest west anomalies holding in KWGA. The Active Phase is to build solidly 9/30 through 10/31 with westerly anomalies building to WWB status over that entire duration. A neutral MJO to follow through the end of the model run 10/31-12/2 but with weak to modest west anomalies continuing building to WWB status 11/15 and holding through the end of the model run on 12/2. In short, west anomalies are to hold for the foreseeable future. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to hold solid through the end of the model run building east to 120W (over California) by 9/19 and to 115W in mid-October. a 4th contour line is expected to develop starting 11/20. The high pressure bias is currently limited to an area south of California and shrinking fast and is to be gone by 9/11. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias and were originally thought to reach that state 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8) or on 8/8. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected, so we're thinking coupling should occur more like 8/28 now. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific. The high pressure bias is forecast building near 90E (Central Indian Ocean) reaching 2 contour lines in November.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/4) 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 started moving east again reaching to 158W on 8/16 due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific, but today is steady at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was 100 meters deep at 140W but retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 123W, or basically stationary since 8/10. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 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 135W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/31 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 +1.5 degs centered at 120W extending east to 105W and not reaching Ecuador. It was breaching the surface between 110W-130W and losing coverage. The Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 degs reaching east to 135W 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: (8/31) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 110W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building strong there. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing in mainly one pocket at 90W, but not reaching ecuador, remnants of Kelvin Wave #1. 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: (9/3) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were neutral biased cool along the immediate coast of Peru and Chile. Neutral anomalies were holding from Ecuador westward to 135W but with a thin stream of solid warm anomalies directly over the equator out to 120W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico. A small pocket of cool upwelling was near 120W on the equator. Moderate warm anomalies continued from 130W west of out to the dateline without these upwelling issues. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/3): An elongated area with pockets of alternating warming and cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 125W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with pockets of easterly anomalies supporting cool upwelling. Temps were steady along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Weak warming was on the equator off Central West African. We're waiting from that warming trend to be mirrored west of Ecuador.
Hi-res Overview: (9/3) 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 imbedded pockets of stronger warming and continuing west from there to the dateline from 10S up to 20N, but mainly on the equator and points north of there. A pocket of cooler water was between 1055W to 130W. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/4) Today's temps have fallen recently and are now stable at -0.990 degs. That is down some compared to the past few weeks readings. A big peak occurred 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: (9/4) Today temps were down some at +0.091 degs or effectively neutral, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and steadily fading from the +0.25 degs range the past month to +0.15 now.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/48) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +1.00 degs and to +1.50 degs in early Nov holding through January 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +1.20 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-Aug Plume depicts temps at +0.45 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.8 in October (unchanged from last months forecast) and +0.9 in Nov and holding there into Jan 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in April. 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) (9/4): The daily index was falling today at -3.09. The 30 day average was rising today to -5.03 suggesting the MJO was weakening. The 90 day average was falling at -3.40. 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): (9/4) Today the index was rising slightly at +0.10, down from it's highest point this year at +0.20 on 8/20. 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, or at least a neutral pattern has taken hold. 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.

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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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