Saturday, September 5, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 18.4 secs from 205 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 9.5 secs from 30 degrees. Water temp 81.0 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 6.1 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 68.9 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.7 ft @ 6.5 secs from 312 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 6.3 secs from 263 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.8 secs from 186 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.1 ft @ 15.9 secs from 187 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 10.7 secs from 309 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 12-16 kts. Water temp 53.6 degs (013), 59.4 degs (SF Bar) and 57.9 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).
Summer - 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).
Summer - 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.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Saturday (9/5) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was all but gone with residual waves at thigh to maybe waist high and clean with no winds but formless and soft. Protected breaks were thigh to waist high and weak and soft but clean early. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to maybe waist high on occasion on the sets and clean, soft and weak. In Southern California/Ventura windswell was producing waves from the northwest at knee to thigh high and clean but with some warble intermixed. Central Orange County had set waves at waist to chest high on the peak and clean early and soft with some warble intermixed. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at waist high and clean but inconsistent, weak and soft with warble on top. North San Diego had sets at thigh high and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was starting to get new swell with set waves up to maybe head high at top breaks and clean and a little lined up. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high or so and near chopped early from moderate east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (9/5) no locally generated windswell was occurring in North or Central CA through the East Shores of Hawaii has some windswell. Also in Hawaii southern hemi swell was starting to show originating from a gale that tracked under New Zealand on Sat-Mon (8/31) producing up to 46 ft seas aimed east-northeast. A small secondary gale followed tracking through the Central South Pacific Tues-Wed (9/2) producing up to 42 ft seas aimed east. And another weak one followed southeast of New Zealand Wed-Thurs (9/3) producing up to 27 ft seas aimed northeast. So there is some small swell on the way. Up north the model suggests some sort of fragmented low pressure system developing in the Western Gulf Sat-Sun (9/6) producing 16-17 ft seas aimed somewhat to the east. Low odds of any meaningful swell resulting. But nothing else to follow.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (9/5) a low pressure system was trying to organize in the Western Gulf of Alaska producing a fragmented area of 25-30 kt northwest winds with seas trying to develop 15 ft at 43N 180W aimed southeast at Hawaii. In the evening fetch is to continue at 25-30 kts in pockets with seas building to 16 ft at 41N 175W targeting Hawaii and 18 ft at 40N 162W somewhat targeting the US West Coast. On Sun AM (9/6) the low is to be lifting northeast fast with fetch vaporizing and seas from previous fetch fading from 18 ft at 41N 160W targeting the US West Coast. Low odds of any swell resulting.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical system are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/5) northwest winds were 20 kts from Pt Arena to Pt Reyes early and 15 kts off the coast of Central CA making for a few warbled barely rideable lumpy waves and expected to hold all day. On Sun (9/6) northwest winds are forecast building to 20-25 kts limited to the CA-OR border with north winds 10-15 kts south of there to Pt Conception mostly off the coast offering some minimal windswell production potential mainly early. Mon (9/7) a fetch of north winds at 20-25 kts is forecast for just off Cape Mendocino with a modest northwesterly flow at 10 kts for the remainder of North and Central CA early but up to 15 kts south of Big Sur to Pt Conception offering at best minimal windswell production potential. On Tues (9/8) north winds are forecast at 10-15 kts over North and Central CA offering no windswell production potential. On Wed (9/9) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts offering no windswell production potential. An even lighter northwest flow is forecast on Thurs (9/10). On Fri 99/1) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA offering no windswell production potential but getting more coherent in the later afternoon. Sat (9/12) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA all day offering nothing.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 14,000 ft or higher for the week.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
On Saturday (9/5) the southern branch of the jet was weak and running zonally west to east but displaced down on the 66S latitude line across the width of the South Pacific and mostly over Antarctic Ice offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours starting Sun PM (9/6) a reinforcing ridge is to start pushing southeast under New Zealand reaching down to 67S and then sweeping east to the Central South Pacific through Tues (9/8) suppressing support for gale development. But on Wed (9/9) another ridge is to develop under New Zealand sweeping east but perhaps setting up a bit of a trough on it's leading edge offering some limited support for gale development Thurs (9/10) over the West Central South Pacific pushing east to the far Southeast Pacific late Friday (9/11) before fading out. By Sat (9/12) a return to a zonal jet pattern is forecast with the flow on the 58S latitude line perhaps offering some hope beyond.
On Saturday (9/5) swell from a gale that tracked east from under New Zealand was pushing northeast (see Fresh New Zealand Gale below). Another smaller swell was behind originating from a tiny gale that tracked east from southeast of New Zealand (see Small New Zealand Gale below). And yet one more weak gale followed in the same area (see Weak New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Fresh New Zealand Gale
A small but strong system developed just south of New Zealand on Fri PM (8/28) producing 55-60 kt west-southwest winds and getting traction on the oceans surface producing 46 ft seas at 53.5S 166.5E aimed east. On Sat AM (8/29) the gale was building in coverage producing a decent sized fetch of 40-45 kt southwest winds with seas 42 ft at 52.5S 176E aimed east-northeast. In the evening the gale was fading while tracking east producing a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas fading from 37 ft at 52S 177W aimed east-northeast. On Sun AM (8/30) the gale was tracking northeast with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas fading from 33 ft at 48.5S 171W aimed -northeast. In the evening the gale rebuilt with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 31 ft over a decent sized area at 47.5S 161W aimed northeast. Fetch faded Mon AM (8/31) at 35 kts aimed northeast with seas fading from 29 ft at 47S 153W aimed northeast. The gale dissipated from there. Swell has been generated.
Hawaii: Expect swell to peak on Sat (9/5) at 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (9/6) from 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell fading through the day and gone overnight. Swell Direction: 198 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sun (9/6) pushing 1.3 ft @ 20-21 sec later (2.5 ft). Swell building through the day Mon (9/7) pushing 2.2 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell holding on Tues (9/8) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs all day (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (9/9) from 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (9/10) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 211 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sun (9/6) pushing 1.3 ft @ 20-21 sec later (2.5 ft). Swell building through the day Mon (9/7) pushing 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell holding on Tues (9/8) at 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs all day (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (9/9) at 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell gone after that. Swell Direction: 210 degrees
Small New Zealand Gale
Another small gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Mon AM (8/31) producing a tiny area of 50 kt west winds with seas building from 29 ft over a tiny area at 54S 180W aimed east. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds pushed east with seas building to 41 ft over a tiny area at 55S 169.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (9/1) the gale was tracking east producing 45 kt southwest winds over a small area and seas building to 42 ft at 54.5S 164W aimed east. In the evening the gale was lifting northeast with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 33 ft at 51.5S 150.5W aimed east. More of the same occurred Wed AM (9/2) with a decent sized area of 35 kt southwest winds and seas 27 ft at 52S 140W aimed east-northeast. The gale was holding in the evening over the Southeast Pacific with 30-35 kt southwest winds and seas rebuilding to 28 ft at 53.5S 130W aimed east. On Thurs AM (9/3) the gale surged some with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 30 ft at 55.5S 126W aimed east. The gale tracked east and out of the CA swell window in the evening.
Hawaii: No swell expected radiating north to the Islands
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/9) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). On Thurs (9/10) swell is to build some pushing to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (9/11) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs early (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (9/12) fading from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) early. Swell Direction: 198 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (9/10) pushing to 1.1 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (9/11) from 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees
Weak New Zealand Gale
A gale developed under New Zealand Tues PM (9/1) producing 35 kt southwest winds and starting to get some traction on the oceans surface producing 27 ft seas at 57S 161E aimed east. On Wed AM (9/2) the gale pushed east with a decent sized area of 35 kt southwest winds just south of New Zealand producing 27 ft seas at 58S 173E aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was tracking east with 35 kt southwest winds and seas 26 ft at 58S 179E aimed northeast. The gale was fading Thurs AM (9/3) with southwest fetch fading from 30-35 kts lifting northeast with seas fading from 26 ft at 59S 175W aimed east. The gale faded out from there.
Hawaii: Swell arrival starting Wed afternoon (9/9) building to 1.0 ft @ 17 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell building Thurs (9/10) to 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) mid-day. Swell fading on Fri (/11) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/12) building to 1.2 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees
North CA: Faint signs to arrive on Sat (9/12) at 1.0 ft @ 17 secs later (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Cold Water Pool Building Across Equatorial Pacific
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).
Overview: 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. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (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 in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.
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 (9/5) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and then moderate plus strength from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were moderate east over the East equatorial fading to moderate east over the Central Pacific and weak to modest easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/5) moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA today extending east over the entirety of the Pacific to nearly Ecuador. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding in coverage and strength over the KWGA continuing to fill it through the end of the forecast period (on 9/12) and near strong strength off Ecuador. Support for energy transfer into the jet is fading and will continue on that trend for at least the next week.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (9/4) A very weak Active MJO was over the far west KWGA today mainly over New Guinea. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase at weak status barely holding over the KWGA on day 5 of the model run and unchanged through day 15. The dynamic model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase fading to neutral on day 5 and holding through day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/5) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the East Indian Ocean today and is to steadily track east into the East Maritime Continent and steadily weakening to non-existent status at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (9/4) This model depicts a strong Inactive MJO phase was moving over Central America today. The forecast suggest a generally neutral pattern is to be over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific until 9/14 when a weak Active Phase starts building in the far West Pacific 9/14 moving through the Central Pacific and into the East Pacific and over Central America on 10/4. A new Inactive Phase of the MJO is to start building over the Maritime Continent and starting to push into the KWGA at the end of the model run on 10/14.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/4) This model depicts an Inactive MJO moving over the KWGA with moderate plus strength east anomalies filling the KWGA and all of the equatorial Pacific. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase of the MJO to continue tracking east through the KWGA through the end of the model run on 10/2 with moderate to strong east anomalies in control. A modest Active Phase of the MJO is to start building over the Maritime Continent trying to push into the West Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/2. Overall a long run of easterly anomalies are to take over the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/5 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a strong Inactive MJO over and filling the KWGA today and is to traverse the Pacific through 9/22 producing solid east anomalies firmly controlling the KWGA and filling the whole equatorial Pacific. A moderate Active Phase of the MJO is forecast to follow trying to organize in the west on 9/17 pushing east part way through the KWGA then reorganizing and back building and finally pushing into and through the KWGA 10/3-10/27 producing moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA and into the East Pacific with east anomalies there fading out. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow 10/24-11/8 but with modest west anomalies holding over the KWGA while fading with weak east anomalies developing over the East equatorial Pacific. A new Active Phase is to set up 11/10 holding through the end of the model run on 12/2 with west anomalies continuing over the KWGA and holding decently over the East equatorial Pacific. This westerly wind pattern is a step in the right direction. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the dateline today reaching east to a point south of California and is to hold in coverage through the end of the model run with a second contour setting up on 9/7 on the dateline holding through the end of the model run. But there's a trend suggesting the high pressure bias is to be slowly moving east at the end of the model run midway east through the KWGA at 160E. A single contour low pressure bias is building weakly over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage through the end of the model run while its eastern periphery eases east to 150E. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year are migrating east through the West Pacific today and should continue tracking east while fading over the East Pacific in late Nov. The trend is turning towards La Nina, but now looks to be shorter lived.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/5) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was retrograding west to 173E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 165W today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 131W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +0-1 deg C were steady and stationary in the West Pacific reaching east to 163W but no further east. There was a large pocket of cooler anomalies at -2 degs filling the entire area east of there and bubbling up to the surface over that entire area. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/31 indicates the cool water bubble at depth was far stronger and larger erupting to the surface from the dateline eastward to Ecuador with a core to -4.5C. Almost no warm water was below the surface or at the surface east of the dateline. In effect a river of cool water was at depth under the entirety of the equatorial Pacific 150m tracking east. 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) Negative anomalies greater than -5 cms with a large embedded area at -10-15 cms building over the Central equatorial Pacific between 110W to 150W. Negative anomalies were again fading along Peru and up into Ecuador at -5 cms and reaching north up to Baja and into Southern CA. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except west of 160E.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (9/3) The latest images indicate cold water was solid on the equator from just south of Ecuador west to the dateline and consistent in density over that entire and large area. But today a pocket of warm water was building just over Ecuador out to the Galapagos. Cool water was also holding along Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina. Warm water was off Central America reaching west to the dateline but only north of the equator and fading, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/3): A clear trend of building cool water was pushing west from the Galapagos west to 120W, far stronger than days past then weaker out to 160W. Small pockets of warming were interspersed but of no significance. The short term trend is looking like development of a large scale cooling trend centered in the Central and East Equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (9/3) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Peru up to Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/5) Today's temps were holding at -1.778 degs after previously reaching a low of -2.138 on 8/13. The trend has been steadily downward since March 26. Overall the trend is towards cooling after having previously been in a warmer range at +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/3) Temps were rising slightly at -0.662 after reaching a new low of -0.697 (9/3) beating the previous low of -0.632 on 8/27. Before that temps were stable between 6/27-7/25 at near 0.0. And before that temps were rising after bottoming out down at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend was warming but now appears to be in a steep decline.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/3) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range early this year through March, then started falling down to -0.20 in late-May then stabilized near neutral into late June. They began falling in July down to -0.6 degs early Aug. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend from here reaching down to -1.55 degs in late Oct then immediately beginning to rise, rebuilding up to +0.0 degs in late April. We think the dynamic models might be overstating the magnitude of the coming cooling trend for the equatorial Pacific, but maybe not too much.
IRI Consensus Plume: The August 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.52 degs today, and are to fall in early Nov to -0.60 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.35 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by March. The low outlier is a dynamic models (NASA GMAO). But a good plethora of models are now suggesting a developing modest La Nina. 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) (9/5): The daily index was positive today at 8.56. The 30 day average was falling some at +9.91. The 90 day average was rising to 3.62, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was in control and trending towards La Nina. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: 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 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table