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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2023 2:29 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
3.0 - California & 2.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 9/4 thru Sun 9/10
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   

Hurricane Jova Tracking WNW
Southern Hemi Swell Pushing Northeast - Another Gale Forecast

Thursday, September 7, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 12.9 secs from 191 degrees. Water temp 81.5 degs (Barbers Pt), 81.1 (Pearl Harbor 233), 80.8 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 8.8 secs from 16 degrees. Water temp 79.9 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 15.2 secs from 170 degrees. Wind northwest at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 68.7 degs, 70.5 (Topanga 103), 65.7 degs (Long Beach 215), 70.5 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 68.5 (Del Mar 153), 71.2 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.1 secs from 186 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 0.9 ft @ 8.7 secs from 246 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.5 secs from 201 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.9 secs from 197 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 15.8 secs from 195 degrees. Water temperature was 68.0 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 15.7 secs from 180 degrees. Wind west at 2-6 kts (46026). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 59.5 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 59.5 (San Francisco 46026), 60.4 (SF Bar 142), 62.2 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 61.2 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (9/5) North and Central CA waves were waist to chest high and somewhat lined up coming from the south and fairly clean but with some south texture. Protected breaks were flat to thigh high mushed and heavily textured. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to occasionally chest high and clean and soft and inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high plus and lined up but pretty closed out and heavily textured by northwest wind. Central Orange County had sets at chest high and lined up with good form but with building warble from northwest wind early. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at head high or so and lined up and with good form but with some textured on it making it crumble. North San Diego had sets at waist high or so and lined up and with good form and clean. Oahu's North Shore was knee to thigh high and lined up and clean. The South Shore had sets at chest to head high and lined up and clean with good form. The East Shore was getting no real east windswell with waves knee high and warbled from modest easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/7) south swell was fading in California from the second of 2 gales that developing just on the east edge of the Southern CA swell window Sun-Mon (8/28) producing 37 ft seas aimed north. And Hawaii was getting fading swell from a weak gale developed just east of New Zealand Mon-Wed (8/30) producing up to 24-26 ft seas aimed east-northeast. Another gale developed in the Central and Southeast Pacific Tues-Wed (9/6) producing up to 34 ft seas aimed north. Swell is radiating north now. And yet another is forecast for the Central South Pacific Sat-Tues (9/11) producing up to 29 ft seas aimed north. And possibly another to develop under New Zealand Mon-Tues (9/12) but looking less likely to result in swell for our forecast area. The South Pacific is still trying! And Hurricane Jova is building while tracking west-northwest passing south of Baja.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (9/7) no swell of interest was in the water.

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


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Jova started developing 450 nmiles southwest of Manzanillo Mexico on Tues AM (9/5) with winds 35 kts tracking west-northwest at 12 kts and building. Jova reached hurricane status on Wed (9/6) 500 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas with winds 65 kts tracking west northwest. Jova steadily built with winds to 140 kts Wed PM 1020 nmiles due south of San Diego continuing on a northwesterly track at 13 kts. Jova started moving into the NCal swell window Thurs AM (9/7) with winds down to 135 kts still tracking west-northwest. A slow fade is forecast with winds down to 90 kts on Fri PM (9/8) positioned 720 nmiles south-southwest of San Diego and then fading from there. Some support for swell production is likely.

Southern CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Fri afternoon (9/8) building to 2.4 ft @ 16 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell peaking Sat AM (9/9) at 3.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0 ft) holding decently through the day. Swell fading on Sun (9/10) from 3.5 ft @ 12 secs early (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 167 moving to 180 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sat (9/9) at 2.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell continue on Sun (9/10) at 2.8 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft) swell fading on Mon (9/11) fading from 2.7 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 163 moving to 180 degrees

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Fri AM (9/8) northwest winds to be 15 kts for most of North CA centered on Pt Arena and 5-10 kts from Pt Reyes southward. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA. No windswell expected.
  • Sat AM (9/9) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for all of Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 15 kts for all of Central CA. No real windswell yet.
  • Sun AM (9/10) northwest winds to be 15 kts for all of North CA and 15 kts for Central CA early but 20 kts from Big Sur southward. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20 kts for North and Central CA. Limited northwest windswell possible.
  • Mon AM (9/11) northwest winds to be 20 kts for all of North and Central CA and up to 20 kts in pockets offshore. In the afternoon northwest winds build coverage at 20-25 kts for all of North CA and Central CA. Windswell building.
  • Tues AM (9/12) northwest winds to be 25 kts for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20-25 kts for North CA down to Bodega Bay and 10 kts south of there nearshore but up to 15 kts just off the coast. Windswell building some.
  • Wed AM (9/13) northwest winds to be 25 kts early for North CA and 10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 25 kts over Cape Mendocino and 10 kts from Pt Arena southward. Windswell fading some.
  • Thurs AM (9/14) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts limited to mainly off the coast of Cape Mendocino and 10 kts south of there. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for all of North and Central CA. Windswell fading.

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

Temperatures for the Pacific Crest Trail and Tioga Pass Road intersection (8,700 ft): 45-55 degrees through Sun 9/10 then 50-55 degrees beyond.

- - -

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

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (9/7) the jet was split over the western South Pacific with the influential southern branch ridging south down to 65S over the Central South Pacific offering no support for gale development. But east of there a remnant trough was pushing the jet north over the far Southeast Pacific but winds only 80 kts feeding up into that trough offering no real support for gale formation. Over the next 72 hours a new trough is to quickly build over the Central South Pacific Sat-Sun (9/10) being fed by 150 kts winds offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a new tight trough is forecast developing south of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/12) being fed by 120-130 kts winds offering some support for gale development then weakening on Wed (9/13) while a big ridge builds east of it over the Central and Southeast Pacific pushing the jet into Antarctica offering nothing.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (9/7) the second of 2 swells from the far Southeast Pacific was fading in California (see Second Southeast Pacific Gale below). And small swell from a gale previously east of New Zealand was fading in Hawaii (see Small New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a gale that developed over the Central South Pacific is to be radiating northeast (see Central South Pacific Gale below).

And starting Sat PM (9/8) a gale is to start building over the upper reaches of the Central South Pacific producing south winds at 40 kts with seas building from 26 ft at 55S 153.5W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (9/10) south winds to be 35-40 kts pushing north with seas 29 ft at 48S 152W aimed northeast. Secondary fetch is to develop in the evening setting up a broad fetch of south winds at 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 43S 149W. Mon AM (9/11) south winds to be fading from 30+ kts over a broad area with seas 25 ft at 38S 147W aimed north. Fetch fading in the evening from 30-35 kts with seas 24 ft at 41.75S 141.5W aimed north. The gale to fade out from there.


Second Southeast Pacific Gale
A second fetch developed over the same area (far Southeast Pacific) on Sat AM (8/26) from the south again at 35 kts with seas building. In the evening south winds built to 45 kts aimed north barely in the CA swell window with seas 23 ft at 58.25S 129W. On Sun AM (8/27) fetch was holding stationary at 45 kts from the south still in the CA swell window aimed north with seas 31 ft at 57.5S 119.75W aimed north. The Jason-3 satellite reported seas of 37.1 ft with a peak reading to 41.7 ft (6-10 ft higher than modeled). In the evening fetch was pushing north at 50 kts and barely in the CA swell window with seas at 36 ft at 56.25S 117.75W aimed north. The Jason-3 satellite reported seas at 43.1 ft with one reading to 49.4 ft (7-13 ft higher than the model). On Mon AM (8/28) fetch was on the move to the east and fading from 40 kts from the south over a large area and barely in the Southern CA swell window with seas 37 ft at 53.75S 112.5W aimed north primarily targeting Central America and Peru with 28 ft seas barely in the SCal swell window. The gale was tracking northeast from there and of no interest to California.

Southern CA: Swell fading on Thurs (9/7) from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell fading some on Fri (9/8) from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (9/9) fading from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees Note: swell will likely be higher given the Jason-3 satellite readings.

North CA: Swell fading on Thurs (9/7) from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell fading some on Fri (9/8) from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (9/9) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 182 degrees Note: swell will likely be higher given the Jason-3 satellite readings.


Small New Zealand Gale
A small gale developed south of New Zealand on Mon PM (8/28) producing southwest winds of 35-40 kts over a tiny area aimed northeast with seas 26 ft at 53S 178W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (8/29) southwest winds were 35 kts over a small area with seas 26 ft at 49S 173.5W aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds were 30-35 kts aimed northeast with seas 24 ft at 45S 167W aimed northeast. On Wed AM south winds were 30 kts over a decent sized area with seas 23 ft at 42S 163.25W aimed northeast over a modest sized area. The gale was fading from there. Swell from this system to be buried in swell from the Second Southeast Pacific Gale (see above) for California.

Oahu: Swell fading on Thurs (9/7) from 2.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Fri (9/8) fading from 1.7 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees


Central South Pacific Gale
A gale developed over the Central South Pacific on Tues AM (9/5) producing 40-45 kts south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 51S 142W aimed north. In the evening south to southwest winds built slightly in coverage at 40-45 kts with seas to 31 ft at 47.25S 135.75W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (9/6) 35 kt south winds moved over the far Southeast Pacific with seas 34 ft at 45.25S 128W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading from 35-40 kts lifting northeast with seas 29 ft at 43.75S 120.5W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (9/7) fetch is to be fading from 30 kts from the south with seas 28 ft at 43S 120W aimed northeast. The gale to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (9/12) building to 1.5 ft @ 18-19 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building on Wed (8/13) to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Thurs (8/14) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/15) from 2.4 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (8/16) from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.5 ft). Dribbles on Sun (8/17) from 1.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192-196 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/13) building to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell peaking on Thurs (8/14) at 2.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (8/15) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (8/16) from 2.2 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (8/17) from 1.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 191-194 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 starting Sun (9/10) there's some suggestion of a low pressure system trying to develop over the Northwestern Gulf producing west winds at 30+ kts with a core developing at 35 kts on Sun PM (9/10) potentially producing 19 ft seas at 54N 148.5W aimed east Mon AM (9/11) for 12 hours. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting on Mon AM (9/11) a new gale is to be building under New Zealand with 30-35 kts west winds and seas 24 ft at 57S 157E aimed northeast. The gale to continue in the evening with 30-35 kts southwest winds and seas 23 ft at 54S 167E aimed east. Fetch building Tues AM (9/12) at 35 kts from the southwest impacting the southern tip of New Zealand with seas 25 ft at 50S 165E aimed northeast. Fetch theoretically continuing from the southwest at 30 kts producing 20-22 ft seas aimed northeast, but not large enough to producing meaningful swell. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


El Nino Getting A Better Toehold
Kelvin Waves #3, #4 and #5 Erupting - NINO3.4 SSTs well in El Nino Territory and Slowly Rising
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd and 4th in March-April and a 5th in May. But after the last Active MJO in mid-to-late May, the MJO stalled. Finally restarting in later July thanks so a renewed push of the Active Phase of the MJO. Sea Surface Temperatures in the east are very warm and holding, and slightly expanding. The atmosphere is starting to show building signs of being coupled with the ocean. Fortunately, another Kelvin Wave has developed and is pushing east and will help push the atmosphere towards El Nino. The atmospheric signal is finally starting to build (SOI, OLR. ocean current, and wind anomalies).

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

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

Summer 2023 = 3.7 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (9/6) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest east over the East equatorial Pacific and weak east over the Central Pacific and neutral over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/7) Moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA today. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold through about 9/17 then starting to fade with light west anomalies building over the Central KWGA and in control of the KWGA on 9/22 holding through the end of the model run on 9/23. The GEFS depicts west anomalies rebuilding weakly on 9/13 and holding beyond. The ECMWF shows west anomalies rebuilding on 9/11 near the dateline and getting solid through the end of the model run on 9/17. So it looks like a window of about 7 days of east anomalies then back to our west anomaly pattern.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/6) A weak Inactive MJO was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a weak Inactive Pattern is to hold on day 5 of the model run while the Active Phase builds in from the west. A weak Active Phase is to build more on days 10 and then filling the KWGA on day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing on days 5 but with the Active Phase dissipating on day 10 and a pure neutral pattern in effect on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (9/7) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the East Indian Ocean and is to track east to the Central Maritime Continent and weak 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase noodling around over the East Indian Ocean holding at weak status 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (9/7) A very weak Active (wet) pattern was filling the West Pacific today. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) tracking slowly east over the KWGA through 9/22. A weak Inactive signal (dry air) is to start moving over the KWGA 9/27 building weakly but mostly over the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 10/17.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/6)
Today the Inactive MJO was east of the KWGA with an Equatorial Rossby Wave producing east anomalies over the KWGA. The Rossby wave is to continue to hold over the KWGA into 9/10 producing east anomalies. After that west anomalies are to start building on the dateline on 9/11 backfilling to the west and filling the KWGA 9/18. Moderate to strong west anomalies are to fill the KWGA if not the entire equatorial Pacific beyond through the end of the model run on 10/4.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(9/7) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Inactive Phase was near peaking over the KWGA with east anomalies at modest strength in control. The Inactive Phase is to peak on 9/10-9/13 but at that time west anomalies are to start building mostly near the dateline. The Inactive Phase is to dissipate on 9/18 with the Active Phase taking over 9/14-11/2 with west anomalies building to near strong status 9/23 and holding beyond. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast 10/26 through the end of the model run on 12/5 but with west anomalies holding at moderate to near strong status. Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) suggests cloud activity took over the KWGA on 6/24 and is holding if not building today and forecast beyond. If anything clear skies started building over the Maritime Continent 7/16 and are forecast building from here forward. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 180W with 3 contour lines (starting 7/14) and it's leading edge well east of the dateline at 127W today (it started pushing east on 2/15). The primarily contours leading edge is to slowly ease east to 118W (Up to the California coast) at the end of the model run with it's center holding on the dateline and a 4th contour line developing Nov 11. The high pressure bias was south of the mid-west US at 100W and is to dissipate on 9/24. 7/18 was the start of a major positive change in the development of El Nino with a advent of the Active Phase of the MJO and west anomalies and that momentum is growing strong each passing day. It appears a strong El Nino is developing.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/7) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was easing east at 169W (previously 170W). The 29 degree isotherm was steady at 156W (previously 160W). The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 138W (previously 141W). The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific but was getting shallower at 31m (previously 25m but at one point down to 65m) in the far East. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C started in the far West Pacific at 178W associated with newly developing Kelvin Wave #6 centered at 170W pushing east in a continuous stream feeding into a broad pocket of +3-6 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting at 148W (145W on 7/20). +4-5 degree anomalies were building in coverage starting at 141W (building in coverage). The warm pool in the east is discharging to the surface but also being backfilled at the same time by new Kelvin Wave #6. There's now about 3+ months of warm water backed up off the Ecuadorian Coast (previously 2 months) today with a stream of warm water backfilling into it. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/26 indicates a large very warm stream of +1-2 degs anomalies extending west to east starting at 170E and over a large section of the subsurface equatorial Pacific and building while tracking east with 2 deg anomalies from 170W and points east of there and +4-5 degs anomalies from 117W and points east of there erupting into Ecuador. +1-2 degree anomalies were falling off the Maritime Continent merging with the preexisting warm stream with a new pocket of 2-3 degs anomalies centered at 180W (Kelvin Wave #6). In other words, this image suggests a steady flow of warm water flowing east from the Maritime Continent suggesting another Kelvin Wave is developing. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/26) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific starting east of 170E at +0-5 cms. +5 cm anomalies were in the east from 162W east into Ecuador with +10 cm anomalies from 150W east to 110W. Positive anomalies extending north into Central America up to the southern tip of Baja and south to Chile. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram warm water continues at +1.00-2.00 degs over the East Pacific from 162W and east of there. A broad pocket of near neutral temps was in place west of the dateline. The warm water flow had backed off some with nothing to force more warm water east (i.e. no Active MJOs occurring). But that pattern is changing for the better now. Otherwise there's been no change since mid March, a steady flow of warm water pushing east.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (9/6) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador out to 105W and fading some again due to east anomalies there. Lesser but still serious heat continued west to about 150W (previously 137W). The warm pool is growing/building westward. Lesser heat extended west to the dateline and beyond. Heat also extends north up Mexico reaching Central Baja and south down into Patagonia. There is a very clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place. The last remnants of La Nina are gone on the equator but remnants are still evident in a cool pool from a point well off Baja from 130W west to a point south of Hawaii. The Cool Pool is finally collapsing. La Nina is all but gone now atmospherically over the Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/6): A stream of solid cooling waters were on the equator from Ecuador west to 120W with warming water from there west to 150W. A neutral trend was along the coasts of Chile and Peru. The pattern of adding energy to the warm surface pool is stable but not inching forward. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15 except for the time frame from 4/23 to today. And strong warming is extending southwest from Southern CA to a point south of Hawaii. This signals the demise of the cool upwelling 'La Nina hangover' pool.
Hi-res Overview: (9/4) Warmer than normal waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru, Ecuador and north up to Mexico with strong warming in many pockets along the immediate cost of Peru and Ecuador out to 110W and building. And the classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably over the equator west to the dateline and beyond. Everything is now looking like El Nino. And the La NIna enhanced cool pool off California is fading and drifting west, while weakening.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/7) (Coral Reef temps run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps were falling at +2.351 after rising at +3.073 (8/31) after rising to +3.164 (8/18) after being up to +2.925 on 8/10 after rising at +3.074 degs (8/7) after being up to +3.391 (on 7/20) and had been rising from +2.906 (starting 7/3) rising from +2.451 after peaking at +2.7926 on 6/13 and have been up in the +2.0 to +3.0 degs range since 4/1 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/7) (Coral Reef anomalies run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today temps were steadily but slowly rising at +1.229 and on a slow upwards trajectory. Temps first time above 1.0 degs was on 8/7 after being up to +0.967 (8/1) up from +0.873 degs (7/25) after peaking at +0.985 (7/18). Previously temps were rising slightly at +0.882 (7/9) after being steady at +0.794 4-5 days and that after being steady at +0.895 (3 days near 6/25) after being in the +0.712 range the previous 9 days after previously rising to +0.975 on 6/9. We are now 31 days into a trend of being above the El Nino threshold (for the 2nd time). Temps reached the El Nino threshold for the first time on 5/17 at +0.507 then quickly fell over the next 10 days down to +0.378 (5/26). Previous peaks of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. They had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, and +1.05 mid July reaching +1.30 degs early Aug.
Forecast (9/7) - Temps rose to +1.30 degs in mid-Aug and are to hold there into mid Sept, then start rising quickly, to +1.55 degs in Oct and +1.85 degs in Nov and solidly in El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast falling to +1.10 degs in Sept hold into mid-Oct, then rising to +1.45 degs in Nov-Dec. According to this version of the model we are building into a high medium or low level strong El Nino through the Summer. But max temps are down from previous runs and continue to be adjusted downwards.
IRI Consensus Plume: The August 18, 2023 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.432 degs today and it's the 5th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward up to +1.682 degrees in Oct and 1.716 in November then fading from there. The dynamic model suggest temps peaking at +2.060 in Nov while the statistic models show +1.122 degrees. The dynamic models are running much hotter than the statistic models. The CFS model is right in the middle of the dynamic model range.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (9/7) the Daily Index was negative at -3.03 and have been negative for 19 days, then positive the previous 7 days. It had been negative the previous 29 days (7/14-8/11) with a peak down to -37.30 on 7/25. It was positive the previous 21 days then was negative 11 days prior and positive 5 days previous then negative for 27 days previous ending 6/6 with a peak down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was rising at -9.33 and fell below the neutral point on 7/26. It rose above positive 7/3-7/25. It previously fell to -19.64 on 6/5 had been falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling some at -6.05 and turned negative the first time in years on 5/12. Recent max lows were -8.90 on 8/8 and -7.57 on 6/6. It previously peaked at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

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

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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