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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 9, 2023 12:58 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   

Small Swell From Jova Hitting CA
Central South Pacific Swell Tracking Northeast

Saturday, September 9, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 13.2 secs from 187 degrees. Water temp 81.3 degs (Barbers Pt), 81.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 81.1 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 4.8 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 6.1 secs from 32 degrees. Water temp 80.6 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 12.5 secs from 159 degrees. Wind northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 67.6 degs, 68.7 (Topanga 103), 65.5 degs (Long Beach 215), 70.5 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 68.7 (Del Mar 153), 72.1 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.0 ft @ 13.9 secs from 179 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 0.7 ft @ 12.9 secs from 161 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.3 secs from 189 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.4 ft @ 13.0 secs from 179 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.8 ft @ 11.7 secs from 164 degrees. Water temperature was 68.7 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 14.9 secs from 184 degrees. Wind northwest at 10-14 kts (46026). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 58.8 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 58.6 (San Francisco 46026), 60.8 (SF Bar 142), 62.2 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 60.6 (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 Saturday (9/9) North and Central CA waves were waist and weakly lined up coming from the northwest and warbled and mushed. Protected breaks were thigh high and mushed and soft but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and clean and lined up but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest high and lined up but pretty closed out and textured from steady northwest wind. Central Orange County had sets at head high and lined up with decent form but with some warbled intermixed. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at head high and lined up with decent form but soft and mushed with some northwest warble on it. North San Diego had sets at waist high or so and lined up and closed out and clean with some intermixed warble. Oahu's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets at waist high and lined up and clean with good form. The East Shore was getting no real east windswell and warbled if not nearly chopped from modest easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (9/9) swell from Hurricane Jova was hitting Southern CA mixed with residual swell from the 2nd of two gales previously in the far Southeast Pacific making for rideable surf but nothing more. Otherwise no swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii. A 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. Another gale forecast for the Central South Pacific Sat-Tues (9/11) producing up to 29 ft seas aimed north has disappeared from the charts. And possibly another to develop under New Zealand Tues-Wed (9/13) producing maybe 25 ft seas aimed east but confidence is very low. After that nothing is forecast. And nothing believable is forecast up north either.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (9/9) 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 continued with winds down to 75 kts on Fri PM (9/8) positioned 720 nmiles south-southwest of San Diego and fading from there. On Sat AM (9/9) Jova was at tropical storm status and of no interest. Some support for swell production is likely.

Southern CA: Swell peaking Sat AM (9/9) at 3.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft) holding decently through the day. Swell fading on Sun (9/10) from 2.8 ft @ 11 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 167 moving to 180 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival late on Sat (9/9) at 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell continue on Sun (9/10) at 2.6 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Mon (9/11) fading from 2.2 ft @ 11 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 163 moving to 180 degrees

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Sun AM (9/10) northwest winds to be 15 kts for all of North CA and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20 kts for North and Central CA. Limited northwest windswell developing.
  • Mon AM (9/11) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds build coverage at 20 kts for all of North CA and Central CA. Windswell building some.
  • Tues AM (9/12) northwest winds to be 20 kts for North Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be holding at 20 kts for North and Central CA. Windswell holding.
  • Wed AM (9/13) northwest winds to be 20 kts early for North CA and Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for North and Central CA. Windswell holding.
  • Thurs AM (9/14) northwest winds to be 15 kts for North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts for the remainder of North CA and all of Central CA. Windswell holding.
  • Fri AM (9/15) northwest winds to be 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts for the rest of North and all of Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be fading from 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the rest of North CA and all of Central CA. Windswell fading out.
  • Sat (9/16) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts for North and Central CA early. No windswell forecast.

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): 50 degrees through Tues 9/12 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 Saturday (9/9) the jet was split over the South Pacific with most energy now in the influential southern branch which was ridging south over Antarctic Ice in the west but was lifting northeast over the Central South Pacific forming a trough being fed by 150 kts winds offering support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to quickly fade over the Central South Pacific on Sun (9/10) with winds dropping from 110 kts likely not offering much support for gale development. But a new trough is forecast developing south of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/12) being fed by 120 kts winds offering some support for gale development before weakening and falling southeast on Wed (9/13). Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs (9/14) the jet is to be running due east on the 58S latitude line offering no troughs supportive of gale development.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (9/9) the second of 2 swells from the far Southeast Pacific was fading out California (see Second Southeast Pacific Gale below). And swell from a gale that developed over the Central South Pacific is radiating northeast (see Central South Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Mon AM (9/11) a new gale is to be building southwest of New Zealand with 30-35 kts west winds and seas 25 ft at 58S 161E aimed east. The gale to continue in the evening with 30-35 kts southwest winds and seas 25 ft at 57S 170E aimed east. Fetch building Tues AM (9/12) at 35 kts from the southwest and reaching north enough to impact the southern tip of New Zealand with seas 23 ft at 50S 168E aimed northeast. In the evening fetch theoretically continuing from the southwest at 35-40 kts producing 25 ft seas at 54.25S 179W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (9/13) southwest winds to continue at 30-35 kts with seas 26 ft at 56S 173W aimed northeast. Fetch and seas fading out after that. Something to monitor.


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: Residuals on Sat (9/9) fading from 2.0 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

North CA: Residuals on Sat (9/9) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 182 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 nothing real is forecast. The model are hinting of a gale developing in the Northern Gulf on Fri (9/15) producing 25 ft seas aimed east and another over the North Dateline Region starting Sat (9/16) producing 28 ft seas aimed east. But that is not believable.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (9/16) a gale is forecast developing in the Central South Pacific producing 40 kt southwest winds aimed well northeast. Since it's 180 hours out on the model, odds of it developing are very low.


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 (9/8) 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 moderate east over the East equatorial Pacific and weak east over the Central Pacific and modest east 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): (9/9) Moderate east anomalies were filling the KWGA today. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold through about 9/14 then starting to fade with light west anomalies developing over the Central KWGA and building and nearly in control by 9/22 holding through the end of the model run on 9/25. The GEFS depicts west anomalies in play toady and holding through 9/16, then fading. The ECMWF shows west anomalies holding into 9/16, then fading. So it looks like this window of east anomalies might not be as strong or last as long as previously expected.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/8) A neutral MJO was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a modest Active Pattern developing on day 5 of the model run building to moderate strength on day 10 and strong on day 15 filling the KWGA. The dynamic model depicts a neutral pattern holding through day 10 of the model run then turning modestly Inactive on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (9/9) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the East Indian Ocean and is to track east to the East Maritime Continent and either weak or up to moderate strength 15 days out. The dynamic model indicates the Active Phase noodling around over the East Indian Ocean holding at modest 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): (9/9) A solid Active (wet) pattern was filling the West Pacific today. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) tracking slowly east over the KWGA through 9/29. A moderate Inactive signal (dry air) is to start moving over the KWGA 9/29 building while filling the KWGA through 10/14. After that the Inactive Phase is to slid east as a weak Active Phase starts building over the far West KWGA at the end of the model run on 10/19.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/8)
Today the Inactive MJO was east of the KWGA with the negative phase of an Equatorial Rossby Wave producing east anomalies over the KWGA. The Rossby wave is to dissipate with east anomalies fading out on 9/15 while west anomalies start building on the dateline on 9/11 backfilling to the west and filling the KWGA 9/22. 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 10/6.
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 9/11-9/13 but at that time west anomalies are to start building mostly near the dateline. The Inactive Phase is to dissipate on 9/22 with the Active Phase taking over 9/16-11/2 with west anomalies building steadily at near strong status 10/3 and holding beyond. A weak Inactive Phase is forecast 10/23 through the end of the model run on 12/7 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 but was fading if not nearly gone today (9/9). But it is forecast building strongly on 9/10-9/18, the more modest beyond. 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 (over 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 3. The high pressure bias was south of the mid-west US at 100W and is to dissipate on 9/23. 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: (9/9) 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 158W (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 178E associated with newly developing Kelvin Wave #6 centered at 170W pushing east in a continuous stream feeding into a broad pocket of +3-5 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting at 145W (145W on 7/20). +4-5 degree anomalies were building in coverage starting at 137W (previously 141W). 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 (9/5) warm water continues at +1.00-2.00 degs over the East Pacific from 160W and east of there. A broad pocket of near neutral to slightly negative anomalies was between 140-160E. The warm water flow had backed off some with nothing to force more warm water east (i.e. no Active MJOs occurring) in July. But a new Kelvin Wave is now in flight. 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: (9/8) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador out to 105W but faded 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 to 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 Southern 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 (9/8): A weak and fading stream of cooling waters were on the equator from Ecuador west to 100W with weak warming water west from there 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 building. 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. And strong warming is extending southwest from Southern CA to a point well southwest of Hawaii. This signals the demise of the cool upwelling 'La Nina hangover' pool.
Hi-res Overview: (9/8) 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: (9/9) (Coral Reef temps run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps continued falling at +2.296 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:
(9/9) (Coral Reef anomalies run about +0.2 degrees higher). Today temps were on a slow upwards trajectory at +1.260. 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.

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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 and leveled out there through early Sept..
Forecast (9/7) - Temps are to hold at +1.30 degs into mid Sept, then starting to rise to +1.50 degs in Oct and +1.75 degs in Nov (down from +1.85 degs) and solidly in El Nino territory. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast falling to +1.15 degs in Sept hold into mid-Oct, then rising to +1.40 degs in Nov-Dec. According to this version of the model we are building into a high medium or low level strong El Nino. 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 (9/9) the Daily Index was negative down hard at -19.67 and have been negative for 21 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 -8.71 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 -6.64 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

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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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