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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, September 14, 2018 1:16 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.0 - California & 1.5 - 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 9/17 thru Sun 9/23

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   

A Little More SPac Swell Pushing North
NPac Doing Nothing


On Sunday, September 16, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 12.9 secs from 174 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 16.3 secs from 143 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 72.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.9 secs from 186 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 16.7 secs from 198 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.9 ft @ 16.0 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.3 ft @ 16.3 secs from 188 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 16.0 secs from 195 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was west at 10-12 kts. Water temp 55.8 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Sunday (9/16) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing set waves to thigh high and lightly chopped from northwest wind. Protected breaks were flat to thigh high and clean and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high on the sets and clean and lined up but a bit on the slow side. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh high on the peak of the sets and clean and weak with a fair amount of warble in the water. In North Orange Co waves were 1-2 ft over head and lined up and clean coming from the south with a solid northward current in effect. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high to 1 ft over head on the peak of the sets and clean but warbled. In North San Diego surf was head high or so and clean and lined up but formless. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was near flat with rare thigh to waist high waves on occasion and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves waist high or a little more and chopped with modest northeast trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (9/16) southern hemi swell originating originating from a gale that produced 38 ft seas in the Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/5) was hitting California. Also swell was hitting California from a gale that developed on Wed (9/5) producing 39 ft seas in the Southwest Pacific just off the Ross Ice Shelf aimed east. And another gale formed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (9/9) on the very edge of the SCal swell window with seas 38-46 ft and poised to arrive there, but it mostly targeted Chile. And a small gale formed under New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/11) with 38 ft seas aimed east offering some hope for Hawaii. Beyond a small short-lived gale was developing in the deep Southwest Pacific on Sun-Mon (9/17) producing a small area of 42 ft seas aimed east. But other than that no swell production is forecast for the next 7 days in either the North or South Pacific. We're just waiting for Fall to start.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Sunday AM (9/16) tiny swell from a small gale that tracked through the Northwest Pacific was pushing towards Hawaii (see Northwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a dead calm weather and sea state is forecast with no swell producing weather systems forecast.


Northwest Pacific Gale
A tiny gale developed near the dateline tracking east Wed AM (9/12) with 30 kt north winds and seas building from 17 ft. In the evening winds continued at 30 kts but turning from the northwest with seas building from 20 ft at 41N 168E targeting Hawaii decently. On Thurs AM (9/13) northwest winds were holding at 30 kts from the northwest but lifting northeast getting less traction on the oceans surface with seas fading from 19 ft at 42N 171E. In the evening additional 35 kt northwest fetch is to develop briefly aimed at Hawaii with a small area of 20 ft seas developing at 44N 173E. On Fri AM (9/14) fetch is to be fading and lifting northeast with seas fading from 18 ft at 45N 180W. Whatever swell develops, will be minimal.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/17) pushing 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (2,5-3.0 ft) and holding through the day. Residuals left on Tues AM (9/18) fading from 2.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees


Windswell Forecast
California: On Sunday (9/16) weak low pressure was pushing inland over Washington while weak high pressure was 1000 nmiles north of Hawaii and not ridging east resulting in a slack wind pattern offering no odds for windswell production. On Monday (9/17) no real change is forecast. On Tuesday (9/18) high pressure is to move east and build some at 1024 mbs in the Eastern Gulf resulting in a building fetch of north winds at 15-20 kts over North and Central CA nearshore waters early building to 20-25 kts in the afternoon generating small and raw north local windswell. That fetch is to build while lifting north on Wed (9/19) with north winds 25 kts over NCal and 20 kts down to Pt Conception generating larger raw north windswell for North and Central CA. On See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Sunday (9/16) east winds were 10-15 kts up to 600 nmiles east of the Islands in patches with only limited windswell production forecast. On Monday (9/17) a generally weak easterly wind field is forecast at 10-15 kts offering only limited odds for small short period weak windswell production. Then on Tues (9/18) high pressure is to again get established at 1026 mbs in the Eastern Gulf with a building fetch of 15-20 kt east winds building solidly extending from California to a point 600 nmiles east of Hawaii offering good odds for windswell production but that windswell not quite reaching Hawaii yet. On Wednesday (9/19) the leading edge of that fetch is to hold at 15-20 kts extending from California to a point 300 nmiles east of Hawaii early and then impacting the Big Island later generating modest east windswell at exposed east facing breaks. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are occurring or immediately forecast.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (9/16) north winds were 10 kts over North CA and 20 kts for Central CA from Big Sur southward to Pt Conception. Monday (9/17) north winds to be 5 kts over North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA from Big Sur southward and then from the north 15 kts for all of North and Central CA later. Tues (9/18) north winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA building towards 25 kts over NCal and Pt Conception later. Wed (9/19) a full summer time gradient is to set up with north winds 25 kts early for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA holding all day. Thurs (9/20) north winds to be 20+ kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA early then fading to 5 kts later. On Fri (9/21) north winds to be 15+ kts from Pt Arena down to San Francisco and light south of there holding all day. On Sat (9/22) north winds to be 15 kts for all of North and Central CA. Sun (9/23) a light wind flow is forecast for North CA and north at 15-20 kts for Central CA.


South Pacific

On Sunday AM (9/16) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging south under New Zealand starting to push over the Ross Ice Shelf with winds 140 kts and again starting to suppress gale production mainly in the Southwest Pacific. Over the next 72 hours this ridge is to be sweeping east into the Southeast Pacific by Tues (9/18) and then holding actively suppressing support for gale production. Beyond 72 hours a secondary pulse of wind energy is to push southeast into Antarctica on Thurs (9/20) and again sweeping east into Sun (9/23) suppressing support for gale development. A weak trough is try and develop southwest of New Zealand on Sat (9/22) but no significant wind energy is to be feeding up into it offering no real support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Sunday (9/16) swell from two gales was hitting California from the Southeast and Southwest Pacific (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale and Southwest Pacific Gale below). And yet another small storm built in the far Southeast Pacific behind them with swell now radiating north (see Southeast Pacific Storm Below). And yet another gale built under New Zealand and is radiating north towards Hawaii (see New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Sat PM (9/15) a gale formed south of New Zealand with 45 kt northwest winds and seas starting to build from 27 ft at 51S 165.5E but falling southeast. On Sun AM (9/16) 50 kt west winds are to blowing east with seas 40 ft at 56.5S 173.5E but with the system falling southeast. The gale is to be falling southeast in the evening with winds holding at 50 kts from the west with seas building to 44 ft at 58.5S 174W. The gale is to track east Mon AM (9/17) while fading with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 37 ft at 57.5S 161.5W. In the evening the gale is to fade with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 28 ft at 56.5S 151W. . Given the east to southeast falling direction of this system, only small swell is expected to radiate northeast. Something to monitor.


Southwest Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/5) a solid gale was trying to build under New Zealand on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf with west winds 45 kts and seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 62S 175E hugging the ice. In the evening fetch was fading while lifting east-northeast with winds fading from the southwest at 35 kts and seas 36 ft at 60.5S 172.5W. On Thurs AM (9/6) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the southwest lifting northeast with seas 31 ft at 59S 158W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch was fading while racing northeast at 40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 53.3S 130W. Fetch continued tracking east in the evening at 40 kts with seas 34 ft at 53S 119W and starting to move out of the Southern CA swell window. Additional fetch built in the evening to near 50 kts again on the edge of the SCal swell window generating 30 ft seas at 53S 125W aimed east. On Sat AM (9/8) 35 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast with 29 ft seas at 50S 123W. Small swell is possible pushing up into mainly the US West Coast Central America and Peru. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Swell fades some on Sun (9/16) from 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Swell fades some on Sun (9/16) from 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/17) fading from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees


Southeast Pacific Storm
A small but strong storm developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (9/8) with 45 kt southwest winds aimed northeast and seas building from 27 ft at 58S 131W. This storm built quickly Sun AM (9/9) with south winds 60 kts over a small area aimed north and seas 36-38 ft at 58.5S 119.5W barely in the SCal swell window. The storm tracked east in the evening with winds 50 kts aimed north and seas peaking at 46 ft at 55.5S 110W and outside the SCal swell window targeting Chile well. This system is to fade from there.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/16) building to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be peaking at 2.1 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 177-182 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on late on Sun (9/16) building to 1.3 ft @ 20 secs (2.5 ft) late. On Mon (9/17) swell is to be building 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (9/18) from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 175-180 degrees


New Zealand Gale
On Monday AM (9/10) a gale started developing southwest of New Zealand producing west to southwest winds at 50-55 kts with seas building to 37 ft at 56S 158E. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds were south of New Zealand with 38 ft seas over a tiny area at 55.5S 168E aimed east. On Tues AM (9/11) winds were down to 40 kts from the southwest with seas at 34 ft at 55S 177.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading while lifting northeast with southwest winds 35 kts and seas 29 ft at 53S 175W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (9/12) southwest winds were fading from 30 kts lifting northeast with seas 26 ft at 48S 170W. Maybe some small swell to result for Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Tues (9/18) building to 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (9/19) to 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs (9/20) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185-195 degrees

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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast. Low pressure is to be falling southeast from the northern Gulf of Alaska on Sat (9/22) pushing to a point just off the Pacific Northwest on Sun (9/23) producing northwest winds at 20-25 kts possibly setting up windswell pushing into California and Oregon. Something to monitor.

Windswell Forecast
On Thurs (9/20) high pressure is to be 1026 mbs 900 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging east still generating a modest pressure gradient along the CA coast generating north winds at 20+ kts nearshore mainly over Cape Mendocino early but a light north winds flow at 10 kts from Bodega Bay southward falling to 5 kts offering decreasing odds for windswell production for North and Central CA and fading as the day progresses as the gradient progressively pulls yet further away from the coast. Friday (9/21) the gradient is to fade more winds north winds 15+ kts mainly from Pt Arena south to Monterey Bay offering low odds for windswell production. More of the same is forecast on Sat (9/22) and even weaker on Sun (9/23).

Hawaii: On Thursday (9/20) the fetch is to start fading but still generally at 15 kts from the east extending 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii with modest windswell still hitting the Islands. Fri (9/21) the easterly fetch is to start fading at 10-15 kts over an area extending 800 nmiles east of the Islands with odds for windswell production slowly fading. By Sat (9/22) fetch is to be fading from barely 15 kts limited to an area 300 nmiles east of Hawaii with windswell production fading out. Sun (9/23) no windswell production is forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a series of gale are forecast to push east under New Zealand starting on Thurs PM (9/21) with west winds 40 kts and seas 35 ft at 59S 155E. On Fri AM (9/21) the gale is to fade with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 30 ft at 59S 168E. In the evening additional fetch is to move over this area where northwest winds are to build to 40 kts with seas 32 ft at 57.5S 169E. On Sat AM (9/22) this fetch is to push east with northwest winds 35-40 kts and seas 29-30 ft at 55S 175W aimed east at best. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Still Present - ESPI Falls Back Weakly Negative

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.


Fall/Winter 2018 (California & Hawaii) = 6.5

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

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (9/15) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, then fading to light west winds over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific, then turning to light east anomalies on the dateline, then weak west anomalies filling the Western KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/16) modest west anomalies were over the core of the KWGA but with weak east anomalies over the dateline. This anomaly pattern is to hold for the next 4-5 days into 9/20 and then west anomalies are to build in coverage filling the entire KWGA including the dateline by 9/21 and then east to 150W by the end of the model run on 9/23.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/15) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold and then turn towards the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing except turning towards a Inactive/Dry MJO signal 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was exceedingly weak over the Indian Ocean and is to be building weakly while retrograding west over Africa 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/16) This model depicts a very weak Inactive/Dry signal is pushing east over the Central and East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/1 while a very weak Active/Wet pattern develops in the West Pacific starting 9/21 making slow east headway reaching the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/21. A weak Inactive pattern is to be then be over the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/13) This model depicts moderate west anomalies over the central KWGA today but with weak east anomalies over the dateline region. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to quickly rebuild in coverage in the core of the KWGA on 9/16 then weaken some 9/20-9/27 associated with a Equatorial Rossby Wave moving through the area. By 9/27 west anomalies are to be solid filling the KWGA and holding through the end of the model run on 10/11. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/16) This model depicts a dead neutral MJO signal over the KWGA with weak west wind anomalies in play over the west KWGA with east anomalies over the dateline. This pattern is to hold for 2-3 days then west anomalies are to rebuild filling the KWGA even as a weak Inactive Phase builds and hold through 10/18 with west anomalies building to WWB status 10/10 and holding. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/22 with WWB winds holding till 11/3. At that time the Inactive Phase is to develop but west anomalies are to hold almost near WWB status continuing to the end of the model run on 12/14. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to hold solid through the end of the model run building east to 120W (over California) by 10/2 and to 115W in mid-October. A 4th contour line is expected developing starting 11/3 and holding through the end of the model run. The high pressure bias has dissolved south of California and is to not return and is instead to start building over the Indian Ocean on 10/4 reaching 2 contour lines on 10/2. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean though were originally thought to reach that state 3 months after the start of when the low pressure bias officially filled the KWGA (on 5/8) or on 8/8. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say not until mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/16) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid and migrating east now to 167E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady to day at 160W. It started to retrograde west from 148W on 7/2 moving to 163W on 8/10 then started moving east again reaching to 158W on 8/16 due to development of Kelvin Wave #2 under the West Pacific. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W but had retracted from the coast of Ecuador and was breaching the surface at 106W, slowly moving east again. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 are gone with neutral anomalies in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +4 degs centered under 145W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0-2.0 degs anomalies reaching east to 105W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/10 indicates remnants of the first Kelvin Wave are still holding over a shallow area in the East Pacific from 110W eastward to 95W at +1.5 degs. It was breaching the surface between 120W-145W. Of more interest the Second Kelvin Wave was pushing east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 degs reaching east to 120W and building in coherency with broken fragments of warm water joining the existing Kelvin Wave east of there. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/10) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 135W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing solid to 115W and then in a pocket at 100W, but not reaching Ecuador but close. No negative anomalies were indicated. El Nino appears to be developing.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (9/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile, but warming directly nearshore. A thin stream of warm anomalies were holding directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 110W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico. A small pocket of persistent cool upwelling was still on the equator near 115W. Moderate warm anomalies continued on the equator and north and south of there west from 125W out to the dateline without any upwelling issues. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/15): An elongated area of pockets of alternating warming and cooling were strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 140W indicative of the end of Kelvin Wave #1's eruption coupled with pockets of easterly anomalies supporting cool upwelling, though the balance was towards warming temps. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (9/15) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Of interest was mild warm water holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos with imbedded pockets of stronger warming and continuing west from there to the dateline from 4S up to 20N, but mainly on the equator and points north of there. A pocket of cooler water was at 115W and fading. More coherent warming was on the equator from 135W to 140E.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/16) Today's temps are warming significantly at +0.478 degs. The previous other big peak occurred at +0.459 on 5/13. Otherwise temps have been steady in the -0.50 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/16) Today temps were falling some at +0.036 degs or just above neutral, down from a peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and steadily fading from the +0.25 degs range the past month to +0.15 now.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/16) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising in early Oct to +0.85 degs and to +1.25 degs in early Nov holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +0.95 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume depicts temps at +0.45 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.8 in October (unchanged from last months forecast) and +0.9 in Nov and holding there into Jan 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in April. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the high end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (9/16): The daily index was rising now at +7.43. The 30 day average was rising some today at -3.30 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was rising at -3.19. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (9/16) Today the index continued falling to -0.21. It fell below it's all time recent high of +0.24 on 9/8. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. But this recent turn to negative suggest that perhaps La Nina is not gone. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

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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