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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2019 5:24 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
2.2 - 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 9/16 thru Sun 9/22

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   

2 New Zealand Swells Pushing NE
Small Gale Forecast for North Gulf

On Thursday, September 19, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 4.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 12.1 secs from 207 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 6.4 secs from 43 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 5.9 secs from 252 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 4-8 kts. Water temperature 72.1 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.3 ft @ 10.3 secs from 306 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 10.2 secs from 214 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 10.0 secs from 203 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.9 secs from 218 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 12.0 secs from 305 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 16-20 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs (013) and 58.1 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 Thursday (9/19) in North and Central CA Gulf windswell was producing waves at waist to shoulder high on the bigger sets and somewhat lined up and clean early. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean but soft with a little warble in the water. At Santa Cruz Gulf swell was producing surf at waist high and clean but weak. In Southern California/Ventura local windswell was producing set waves at waist high and clean but heavily warbled from winds just off the coast. In North Orange Co waves were waist high on the sets and clean but a bit warbled and soft. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had waves at chest high and up to head high on the peak and clean and reasonably lined up but soft. North San Diego had surf at waist to maybe chest high on the sets and clean but soft and a bit closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was small with waves thigh to maybe waist high and clean but soft. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell at thigh to maybe waist high and heavily textured from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/19) in California small windswell from the Northern Gulf of Alaska was hitting exposed breaks providing something to ride. This swell was generated by a gale that developed on Tues (9/17) producing 17 ft seas off British Columbia then falling southeast off the Pacific Northwest while fading. No swell was hitting Hawaii. But a small gale developed off Kamchatka Tues-Wed (9/18) resulting in 28 ft seas tracking southeast and targeting Hawaii from a ways off. A stronger gale is to produce 28-30 ft seas Sun-Mon (9/23) in the Northern Gulf possible resulting in stronger swell for the US West Coast beyond. And maybe another to develop off Kamchatka nearly a week out. Down south a decent gale developed under New Zealand tracking east Fri-Sat (9/14) producing 37 ft seas with small swell tracking northeast mainly for the mainland. And another system tracked east under New Zealand Wed-Thurs (9/19) resulting in 39 ft seas initially fading to 33 ft producing more small southwest swell tracking northeast. And maybe a small gale is to develop Sat-Sun (9/22) with up to 36 ft seas aimed mostly east just off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The transition from Summer towards Fall is occurring, but about 6 weeks behind schedule.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
Small swell is hitting North and Central CA from low pressure previously in the Gulf (see Gulf Low below). And small swell was tracking southeast towards Hawaii from a gale previously off Kamchatka (see Kamchatka Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to start building in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun AM (9/22) with 35 kt west winds and seas building. In the evening a broader area of 35-40 kt west winds are to be pushing east with 25 ft seas at 48.5N 163.5W. Winds are to build Mon AM (9/23) at 40 kts from the west with 30 ft seas at 50.5N 154.5W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 25 ft over a solid area centered at 50N 147.5W. Fetch and seas fading from there while pushing into Central Canada. Something to monitor.


Gulf Low
A small low pressure system developed in the Northern Gulf on Mon (9/16) producing 25-30 kt northwest winds and falling southeast into Tuesday (9/17) while fading off the Pacific Northwest. Sea to 17 ft are forecast later Tuesday AM (9/17) at 49N 136W and barely in the NCal swell window at 319 degrees.

Northern CA: Expect windswell continuing Thurs (9/19) at 5 ft @ 11 secs but being overridden by local north windswell. Swell Direction: 315+ degrees


Kamchatka Gale
A small gale started building off Kamchatka on Tues PM (9/17) producing 45 kt north winds and seas starting to build to 28 ft over a tiny area at 47.5N 162.5E aimed southeast at Hawaii somewhat. By Wed AM (9/18) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the west with seas 27 ft over a modest sized area at 47N 168.5E aimed southeast. In the evening fetch was fading from 30 kts from the west with seas fading from 22 ft at 46N 175E aimed east to southeast. This gale faded out from there. Possible small swell to result for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/22) at 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) and holding. dribbles fading on Mon (9/23) from 1.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees


Windswell Outlook
On Thurs (9/19) high pressure at 1028 mbs was building in the Central Gulf generating northwest winds at 10-15 kts along the North and Central CA coast early not quite producing windswell yet but building to 20 kts over the entire area later and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. No fetch is forecast east of Hawaii. On Fri (9/20) the usual summer time pressure gradient is to start building a small fetch of north winds at 20+ kts early pushing south along the North CA coast and off the coast of Central CA building to 25 kts off Cape Mendocino later offering some limited windswell production potential for CA. No easterly fetch of interest is forecast relative to Hawaii. On Sat (9/21) high pressure is to be weakening in the Gulf barely ridging into North CA producing north winds at 25 kts early along the North CA coast and 15-20 kts off Central CA making for small local windswell but that fetch fading later. East fetch at 15 kts is forecast up to 450 nmiles east of Maui to Kauai making for small easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores there. On Sun (9/15) a broad but ill defined area of 15-20 kt north winds is forecast along most of the North and Central CA coast making for some windswell there. Southeast fetch at 15 kts is to be 500 nmiles east of the Hawaiian Islands possibly generating limited windswell for exposed east facing shores of Hawaii.


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


Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Lorena On Thurs AM (9/19) was over Puerta Vallarta Mexico tracking northwest with winds 60 kts. This system is to track northwest into Sat (9/21) with winds 80 kts just missing south of Cabo San Lucas then fading fast while tracking up the Baja coast. Never is it's east quadrant (the area required for swell production) to be cleanly in the CA swell window.

Tropical Storm Kilo on Thursday (9/19) was 1200 nmiles southwest of Pt Conception and 1700 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island with winds 55 kts inching along to the west. This general strength and track is to hold into Mon (9/23) possibly rebuilding to hurricane strength (65-70 kts) but so far away (1300 nmiles east of the Big Island) and so small in coverage and moving west so slow, no real swell production potential is forecast relative to California or Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Mario on Thurs AM (9/19) was 420 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico with winds 55 kts tracking generally north. This system is to continue on this heading with only minimal strengthening forecast over the next 24 hours, then fading and turning northwest and accelerating on Sun (9/22) with winds 45 kts 240 nmiles west of Cabo San Lucas. No swell production is forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (9/19) northwest winds were 10-15 kts early building to 20 kts later afternoon for all of North and Central CA. On Fri (9/20) north winds are forecast at 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino but 10 kts or less south of there building to 25 kts over Cape Mendocino later. On Sat (9/21) north winds to be up to 20-25 kts for most of North CA but 10 kts for Central CA and holding. On Sun (9/22) north winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North CA early but less than 15 kts for Central CA abut building to 20kts for most of Central CA later. On Mon (9/23) north winds are to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA early fading to 10-15 kts for Central CA later. On Tues (9/24) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for Cape Mendocino but with a south wind eddy flow for everywhere south of Bodega Bay. On Wed (9/25) north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino with a light flow if not eddy flow from Bodega Bay southward. Thurs (9/26) north winds to continue at 35 kts for Cape Mendocino with a light flow if not eddy flow (south winds) for Central CA all day.

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (9/19) the jetstream was split but with the southern branch pushing northeast from under New Zealand at 130 kts forming a trough east of there and offering decent support for gale development. East of there the jet was generally pushing southeast from 150W and points east of there mostly over Antarctic Ice and offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to push northeast into Fri (9/20) then starting to get pinched off. Behind the trough a ridge is to be building pushing south to 62S then moderating and lifting north some Sun (9/22) to 58S with winds 120 kts possibly offering support for gale development near 160W and pushing east into Mon (9/23). And another very weak trough is to be setting up under New Zealand on Tues PM (9/24) being fed by 100 kt winds pushing north to Southern New Zealand then drifting east into Thurs AM (9/26) offering some support for gale development. But later on Thursday a ridge is to take over under the Tasman Sea and another ridge building over the Central South Pacific while winds fade in the trough and it starts pinching off likely reducing if not eliminating odds for gale production.

Surface Analysis  
A gale tracked east under New Zealand likely providing small swell radiating northeast mainly towards Tahiti and California (see New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Tues PM (9/17) a solid gale was tracking southwest of New Zealand under the Tasman Sea and just north of the Ross Ice Shelf with 40-45 kts west winds over a solid area and 40 ft seas at 59.5S 149.5E targeting (217 degs CA and shadowed by NZ for Hawaii). On Wed AM (9/18) southwest winds were 40 kts located south of New Zealand tracking east with 37 ft seas at 57S 169.5E aimed east on the 213 degree track to NCal and unshadowed. Fetch was falling southeast in the evening but aimed northeast at 40 kts solid with 35 ft seas at 59.5S 177.5E. On Thurs AM (9/19) 35-40 kt southwest winds were pushing east with 32 ft seas at 57S 176.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening a small fetch of 30-35 kts south winds to remain with seas 28 ft at 54.5S 172W tracking northeast. The gale is to be fading out Fri AM (9/20) with 30-35 kts south winds over a small area and seas fading from 25 ft at 41.5S 170W aimed north. Something to monitor.


New Zealand Gale
On Fri AM (9/13) a small gale started building just southeast of New Zealand with 45 kts south winds over a building area and 34 ft seas at 58 175W aimed northeast. The gale tracked north east in the evening with a solid area of 40 kts southwest winds and seas 37 ft at 57.5S 168W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (9/14) fetch faded from 30-35 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 33 ft at 58S 158W aimed northeast. The gale dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Expect sideband swell arrival on Fri (9/20) with size slowly building pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell peaking on Sat AM (9/21) at 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) fading some later. Swell fading on Sun (9/22) from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/22) with size slowly building pushing 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (9/23) at 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft) holding all day. Swell holding on Tues (9/24) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 207 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/22) with size slowly building pushing 1.6 ft @ 18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (9/23) at 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft) holding all day. Swell holding on Tues (9/24) at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 207 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 maybe an extra-tropical gale currently south of Japan is to track north and redevelop off the Northern Kurils on Tues AM (9/24) producing 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 24 ft at 46N 158E aimed mainly northeast. In the evening a broader area of 45 kt west winds are to be barely pushing off the Northern Kurils with seas building to 33 ft @ 52N 163E aimed mainly northeast at the Aleutians. On Wednesday (9/25) a broad area of 40-45 kts west winds are to be pushing well off Kamchatka producing 36 ft seas at 51.5N 166.5E aimed east and barely on a great circle path to the US West Coast. In the evening fetch is to fall southeast and fade from 30-35 kts from the west with seas 30 ft at 50N 171E aimed east. The gale to fade from there. Doubtful much is any swell will radiate significantly east given this gales rather locked position behind the Central Aleutians.


Windswell Outlook
On Mon (9/16) north winds are to start building at 25 to 30 kts over North CA and 20+ kts down the Central CA coast resulting in larger north windswell. A building fetch of east winds at 15 kts is to be extending from California west to Hawaii resulting in building east windswell relative to Hawaii. On Tues (9/18) north winds are forecast at 30 kts limited to Cape Mendocino making for limited north windswell down into Central CA at exposed breaks. No fetch is forecast off the Central CA coast. East fetch is forecast fading east of Hawaii dropping from 15 kts and gone by afternoon offering only limited windswell production potential early. On Wed (9/25) north winds to hold at 30+ kts off Cape Mendocino but not over Central CA producing local north windswell down to Pt Conception. No fetch is to be targeting Hawaii. On Thurs (9/26) north winds to be 30-35 kts over most of North CA but light winds for Central CA producing solid north windswell down to Pt Conception. That fetch is to be turning to the west targeting Hawaii at 20 kts but not getting closer than 500 nmiles. Low odds of windswell resulting targeting the east shores of the Hawaiian islands.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models are hinting at another gale developing southeast of New Zealand on Sat AM (9/21) with 40-45 kt west winds and seas 32 ft at 62S 175W aimed east. Southwest winds to hold in the evening at 40 kts with seas 36 ft at 60.5S 163W aimed east. On Sun AM (9/22) 30-35 kts southwest winds to track east-northeast with 33 ft seas at 58.5S 153W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Pattern Digging In

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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (9/18) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific shrinking in coverage but still present over the Central Pacific to the dateline and then very weak east winds over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning weakly westerly over the Central Pacific and even weaker over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/19) modest westerly anomalies were focused on the dateline and over all of the Eastern Pacific, indicative of the Active Phase of the MJO tracking east over the Central Pacific. The forecast is for weak to modest westerly anomalies steadily backfilling into the whole of the KWGA over the next 2 days and then slowly fading while tracking east with east anomalies starting to show up in the far west KWGA at the end of the model run on 9/26.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/16) A very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was developing in the far West KWGA today with the Active Phase gone over the Pacific. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to build over the next 10 days to nearly strong status filling the KWGA and holding through day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially, but with the Inactive Phase building slower but steadily peaking to the same strength as the statistic model at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/19) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Eastern Atlantic and is to migrate steadily east to the Central Indian Ocean 15 days out and getting steadily weaker to very weak status. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to stall over the Eastern Atlantic and building to strong status at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (9/19) This model depicts a weak Active Phase over the East Pacific today and is to slowly ease east moving over the Central America on 9/24. A moderate Inactive MJO was setting up over the far West Pacific today and is to build while tracking east pushing solidly in the Central America on 10/15 while a weak Active Phase starts building in the West Pacific. It is to east east and dissipate over the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/29.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/18) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO signal present over the KWGA today with moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast depicts the Active Phase tracking east and out of the KWGA on 9/28 but with west anomalies continuing to fill the KWGA though steadily weakening as a weak Inactive Phase develops 10/6 holding through the end of the model run on 10/16.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/19) This model depicts a weak Active MJO pattern peaking over the KWGA today and with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has a this Active MJO signal slowly easing east and out of the KWGA on 10/4 while a modest Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific 9/20 moving through the KWGA through 11/5 followed by another very weak Active MJO 10/29-12/10. After that a very weak Inactive Pattern is to follow through the end of the model run (12/17). During that entire period weak west anomalies are to hold in the core of the KWGA if not building pretty solid starting 10/29 through 12/17. The low pass filter changed on 7/25 and is building yet more today with a low pressure bias with 1 contour line in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California. This single contour line is to hold while a second contour line develops 10/3 and possibly a third contour line on 11/12 and maybe a 4th on 12/15 while a high pressure bias builds in the Indian Ocean starting 10/12. If this pattern holds into early Fall it would constitute a significant upgrade. This model indicates that a weak El Nino pattern is to maybe rebuild. That is not believable at this early date given the water temperature anomaly situation over the equatorial West (cool) and East Pacific (cooler) today.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a tiny area steady at 174E while the 29 deg isotherm was pushing east at 172W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 162W today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 126W today. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the West Pacific at +2 degs from the surface to 150 meters down (deepest on the dateline) and indicative of a stationary Kelvin Wave #5 reaching east to 150W. East of there in the East Pacific NO warm anomalies were present. Instead a cool pocket was rebuilding with a core at -4 degs down 100 meters at 125W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/10 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 has formed a small stationary Kelvin Wave under the Dateline with cool anomalies from 150W into Ecuador drawing up from depth to the surface. Weak shallow warming was all but gone at the surface from Ecuador to 110W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/15) A broad area of positive anomalies were on the dateline from 145E to 170W at +5 cms and +10 cms from 160E to the dateline. Negative anomalies were still present pushing west from Ecuador at -5 cms reaching to 150W and -10 cms centered on the equator between 120W-135W forming a cool triangle reaching up into Central America and down to Chile suggestive of La Nina and a cool wave pushing west from the Ecuadorian Coast.

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: (9/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate weak warm anomalies are present north of the equator from Central America west to 140W and holding in coverage and then with broader coverage west of 140W to the dateline. Of more interest was a pool of cool water building markedly along the coasts of Chile up to Peru then weaker but streaming west on the equator off Ecuador solidly over the Galapagos and out to 160W unbroken suggestive of La Nina. A previous pocket of warm anomalies south of the equator extending from just off Peru west to the dateline were all but gone. There has been a steady evaporation of El Nino in the East equatorial Pacific with La Nina developing there.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/18): Again cool patches had the upper hand on the equator from Ecuador west to 130W, with the trend more mixed today, not favoring cooling. The balance has been towards cooling over the past 2 months.
Hi-res Overview: (9/18) A clear La Nina cool stream was pushing west starting with a broad bubble of cool water along Chile and Peru then streaming west off Ecuador to 175W. Warmer than normal water was straddling the equator from the remnants of El Nino, mainly north of the equator and all but gone south of the equator. Instead a cool triangle was becoming obvious from South Chile northwest to the dateline then east to Ecuador. El Nino appears to be in retreat and La Nina appears to be trying to develop, a little more aggressively as of late.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/19) Today's temps were steady after falling hard to -1.8 degs on 9/15, up to -1.476 today and have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/19) Temps were rebuilding today at -0.180 degs after bottoming out on 8/28 at -0.510 degs and 9/15 at -0.60 degs. The trend has been generally downward since mid-June.

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 Uncorrected Data (9/19) The model indicated a cooling trend set up with temps down to -0.05 degs in early August down to -0.3 degs Sept 1. The forecast unrealistically has temps rising starting Oct 1 to + 0.4 degs and holding there by late Dec. On Jan 1 2020 temps are to fade some then rebound in May to +0.4 degs. According to this model a neutral to weak El Nino like sea surface temperature pattern is forecast. That is complete nonsense.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Aug 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs in August, and are to hold in the +0.50 range into Dec/Jan, then fading slightly to +0.45 in May/April 2020. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (9/19): The daily index was negative today at -35.30. The 30 day average was negative at -13.56. The 90 day average was steady today at -8.78, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): July +0.82, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.34, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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