Surf Forecasts and Marine Weather - No Hype - Just the Facts!
More Southern Hemi Queued Up! - Video Forecast HERE (4/21/24)
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Video


Stormsurf Mobile App

Create Your Own Surf Forecast
Swell Calculator
Swell Decay Tables
Sea Height Tables
Swell Category Table
Convert from GMT:
 to timezone:


Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2020 12:45 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
3.3 - California & 2.3 - 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 9/21 thru Sun 9/27

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   

New Zealand Swell Starting to Hit HI
Forecast Improves with Gales Possible Both North and South

On Saturday, September 19, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 13.6 secs from 187 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is currently not operating (ceased at 9/15 - 19Z). Water temp 81.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 4.0 ft @ 6.1 secs from 264 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 70.5 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.2 ft @ 6.0 secs from 310 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.1 ft @ 6.4 secs from 265 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.1 ft @ 16.0 secs from 202 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 4.1 ft @ 6.3 secs from 279 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 9.0 secs from 282 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temp 55.9 degs (013), 59.7 degs (SF Bar) and 58.5 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 Saturday (9/19) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at thigh to maybe waist high on the sets and pretty junky and crumbled. Protected breaks were thigh high and clean mostly breaking just off the beach at low tide. At Santa Cruz waves were wait high on the sets and clean and lined up with some fog on top. In Southern California/Ventura windswell was producing waves at maybe thigh high and jumbled but with no wind nearshore. Central Orange County had set waves at waist to rarely chest high coming from the north and textured from light south wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at waist to chest high and clean and soft with intermixed northwest wind lump. North San Diego had sets at waist high and clean and lined up with clear skies. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting new southern hemi swell with set waves to head high and lined up and clean and peeling. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell with waves maybe waist high and lightly chopped early from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (9/19) no meaningful locally generated windswell was occurring in North or Central CA or along the East Shores of the Hawaiian Islands. And no southern hemi swell of interest was hitting either location. Of more interest is southern hemi swell radiating northeast having been generated by a gale that tracked under New Zealand Fri-Sat (9/12) with up to 43 ft seas aimed east. And another system is forecast developing under New Zealand on Sat (9/19) tracking east through the deep Central and Southeast Pacific into Tues (9/22) producing seas up 40 ft aimed east. Up north a gale remains forecast forming in the far northwestern Gulf on Mon-Wed (9/23) with up to 28 ft seas aimed well east and southeast. And maybe another to follow behind it on Fri (9/25). So there's hope both north and south but the focus is fortunately turning to the north.

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 (9/19) no swell producing fetch was occurring and no swell was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours a low pressure system is forecast traversing the far Northwest Pacific starting Sat PM (9/19) tracking just south of the Aleutian Islands producing a small area of up to 27 ft seas at 50.5N 174W aimed east on Sun PM (9/20) but not getting interesting till Mon AM (9/21) when the low is to start falling southeast some over the Eastern Aleutians producing 35 kt northwest winds with seas building in coverage at 27 ft at 49N 166W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to increase in coverage at 35-40 kts with seas building to 29 ft at 47.5N 161W aimed southeast. On Tues AM (9/22) the gale is to fall southeast over the Central Gulf of Alaska producing 35 kt northwest winds over a decent sized area with seas 28 ft at 45.5N 155W aimed southeast. The gale is to fade some in coverage in the evening while tracking east with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 29 ft at 44.5N 153W aimed southeast. More of the same is forecast Wed AM (9/23) with northwest winds 30-35 kts over the Central Gulf approaching the Pacific Northwest with winds down to 30 kts and seas fading from 27 ft over a solid area at 43.5N 150.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 25 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 43.5N 141W aimed southeast. This forecast has held pretty decent for days now and is well worth monitoring.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical system are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/19) high pressure was trying to return to the California coast with northwest winds 10 kts over North CA early building to 10-15 kts later and and 15-20 kts for Central CA focused on Pt Conception early building everywhere south of Pt Reyes later with windswell trying to build. On Sun (9/20) small raw northwest windswell is possible with north winds 15-20 kts for all of North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA mainly early and fading to 10 kts for Central CA later. and fetch starting to fade late over North CA. Mon (9/21) fetch is to be fading with northwest winds 15 kts limited to Pt Arena area south to the Golden Gate early and northwest winds 10 kts elsewhere and holding all day. No windswell production is forecast. Tues (9/22) northwest winds are to be 5-10 kts early for North and Central CA and 15 kts in pockets in the afternoon mainly south of Monterey Bay. Low pressure is to be filling the Gulf of Alaska. No windswell production is forecast. Wed (9/23) northwest winds to be 10 kts or less except 15 kts near Morro Bay early building to 15-20 kts for all of Central CA in the afternoon. South winds to start building in the afternoon at 5-10 kts for Cape Mendocino. On Thurs (9/24) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for Central CA south of Monterey Bay early and northwest 10 kts for North CA early building to 15 kts for all of North and Central CA later. On Fri (9/25) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA early holding through the day. Rain building for Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena overnight and into Lake Tahoe later. Sat (9/26) northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA early building to 15 kts later.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 12,500-13,500 ft from now to 9/23 then above 14,000 ft except on 9/26 dropping to 10.500 ft for 24 hours. Upper level temps are starting to show signs of cooling, at least for the next 8 days.

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (9/19) the southern branch of the jet was pushing firmly east under New Zealand at 150 kts down on the 60S latitude line just barely clear of the Ross Ice Shelf forming a weak trough and starting to get exposure in the Southwest Pacific offering some support for gale development. East of there the jet was falling gently southeast pushing over Antarctic Ice offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that pocket of winds energy is to start developing into a better trough on Sun AM (9/20) with winds building to 180 kts and lifting to 58S providing better exposure clear of Antarctic Ice offering improved support for gale development and continuing to track east into early Mon (9/21) while lifting northeast more with support for gale development improving yet again now over the Southeast Pacific. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to push east and become focused east of the the Southern CA swell window early Wed (9/23) through still providing support for gale development focused on South America into Thurs (9/24). But at the time back over the Southwest Pacific the jet is to be falling south over the Ross Ice shelf and weakening with support for gale development dissipating. A full on ridge is to evolve in that area and sweep east into Sat 99/26) eliminating support for gale development over the entirety of the South Pacific. A Fall pattern is to start setting up.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (9/19) swell from another New Zealand gale is tracking northeast towards Hawaii and California (see Stronger New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing under New Zealand just off the Ross Ice Shelf on Sat PM (9/19) producing a 40-45 kt southwest winds resulting in seas at 37 ft aimed east at 59.5S 180W tracking east. On Sun AM (9/20) southwest winds to build to 45 kts over a solid area with seas building to 39 ft at 60S 170.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest winds to be 40 kts over a broad and solid area aimed east-northeast with seas 40 ft at 58.5S 159.5W aimed east-northeast. On Mon AM (9/21) 35-40 kt west-southwest winds are to be covering a large area with seas 38 ft at 59S 149W aimed east-northeast. Fetch is to start fading in the evening while pushing east at 40 kts from the west with seas fading from 33 ft at 58S 132.5W aimed east. On Tues AM (9/22) a new fetch is to take over in the same general area with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 36 ft at 55S 138.5W aimed east. in the evening fetch is to build but race east at 55 kts and out of the SCal swell window at 110W with seas 44 ft at 57.5S 115W and east of the SCal swell window targeting only Chile and maybe up into Peru. This system is to build more while falling southeast offering energy only up into Chile. Something to monitor.


Stronger New Zealand Gale
A new gale started building southwest of New Zealand on Fri PM (9/11) producing 45-50 kt west winds over a decent sized area with seas to 43 ft at 56.5S 158E.5 aimed east (218 degs SCal, 216 degs NCal and shadowed by NZ for HI). On Sat AM (9/12) west-southwest winds were pushing east over a decent sized area at 40-45 kts with seas 44 ft at 57.5S 169E aimed east (213 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 212 degs NCal and unshadowed, 197 degs HI). In the evening fetch was aimed better northeast at 35-40 kts with seas fading from 39 ft at 58S 180W aimed east-northeast (209 degs SCal and still shadowed, 208 degs NCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 192 degs HI). On Sun AM (9/13) fetch was fading from 30 kts over broad area aimed northeast with seas fading from 33 ft at 57S 170W aimed northeast (206 degs SCal and unshadowed, 205 degs NCal and still shadowed, 186 degs HI). The gale was gone after that. Some small swell is possible for California with tiny sideband swell for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (9/18) building to 1.0 ft @ 20-21 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell peaking on Sat (9/19) at 1.2 ft @ 18 secs mid-day (2.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (9/20) fading from 1.1 ft @ 16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/20) building to 1.3 ft @ 20-21 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (9/21) to 1.7 ft @ 19 secs (3.0 ft). Swell continues on Tues (9/22) at 1.8 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (3.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (9/23) from 1.7 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell dropping on Thurs (6/24) from 1.3 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 213 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/20) building to 1.2 ft @ 20-21 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building on Mon (9/21) to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell continues on Tues (9/22) at 1.7 ft @ 17-18 secs mid-day (3.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (9/23) from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell dropping on Thurs (6/24) from 1.3 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 213 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 another small gale is forecast developing just south of the Central Aleutians on Fri AM (9/25) with 50 kt west winds ands seas building to 36 ft at 49N 174.5W aimed east. The gale is to track east in the evening with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 38 ft at 49.5N 166W aimed east. The gale is to hold on Sat AM while easing east into the Northern Gulf with 45 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 51N 160W aimed east. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Cold Water and La Nina Digging In

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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (9/18) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were moderate east over the East equatorial fading to neutral over the Central Pacific and then building to moderate easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/19) strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA today extending east to a point south of California on the equator. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding at strong status filling the KWGA through 9/22 continuing to a point south of California and also building at modest status over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific into Ecuador. After that east anomalies are to start fading in coverage but still weakly filling the KWGA and still at strong status isolated near the dateline with moderate east anomalies continuing to a point south of Calfiornia till the end of the model run on 9/26. Support for energy transfer into the jet is weak and is expected to continue that way if not weakening more for at least the next week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/18) A weak Active MJO signal was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Active MJO pattern is to build steadily over the KWGA to moderate plus status on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase is to only build to weak status and only filling the Western KWGA on days 5-15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/19) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Maritime Continent today and is to collapse while tracking east into the West Pacific and near nothing at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but maybe the Active Phase at modest status on day 15 over the West Pacific.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (9/18) This model depicts a moderate Inactive MJO was filling the East equatorial Pacific today. The forecast suggest the Inactive Phase is to track east and push into Central America by 9/25. A moderate Active pattern is to traverse the Pacific 9/24-10/18 having some limited benefit to storm production. A new moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO is to start building over the Maritime Continent 10/11 and tracking to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/28.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/18) This model depicts no coherent MJO signal today but with moderate east anomalies filling the KWGA and all of the equatorial Pacific. The forecast indicates no MJO is forecast for the future with east anomalies steadily weakening over the KWGA through 8/29 then rebuilding to strong status towards the end of the run 10/7-10/16. No real west anomalies are forecast in the KWGA. Overall a long run of easterly anomalies remain forecast in the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/19 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase of the MJO starting to build over the far west KWGA today with east anomalies from a previous Inactive Phase of the MJO over the eastern KWGA exiting to the east. The Active Phase is to push east through 10/11 but at best producing only a mix of weak east and west anomalies in the KWGA. No MJO signal is forecast 10/13-10/29 with weak west anomalies in the Western KWGA and east anomalies on the dateline and points eastward. The Active Phase is to return 11/1 coherently traversing the KWGA through 11/25 producing modest west anomalies filling the KWGA and moving over the East Pacific in the later part of that timeframe. The Inactive Phase is to follow 11/15 tracking east through the end of the model run on 12/17 with moderate west anomalies holding in the KWGA with east anomalies gone from the KWGA but holding over the East equatorial Pacific. This provides some hope. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today reaching east to a point south of California and is to hold in coverage through the end of the model run while perhaps easing east some. A second contour set up on 9/14 on the dateline and is to hold through the end of the model run. The western edge of the high pressure bias is to be slowly moving east through the period positioned on the dateline at the end of the model run. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage through the end of the model run with its eastern periphery easing east to 160E at the end of the model run. But its core is to show no signs of moving east locked over the Indian Ocean. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year are migrating east through the West Pacific today and should continue tracking east then stabilizing setting up over the East Pacific late Sept and holding for the foreseeable future. The trend is turning towards La Nina. The good news is that at least at this early date, this might end up being a short lived event.

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 the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was stable at 165E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 170W today. The 24 deg isotherm was stable at 133W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +0-1 deg C were steady and perhaps trying to ease east some moving from the West Pacific 1to 155W at depth today. There was a large pocket of cooler anomalies at -2 degs filling the entire area east of there and bubbling up to the surface over that entire area. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/15 indicates the cool water bubble at depth was stronger and larger erupting to the surface from 160W eastward to Ecuador with a core to -4.5C but with cool anomalies even west to there to 170E. Warm anomalies were below the surface over the far West Pacific reaching east to 165W at depth (150m). 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) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 160W with negative anomalies -5 to -15 cms. Negative anomalies were weak but still present along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador at -5 cms and then reaching north up to Baja and into Southern CA. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

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 indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Markedly cold anomalies were imbedded between the Galapagos to 135W. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina. Warm water was all but gone off Central America north of the equator. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/18): A weak cooling trend was positioned from just west of Ecuador over the Galapagos and west to 165W, but weaker than days past. Multiple pockets of warming were interspersed from Ecuador to 140W suggesting the current cooling burst is starting to weaken.
Hi-res Overview: (9/18) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/19) Today's temps were falling some at -2.002 degs after previously reaching a momentary low of -2.138 on 8/13. The trend has been steady but quite cold June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/19) Temps were falling today dropping to -0.801 the lowest so far in the La Nina event. The previous low was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Before that temps were stable between 6/27-7/24 at near 0.0. And before that temps were rising after bottoming out down at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

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 (9/17) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range early this year through March, then started falling down to -0.20 in late-May before stabilizing near neutral into late June. They began falling again in July down to -0.75 mid-Aug. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend from here reaching down to -1.65 degs in late Oct holding in Nov then beginning to rise in later Dec, rebuilding up to +0.05 degs in May. We think the dynamic models might be overstating the magnitude of the coming cooling trend for the equatorial Pacific, but maybe not too much.
IRI Consensus Plume: The August 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.52 degs today, and are to fall in early Nov to -0.60 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.35 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by March. The low outlier is a dynamic models (NASA GMAO). But a good plethora of models are now suggesting a developing modest La Nina. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (9/19): The daily index was positive today at 10.28. The 30 day average was falling some to +9.19. The 90 day average was rising to 6.18, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was in control and trending towards La Nina. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (9/7):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

- - -

NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


Contact | About | Disclaimer | Privacy
Advertise/Content | Links
Visit Mark Sponsler on Facebook Visit Stormsurf on Instagram Visit Stormsurf on YouTube
Copyright © 2023 STORMSURF - All Rights Reserved
This page cannot be duplicated, reused or framed in another window without express written permission.
But links are always welcome.
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Calculator