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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2018 2:28 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   

Pacific Sleeps
Nothing Forecast Other Than Windswell

On Thursday, September 20, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 182 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.7 secs from 114 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 70.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.7 ft @ 9.0 secs from 271 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 13.6 secs from 204 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.4 secs from 209 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 14.3 secs from 205 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.6 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 6.5 ft @ 7.4 secs from 326 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 15-18 kts. Water temp 54.9 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 (9/20) in North and Central CA northern windswell was producing set waves to waist to maybe chest high and heavily warbled but not chopped and soft. Protected breaks were waist high or so and a bit warbled but with clean surface conditions and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was mostly flat and clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was up to waist high on the biggest peaks and clean and soft and slow. In North Orange Co fading southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist high with a few chest high peaks and clean but very slow. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high and clean but weak and slow. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some minimal residual swell with peaks during the sets at waist high and real clean but weak and not really rideable. The South Shore was still getting southern hemi swell with waves chest to shoulder high on the sets at top breaks and real clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves chest high and clean early with trades dead for the moment.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/20) bare minimal residual southern hemi swell was still hitting Southern CA making for barely rideable surf. For Hawaii small swell from a gale that formed under New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/11) with 38 ft seas aimed east was hitting, but on it's way down. Beyond a small short-lived gale developed in the deep Southwest Pacific on Sun-Mon (9/17) producing a small area of 42 ft seas aimed east. Maybe some minimal swell to reach the US West Coast. Beyond there's no gales forecast for the North Pacific or South Pacific over the next 7 days. A gale is forecast pushing up into the Tasman Sea on Mon-Tues (9/25) offering hope for Fiji and maybe filtered energy for Hawaii longterm. We're really waiting for the after effects of La Nina to fade in the atmosphere and for a Fall pattern to set up.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (9/20) no swell of interest was hitting and none was being produced.

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

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (9/20) high pressure at 1024 mbs was holding 1000 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging east generating a pressure gradient and north winds at 20-25 kts over and off Cape Mendocino and a bit off the coast of San Francisco but with light north winds nearshore from Pt Reyes southward generating local north windswell. The fetch is to be loosing coverage and drifting north in the afternoon offering decreasing odds for windswell production for North and Central CA. By Friday (9/21) the gradient is to fade away completely early as low pressure moves into the British Columbia coast with windswell all but gone. On Saturday (9/22) high pressure at 1030 mbs is to be in the Western Gulf ridging east but not reaching California producing only a weak northerly flow at 15 kts over North CA and with light winds from Pt Reyes southward. No windswell production is forecast. Sunday (9/23) the ridge is to build east starting to generate north winds at 25 kts over North CA with raw local short period north windswell starting to build and the fetch increasing in size and velocity through the day. On See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (9/20) high pressure at 1024 mbs was in the Eastern Gulf 1100 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii generating a very modest fetch of 15 kt east winds in pockets extending over 600 nmiles east of the Big Island but not continuous offering only weak potential for windswell production. On Friday (9/21) easterly fetch is to weaken even more and become more patchy at 10-15 kts from the east offering no windswell production potential. On Saturday (9/22) a weak easterly trade wind pattern is forecast at 10+ kts offering no windswell production potential. No change is forecast Sunday (9/23) either. 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 Thursday (9/20) north winds were 20+ kts nearshore for North CA and 5-10 kts south of Pt Reyes. On Fri (9/21) north winds to be 20 kts early for Cape Mendocino but light (5 kts or less) south of there and holding all day. On Sat (9/22) north winds to be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino but light south of there. Sun (9/23) north winds to be 20-25 kts early for North CA and 15 kts down to Big Sur building to 25-30 kts in the afternoon over much of North Ca and 20 kts for all of Central CA. Monday (9/24) north winds are forecast at 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but light south of there all day. Tues (9/25) light winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA. Light winds to hold all day Wed and Thurs (9/27).


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (9/20) the southern branch of the jetstream was ridging southeast under New Zealand reaching down to 68S and over Antarctic Ice then pushing east with winds generally light at 90 kts with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale formation in lover levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to ease up some but still a generalized zonal flow is to persist running east on the 65S latitude line through Sun (9/23) offering no support for gale development. But with a trough is to start building southwest of New Zealand on Sun (9/23) and being fed by 120 kts winds later starting to offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (9/24) the trough under New Zealand is to hold while easing east with the apex of the trough pushing over the southern tip of New Zealand late on Tues (9/25) and weakening substantially with decreasing support for gale development expected. East of there the jet is to be ridging south some down to 66S offering no support for gale development. Wed-Thurs (9/27) the trough is to be fading out under New Zealand and very weak and gone at the end of the period while a ridge builds over the far Southeast Pacific pushing south to 73S totally shutting down any potential for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (9/20) swell from a small storm previously in the far Southeast Pacific was all but gone with it's last dribbles lapping into Southern California. Swell from a gale that built under New Zealand is fading in Hawaii (see New Zealand Gale below). Another gale also built under New Zealand with perhaps minimal swell radiating towards California (See Another New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


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: Swell fading Thurs (9/20) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 185-195 degrees


Another New Zealand Gale
Starting Saturday 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 was falling southeast in the evening with winds holding at 50 kts from the west with seas building to 41 ft at 58.5S 174.5W. The gale tracked east Mon AM (9/17) while fading with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 34 ft at 57S 163W. In the evening the gale faded with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 27 ft at 55S 153W. Given the east to southeast falling direction of this system, only small swell is expected to radiate northeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: No swell is forecast to radiate north.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Mon (9/24) building to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell builds on Tues (9/25) to 2.3 ft @ 15 secs later in the day (3.5 ft). Secondary energy is to be backfilling behind Wed (9/26) building to 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading some on Thurs (9/27) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 203 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (9/25) building to 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs later in the day (2.0 ft). Swell holding Wed (9/26) at 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) with secondary energy backfilling to 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell fading some on Thurs (9/27) from 1.3 ft @ 16 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 202 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.

A broad low pressure system is forecast developing 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Tues (9/25) lifting north up into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Wed (9/28) possibly producing a small short lived fetch of 30-35 kt north winds targeting Hawaii for 18 hours, but gone by Thurs AM (9/27). Low odds for it to form, and even if it does, low odds for swell to result.

Windswell Forecast
On Monday (9/24) high pressure at 1030 mbs is to be in the Eastern Gulf ridging east generating north winds at 25-30 kts over North CA with 20 kt north winds reaching south to a point well off Morro Bay but with light north winds along the immediate coast from Bodega Bay southward resulting in decent north windswell at exposed breaks north of Pt Conception. On Tues (9/25) the gradient is to be racing north and positioned north of California with winds only 20 kts and fading fast offering low to no odds for windswell production. Wednesday (9/26) a weak local flow is forecast again with no odds for windswell production indicated. No change on Thurs (9/27) either.

Hawaii: On Monday (9/24) a weak easterly trade wind pattern is forecast at 10+ kts offering no windswell production potential. No change is forecast Tues-Thurs (9/27). We're in the doldrums before the start of Fall now.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing south of Tasmania on Mon AM (9/24) producing a broad fetch of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas 32 ft at 56.5S 145.5E. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with winds still 35-40 kts targeting Southern New Zealand with 34 ft seas at 51.5S 154.5E. On Tues AM (9/25) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts aimed northeast with seas fading from 34 ft at 50S 159.5E. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell for Fiji assuming all goes as forecast.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Upwelling Phase of Kelvin Wave Cycle In Effect - ESPI Still 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 = 6.5 (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: 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 Wed (9/19) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, then fading with light west winds west of the dateline and over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral to light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific ad continuing to the dateline, then turning to weak west anomalies over the Western KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/20) modest west anomalies were over the core of the Western KWGA but with light east anomalies mainly east of the dateline and not in the KWGA. West anomalies are to hold solid filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 9/27 with patches of east anomalies east of the dateline mainly starting 9/25.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/19) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold through the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts a neutral MJO pattern for the next week, then turning towards a Inactive/Dry MJO signal and getting pretty solid 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/20) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was exceedingly weak over the Indian Ocean and is to be building to moderate strength 7 days out while retrograding west over the Atlantic then pushing towards Africa. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/20) This model depicts a very weak Inactive/Dry signal is over the far West Pacific while a weak wet pattern is over the East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/10. The weak dry pattern over the West Pacific is to track east in subsequent waves filling the equatorial Pacific through the end of the model run on 10/30.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/19) This model depicts moderate plus west anomalies over the central KWGA today and are to hold for the next week, then fading while pushing east and out of the KWGA by 10/3. After that a weak west winds anomaly pattern is to set up filling the KWGA through the end of the model run (10/17), but not a s strong as previously forecast. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/20) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal over the western KWGA with weak west wind anomalies filling the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to build over the next month through 10/20 but with west anomalies filling the KWGA. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/21 with west anomalies building to WWB status at that time and holding till 11/15 when the Active Phase start fading. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 11/17-12/10 but west anomalies holding. A neutral MJO signal to follow through the end of the model run on 12/18 but with west anomalies holding. 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 build east to 120W (over California) by 10/2 and to 115W in mid-October. A 4th contour line is expected developing starting 12/10 and holding through the end of the model run. The high pressure bias has dissolved south of California (9/11) and is to not return and is instead 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. 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: (9/20) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid and migrating east now to 171E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady today 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 today at 113W. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 are gone with a generalized pattern of 1-2 degree warm anomalies are in the far East equatorial Pacific pushing into Ecuador. To the west warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 140W down 150 meters and with a finger of +1.0 degs anomalies reaching east to Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/15 indicates the Second Kelvin Wave was pushing aggressively east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 degs reaching east to 100W and building in coherency and velocity overtaking the broken fragments of warm water from Kelvin Wave #1 but with one small pocket of cool anomalies upwelling just off Ecuador, likely the last of the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. Kelvin Wave #2 was poised to breach the surface from 120W continuously to 160E. 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) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 130W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building and pushing east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies continuing solid to 110W and then in a connected pocket to 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: (9/19) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile. A thin stream of warm anomalies were holding directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 160W. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii. A small pocket of persistent cool upwelling was still on the equator near 110W but shrinking steadily in coverage. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/19): 2 pockets of cooling were on the equator, one at 90W and the other at 105W. Otherwise weak warming was strung along the equator from the Galapagos to 140W. Temps were neutral along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (9/19) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Otherwise mild warm water was holding on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the dateline with multiple small imbedded pockets of cool anomalies. We're still in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are all but gone but warm anomalies for El Nino are not yet really established.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/20) Today's temps are falling from a peak of +0.510 degs on 9/17, falling to -0.407 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: (9/20) Today temps were falling steadily at -0.066 degs or just below 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. This looks nothing like El Nino.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/20) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.75 degs and to +1.25 degs in early Nov holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +0.90 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-Sept Plume depicts temps at +0.52 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.71 in October (+0.8 per last months forecast) and +0.8 to +0.9 in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in May. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and there's a 76% chance of a weak El Nino developing.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (9/20): The daily index was steady today at -5.76. The 30 day average was rising some today at -2.93 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was falling at -3.12. 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): (9/20) Today the index continued falling to -0.47. 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 or at a minimum the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle is occurring. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now and it's not unexpected that the Index will toggle between weakly positive to weakly negative. 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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