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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 20, 2014 3:34 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
Swell Potential Rating = 4.0 - California & 1.0 - 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 9/22 thru Sun 9/28

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   

WATCH 'Big Wave Hellmen'
Small NPac Storm Forecast - SPac To Be Productive Too

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.


Current Conditions
On Saturday (9/20) in North and Central CA surf was waist high and weak, a mixture of fading southwest and northwest swells with some light southerly texture on it. Rideable but nothing more. Smaller but cleaner at protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz surf was waist high with some chest high peaks at top spots and clean. In Southern California up north surf was thigh to waist high and clean early but generally weak with light northerly texture on it early. Down south waves were waist to maybe chest high on the sets and clean but the bottom was still dug out from Marie. more consistently chest high and clean at top spots. Hawaii's North Shore was thigh high on the sets and clean early. The South Shore was pretty much flat with waves knee high and clean. On the East Shore windswell was producing waves at knee high and clean early with no trades. 

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific 
swell from a low that tracked through the Northeastern Gulf on Thurs (9/18) with 19 ft seas was in the water hitting Oregon nicely and working it's way towards North and Central CA. A stronger gale remains forecast off Oregon on Tues (9/23) with 30-32 ft seas aimed right at North CA. And more gale development looks possible behind that. In the southern hemisphere the models continue suggesting a moderate gale is to develop under New Zealand on Mon-Tues (9/23) lifting slightly northeast with 40-41 ft seas with remnant energy producing 30+ ft seas across the entire South Pacific through Friday (9/26). More southwest swell generation looks possible. The dogs days of summer are over. The Sept Equinox is on Mon (9/22) at 7:29 PM (San Francisco).

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

North Pacific

Jetstream - On Saturday (9/20) the jetstream over the North Pacific was flowing almost flat east off Japan reaching into the Central Gulf of Alaska with winds 130 kts over it's length then falling into a small tight trough there before arching northeast and pushing up into North Canada. There was limited support for gale development in the trough but mainly it was a primer trough (setting the stage for a bigger trough to come). For September the pattern was very encouraging and a harbinger of the season to come. Over the next 72 hours winds in the jet to build to 150 kts with the trough in the Gulf becoming slowly but steadily more defined. By Mon PM (9/22) a ridge is to start building over the dateline with winds still 150 kts there and falling into the deepening trough in the Gulf. Good support for gale development possible. The trough is to peak out on Tuesday (9/23) easing towards North CA. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to hold together and slowly track east over North CA late on Thurs (9/25). A small secondary trough is forecast on Sat (9/27) in the Gulf, but the trough itself is to be pretty pinched with only 120 kt winds feeding into it. Low support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Back to the west a far more diffuse pattern is forecast with a slightly .cgiit pattern over Kamchatka and winds in the 80 kts range. No support for gale development expected through Sat (9/27).

Surface Analysis  - On Saturday (9/20) swell from a low pressure system that developed in the Northern Gulf on Wed (9/17) was hitting the Pacific Northwest with some size and pushing towards California (see gulf Gale below). Otherwise weak remnants of a gale were just off Kamchatka producing 20 ft seas aimed mainly northeast at the Western Aleutians and of no interest. Weak low pressure was in the Gulf of Alaska but producing no fetch of interest.

Over the next 72 hours the low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska is to get slightly better organized on Sun (9/21) at 18Z with winds to 35 kts but is to be racing north and about to move inland over North Canada getting no real traction on the oceans surface. No swell generation potential expected from this system for anywhere but the immediate North Canadian Coast.

But on Sunday evening (9/21) a new low pressure system is to start building 1000 nmiles north of Hawaii with winds to 30 kts and tracking east.  By Mon AM (9/22) it's to be in the Eastern Gulf with a decent sized fetch of 30 kt west winds building while lifting gently northeast. By the evening winds are to push 40 kts from the northwest getting good traction on the oceans surface with seas building. On Tues AM (9/23) it is to reach storm status with 50-55 kt northwest winds in.cgiay over a small area aimed mainly at California with 28 to barely 30 ft seas at 44N 141W (301 degs NCal). Fetch is to be fading from 45 kts in the evening with the core easing east with seas peaking at 32 ft over a small area at 42.5N 140W (296-297 degrees).  Fetch to start fading from 30-35 kts Wed AM (9/24) with seas fading from 23 ft at 42N 135W (296 degs NCal). No more swell producing fetch is forecast. The gale itself to then track northeast well off the Oregon/Washington coast moving inland over North British Columbia on Thurs AM (9/25). If all.cgiays out as forecast a decent sized pulse of swell could hit all of Central and North CA with bigger but raw energy for Oregon. Something to monitor.

Gulf Gale
Low pressure started building over the northern dateline region on Tues (9/16) racing east over the top of high pressure on the southern dateline region and moving into the Gulf of Alaska on Wed (9/17) and becoming assimilated into a semi-permanent low there. 30 kt west winds were building over a modest sized area Wed AM  (9/17) covering a broader but still limited area in the evening. Seas 15 ft in the Gulf. A decent sized area of 35 kt west winds built Thurs AM (9/18) with seas to 18 ft at 49N 151W (309 degs NCal) building to 20 ft at 18Z at 50N 146W (315 degs NCal). In the evening winds were 40 kts but lifting northeast and almost inland over North Canada with seas 20 ft at 51N 143W outside the NCal swell window aimed more towards North Canada.  Small swell expected to result over the weekend for the Pacific Northwest working its way down into North CA on Sunday (9/21). 

NCal: Swell arriving in NCal (San Francisco area) at sunset Sat (9/20) at 3 ft @ 13 secs peaking at sunrise on Sun (9/21) at 4.3 ft @ 12 secs (5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 308-312 degrees

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

Tropical Update
Hurricane Polo
was 200 nmiles south of Puerto Vallarta on Thurs AM (9/18) with winds 65 kts tracking northwest. Polo continued on a northwest track falling well below hurricane strength and was 130 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas on Sat AM (9/20) with 40 kts winds (weak tropical storm strength). A slow turn to the northwest and west is expected over the next 48 hours with a steady decline in sustained wind speeds forecast. During this time no fetch of interest is to be in the SCal swell window.  No swell to result. This system is to have no direct impact on the Cabo San Lucas area.

Tropical Storm Fung-Wong was tracking north positioned about 100 nmiles south of Taiwan with winds 45 kts. It is expected to move inland through Taiwan Sat Pm (9/20) into Sunday eventually moving over the East China Sea while still tracking north, then into China south of Shanghai on Mon AM (9/22) with winds 30 kts. Remnants of this system are to eventually track northeast moving off Japan on Thurs (9/25) and over the Kuril Islands on Friday, redeveloping there (see NPac Long Term Forecast below).

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday AM (9/20) weak high pressure was pushing into British Columbia setting up the usual pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino at 20 kts, while lower pressure was in the Gulf of Alaska. Nearshore a light wind regime was in control of all of California. The gradient is to dissipate Sat PM. A light wind remaining is to remain in control of California waters until later Tues (9/23) when perhaps south winds start building over North CA in advance of a low pressure and front off the coast. Still, it's to not reach south of Pt Reyes through Thursday. Rain is possible in NCal on Wed PM reaching down to Monterey Bay Thursday.  High pressure and north winds to build in behind the front stating at Pt Conception on Fri (9/26) at 20 kts taking over North and Central CA on Saturday.

South Pacific

Surface Analysis - On Saturday (9/20) no swell of interest was in the water. High pressure remained in control of the Southeast Pacific with no swell production occurring there. But a generic low pressure regime was starting to take control over New Zealand. Over the next 72 hours a new gale is to start building directly over Central New Zealand on Sun (9/21) pushing northeast and free and clear of land Mon AM (9/22) with winds 40 kts aimed well north with seas building from 23 ft. By evening winds to be holding at 35-40 kts aimed well northeast with seas building to 26 ft at 30S 170W targeting Tahiti (224 degs) and Hawaii. The fetch is to start tracking east Tues AM and pushing east with winds still barely 40 kts and seas 27 ft at 29S 161W (216 degs Tahiti). Fetch is to start fading in the evening and falling southeast. No additional swell generation is forecast. Swell possible best for Tahiti if all goes as forecast.

Of more interest is a tiny storm forecast developing southwest of Tasmania on Sun PM (9/21) with 50 kts west winds and seas 42 ft over a small area at 59S 139E (218 NCal and SCal and unshadowed). 50 kt west-southwest fetch is to build in coverage on Mon AM (9/22) while pushing east with 42 ft seas at 58S 151E (218 degs SCal and barely unshadowed, 217 degs NCal and unshadowed). Winds to fade from 45 kts in the evening still aimed decently east-northeast with seas 40 ft at 58S 163E (214 degs Scal and shadowed, 213 degs NCal and barely unshadowed and moving into the HI swell window at 200 degs). 45 kt southwest winds to hold into Tues AM (9/23) with 40 ft seas at 57S 173E (211 degs NCal and partially shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed, 195 degs HI). fetch fading in the evening from 40 kts with seas fading from 37 ft at 55S 177W (190 degs HI, 208 degs NCal and shadowed, 210 degs SCal and still barely shadowed). Possible regeneration forecast (see Long Term Forecast below).

Tasman Sea Gale
A small gale developed in the South Tasman Sea on Thurs (9/18) generating 35 kt south winds pushing near 40 kts in the evening with 25 ft seas in.cgiace Fri AM (9/19) at 45S 162E (201-202 degs Fiji) lifting north and fading in the evening from 24 ft at 42S 163E (204 degs Fiji). Fetch was fading from 30 kts Sat AM (9/20) with seas fading from 23 ft at 39S 166E (203 degs Fiji).

Fiji: Modest swell is forecast for Fiji starting Sun (9/21) building to 6 ft @ 13 secs late (7.5 ft). Swell continuing up on Mon GMT (9/22) pushing 8.5 ft @ 14 secs mid-day (12 ft).    


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 remnants of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong are to lift north and start redeveloping over the Kuril Islands on Sat (9/27) with 45 kt west winds and seas to 30 ft targeting Hawaii down the 313 degree track. Seeing how that's 180 hours out on the model, odds are 0% of it developing at this early date. No other swell production is forecast.

Note: 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet. 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. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).

Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) On Saturday (9/20) the daily SOI was up some at -5.58. The 30 day average was up too at -9.81 and the 90 day average was down some at -8.14. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of the Active Phase of the MJO. We're now at 60 days of near continuous negative daily SOI values, an important milestone and suggestive that El Nino is taking root. Weak high pressure is over Tahiti for the moment, but by Mon (9/22) a low pressure regime is to start building in and holding through Thurs 99/25) with a negative SOI again taking control.

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak west anomalies over the Maritime Continent turning easterly approaching the dateline then turning neutral there. Neutral anomalies extended to a point south of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies were from there to the Galapagos. A week from now (9/28) neutral anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent continuing over the dateline and holding to a point south of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies are to extend from there almost to the Galapagos. This suggests a neutral MJO pattern was over the equatorial Pacific and is to hold. The TOA array indicated neutral anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific.

Looking at the trend over the past few months there has not been a extended period of enhanced trades so far this year, and we're over 250 days into the year.  The trend is clearly towards westerly anomalies (suppressed trades) which suggests a bias towards El Nino. Big westerly wind bursts occurred Jan-April, followed by a neutral period May into early June. The TOA array surface sensors (the ground truth) indicated moderate westerly anomalies re-developed west of the dateline 6/25-7/6, then again 7/11-7/20, building into a WWB and holding through 8/10. Light westerly anomalies developed again 8/20-8/22, 8/29-9/2 and 9/10-9/17 west of the dateline. Neutral anomalies filled the gaps. Another Kelvin Wave (modest at this point) is in-flight associated with westerly anomalies during June, July into mid-August and continues to be fed up to the current date. Compared to La Nina where enhanced trades (20+ kts) would be blowing non-stop, we're in great shape and have been all year. No easterly anomalies of interest have occurred all year. It would be hard to make a case stating some flavor of weak El Nino was not in.cgiay at this point.  

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

Previously a series of WWBs occurred 1/8-4/20 creating a large Kelvin Wave that impacted Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru, May and June. This was very similar situation that led up to the big El Nino's of '82/32 and '97/98. But in those instances the WWBs and Kelvin Wave generation progressed non-stop through the Summer and Fall months. An article presenting a Comparison between the genesis of the 1997 El Nino and this 2014 WWB event has been posted here. A second analysis from 5/28 is posted here.  

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 9/19 are generally in sync. They both suggest a dead neutral MJO pattern over the West Pacific. Per both models no real change is forecast for the next 15 days. This is the classic modest El Nino setup (ie. complete suppression of the MJO). The ultra long range upper level model run 9/20 depicts a weak Inactive Phase over the Central Pacific and tracking east pushing into Central America on 10/5. A very weak Active Phase is to follow starting 10/5 through 10/30. Recent experience this year suggests this model overhypes any projected Inactive Phases. The suspicion is this model does not handle El Nino like situations well. We're looking for a very weak MJO pattern biased Active if an El Nino were developing. This is what happened during July, even though the model suggested an Inactive Phase was to develop. And that is what happened in August and September too (see TAO westerly wind anomaly reports above). And the expectation is it will continue into October, This suggests that warming water in the equatorial East Pacific is starting to have some gentle guiding impact on the atmosphere above. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

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.  As of the most recent low res imagery (9/18) nothing has changed. A moderately warm water regime remains in control of the equatorial East Pacific, but down some from the peak of the Kelvin Wave eruptions in late June. Still, it's held up way better than expected even through the upwelling Kelvin Wave Phase in July. And if anything, a full scale regeneration of warm water is in progress over the NINO 3.4 region with 1.0 deg C anomalies present there and +1.0 deg anomalies near 160E (Kelvin Wave Generation Area) suggesting more warm water is poised to track east. Hi res imagery indicates a string of warm pockets over the width of the equator between the Galapagos and the dateline with no anomalies less that 0. Even though the bulk of the massive Kelvin Wave earlier this year has dispersed, warm water continues to build on the surface, and a new Kelvin Wave is poised to erupt over the Galapagos. These are good times.   

Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water. There are virtually no signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California as would be expected this time of year. And serious warm water is entrenched along the California coast and building in coverage, the exact opposite of the trend of the past 3+ years. Waters temps in San Francisco are 62 degrees and holding solid.  Very rare. But this is expected if El Nino were in.cgiay. This is significant in that is suggests the Gulf of Alaska High pressure system is much weakened relative to normal years, with north winds and upwelling much suppressed. The South Pacific is mostly normal/neutral except for cool water streaming off Southern Chile pushing west reaching up to the equator just south of Hawaii. But even the areal coverage of that pocket is in decline, suggesting a warm regime is getting the upper hand over the entire Pacific Basin. Overall the total amount of warmer than normal water in the North Pacific remains most impressive, while the South Pacific is starting to trend in the same direction.  

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator continue to rise.  As of 9/20 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with an imbedded pocket of up to +3 deg anomalies at 110-140W pushing up towards the Galapagos. This is great news indicating the pipe is open and a Kelvin Wave is in flight. The leading edge of this new Kelvin Wave is making quick advances now at 100W with lesser warm water already starting to reach the Galapagos. Satellite data from 9/15 depicts a solid and building area of +5 cm anomalies are covering the dateline region and tracking east reaching to 105W, also indicative of a Kelvin Wave pushing east. And the coverage of anomalies is increasing over the dateline and well into the South Pacific reaching almost to Tahiti, suggesting more warm water is flowing into the pipe and backing up in the west. Other models collaborate the presumption of Kelvin Wave genesis. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (9/15) indicates this modest Kelvin Wave is developing in the west reaching east to 105W, with the cool upwelling Phase of the previous Kelvin Wave gone. Even better, an new Kelvin wave appears to be building back at 150-170E, in sync with the satellite data. It is assumed the light westerly anomalies if late in the West Pacific are feeding more warm water into the pipe. At this time we are well over the proverbial 'hump'. When the Kelvin Wave arrives at the Galapagos (~Sept 30), more warm water will reinforce the existing warm pool theoretically pushing things into minimal El Nino territory. And if a second Kelvin Wave is in development, then we are set into January. Of course that cannot be declared until the first Kelvin Wave hits, but everything is lining up. The quandary now is whether this will be a one year event, or something longer.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 9/16 suggests an improved pattern. The current is pushing west to east over the entire Pacific on and north of the equator focused on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) reaching into Central America. Just south of the equator the current was generally pushing east to west. West anomalies were just north of the equator over the width of the equatorial Pacific strongest between 130-140E and between 155W-100W. East anomalies were confined to the equator from 150-160E in the heart of the Kevin Wave Generation Area. This data suggests a mixed picture but slightly better than the last update. But it appears the easterly current is no longer overtaking the westerly component. A slight improvement.   

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 9/20 are stable and in an interesting way. It suggests water temps building to +0.5 deg C by early Oct peaking at +1.0 deg C in mid-Nov (down from the +1.75 deg C predicted in May and then revised down to +1.55 deg C predicted in early July). But the real interesting part is that water temps are hold solid at +1.0 into June 2015. This suggests that perhaps we are moving towards a multi-year warm event. See the chart based version here - link.

Analysis: A massive Kelvin Wave was generated by successive Westerly Wind Bursts in Jan-April and erupted in the Galapagos region late June and is now dispersed. The WWB ended on 5/1 with the last of the warm water from it arriving 3 months later over the Galapagos on 8/1. At one point it looked like neutral water temps would be taking over the Galapagos-Ecuador-Peru triangle with no immediate Kelvin Wave reinforcements projected. But instead a persistent warm water temp regime stabilized there, and not much different temperature-wise from what it was at the peak of Kelvin Wave impact.  Continued suppressed trades with embedded weak westerly anomalies developed in the West Pacific in July and have held through present time producing at least one new Kelvin Wave with +3 degs C in flight now. Water temps have held in the Galapagos triangle in the +1.5 degree range for several months now. There was some temporary loss of water temps in the Nino3.4 range in July attributable to the upwelling phase of the previous Kevin Wave, but temps have now rebounded with water temps stable in the Galapagos region. This is good news. 

Assuming westerly anomalies continue in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (west of the dateline), more warm water will migrate east. This seems reasonable seeing how there has been virtually no easterly anomalies for the first 9 months of this year. And trades tend to weaken during Fall months in the northern hemi, meaning we're just now starting to reach the point in time where Westerly Wind Bursts should have the best support for development. Most El Nino's do not develop till the Fall, including the Super El Nino of '83/83. Only a few (namely the '97 Super El Nino) developed and survived strong through the summer and over the span of an entire year. A more 'normal' development life cycle would favor the alternating 'downwelling/upwelling' Kelvin Wave cycle. See currently Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here. Notice the alternating eastward migrating 'cool' and 'warm' cycles (upwelling/downwelling Kelvin Waves). Also note the CFSv2 model accurately depicted the upwelling Kelvin Wave Phase, with water temps in Nino1.2 fading in August then redeveloping in September. 

And finally, there's the 'feedback loop' consideration.  We suspect it is in.cgiay. The largest argument in favor of that is the total breakdown of the Gulf of Alaska high pressure system, resulting in very high water temps off California. Also the early season recurving of mult.cgie tropical low pressure systems tracking northeast off Japan bound for the dateline. And the pulse of tropical activity near Hawaii on the week of 8/4 and those systems continued evolution in the West Pacific is most telling. And then that pulse was followed by another pulse of tropical activity off Mexico (8/18-9/20) resulting in Lowell, Super Hurricane Marie, followed by Odile and Polo (though these last 2 produced no swell). The last time this happened was during the '97 and '83 El Ninos. The only argument against the feedback loop now is the development of a west moving Pacific Counter Current. Previous negative arguments concerning a dissipating Kelvin Wave, degradation of peak water temps in the Ecuador triangle and only a neutral 90 day SOI (rather than a negative one) have all turned in favor of an El Nino like pattern. For the most part they were just symptoms of the upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. 

Only once the ocean and atmosphere are co.cgied on a global level (that is, the ocean has imparted enough heat into the atmosphere to start changing the global jetstream pattern) can one begin to have confidence that a feedback loop is developing and a fully matured El Nino can result. About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. We have passed that threshold. As of 9/2, all the arguments against a feedback loop being in.cgiace were fading out except the Pacific Counter Current. Assuming the arguments against co.cgiing were all associated with the upwelling Kelvin Wave phase, then one can conclude the ocean and atmosphere are now linked/teleconnected.  Considering the size and duration of the westerly wind bursts in Jan-April, it seem hard to believe that at least some Pacific Basin wide 'change' was not already well entrenched even early this year, and had been developing since perhaps as early and Oct of 2013 (when the first Kelvin Wave of the series started taking shape). Monitoring the number, location and track of tropical systems in the North Pacific over October will help to put the final nail in coffin. We will continue monitoring westerly wind anomalies and warm subsurface water buildup in and under the Kelvin Wave Generation area. Also monitoring of the NPac jetstream (which has already been productive) and Atlantic hurricane activity (which is relatively nonexistent) are key. But at this time odds continue stacking very much in favor that a global teleconnection has now being established. If that's true, the focus then becomes estimating how deep the ENSO cycle will become, or whether it will stay shallow but transition into a multi-year event.    

As of now we're becoming very inclined to state that we are in a cycle that would be considered warm as of 20 Sept 2014. At a minimum the ocean is well past recharge mode, with cold water from the multiyear 2010-2013 La Nina cycle dispersed and temperatures on the rise. Officially we are still in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern, with no El Nino in.cgiay. But given all current signs, from a winter storm and swell production perspective, atmospheric transition is underway.  Even if we never reach official El Nino status  this is a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. And it seems apparent we've recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. We've turned the corner. Still lingering concerns about what appears to be a decadal bias towards a cooler regime (since 1998) will temper our forecasts.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the storm forecast tracking under New Zealand early in the week is to redevelop some while tracking east with a continuous fetch of 35-40 kt southwest winds forecast tracking from the Southwest Pacific into the Southeast Pacific generating 32 ft seas Wed AM (9/24) near 52S 170W into Fri PM (9/26) near 43S 125W resulting in a nice run of potential 16-17 secs period swell radiating up into Hawaii on the 180-188 degree paths and into California (185-208 degs NCal and the first 50% of that shadowed, 187-209 degs SCal and almost totally unshadowed). Something to monitor and possible resulting in a nice long run of late season swell. Better late than never.

Details to follow...


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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Local Interest

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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.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way! .xml

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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