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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:14 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
3.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 9/23 thru Sun 9/29

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

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

On Saturday, September 21, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 3.2 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 16.3 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 6.1 secs from 42 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 12.2 secs from 211 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 70.5 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.2 ft @ 9.8 secs from 305 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.7 ft @ 18.3 secs from 237 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 0.9 ft @ 18.4 secs from 202 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 18.0 secs from 216 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 8.4 secs from 318 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was north at 0-2 kts. Water temp 55.0 degs (013) and 58.8 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Saturday (9/21) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at waist high or so and clean but with lump intermixed and soft. Protected breaks were waist high and clean but soft. At Santa Cruz minimal southern hemi swell was producing surf at thigh to waist high and clean but weak. In Southern California/Ventura local windswell was producing set waves at waist high and clean but very soft. In North Orange Co waves were thigh high on the sets and clean but weak and soft. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had waves at waist high on the peak with a few rogue waves to shoulder high and clean but soft. North San Diego had surf at occasionally waist high on the sets and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting some swell with waves shoulder high and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell at thigh to maybe waist high and chopped from solid east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (9/21) in California small local north windswell was hitting exposed breaks providing something minimal to ride. southern hemi swell from New Zealand was hitting Hawaii's south shore and also starting to show on the buoys in California. This was produced by the first in a series of gales that developed under New Zealand tracking east Fri-Sat (9/14) producing 37 ft seas. Up north a small gale developed off Kamchatka Tues-Wed (9/18) resulting in 28 ft seas tracking southeast producing tiny swell targeting Hawaii from a ways off. A stronger gale is to produce 32 ft seas Sun-Mon (9/23) in the Northern Gulf possible resulting in stronger swell for the US West Coast beyond. But beyond nothing is charted. Down south another system tracked east under New Zealand Wed-Thurs (9/19) resulting in 39 ft seas initially fading to 33 ft producing more small southwest swell tracking northeast. And maybe a small gale is to develop Sat-Sun (9/22) with 30 ft seas aimed mostly east just off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The transition from Summer towards Fall is occurring, but about 6 weeks behind schedule.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
Tiny swell was tracking southeast towards Hawaii from a gale previously off Kamchatka (see Kamchatka Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to start building in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun PM (9/22) with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 18 ft at 50N 161W aimed east. Winds are to build Mon AM (9/23) to 45 kts from the west with 29 ft seas at 53N 152W aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts in the evening with seas 32 ft over a small area aimed east centered at 54N 143W. Fetch and seas fading from there while pushing into Central Canada. Something to monitor.

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

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


Windswell Outlook
On Saturday (9/21) high pressure was weakening in the Southern Gulf barely ridging into North CA producing north winds at 20+ kts early along the North CA coast and 15-20 kts off Central CA making for small local windswell but that fetch fading later. East fetch at 15 kts is forecast up to 600 nmiles east of Maui to Kauai making for small easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores there. On Sun (9/15) a broad but ill defined area of 15-20 kt north winds is forecast along most of the North and Central CA coast making for some windswell there. Southeast fetch at 15 kts is to be 600 nmiles east of the Hawaiian Islands possibly generating limited windswell for exposed east facing shores of Hawaii. On Mon (9/16) north winds are to start building at 25 to 30 kts later over North CA and 20+ kts down the Central CA coast resulting in larger north windswell. A building fetch of east winds at 15+ kts is to be extending from California west to Hawaii resulting in building east windswell relative to Hawaii. On Tues (9/18) high pressure is to be anchored in the Central Gulf at 1030 mbs generating north winds at 30 kts limited to Cape Mendocino making for limited north windswell down into Central CA at exposed breaks. No fetch is forecast off the Central CA coast. East fetch is forecast fading east of Hawaii dropping from 15 kts offering only limited windswell production potential early.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Lorena on Saturday AM (9/21) was in the Sea of Cortez tracking north with winds 65 kts. It is to continue north and fade and totally encased in the Sea of Cortez offering no swell generation potential anywhere but the Sea of Cortez.

Tropical Storm Kilo on Saturday (9/21) was 1200 nmiles southwest of Pt Conception and 1400 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island with winds 55 kts inching along to the west. This general strength and track is to hold into Mon (9/23) then fading to depression status. It to be so far away (1300 nmiles east of the Big Island) and so small in coverage and moving west so slow, no real swell production potential is forecast relative to California or Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Mario on Saturday AM (9/21) was 240 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico with winds 45 kts tracking generally north. This system is to continue on this heading while slowly fading offering no swell production potential for Southern CA.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sat (9/21) north winds to be up to 20+ kts for most of North CA but 10 kts for Central CA and holding. On Sun (9/22) north winds to be 20 kts for all of North CA early but less than 15 kts for Central CA abut building to 20 kts for most of Central CA later. On Mon (9/23) north winds are to be 20-25 kts building to 25-30 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA early fading to 10-15 kts for Central CA later. On Tues (9/24) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for Cape Mendocino but with a south wind eddy flow building later for everywhere south of Bodega Bay. On Wed (9/25) north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino with a light flow if not eddy flow from Bodega Bay southward. Thurs (9/26) north winds to continue at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino with a light flow if not eddy flow (south winds) for Central CA all day. On Fri (9/27) north winds to be 25+ kts for North CA but light early for Central CA. On Sat (9/28) north winds to be 20 kts early for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA and 15 kts everywhere later in the day.

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


South Pacific

On Saturday (9/21) the jetstream was split but with the southern branch pushing east under New Zealand at 58S at 130 kts with no troughs indicated instead pushing straight east zonally the whole way across the South Pacific offering no support for gale development but north enough to be over open waters and not actively suppressing gale development either. Over the next 72 hours the southern branch is to start gently lifting northeast almost forming a trough over the Central South Pacific on Sun (9/22) and offering some support for gale development into Monday (9/23) then losing energy and fading out by Tuesday AM (9/24). Beyond 72 hours another very weak trough is to set up under New Zealand on Thurs AM (9/26) being fed by 100 kt winds pushing north to a point just east of Southern New Zealand then drifting east and fading on Fri AM (9/27) offering only a short and weak window to support for gale development. But by Sat (9/28) the southern branch is to become exceedingly weak tracking east over New Zealand then falling hard south near 160W offering no real support for gale development over Southwest Pacific and actively suppressing it east of 160W over the remainder of the Southeast Pacific.

Surface Analysis  
A gale tracked east under New Zealand likely providing small swell radiating northeast mainly towards Tahiti and California (see New Zealand Gale below). And another and somewhat stronger gale tracked under New Zealand behind it (see Another New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours the models are hinting at another gale developing southeast of New Zealand on Sat AM (9/21) with 40 kt west winds and seas 30 ft at 61S 172W aimed east. Southwest winds to hold in the evening at 40 kts with seas 31 ft at 61S 157.5W aimed east. On Sun AM (9/22) 30-35 kts southwest winds to track east-northeast with seas fading from 28 ft at 60S 152W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.


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

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

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

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (9/22) with size slowly building pushing 1.6 ft @ 18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (9/23) at 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft) holding all day. Swell holding on Tues (9/24) at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 207 degrees


Another New Zealand Gale
On Tues PM (9/17) a solid gale was tracking southwest of New Zealand under the Tasman Sea and just north of the Ross Ice Shelf with 40-45 kts west winds over a solid area and 40 ft seas at 59.5S 149.5E targeting (217 degs CA and shadowed by NZ for Hawaii). On Wed AM (9/18) southwest winds were 40 kts located south of New Zealand tracking east with 37 ft seas at 57S 169.5E aimed east on the 213 degree track to NCal and unshadowed. Fetch was falling southeast in the evening but aimed northeast at 40 kts solid with 35 ft seas at 59.5S 177.5E. On Thurs AM (9/19) 35-40 kt southwest winds were pushing east with 32 ft seas at 57S 176.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening a small fetch of 30-35 kts south winds remained with seas 28 ft at 55S 173W tracking northeast. The gale was fading Fri AM (9/20) but fetch was lifting hard north with 30-35 kts south winds over a small area and seas fading from 27 ft up at 43S 170W aimed north. The gale stalled in the evening east of North New Zealand with 35-40 kt south winds aimed north and a solid area of 27 ft seas at 39N 168W aimed north targeting Hawaii well. On Sat AM (9/21) the gale was fading but still producing a tiny area of 40 kt south winds and 30 ft seas over a tiny area at 39S 170W aimed north. Small swell is radiating northeast towards the US West Coast from the early part of this gale and better focused at Hawaii from the second portion.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/25) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (9/26) to 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (9/27) at 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft) and holding. Swell fading Sat (9/28) from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect pre-swell arrival on Wed (9/25) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building some on Thurs (9/26) to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Pre-swell fading Fri (9/27) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Core swell arriving at the same time building to 2.0 ft @ 19 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Sat (9/28) to 2.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 216 degrees

North CA: Expect pre-swell arrival on Wed (9/25) building to 1.2 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building some on Thurs (9/26) to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Pre-swell fading Fri (9/27) from 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Core swell arriving at the same time building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building on Sat (9/28) to 2.1 ft @ 18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 216 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours maybe an extra-tropical gale currently just south of Japan is to track north and start redeveloping off Kamchatka Tues AM (9/24) producing 45 kt south winds and seas building from 18 ft at 50N 162E aimed mainly north. In the evening a building area of 35 kt west winds are to be barely pushing off the Northern Kurils with seas building to 23 ft at 51N 168E aimed mainly northeast at the Aleutians. On Wednesday (9/25) a broad area of 40-45 kts west winds are to be pushing well off Kamchatka but mainly over the extreme west Aleutians producing 27 ft seas at 53.5N 166.5E aimed northeast and on no great circle path to the US West Coast or Hawaii. In the evening this system is to be in the Bering Sea and of no interest. It is doubtful much is any swell will radiate significantly east given this gales rather locked position behind or over the Western Aleutians.


Windswell Outlook
On Wed (9/25) north winds to hold at 35 kts off Cape Mendocino but not over Central CA producing local north windswell down to Pt Conception. No fetch is to be targeting Hawaii. On Thurs (9/26) north winds to be 30-35 kts over most of North CA but light winds for Central CA producing solid north windswell down to Pt Conception. That fetch is to be turning to the west targeting Hawaii at 20 kts but not getting closer than 600 nmiles. Low odds of windswell resulting targeting the east shores of the Hawaiian islands. On Fri (9/27) a broad fetch of north winds at 20-25 kts is to be over the entire US West Coast south to the Golden Gate producing raw but solid windswell for North and Central CA. No fetch is forecast east of Hawaii offering no windswell production potential. On Sat (9/28) north fetch is to be fading from 20 kts along the North and Central CA coast reaching up to a point off Vancouver Island producing windswell radiating south to Pt Conception. No fetch is forecast relative to Hawaii.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Pattern Steady

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

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

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (9/20) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific shrinking in coverage but still present over the Central Pacific to the dateline and then very weak west winds over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning weakly westerly over the Central Pacific and then modestly westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/21) modest to light westerly anomalies were in the KWGA reaching east over all of the Eastern Pacific, indicative of the Active Phase of the MJO tracking east over the Central Pacific. The forecast is for weak westerly anomalies slowly tracking east and still in the KWGA at the end of the model run on 9/28 with east anomalies starting to building in far west KWGA reaching almost to the dateline at the end of the model run on 9/28.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/20) A weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was developing in the far West KWGA today with the Active Phase gone over the Pacific. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to build over the next 10 days to strong status filling the KWGA and holding through day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing with no variation. A strong Inactive Phase is coming.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Eastern Atlantic and is to migrate steadily east to the Central Indian Ocean 15 days out and getting steadily weaker to very weak status. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to stall over the Eastern Atlantic and building to moderate status over North Africa at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (9/21) This model depicts a moderate Inactive MJO was over the West Pacific today and is to slowly fade while tracking east pushing into Central America on 10/11 while a weak Active Phase starts building in the West Pacific on 10/16. It is to ease east pushing over Central America at the end of the model run on 10/31. A very weak Inactive Phase is to be developing over the Maritime Continent at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/20) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO signal present over the East KWGA focused on the dateline and tracking east today. The forecast depicts the Active Phase tracking east and out of the KWGA on 9/28 while the Inactive Phase starts building in the West KWGA on 9/25 with it's leading edge reaching the dateline 10/4 and holding through the end of the model run on 10/18. of note: Extremely strong east anomalies are forecast filling the Indian Ocean on 9/4 and not moving east one inch through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/21) This model depicts a modest Active MJO pattern peaking over the KWGA today and with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has a this Active MJO signal slowly easing east and out of the KWGA on 10/3 while a strong Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific and is forecast moving through the KWGA through 10/31 followed by another very weak Active MJO 10/25-12/10. After that a very weak Inactive Pattern is to follow through the end of the model run (12/19). West anomalies are to hold weakly through 10/7 fading to weak east anomalies near 10/15, then return to west anomalies 10/20 and building pretty solid starting 11/9 through 12/17. The low pass filter changed on 7/25 and is building yet more today with a low pressure bias with 1 contour line in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California. This single contour line is to hold while a second contour line develops 10/3 and possibly a third contour line on 11/26 while a high pressure bias builds in the Indian Ocean starting 10/12. If this pattern holds into early Fall it would constitute an upgrade. This model indicates that a weak El Nino pattern is to maybe rebuild. That is not believable at this early date given the water temperature anomaly situation over the equatorial West (cool) and East Pacific (cooler) today.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/21) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a tiny area steady at 175E while the 29 deg isotherm was pushing east at 168W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 160W today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 126W today. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the West Pacific at +2 degs from the surface to 150 meters down (deepest on the dateline) and indicative of a stationary Kelvin Wave #5 reaching east to 150W. East of there in the East Pacific NO warm anomalies were present. Instead a cool pocket was rebuilding with a core at -3 degs down 100 meters at 130W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/10 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 has formed a small stationary Kelvin Wave under the Dateline with cool anomalies from 150W into Ecuador drawing up from depth to the surface. Weak shallow warming was all but gone at the surface from Ecuador to 110W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/15) A broad area of positive anomalies were on the dateline from 145E to 165W at +5 cms and +10 cms from 160E to the dateline. Negative anomalies were still present pushing west from Ecuador at -5 cms reaching to 150W and -10 cms centered on the equator between 120W-135W forming a cool triangle reaching up into Central America and down to Chile suggestive of La Nina and a cool wave pushing west from the Ecuadorian Coast.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (9/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate weak warm anomalies are present north of the equator from Central America west to 140W and holding in coverage and then with broader coverage west of 140W to the dateline. Of more interest was a pool of cool water building markedly along the coasts of Chile up to Peru then weaker but streaming west on the equator off Ecuador solidly over the Galapagos and out to 160W unbroken suggestive of La Nina. A previous pocket of warm anomalies south of the equator extending from just off Peru west to the dateline were all but gone. There has been a steady evaporation of El Nino in the East equatorial Pacific with La Nina developing there.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/20): Today patches of warm water had the upper hand on the equator from Ecuador west to 170W, with the trend towards warming and not favoring cooling. The balance has been towards cooling over the past 2 months. suspect this is a temporary warming trend.
Hi-res Overview: (9/20) A clear La Nina cool stream was pushing west starting with a broad bubble of cool water along Chile and Peru then streaming west off Ecuador to 155W. Warmer than normal water was straddling the equator from the remnants of El Nino, mainly north of the equator and all but gone south of the equator. Instead a cool triangle was becoming obvious from South Chile northwest to the dateline then east to Ecuador. El Nino appears to be in retreat and La Nina appears to be trying to develop, a little more aggressively as of late.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/21) Today's temps were steady after falling hard to -1.8 degs on 9/15, up to -1.690 today and have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/21) Temps were rebuilding hard today at -0.093 degs after bottoming out on 8/28 at -0.510 degs and 9/15 at -0.60 degs. The trend has been generally downward since mid-June.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/21) The model indicated a cooling trend set up with temps down to -0.05 degs in early August down to -0.3 degs Sept 1. The forecast unrealistically has temps rising dramatically starting Oct 1 to + 0.5 degs and holding there through late Dec. On Jan 1 2020 temps are to moderate some bouncing in the +0.3 to +0.5 degree range then falling in May to +0.2 degs. According to this model a neutral to weak El Nino like sea surface temperature pattern is forecast. That is complete nonsense unless some miracle happens in the next 2 weeks.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Aug 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs in August, and are to hold in the +0.50 range into Dec/Jan, then fading slightly to +0.45 in May/April 2020. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (9/21): The daily index was negative today at -19.49. The 30 day average was negative at -14.88. The 90 day average was steady today at -8.63, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): July +0.82, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.34, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (9/8):
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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


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