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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2018 1:49 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 9/24 thru Sun 9/30

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   

Gale Forecast North of Hawaii
New Zealand Gale Possible Too

On Saturday, September 22, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 11.7 secs from 188 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 15.3 secs from 188 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 69.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.8 ft @ 15.6 secs from 183 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 16.2 secs from 196 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.6 ft @ 15.8 secs from 211 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 15.6 secs from 206 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 15.9 secs from 204 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was west at 4-6 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 Saturday (9/22) in North and Central CA background southern hemi swell was producing set waves to waist high and clean and lined up. Protected breaks were estimated at thigh high and clean and fogged in. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and lined up and clean but soft and wonky from too much tide. In Southern California/Ventura surf was up to thigh high on the biggest peaks and clean but slow. In North Orange Co background southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist high breaking just off the beach with light texture coming from the northwest. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to head high on the big sets and clean and lined up but with light northwest texture but those sets were rare. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean and lined up but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was near flat and clean with some northeast winds lump running through it. The South Shore was real small with waist high sets and clean but east wind apparent just offshore. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high and heavily textured early with trades about 10 kts.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (9/22) background southern hemi swell was hitting California making for barely rideable surf. For Hawaii no swell of interest was hitting. 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 a gale is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf on Wed (9/26) producing 32 ft seas aimed south somewhat at Hawaii. And down south a gale previously forecast to push up into the Tasman Sea on Mon-Tues (9/25) has now shifted east some and is forecast to track just southeast of New Zealand with 34-36 ft seas last now into Thurs (9/27). So there's now some hope. But we're really still waiting for the after effects of La Nina to fade in the atmosphere and for a Fall pattern if not a weak El Nino pattern to take hold.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Saturday AM (9/22) no swell of interest was hitting and none was being produced.

Over the next 72 hours a broad low pressure system is forecast developing 1200 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii on Tues AM (9/25) positioned in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska in the evening producing 45 kt northeast winds and seas building from 24 ft at 42N 168W targeting mainly open ocean south of there. On Wed AM (9/26) 40-45 kt north winds are to be falling hard south with seas building to 33 ft at 38N 172W aimed south somewhat at Hawaii. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts from the north with seas fading from 29 ft at 37N 173W aimed south with sideband energy possibly radiating towards Hawaii. The gale to fade out from there. Something to monitor.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Saturday (9/22) high pressure at 1030 mbs was over the Western Gulf ridging east but not reaching California producing only a weak northerly flow at 5-10 kts over North and Central CA. No windswell production is forecast. Sunday (9/23) the ridge is to build east starting to generate north winds at 20-25 kts over North CA early with raw local short period north windswell starting to build and the fetch increasing in size and velocity through the day with north winds 20 kts reaching down to Pt Conception later. 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 producing more windswell but with light winds if not a weak eddy flow (south winds) off the coast from Pt Arena southward. On Tues (9/25) the gradient is to be well north positioned on the Oregon-CA border producing north to northeast winds at 25 kts solid offering moderate odds for windswell production pushing down into Central CA while a weak eddy flow continues over almost all of the CA coast other than Cape Mendocino. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Saturday (9/22) a weak easterly trade wind pattern is forecast at 10-15 kts extending up to 1200 nmiles east of the Islands driven by high pressure at 1030 mbs a bit too far north in the Gulf of Alaska offering minimal support for windswell production potential. The coverage of that fetch is to start shrinking Sunday (9/23) with odds fro windswell production fading out. Monday and Tuesday (9/25) no organized fetch at 15 kts or greater is forecast east of the Islands. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Trami: On Saturday (9/22) Trami was 1000 nmiles south of Southern Japan with winds 55 kts tracking west-northwest and forecast to build to Typhoon status by the afternoon and forecast to continue building while holding it's track. By Tues (9/25) Trami is to be 350 nmiles east-northeast of the northern Philippines with winds 135 kts still tracking west-northwest very slowly. The GFS model has Trami stalling there Wednesday (9/26) then starting to move slowly north and then starting to turn to the north-northeast on Sat (9/29) poised to move over Southern Japan. Given the possible recuravture to the northeast, this might be something to monitor for possible movement into the greater North Pacific long term.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/22) a weak local wind pattern was in play for the entire California coast. Sun (9/23) north winds to be 20-25 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts down to Big Sur nearshore building to 25-30 kts in the afternoon over much of North Ca and 15-20 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 past that Wed (9/26) through Sat (9/29) with weak low pressure just off the Central CA coast.


South Pacific

On Saturday AM (9/22) the southern branch of the jetstream was starting to form a weak trough southwest of New Zealand being fed by only 100 kt winds not really offering any real support for gale development yet there. East of New Zealand the jet was starting to ridge southeast pushing south to 60S over the central South Pacific and holding on that trajectory to the Southeast Pacific offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough southwest of New Zealand is to build slowly and starting to be fed by 110 kt southwest winds on Mon (9/24) reaching up to 53S on Tues (9/25) and positioned just southeast of New Zealand offering good odds for gale development and in the Hawaii and US swell window. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (9/26) the trough is to be tracking east to 170W but with a big ridge starting to develop east of it pushing hard south over the Ross Ice Shelf and into Antarctica shutting down support for gale development except right in the remnants of the apex of the trough. By Thurs (9/27) the trough is to start fading and be gone 24 hours later. And by Sat (9/29) a new ridge is to be pushing under New Zealand sweeping east to the Central South Pacific shutting down any odds fro gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Saturday (9/22) tiny southern hemi swell of indeterminate source was hitting exposed breaks in California making for barely rideable surf. A gale built under New Zealand last weekend with perhaps minimal swell radiating towards California (See Another New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 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 28 ft at 59S 145.5E. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with winds still 35-40 kts over a solid area targeting Southern New Zealand with 34 ft seas at 54S 157.5E and in the CA swell window. On Tues AM (9/25) southwest fetch is to be holding while easing east at 40 kts aimed northeast with seas 33 ft at 51.5S 166.5E impacting Auckland Island. In the evening the gale is to start reorganizing with 35-40 kt south winds building and seas 34 ft at 52.5S 166.5E free and clear of any land. On Wed AM (9/26) a small fetch of 40 kt southwest winds is to be embedded in a broad fetch of 30-35 kts southwest winds producing 37 ft seas at 55.5S 176.5E aimed well north. In the evening the fetch is to fade and mostly just be 30 kts from the southwest over a solid area with seas 34 ft at 56S 177.5W. Fetch to dissipate Thurs AM (9/27) with seas fading from 34 ft at 55.5S 170W aimed northeast. The gale is to fade from there. Possible swell for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast assuming all goes as forecast.


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.

Windswell Forecast
On Wednesday (9/26) high pressure is to be at 1030 mbs 600 nmiles off the coast of British Columbia ridging south producing north winds at 20 kts over the CA-Oregon border but not even reaching south to Cape Mendocino resulting in low odds of windswell reaching south to Central CA and light winds over all of the greater CA coast. More of the same on Thursday and Friday (9/28). On Saturday (9/29) another pulse of high pressure is to be at 1032 mbs in the Northern Gulf ridging south producing north winds at 20 kts from off Washington southward and up to 25 kts over Cape Mendocino producing weak north windswell reaching down into Central CA but with a weak local wind flow from Pt Arena southward.

Hawaii: On Wednesday (9/26) and Thursday (9/27) no easterly fetch is forecast with no odds for windswell development. No change Friday or Saturday (9/29).


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Upwelling Phase of Kelvin Wave Still Occurring - ESPI Negative But Stable

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 Fri (9/21) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific reaching west and continuing to the dateline, then fading some but still solidly from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific and continuing to the dateline, then turning to neutral anomalies over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/22) moderate west anomalies were filling the core of the KWGA. West anomalies are to hold solid filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 9/29 with no sign of east anomalies to be found through the forecast period.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/21) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold for 4 more days then weak signs of the Inactive/Dry Phase are to start building in the far West Pacific and building into a legitimate Inactive Phase of the MJO by the end of week 2 in the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/22) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was exceedingly weak over the Atlantic and is to be building to moderate strength 7 days out over the Atlantic then pushing over Africa. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing but not quite as strong.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/22) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet signal is over the far East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/5. The modest Dry/Inactive pattern is to develop over the West Pacific 10/2 and is to track east filling the equatorial Pacific and then pushing into Central America on 10/22. A weak Active/Wet signal is to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/20 pushing east to the Central equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/1.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/21) This model depicts moderate plus west anomalies over the central KWGA today and are to hold while moving east and out of the KWGA by 10/5. Neutral anomalies are to develop over the Western KWGA 10/5 holding through the end of the model run on 10/19 with weak west anomalies on the dateline for that same period. This is a downgrade from previous model runs. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/22) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal over the western KWGA but with weak west wind anomalies filling the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to build over the KWGA over the next month through 10/24 but with modest west anomalies filling the KWGA through 10/2, then fading to weak west anomalies and holding. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/26 with west anomalies building to WWB status at that time and holding till 11/28 when the Active Phase start fading. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/7 but west anomalies holding if not at WWB status continuing through the end of the model run on 12/20. 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 12/2 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 reaching 2 contour lines on 9/29. 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 mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/22) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid and migrating east now to 170E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady today at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then started getting progressively shallower east of there breaching the surface today at 115W. Anomaly wise warm waters associated with the February Kelvin Wave #1 are gone with a generalized pattern of 1-2 degree warm anomalies 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. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region. 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 110W and then cohesive east of there to 100W but a bit broken up over the Galapagos where the remnants of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was dissipating. . 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 120W 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 in pockets continuing to Ecuador. 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: (9/21) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warmer than days past. 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 105W but shrinking steadily in coverage. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/21): 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: (9/21) 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: (9/22) Today's temps are falling from a peak of +0.510 degs on 9/17, falling to -0.673 degs today. 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: (9/22) Today temps were stead at +0.011 or 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 (9/22) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.70 degs and to +1.20 degs in early Nov holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +0.80 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) (9/22): The daily index was falling hard at -25.43. The 30 day average was falling some today at -4.11 suggesting the MJO was holding. The 90 day average was falling at -3.48. 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): (9/22) Today the index had stabilized at -0.43. 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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