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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:15 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   

Strong Gale Builds Off California
SPac Storm Forming - 'Big Wave Hellemen'

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 Tuesday (9/23) in North and Central CA
surf was waist high and lined up, but weak and soft. Conditions were clean with just a little texture on it.  Smaller at thigh high but cleaner at protected breaks. Down in Santa Cruz surf was thigh to maybe waist high and nearly whitecapped outside the kelp. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and heavily textured and looking pretty weak. Down south waves were waist high pretty textured if not nearly chopped.  Bottom is still destroyed. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to knee high on the sets and clean. The South Shore was pretty much flat with waves knee high and clean. On the East Shore windswell was producing waves at knee to thigh high and chopped with easterly trades in effect.  

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific a solid but small 
gale was developing off Oregon on Tues (9/23) with 32 ft seas aimed right at North CA. Residuals to continue producing 20 ft seas into Thursday targeting the US West Coast. A small gale to produce 18 ft seas in the North Gulf on Sat (9/27) while a small but stronger gale produces 32 ft seas off Kamchatka targeting Hawaii. And tropical activity to recurve northeast off Japan longterm. In the southern hemisphere a moderate gale  tracked under New Zealand on Mon (9/22) producing 41 ft seas and was fading on Tuesday with 36 ft seas. Remnant energy is to produce 30-32 ft seas across the entire South Pacific through Friday (9/26). More southwest swell generation looks possible. One more small system to follow near New Zealand.  But the focus continues to be shifting towards the North Pacific. 

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

North Pacific

Jetstream - On Tuesday (9/23) the jetstream over the North Pacific was falling slightly southeast into a weak trough off Japan then ridging northward over the dateline with winds building to 150 kts before falling again into a nice trough off the US West Coast with all those winds feeding into the trough offering decent support for gale development there.  Over the next 72 hours the trough off the US West Coast is to hold together well and slowly ease east slowly pinching off as it pushes inland Sat AM (9/27) over Pt Conception. But off to the west the jet is to be less organized. The trough currently off Japan is to track east peaking as it approaches the dateline on Wed (9/24) with 130 kt winds feeding it into Thursday, offering limited support for gale development. But after that the jet is to .cgiit some and weaken with no support for low pressure development indicated. Beyond 72 hours a better pattern is to start taking shape with 150 kt winds building while streaming off the Kuril Islands on Mon (9/29) reaching tot he Western Gulf 24 hours later. No clear indications of a trough developing, but the jet is to again be consolidated (not .cgiit) and running more or less flat west to east on the 45N latitude line pushing into Oregon. The overall flow is suggested of support for gale development down the road.  

Surface Analysis  - On Tuesday (9/23) swell was being produced in association with a storm developing off the Pacific Northwest Coast (see Northeast Pacific Storm below). Otherwise a weak pressure pattern was in control over the North Pacific other than tropical low pressure developing in the Western Equatorial Pacific.  

Over the next 72 hours a new low pressure system is to start developing over the Eastern Aleutians tracking southeast with winds 35 kts on Fri AM (9/26). It's to hold almost stationary there in the evening with seas to 18 ft at 50N 165W, then start tracking east with 30 kt west winds and 18 ft seas at 50N 152W. A quick fade to follow. Maybe some small windswell to result for the US West Coast.

The models suggest a tropical system is to be developing in the West Pacific starting Wed (9/24) lifting northwest and targeting Southern Japan by Mon (9/29). But it's to make a turn to the northeast after that. It's way to early to believe any of this.  Still, it's worth monitoring. 

Northeast Pacific Storm
On Sunday evening (9/21) a new low pressure system was starting to build 1000 nmiles north of Hawaii with winds to 30 kts and tracking east.  By Mon AM (9/22) it was in the Eastern Gulf with a decent sized fetch of 30+ kt west winds building while lifting gently northeast. By the evening winds were pushing 45 kts from the northwest getting good traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 20 ft at 41N 143W (290 degs NCal). On Tues AM (9/23) it reached storm status with 50-55 kt northwest winds in.cgiay over a tiny area aimed mainly at California with 32 ft seas at 43N 140W (301 degs NCal). Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening with the core easing east with seas 32 ft over a small area at 42.5N 138W (297 degrees).  Fetch to start fading from 30-35 kts Wed AM (9/24) with seas fading from 24 ft at 43N 132W (308 degs NCal). Secondary 35 kt north winds to generate 18 ft seas near 45N 139W (307 degs NCal). Yet another pulse of 35-40 kt north winds are forecast Thurs AM (9/25) off British Columbia with 20 ft seas redeveloping at 49N 137W but north of the 319 degree path in the San Francisco. After that no more swell producing fetch is forecast. 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.  

North CA: For.cgianning purposes expect swell arrival on Wed (9/23) late building to 7.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (12 ft faces).  Longer period elements shadowed in the Bay Area. Swell peaking overnight to 10 ft @ 15 secs (15 ft).  Swell fading sunrise Thurs (9/24) from 7.6 ft @ 14 secs (10-11 ft). Swell Direction: 297-301 degrees

Southern CA: For.cgianning purposes swell arrival Thurs afternoon (9/25) building to 3.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.5 ft faces at exposed breaks). Swell peaking overnight.  Residuals fading Fri AM 99/26) from  3.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft).  Swell Direction: 308-310 degrees    

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

Tropical Update
No systems of interest were being monitored. 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (9/23) a gale was off the Pacific Northwest coast with a front reaching into Cape Mendocino with south winds building there. Light winds were in control of the rest of the coast. No change forecast wind wise through Thursday other than north winds building to 15 kts over Pt Conception Thurs PM.  Rain is expected in extreme NCal on Wed AM reaching down to the Golden Gate Thursday AM then quickly dissipating.  High pressure and north winds to build in behind the front starting Sat AM (9/27) at 15-20 kts taking over North and Central CA on Saturday then quickly fading Sunday later AM but regenerating some on Monday mainly near Cape Mendocino at 15+ kts. High pressure to build off the US West Coast Tuesday (9/30) with 20+ kt north winds over all of North and Central CA. Some upwelling looks possible. 

South Pacific

Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (9/20) swell from a small gale that tracking northeast from Northern New Zealand was pushing towards Tahiti, with lesser energy forecast for Hawaii (see New Zealand Gale below). Also a storm was tracking east under New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealand Storm below). Over the next 72 hours 
the Stronger New Zealand Storm (below) 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 30 ft seas Wed PM (9/24) near 48S 167W tracking east then building more peaking Fri AM (9/26) with 34 ft seas near 43S 143W resulting in a nice run of potential 16-17 secs period swell radiating up into Hawaii on the 180-187 degree paths and into California (196-207 degs NCal and the first 50% of that shadowed, 197-208 degs SCal and almost totally unshadowed). Something to monitor and possible resulting in a nice long run of small late season swell. 

New Zealand Gale
A gale started 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 northeast with seas building from 23 ft. By evening winds were holding at 40 kts aimed well northeast with seas building to 27 ft at 31S 170W targeting Tahiti (230 degs) and Hawaii. The fetch area started tracking east Tues AM (9/23) with winds southwest still 40 kts and seas peaking at 30 ft at 30S 161W (216 degs Tahiti, 186 degs Hawaii). Fetch started fading in the evening and falling southeast. No additional swell generation is forecast relative to Tahiti or Hawaii. Swell expected best for Tahiti with secondary swell for Hawaii.

Hawaii:  Swell arrival expected late Sat (9/27) with swell to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell peaking Sun AM (9/28) at 2.4 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Residuals on Mon (9/29) at 2.3 ft @ 13 secs  (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 186-193 degrees 

Stronger New Zealand Gale
A tiny storm started developing southwest of Tasmania on Sun PM (9/21) with 50 kts west winds and seas 39 ft over a small area at 59S 139E (218 NCal and SCal and unshadowed). 45-50 kt west-southwest fetch built in coverage on Mon AM (9/22) while pushing east with 40 ft seas at 58S 150E (218 degs SCal and barely unshadowed, 217 degs NCal and unshadowed). Winds faded to 40 kts in the evening still aimed decently east-northeast with seas 37 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). 40 kt southwest winds held into Tues AM (9/23) with 36 ft seas at 57S 173E (211 degs NCal and partially shadowed, 212 degs SCal and shadowed, 195 degs HI). But the Jason-2 satellite  passed right over the core of the storm reporting seas 42 ft with a peak reading to 46 ft where the model suggested only 35 ft seas.  You don't see that often. The model was underhyping the storm. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35 kts with seas fading from 33 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).

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected late on Mon (9/29) at 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3.0 ft faces). Swell building into Tues (9/30) pushing 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft). Swell Direction:  190-200 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 A new small storm is forecast developing from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fung-Wong just off Kamcahtka on Fri PM (9/26) with 50 kt northwest winds and seas on the increase.  This system is to start fading Sat AM (9/27) with 45 kts northwest winds and seas building to 32 ft at 47N 168E targeting Hawaii well but a long ways away. Fetch fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 27 ft at 47N 175E. Some swell production possible relative to Hawaii if one is to believe the models. 

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 Tuesday (9/23) the daily SOI was down some at -13.25. The 30 day average was up slightly at -9.67 and the 90 day average was steady at -8.16. 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 63 days of near continuous negative daily SOI values, an important milestone and suggestive that El Nino is taking root. A low pressure regime is in control south of Tahiti and expected to hold through Thurs (9/25) with a negative SOI expected. High pressure and a rising SOI to follow. 

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated modest west anomalies over the Maritime Continent turning easterly approaching the dateline then turning neutral there. Neutral anomalies extended to a point south of Hawaii. Modest east anomalies were from there half way to the Galapagos, then dying to neutral on over the Galapagos. A week from now (10/1) neutral anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent though westerly just north of there (10N) continuing neutral over the dateline and holding to a point south of Hawaii. Modest east anomalies are to extend from there half way to the Galapagos fading to neutral on into the Galapagos. This suggests a weakly Active MJO pattern was over the West equatorial Pacific and is fade some a week out. The TOA array indicated neutral anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific except somewhat westerly near 150E. 

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 9/22 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 through the Statistic model suggests weak Inactive tendencies 5-10 days out while the Dynamic model suggests weakly Active tendencies 10-15 days out. This is the classic modest El Nino setup (ie. complete suppression of the MJO). The ultra long range upper level model run 9/23 depicts a modest Inactive Phase over the East Pacific and tracking east pushing into Central America on 10/6 with a weal Active Phase over the dateline pushing east through 10/23. 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 (9/22) nothing dramatic has changed. A moderately warm water regime remains in control of the equatorial East Pacific, down some from the peak of the Kelvin Wave eruptions in late June, but up some since early Sept. A 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 solidly warm.  As of 9/22 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with an embedded pocket of up to +2 deg anomalies at 100-140W 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 nearly reaching 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 9/22 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 decently still at +0.9 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 model are projecting yet another small storm forming southwest of New Zealand on Sat AM (9/27) tracking east-northeast with 45 kt southwest winds and seas 34 ft over a tiny area peaking Sun AM (9/28) with seas to 38 ft at 48S 165W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast.  Something to monitor. 

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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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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