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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 2:01 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   

Stronger New Zealand Swell Tracking NE
Small Gale Coming from Gulf for CA

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 3.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 12.8 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 7.9 secs from 65 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.7 secs from 196 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 2-6 kts. Water temperature 71.6 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.4 ft @ 9.6 secs from 312 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.7 secs from 203 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.9 secs from 197 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 16.3 secs from 203 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.6 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 8.7 secs from 312 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was north at 10-12 kts. Water temp 52.0 degs (013) and 57.2 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 Tuesday (9/24) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at chest high and a bit warbled and mushy but also a bit lined up making for rideable surf but nothing more. Protected breaks were chest high and clean and nearly closed out but soft. At Santa Cruz small southern hemi swell was producing surf at shoulder to head high on the sets and a little warbled but with clean faces and inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura local windswell was producing set waves at waist high or so and real clean but inconsistent and soft. In North Orange Co waves were head high on the sets and clean and lined up but pretty inconsistent with low wave count per set. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had waves at shoulder to head high and lined up and peeling and clean but a bit on the soft side and inconsistent. North San Diego had surf at chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was still getting New Zealand swell with waves chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high plus and chopped from solid east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (9/24) in California modest local north windswell was hitting exposed breaks providing something to ride. And southern hemi swell from New Zealand was hitting exposed south fading breaks and also hitting Hawaii's south shore. This swell 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. And another gale 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 a small gale developed Sat-Sun (9/22) producing a brief window of 30-32 ft seas aimed mostly east just off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. Up north a weak gale produced 29 ft seas on Mon (9/23) in the Northern Gulf with a decent pulse of northerly swell possible along the US West Coast beyond but likely buried in local windswell. Looking at the models nothing is charted North or South. The transition from Summer towards Fall is occurring, but about 6 weeks behind schedule and painstakingly slow.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
Small swell from a gale previously in the Gulf is radiating southeast towards the Pacific Northwest and North-Central CA (see North Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours an extra-tropical low pressure system is to start redeveloping over the Northern Kurils Tues AM (9/24) producing 40 kt south winds and seas building from 15 ft at 47N 160E aimed north. In the evening a building area of south winds at 40 kts are forecast well off the Northern Kurils with seas 18 ft at 48N 170E aimed north only at the Aleutians. On Wednesday (9/25) a ill defined fetch of southerly winds at 35-40 kts is to be pushing into the Aleutians producing 18-20 ft seas at 51N 177E aimed north and on no great circle path to the US West Coast or Hawaii. In the evening a secondary fetch of 35 kt west winds is to start pushing off the Northern Kurils producing 20 ft seas at 50N 161E aimed east. On Thurs AM (9/26) west winds at 30+ kts are to be pushing off the Northern Kurils producing 22 ft seas aimed east at 50N 167E. Fetch and seas to dissipate in the evening. Low odds of minimal background swell possible for Hawaii at best from the secondary pulse from this system.


North Gulf Gale
A gale started building in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun PM (9/22) with 30-35 kt west winds and seas building from 17 ft at 48N 161W aimed east. Winds built Mon AM (9/23) at 40-45 kts from the west with 29 ft seas at 52N 153.5W aimed east. Fetch was fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas 28 ft over a small area aimed east centered at 52.5N 145.5W. Fetch and seas faded from there while pushing into Central Canada.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (8/25) PM with swell to 2.0 ft @ 16 secs late. Swell peaking Thurs AM (9/26) at 4.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.5) ft but shadowed in the SF Bay Area and mixed with copious local north windswell. Swell fading Fri AM (9/27) from 4.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees


Windswell Outlook
On Tuesday (9/18) high pressure was anchored in the Central Gulf at 1030 mbs generating north winds at 30 kts limited to Cape Mendocino making for limited north windswell pushing down into Central CA at exposed breaks. No fetch was forecast off the Central CA coast. For Hawaii east fetch was holding at 15+ kts mainly 900 nmiles east of Hawaii with the remnants of Kiko forming a weak gradient with the aforementioned high pressure system in the Gulf offering limited windswell production potential. On Wed (9/25) north winds to build to 35 kts off and along Cape Mendocino but no further south producing local north windswell pushing south down to Pt Conception. Fetch from the remnants of Kiko are to dissipate with no fetch remaining targeting Hawaii. On Thurs (9/26) north winds to be 30-35 kts over most of North CA but light winds from Bodega Bay southward and 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 900 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 Pt Reyes late producing raw but solid windswell for North and Central CA. No fetch is forecast east of Hawaii offering no windswell production potential.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being tracked.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (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 35+ kts for Cape Mendocino with a light flow if not eddy flow from Bodega Bay southward. Thurs (9/26) north winds to be fading from 35 kts for Cape Mendocino with an 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 tuning north 10 kts later. On Sat (9/28) north winds to be 20-25 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 15-20 kts for Central CA later. On Sun (9/29) north winds are forecast at 20 kts early for North and Central CA fading to 15 kts later. On Mon (9/30) north winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 20 kts later. Tues (10/1) north winds to be 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA but 10 kts for the Golden gate area early.

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (9/24) the jetstream was split but with the southern branch pushing east across the South Pacific on the 58S latitude line and weak offering no support for gale development in upper levels of the atmosphere. Of interest is a stream of south winds pushing north under New Zealand at 110 kts starting to support development of a trough there. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to hold while easing east with 90-100 kt southwest winds pushing the whole way up to the northern branch of the jet forming a trough just east of New Zealand. That trough is to hold through Thurs (9/26) then be fading into Fri (9/27) perhaps offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (9/28) the jet under New Zealand is to weaken and turn zonal with 80 kts west winds running east on the 48N latitude line with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development. In the Central South Pacific then jet is then to fall hard south over Antarctic Ice actively suppressing support for gale development. this pattern is to hold into Tues (10/1) with a weak zonal/troughing pattern over the Southwest Pacific with a new gentle ridge starting to develop over the Southeast Pacific. Regardless, no clear support for gale development is indicated.

Surface Analysis  
A gale gale tracked under New Zealand producing swell that is radiating northeast (see Another New Zealand Gale below). And another gale developed behind that, but likely nothing to result from it (see Southwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


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.

Southern CA: Swell holding on Tues (9/24) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 207 degrees

North CA: 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 2.7 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Residuals on Sun (9/29) from 2.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 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 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell peaking on Sun (9/29) at 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (9/30) from 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Tues (10/1) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0-2.5 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 2.3 ft @ 18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Sun (9/29) at 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (9/30) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles fading on Tues (10/1) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 216 degrees


Southwest Pacific Gale
A gale developed southeast of New Zealand off the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on Sat AM (9/21) with 40 kt west winds and seas 28-30 ft at 61.5S 165W aimed east. Southwest winds hold in the evening at 40 kts with seas 33 ft at 61.5S 158.5W aimed east. On Sun AM (9/22) 30-35 kts southwest winds were tracking east-northeast with seas fading from 27 ft at 59S 153W aimed northeast. The gale faded from there in the evening while lifting northeast with 25 ft seas at 55S 140W aimed northeast. On Monday AM (9/23)a new fetch starting building from the old one with 40 kt southwest winds and 28 ft seas building at 53.5S 134W aimed northeast. In the evening 45 kt west winds started racing east and out of the SCal swell window with 32 ft seas over a small area at 51S 121W aimed east-northeast. Some small swell is possible to result from this system.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/30) building to 2.1 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell building on Tues (10/1) to 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/30) building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building on Tues (10/1) to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193 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 Outlook
On Sat (9/28) north fetch is to be holding at 20 kts along the entire US West Coast reaching up to a point off Vancouver Island with a pocket at 25-30 kt north winds over all of North CA coast producing windswell radiating south to Pt Conception. East fetch at 15-20 kts is to be extending from California west to a point 650 nmiles northeast of Hawaii possible resulting in limited northeast windswell there. On Sun (9/29) north winds at 20 kts are to continue early along the entire US West Coast down to Monterey Bay producing windswell impacting the US West Coast down to Pt Conception, but fading later. All fetch targeting Hawaii is to dissipate early offering no windswell production potential. Monday (9/30) generic north winds at 15-20 kts are to be hugging the North and Central CA coast producing limited short period raw local north windswell down to Pt Conception. No fetch of interest is to be targeting Hawaii. On Tues (10/1) north winds to build along the North and Central Coast at 20-25 kts nearshore making for raw local short period windswell. For Hawaii east trade winds at 15 kts to extend 400 nmiles east of the Islands making for small short period raw local windswell at exposed east facing breaks.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina is Coming - Maybe

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 (9/23) 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 moderately westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/24) modest to light westerly anomalies were in the KWGA on the dateline reaching east over all of the Eastern Pacific, indicative of the Active Phase of the MJO tracking east over the Central Pacific. but east anomalies were building in the far West KWGA. The forecast is for weak westerly anomalies slowly tracking east and out of the KWGA by 9/29 with east anomalies building in from the west and nearly filling the KWGA reaching to the dateline at the end of the model run on 10/1. This is the strongest Inactive Phase east wind burst we've seen forecast in years.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/23) A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO was developing in the far West KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to build over the next 10 days to strong status filling the KWGA and then effectively 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): (9/24) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over Africa and is to migrate steadily east to the Central Indian Ocean 15 days out and getting somewhat weaker. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to stall over North Africa and hold for the next 15 days.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (9/24) 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 to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/3. A weak Inactive Phase is to be moving east to the West Pacific at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/23) 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 with west wind anomalies from it stalling in the Central and East Pacific holding from 175E to south of California for the duration of the model run. The Inactive Phase starts building in the West KWGA on 9/25 with it's leading edge reaching the dateline 9/30 and stalling there with east anomalies filling the KWGA for the duration of the model run (thru 10/21). Of note: Extremely strong east anomalies are forecast filling the Indian Ocean starting 9/24 and not moving east one inch through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/24) This model depicts a modest Active MJO pattern fading over KWGA today and with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast has a this Active MJO signal easing east out of the KWGA on 10/1 while a strong Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific and is forecast moving through the KWGA through 11/5. Weak west anomalies are to hold over the Eastern KWGA but east anomalies filling east to 160E. Another weak Active MJO is to move over the KWGA 11/5-12/10 with moderate westerly anomalies filling the KWGA. After that a very weak Inactive Pattern is to follow through the end of the model run (12/23) with westerly anomalies holding in the KWGA. Of note: Strong east anomalies are building in the core of the Indian Ocean and are to hold solid through the end of the model run. 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 12/5 while a high pressure bias builds in the Indian Ocean starting 10/18. 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: (9/24) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a tiny area easing east at 178E 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 +3 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 9/20 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 gone at the surface and at depth from Ecuador to 140W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/20) A broad area of positive anomalies were on the dateline from 145E to 150W 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 140W and -10 cms centered on the equator between 100W-125W 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: (9/23) 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 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 140W 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 (9/23): Today patches of much warming water had the upper hand on the equator from Ecuador west to 170W, with the trend towards warming and not favoring cooling as was previously the trend. The balance has been towards cooling over the past 2 months. Suspect this warming trend is temporary, but we'll have to see.
Hi-res Overview: (9/23) 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: (9/24) Today's temps were steady after falling hard to -1.8 degs on 9/15, up to -1.345 today and have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/24) Temps were fading some today at -0.152 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 (9/24) 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 through Sept reaching +0.5 degs starting Oct 1 and then forecast slowly fading to +0.3 degs in late Dec. On Jan 1 2020 temps are holding in +0.2 to +0.4 degree range then falling on May 1 to +0.0 degs by June 1. 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 (by 10/10). .
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) (9/24): The daily index was negative today at -2.43. The 30 day average was negative at -15.23. The 90 day average was rising slightly today at -8.57, 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

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Local Interest

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