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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, September 24, 2023 11:43 AM
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 & 0.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 9/25 thru Sun 10/2
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 Developing Off Oregon
Perhaps Another Off the Northwest Gulf Beyond

BUOY ROUNDUP
Sunday, September 24, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 12.6 secs from 188 degrees and new energy at 1.0 ft @ 18.7 sec from 203 degrees. Water temp 80.1 degs (Barbers Pt), 79.3 (Pearl Harbor 233), 80.2 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 6.2 secs from 33 degrees. Water temp 79.5 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.8 secs from 186 degrees. Wind north at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 68.2 degs, 64.8 (Topanga 103), 64.9 degs (Long Beach 215), 70.2 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 66.7 (Del Mar 153), 70.3 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.3 secs from 201 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 0.8 ft @ 9.2 secs from 261 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 201 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.7 secs from 196 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.5 secs from 194 degrees. Water temperature was 64.0 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay) Out of Service /029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 14.5 secs from 186 degrees. Wind north at 2-4 kts (46026). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 60.3 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 60.6 (San Francisco 46026), 61.2 (SF Bar 142) and 64.0 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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).
Summer
- 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).
Summer
- 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.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Sunday (9/24) in North and Central CA waves were flat to knee high and mushed with some modest texture and warble coming from the northwest. Protected breaks were flat and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to waist high on the peaks and clean but wonky from tide. In Southern California/Ventura waves were up to thigh high and weak and soft and inconsistent but clean. Central Orange County had sets at waist high and lined up and clean with decent form but soft and weak. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at waist to stomach high and lined up with decent form and real clean but weak. North San Diego had sets at thigh to maybe waist high and lined up and clean but very soft. Oahu's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had sets at thigh to maybe near waist high and somewhat lined up and clean with decent form when it came. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh to waist high and chopped from moderate east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (9/24) no swell of interest was hitting Hawaii or California and no swell of interest was in the water tracking towards those locations. But a gale is developing just off the Pacific Northwest Sun-Tues (9/26) producing up to 31 ft seas aimed east and southeast offering potential swell for the workweek. And another gale is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf on Fri-Sat (9/30) producing 33 ft seas aimed east. Down south there's no clear signs of gale development forecast for the next week. It looks like Fall is starting!

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Sunday (9/24) the jet was well organized ridging northeast off North Japan tracking just into the Bering Sea over the North Dateline region then falling hard southeast into the Gulf of Alaska with winds 170 kts forming a well defined trough off the Pacific Northwest offering good support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to continue circulating off the Pacific Northwest into Tues (9/26) while slowly weakening with the jet itself pushing inland over Oregon Tuesday and beyond. Remnant energy from the trough is to fall south down over Central CAlifornia through Sat (9/30) offering potential weather there while a ridge builds over the Gulf Wed-Fri (9/27) supporting high pressure. Beyond 72 hours a new small tight trough is forecast developing on the dateline on Fri (9/29) being fed by 130 kts winds sweeping northeast quickly moving to the Northwestern Gulf Sat (9/30) offering support for gale development and lingering there though the end of the model run on Sun (10/1). At that time more wind energy is to be building off the Kuril Islands at 140 kts offering hope beyond.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (9/24) no swell of interest was in the water.

Over the next 72 hours swell is forecast developing associated with a gale building off Oregon (see Northeast Gulf Gale below)

 

Northeast Gulf Gale
starting Sat AM (9/23) a small gale started to develop in the Central Gulf producing a small area of west winds at 30 kts tracking east. In the evening it built into a closed isobar low over the Eastern Gulf producing a fetch of west winds at 30-35 kts with seas starting to develop from 15 ft. On Sun AM (9/24) a solid fetch of northwest winds were filling the Eastern Gulf off the Pacific Northwest at 35-40 kts with a core to 45 kts with seas building from 20 ft at 42N 142.75W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to get well organized with northwest and west winds at 40-45 kts and seas 30 ft at 45.25N 135.75W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (9/25) 40-45 kts northwest winds to be over a solid area off Oregon with seas 31 ft at 45N 139.5W aimed southeast (306 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to be fading and moving east at 35-40 kts with seas 28 ft at 44.25N 134.25W aimed east and southeast (311 degs NCal). The gale is to be fading off north Oregon on Tues AM (9/26) with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft off North Oregon at 45.5N 132W (321 degs NCal). Possibly north angled swell resulting for North and Central CA.

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Tues (9/26) building through the day to 8.4 ft @ 14-15 secs later (12 ft) but shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Wed AM (9/27) from 6.7 ft @ 13-14 secs early (9.0 ft) and still shadowed. Residuals on Thurs (9/280 fading from 7.3 ft @ 11-12 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305 turning to 315 degrees.

Southern CA: There's some odds for swell wrapping into exposed breaks arriving on Tues (9/26) afternoon building to 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell peaking Wed AM (9/27) at 4.0 ft @ 14 secs (5.5 ft) fading through the day. Swell Direction: 310 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked or forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Mon AM (9/25) a front and winds are to be impacting Cape Mendocino with south winds 20-25 kts there and south winds to 15 kts down to Pt Reyes early. Northwest winds to be 1-5 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 15 kts for North CA with the front fading out over Pt Reyes. Northwest winds to be 5-10 kts for Central CA. Rain and a front developing and pushing south to Bodega Bay in the afternoon and to Pt Reyes overnight. No windswell forecast.
  • Tues AM (9/26) northwest winds to be 5 kts for North CA and 10 kts from Pigeon Point southward to Pt Conception early. In the afternoon west to northwest winds to be 5 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA starting at Pigeon Point and 20 kts from Monterey Bay southward. Light rain early for North CA down to maybe Half Moon Bay. Limited windswell possible later.
  • Wed AM (9/28) northwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA but up to 25 kts near Pt Conception. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for North CA and up to 20-25 kts from Big Sur southward. Light rain for Cape Mendocino in the morning then clearing later. Limited windswell.
  • Thurs AM (9/29) clearing high pressure takes over with northwest winds 20-25 kts for North and Central CA early. No change in the afternoon. Building local windswell.
  • Fri AM (9/30) northwest winds to be 20-25 kts for North CA and 20 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to build to 25-30 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA. Building windswell.
  • Sat AM (10/1) more of the same with northwest winds 25-30 kts for North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 30 kts for North Ca and 20 kts for Central CA but only 15 kts from Monterey Bay southward. More windswell.
  • Sun AM (10/2) the gradient finally start clearing with northwest winds 25 kts for North CA but 10 kts nearshore for Central CA but 20 kts well off the coast. Windswell fading some.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 0, 0, 0, and 0 inches.

Temperatures for the Pacific Crest Trail and Tioga Pass Road intersection (8,700 ft): 45-50 degrees through Thurs (9/28) then falling to 35 degrees through Sun (10/1) building to 50 degrees on Tues (10/3).

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sun (9/24) no swell of interest was in the water locally and no swell was tracking north from the South Pacific.

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

A gale is forecast developing on the eastern edge of the California swell window on Tues PM (9/26) producing 40-45 kt west winds and seas to 30 ft over a tiny area at 60.75S 132.5W aimed east. The gale is to race east-southeast and be out of the swell window 12 hours later. No swell likely to result.

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours perhaps another gale is to try and start building in the far Northwestern Gulf on Fri AM (9/29) producing northwest winds at 35 kts and seas building from 20 ft at 46.5N 169W aimed east. In the afternoon west winds to build to 45 kts over a small area with seas 31 ft at 48.75N 166.5W aimed east. the gael is to lift northeast on Sat AM (9/30) just south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas 32 ft at 51.75N 161.25W aimed east. Fetch fading in the evening from 35 kts with seas 27 ft at 52.75N 156.75W aimed east. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

A tiny gale is forecast pushing east off the northern tip of New Zealand a week out Sat (9/30) producing 28-30 ft seas aimed northeast. Low odds of this occurring but it is worth monitoring.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

El Nino Finally Getting Coupled
Kelvin Waves #3, #4 and #5 Erupting - NINO3.4 SSTs well in El Nino Territory and Slowly Rising
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd and 4th in March-April and a 5th in May. But after the last Active MJO in mid-to-late May, the MJO stalled. Finally restarting in later July thanks so a renewed push of the Active Phase of the MJO. Sea Surface Temperatures in the east are very warm and holding, and slightly expanding. And another Kelvin Wave developed and is pushing east to backfill waters off Ecuador and to help push the atmosphere towards El Nino. And the atmospheric signal is finally starting to build in the SOI, OLR. ocean current, and wind anomalies.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. That pattern continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing. But it was not coupled with the atmosphere as of 7/20/2023.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Summer 2023 = 3.7 (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: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 3 Active MJO's produced 3 Kelvin Waves with the 3rd in that series poised to start erupting off Ecuador now (May 2023). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias on the dateline and forecast to nearly fill the Pacific during June. We are in a state of transition from ENSO neutral to El Nino during the summer of 2023. As a result we will be moving from a period of reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the early part of Summer towards a period of enhanced storm production starting Late July and beyond, getting fairly intense come Fall. This should result in a slightly below normal level of swells, with swells being below normal duration and period over early Summer. But by late July 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as El Nino starts getting a solid footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after late July 2023. The swell pattern will be normal to somewhat below normal before July and above normal after July 23. And By Sept, the El Nino footprint should be solid. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early and based mostly on the CFS model and it's projection of a building ENSO footprint getting solid by Sept.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (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 strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate east over the Central Pacific and moderate west over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak east over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and moderate west over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/24) Modest west anomalies were filling the KWGA today. The forecast indicates a continuation of weak west anomalies mainly limited to the Central KWGA but with east anomalies building on the dateline and points east of there starting 9/25 and holding into 9/29. West anomalies are to build in coverage from the Central KWGA 9/29 to the east and filling the KWGA by 10/4 at moderate status, then fading as east anomalies build over most of the KWGA at the end of the model run on 10/10. It looks like a little window of east anomalies on the dateline 9/25-9/29 and then we're back in business. The view out 2 weeks is not believable.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/23) A neutral MJO was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a neutral MJO holding for the next 15 days. The dynamic model depicts then same thing but with a building Active signal on day 10 and nearly filling the KWGA on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (9/24) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over the West Maritime Continent and is to hold there unchanged the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal tracking east and into the East Pacific at weak status 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (9/24) A moderate Active (wet) pattern was filling the West Pacific today. The forecast has the Active Phase (wet air) tracking slowly east over the KWGA through 10/9 then over the East equatorial Pacific beyond. A moderate Inactive signal (dry air) is to start moving over the KWGA 10/14 building some while filling the KWGA through the last day of the model run on 11/3.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/23)
Today a neutral MJO was over the KWGA but with modest west anomalies filling the KWGA. West anomalies are to fade in coverage 9/24-9/30 then return and building filling the KWGA 10/3 at moderate status building to strong status 10/12 and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 10/21 as the Active Phase of the MJO builds (starting 10/8). We're 1 week out from the start of a real El Nino pattern according to this model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(9/24) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today the Inactive Phase was nearly gone over the KWGA with west anomalies weakly filling the KWGA and the Active Phase of the MJO trying to build over the far West KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase building from here filling the KWGA on 10/9 and in control through 11/19 with moderate to strong west anomalies developing on 10/4 building in strength and coverage inundating the KWGA through 11/22. A solid Inactive Phase is forecast beyond starting 10/22 in the far west KWGA filling the KWGA on 11/27 and holding through the end of the model run on 12/21 but with west anomalies holding at moderate status. Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) suggests cloud activity took over the KWGA weakly on 6/24 and started building in earnest just the past few days or perhaps as early as 9/13. It is forecast building strongly from here forward. Clear skies started building over the Maritime Continent in mid-May and are forecast building from here forward. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 180W with 3 contour lines (starting 7/14) and it's leading edge well east of the dateline at 125W today (it started pushing east on 2/15). The primarily contours leading edge is to slowly ease east to 117W (over the California coast) on 11/23 with it's center holding on the dateline and a 4th contour line developing Nov 9 and a 5th on 12/18. The high pressure bias has dissolved. 7/18 was the start of a major positive change in the development of El Nino with a advent of the Active Phase of the MJO and west anomalies and that momentum is growing stronger each passing day. It appears a strong El Nino is finally starting to develop in a classical sense.

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 the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was steady at 169W (previously 170W). The 29 degree isotherm was pushing east at 156W (previously 160W). The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 137W (previously 141W). The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific but was shallow at 27m (at one point down to 65m) in the far East. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C started in the far West Pacific at 174E associated with newly developing Kelvin Wave #6 centered at 173W pushing east in a continuous stream feeding into a broad pocket of +3-5 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting at 147W (152W on 9/11). +4-5 degree anomalies were building in coverage starting at 140W (previously 145W). The warm pool in the east is discharging to the surface but also being backfilled at the same time by new Kelvin Wave #6. There's now about 3+ months of warm water backed up off the Ecuadorian Coast (previously 2 months) today with a stream of warm water backfilling into it. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/5 (no update) indicates a large very warm stream of +1-2 degs anomalies extending west to east starting at 170E and over a large section of the subsurface equatorial Pacific and building while tracking east with 2 deg anomalies from 170W and points east of there and +4-5 degs anomalies from 117W and points east of there erupting into Ecuador. +1-2 degree anomalies were falling off the Maritime Continent merging with the preexisting warm stream with a new pocket of 2-3 degs anomalies centered at 180W (Kelvin Wave #6). In other words, this image suggests a steady flow of warm water flowing east from the Maritime Continent suggesting another Kelvin Wave is developing. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/5 - no update) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific starting about on the dateline at +0-5 cms. +5 cm anomalies were in the east from 158W east into Ecuador with scattered pockets of +10 cm anomalies imbedded. Positive anomalies extending north into Central America up to the southern tip of Baja and south to Chile. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram (9/20) warm water continues at +1.00-1.50 degs over the East Pacific from 145W and east of there slowly and shrinking in coverage while migrating east. A pocket of near neutral to slightly negative anomalies was between 140-160E and unchanged in coverage. The warm water flow had backed off some with nothing to force more warm water east (i.e. no Active MJOs occurring) in July. But a new Kelvin Wave is now in flight. Otherwise there's been no change since mid March, a steady flow of warm water pushing east.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (9/23) The latest images depict a strong warm signal along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador out to 105W and unchanged being buffeted by east anomalies. A moderate warm signal continued west on the equator out to 157W (previously 137W). The warm pool is growing/building westward. Lesser heat extended west to the dateline and beyond. Heat also extends north up to Central Baja and south down into Patagonia. There is a very clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place. The last remnants of La Nina are gone on the equator but remnants are still evident in a cool pool from a point well off Southern Baja from 130W west to a point south of Hawaii. The Cool Pool is finally collapsing. La Nina is all but gone now atmospherically over the Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/23): A thin stream of solidly warming waters were on the equator from the Galapagos west to 105W with weak warming water west from there to 135W. A very weak warming trend was along the coasts of Chile and Peru. The pattern of adding energy to the warm surface pool is stable but not building. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 2022 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (9/23) Warmer than normal waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru, Ecuador and north up to Mexico with strong warming in many pockets along the immediate cost of Peru and Ecuador out to 110W and building. And the classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably over the equator west to the dateline and beyond. Everything is now looking like El Nino. And the La NIna enhanced cool pool off California is fading and drifting west, while weakening.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/24) (The official OISST temp record runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps appears to be steady at +2.308 after rising at +3.073 (8/31) after rising to +3.164 (8/18) after being up to +2.925 on 8/10 after rising at +3.074 degs (8/7) after being up to +3.391 (on 7/20) and had been rising from +2.906 (starting 7/3) rising from +2.451 after peaking at +2.7926 on 6/13 and have been up in the +2.0 to +3.0 degs range since 4/1 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/24) (OISST runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today temps were steady at +1.227 after rising to +1.260 on 9/9. Weekly OISST were at +1.6 degs (3rd week in a row since 8/30) putting us in minimal strong El Nino status. Temps first time above 1.0 degs was on 8/7 after being up to +0.967 (8/1) up from +0.873 degs (7/25) after peaking at +0.985 (7/18). Previously temps were rising slightly at +0.882 (7/9) after being steady at +0.794 4-5 days and that after being steady at +0.895 (3 days near 6/25) after being in the +0.712 range the previous 9 days after previously rising to +0.975 on 6/9. We are now 31 days into a trend of being above the El Nino threshold (for the 2nd time). Temps reached the El Nino threshold for the first time on 5/17 at +0.507 then quickly fell over the next 10 days down to +0.378 (5/26). Previous peaks of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. They had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

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 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, and +1.05 mid July reaching +1.30 degs early Aug and peaked at +1.6 degs in Sept..
Forecast (9/24) - Temps are to fade to +1.35 degs into mid-Oct then rising fast to +1.70 degs in Dec (down from +1.85 degs) and solidly in strong El Nino territory before starting a slow fade thereafter. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast falling to +1.15 degs in mid-Oct, then rising to +1.50 degs in Nov-Dec. According to this version of the model we are building into solid medium or low level strong El Nino. But max temps are down from previous runs months ago but now appear to have stabilized.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Sept 20, 2023 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.671 degs today and it's the 6th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward up to +1.838 degrees in November then fading from there. The dynamic model suggest temps peaking at +2.073 in Nov while the statistic models show +1.410 degrees. The dynamic models are running much hotter than the statistic models. The CFS model is on the low end of the dynamic model range.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (9/24) the Daily Index was negative rising some to -7.60 and has been negative for 36 days (starting 9/16). It was positive the previous 7 days, then negative the previous 29 days (7/14-8/11) with a peak down to -37.30 on 7/25.The SOI has effectively been negative since 7/12. It was positive the previous 21 days then was negative 11 days prior and positive 5 days previous then negative for 27 days previous ending 6/6 with a peak down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was falling at -15.63 and fell below the neutral point on 7/26. It rose above positive 7/3-7/25. It previously fell to -19.64 on 6/5 had been falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was falling some at -8.80 and turned negative the first time in years on 5/12. Recent max lows were -8.90 on 8/8 and -7.57 on 6/6. It previously peaked at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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