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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2019 3:36 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 Hitting HI
Small Gulf Swell Hitting CA

On Thursday, September 26, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 3.4 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 17.5 secs from 207 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 10.5 secs from 238 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 12.8 secs from 169 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 71.4 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.4 ft @ 12.8 secs from 169 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 211 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.7 secs from 198 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.2 secs from 212 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.9 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 13.2 secs from 311 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was north at 12-18 kts. Water temp 51.8 degs (013) and 61.5 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 Thursday (9/26) in North and Central CA local north windswell and swell from the Gulf of Alaska was producing waves at 2 ft overhead but torn apart by southerly winds with whitecaps in effect. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean with stiff offshore winds and lined up but inconsistent. At Santa Cruz small southern hemi swell and more local northwest windswell was producing surf at shoulder to head high on the sets and really warbled and inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura local windswell was producing set waves at thigh high or so and pretty warbled and inconsistent and soft. In North Orange Co waves were chest high on the sets and lined up but a bit closed out and a bit warbled from light local south wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had waves at shoulder high and pretty warbled and broken up from south wind. North San Diego had surf at waist to chest high on the sets and heavily warbled and nearly white capped and closed out and mushed. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was starting to get stronger New Zealand swell with waves to head high and clean and lined up and peeling when they came. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high plus and clean with light south winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/26) in California modest local north windswell was hitting exposed breaks along with northerly swell from a weak gale that produced 29 ft seas on Mon (9/23) in the Northern Gulf. And southern hemi swell from New Zealand was hitting exposed south fading breaks and also hitting Hawaii's south shore. The south swell in California 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 the swell hitting Hawaii was produced by a stronger gale that 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. Beyond another swell is on the way produced from a small gale that 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 then tracked east-northeast and rebuilt with 32 ft seas aimed northeast over the southeast Pacific. Looking at the models a small gael is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf on Tues-Wed (10/2) resulting in 23 ft seas aimed southeast. Nothing of interest is charted for the South Pacific. The transition from Summer towards Fall is occurring, but about 6 weeks behind schedule and 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 hitting North and Central CA (see North Gulf Gale below). And maybe tiny background swell is pushing southeast towards Hawaii from a gale previously off Kamchatka (see Kamchatka Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Tues PM (9/24) a cutoff low pressure system was building 900 nmiles north-northwest of Kauai producing 30-35 kts south winds and seas building. On Wed AM (9/25) northeast winds built to 35+ kts with seas 18-20 ft at 49N 165W aimed mainly southwest and not directly at the Hawaiian Islands. In the evening fetch turned more to the south at 35-40 kts targeting Hawaii more directly with 22 ft seas at 38N 167W aimed south at Hawaii. On Thursday AM (9/26) north winds were fading from 30 kts with 19-20 ft seas at 36N 168W aimed south at Hawaii obliquely. Possible small north swell is radiating south towards Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Fri (9/27) building to 4.2 ft @ 12 secs late (5.0 ft). Swell to start fading overnight and on Sat AM (9/28) fading from 3.2 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) and fading out through the day. Swell Direction: (328 degrees).


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


Kamchatka Gale
An extra-tropical low pressure system is to start redeveloping over the Northern Kuril's Tues AM (9/24) producing 40 kt south winds and seas building from 15 ft at 47N 162E aimed north. In the evening a building area of south winds at 40 kts were well off the Northern Kuril's with seas 19 ft at 48N 170E aimed north only at the Aleutians. On Wednesday (9/25) a ill defined fetch of southerly winds at 35 kts were pushing into the Central Aleutians producing 18-20 ft seas at 51N 175E 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 Kuril's producing 20 ft seas at 49N 155E aimed east. On Thurs AM (9/26) west winds at 30+ kts were pushing off the Northern Kuril's producing 22 ft seas aimed east at 48N 165E. Fetch to fade from 25 kts in the evening with seas dropping from 19 ft at 49N 167.5E aimed east. Low odds of minimal background swell possible for Hawaii at best from the secondary pulse from this system.


Windswell Outlook
On Thursday (9/26) north winds were 30 kts over Cape Mendocino burt light south of there into Central CA producing solid north windswell down to Pt Conception. That fetch was also turning to the west targeting Hawaii at 15-20 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 down to Pt Arena early and falling south to Pt Reyes late producing raw but solid windswell for North and Central CA. Easterly fetch from high pressure driving this fetch is to also to continue aimed at Hawaii at 15 kts but not getting closer than 1000 nmiles offering only minimal odds to support windswell production. On Sat (9/28) north fetch is to be building at 25-30 kts along the entire US West Coast reaching up to a point off Vancouver Island and south to the Golden Gate producing windswell radiating south to Pt Conception. East fetch at 15 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 fetch is to be fading from 20 kts 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 with winds 10 kts along the CA coast. All fetch targeting Hawaii is to dissipate early offering no windswell production potential though windswell from previous fetch is to be radiating southwest towards the Islands.


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 Thursday (9/26) north winds were fading from 25 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 with an eddy flow for Central CA early tuning north 10 kts later. On Sat (9/28) north winds to be 30 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 20-25 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 10 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 15-20 kts later. Tues (10/1) north winds to be 15 kts for all of North and Central CA but 10 kts for the Golden gate area early. On Wed (10/2) north winds to be 10-15 kts for all off North and Central CA early building to 15+ kts later. Thurs (10/3) north winds to be 20 kts for North and Central CA early pushing near 25 kts later.

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (9/26) the jetstream was split but with the southern branch pushing pushing northeast just off the east coast of New Zealand at 90 kts starting to develop a very weak trough there. But east of there a ridge was pushing south just east of the trough and down to 75S and over antarctica offering no support for gale development. East of there the jet was tracking due east on the 60S latitude line over the Southeast Pacific but weak with no troughs offering no real support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to weaken steadily into Sat (9/28) offering no support for gale development but the southern branch in general is to be positioned well north up at 50S from the Indian Ocean east under New Zealand and to a point over the Central South Pacific continuing into Sun (9/29). A ridge is to be over the Southeast Pacific suppressing support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (9/30) a weaker version of the same configuration is to hold into Wed (10/2) offering nothing of interest. But Wed-Thurs (10/3) there's indications of wind energy building southwest of New Zealand and up to 130 kts over Tasmania on Thurs (10/3) perhaps offering some support for gale development longer term.

Surface Analysis  
A gale tracked under New Zealand producing swell that is radiating northeast (see Another New Zealand Gale below). And another gale developed behind that, and rebuild over the Southeast Pacific possible offering something of interest (see Southwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is forecast tracking northeast from under New Zealand on Fri-Sun (9/29) with seas to 35 ft over a small area near 52S 180W aimed east-northeast. Something to monitor.


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: 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: 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: 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 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs later (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell holding on Wed (10/2) at 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/3) from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs early (3.0 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 holding on Wed (10/2) at 2.2-2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/3) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.5-3.0 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 a small gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Tues PM (10/1) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 22 ft over a tiny area at 54N 150W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (10/2) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts falling southeast over a smaller area with 22 ft seas at 53.5N 143W aimed southeast. in the evening the gale is to be fading off the coast of Central Canada with 30 kts northwest winds and seas fading from 20 ft at 52.5N 140W and north of any great circle path to the SF Bay Area. We'll see what actually materializes, if anything.


Windswell Outlook
Monday (9/30) generic north winds at 10 kts are to be over the North and Central CA coast offering no real windswell production potential. No fetch of interest is to be targeting Hawaii. On Tues (10/1) north winds to build along and off Cape Mendocino at 20 kts nearshore making for some local short period windswell down into Central CA. For Hawaii east trade winds are to start building at 15 kts in pockets extending 1200 nmiles east of the Islands making for small short period raw local windswell at exposed east facing breaks. On Wed (10/2) north winds to be 20 kts over Cape Mendocino and 15 kts a nit off the coast down to Pt Conception making for short period junky windswell at exposed breaks in North and Central CA. East fetch at 15 kts to continue more continuous from a point 900 nmiles east of Hawaii sweeping over the Islands and producing short period easterly windswell. On Thurs (10/3) high pressure is to pulse again in the Gulf producing a building area of 20 kts north winds off Oregon and pushing down the North CA coast with 15 kts north winds down to Pt Conception resulting in slightly building north windswell. East fetch is to build pushing over Hawaii at 15-20 kts extending 1200 nmiles east of the Islands resulting in building east windswell there.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Oceanic SST Pattern Holding

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 (9/25) 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 over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning weakly westerly over the Central Pacific and then modest westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/26) light easterly anomalies were filling the KWGA except for neutral anomalies on the dateline, indicative of a building Inactive Phase of the MJO tracking over the far West Pacific. The forecast is for moderate east anomalies building in from the west and filling the KWGA starting 9/27 through the end of the model run on 10/3. Of interest is a very strong core of east anomalies forecast building in the core of the Indian Ocean 10/1 and not moving east.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/25) A moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the West KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to build over the next 5 days to strong status filling the KWGA and then slowly fading to modest strength through day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but fading to moderate status at day 15. Regardless, a strong Inactive Phase is coming.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/26) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderately strong 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 10/16 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): (9/25) This model depicts a moderate Active MJO signal all but gone over the East KWGA with the Inactive Phase and east anomalies starting to build in the West KWGA. The forecast depicts the Inactive Phase tracking east over the KWGA for the next 4 weeks with east wind anomalies filling the majority of the KWGA for the duration of the model run. West anomalies are to be filling the Pacific east of the dateline, but of no use towards Kelvin Wave development. 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 focused on 80E.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/26) This model depicts a strong Inactive MJO pattern developing and nearly filling the KWGA today with weak east anomalies filling the KWGA from the west up to the dateline. The forecast has a the Inactive MJO signal tracking east through the KWGA till 11/6. For the most part east anomalies are to be filling the KWGA during this period. Weak west anomalies are to start developing in the KWGA on 10/27. A weak Active MJO is to move over the KWGA 11/3-11/27 with moderate plus westerly anomalies filling the KWGA. After that a neutral MJO Pattern is to hold through the end of the model run (12/24) with moderate plus westerly anomalies holding in the KWGA mainly on the dateline. Of note: Strong east anomalies are in the core of the Indian Ocean today and are to hold solid through the end of the model run. The low pass filter changed on 7/25 and is holding 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 10/5 and possibly a third contour line on 11/25 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: (9/26) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a tiny area easing east at 180W while the 29 deg isotherm was steady at 168W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 159W 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 Kelvin Wave #5 now possibly on the move to the east reaching east to 140W today (previously 150W). East of there in the East Pacific NO warm anomalies were present. Instead a cool pocket was fading with a core at -3 degs down 100 meters at 123W (previously 130W). The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/20 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 has formed a Kelvin Wave under the Dateline with cool anomalies from 140W into Ecuador drawing up from depth to the surface. No warming was present east of 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: (9/24) 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 137W 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 (9/25): 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. That said, 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: (9/25) 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: (9/26) Today's temps were steady after falling hard to -1.8 degs on 9/15, up to -0.976 today and have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/26) Temps were rising some today at -0.102 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.

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/25) The model indicates 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 +0.25 degs in late Dec. On Jan 1 2020 temps are to hold in +0.2 to +0.3 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) (9/26): The daily index was positive today at +2.38. The 30 day average was negative at -14.90. The 90 day average was rising slightly today at -7.84, 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): August +0.64, 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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