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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2018 2:40 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.0 - California & 1.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 9/24 thru Sun 9/30

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

North Pacific To Start Stirring
Southwest Pacific To Wake up Some

On Thursday, September 27, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 20.0 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 20.5 secs from 207 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 13.5 secs from 180 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 70.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.7 secs from 194 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.2 secs from 210 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.9 secs from 217 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 16.0 secs from 201 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.9 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 17.1 secs from 186 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was east at 2-4 kts. Water temp 57.0 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 (9/27) in North and Central CA northwest windswell was producing waves at waist high on the sets and clean and lined up but weak. Protected breaks were thigh to near waist high and clean and very weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and clean and lined up. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh high on the sets and clean but slow and weak. In North Orange Co surf was waist high and weak and mushy and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were up to chest high on the bigger sets and clean and lined up but slow. In North San Diego surf was up to waist high and clean and lined up but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was near flat and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean with east lump in the water. The East Shore was getting no meaningful east windswell with light wind early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (9/27) small southern hemi swell was starting to fade along the US West Coast from a small short-lived gale in the deep Southwest Pacific on Sun-Mon (9/17) that produced a small area of 42 ft seas aimed east. A gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Wed (9/26) producing 16 ft seas aimed south somewhat at Hawaii. And down south a gale tracked northeast along the coast of New Zealand with 29-32 ft seas aimed north on Tues-Wed (9/26). Beyond a series of gales are to track under New Zealand starting Mon (10/1) continuously through Thurs (10/4) with seas ranging from 30-36 continuously during that time frame, proceeding no further east than about 160W tracking east and not lifting northeast. In the North Pacific a small gale is to develop off Japan tracking east with seas to 26 ft pushing east to the dateline, then lifting northeast some and possibly redeveloping in the Northern Gulf. Also the remnants of Typhoon Trami are to push just east of the Kuril Islands Mon (10/1) into early Tues (10/2) while tracking northeast with seas to 40 ft before impacting the Western Aleutians. Also Hurricane Rosa is to turn north off Mexico possibly pushing swell towards California.


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (9/27) no swell of interest generated in the North Pacific was hitting any location. But windswell from a gale in the Gulf was pushing south towards Hawaii (see North Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is to develop just east of the Southern Kuril Islands on Fri (9/28) producing a tiny area of 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft at 41N 155E. In the evening the gale is to build while pushing east producing a small area of east winds at 40 kts and seas building to 27 ft at 40N 163E aimed east. On Sat AM (9/29) the gale is to track east approaching the dateline producing west winds at 35+ kts with seas to 28 ft at 39N 169E. In the evening the gale is to reach the dateline with northwest winds 30-35 kts producing 26 ft seas at 37N 177E. The gale is to fade Sun AM (9/30) with north winds fading from 30 kts and seas fading from 21 ft at 37N 177W aimed southeast. Possible swell radiating southeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.


North Gulf Gale
On Tues PM (9/25) a broad low pressure system developed 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii on Tues PM (9/25) positioned in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska producing 30 kt north winds and seas building targeting mainly open ocean south of there. On Wed AM (9/26) 30-35 kt north winds are to be building in coverage some with seas building to 16 ft over a tiny area at 43N 165W aimed south somewhat at Hawaii. In the evening fetch held at 30 kts from the north with seas 15 ft at 42N 166W aimed south-southwest with sideband energy possibly radiating towards Hawaii. The gale is to fade on Thurs AM (9/27) producing no seas of interest. Maybe some small windswell to result for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Possible windswell arriving later Fri (9/28) building to 4.0 ft @ 10 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell peaks on Sat (9/29) to 4.2 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fades Sun AM (9/30) from 3.1 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 350 degrees


Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (9/27) high pressure at 1030 mbs was just off Northern British Columbia producing a pressure gradient and northeast winds 20 kts pushing off the Washington and Oregon coasts not producing any windswell of interest relative to California. By Friday (9/28) the fetch is to fade away and no windswell is expected. No windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast through Mon (10/1). See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (9/27) no organized easterly fetch at 15 kts or greater was east of the Islands with no windswell generation indicated. No change is forecast through Fri (9/28) through Mon (10/1) with no windswell production forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Super Typhoon Trami: On Thursday (9/27) Trami was 600 nmiles south of the southern tip of Japan with winds 90 kts (104 mph) generally tracking north at 5 kts with seas 36 ft. A general track to the north is forecast from here forward and winds building to 105 kts (120 mph) Sat AM (9/29) positioned 100 nmiles south of Southern Japan and starting to accelerate and track northeast pushing over Japan near Kyoto and then racing northeast over central Japan to the Southern Kuril Islands on Mon AM (10/1) fading to tropical storm status with winds 55 kts. See Long Term Forecast (below) for more details.

Hurricane Rosa: On Thursday (9/27) Rosa was 900 nmiles south-southeast of Los Angeles with winds 85 kts tracking west. Rosa is to slowly strengthen while continuing on a westerly track turning northwest track into Fri AM (9/28) positioned 900 nmiles south of Los Angeles CA and peaking with winds 105 kts (120 mph) and starting to make a turn to the northwest pushing fetch up into the California swell window. A full turn to the north is expected by Sat AM (9/29) when Rosa is to be 750 nmiles south of Los Angeles with winds fading from 100 kts (115 mph). Theoretically swell is to be radiating north into Southern CA and exposed breaks in NCal. Best guess is arrival in SCal late on Sat (9/29) and NCal on Sun (9/30).

Hawaiian Tropical System: On Thurs (9/27) the GFS model has been continually suggesting some sort of tropical system is to develop south of Hawaii on Sat (9/29) tracking west while steadily building, then turning northwest Mon (10/1) and north on Tues (10/2) then tracking fast to the north-northeast into Wed (10/3) positioned 750 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii. No obvious swell production is forecast during that window.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (9/27) light winds were over all of California. Light winds to hold through Sun (9/30) but with weak low pressure starting to develop just off the Central CA coast and slowly moving east over the coast Mon-Tues (10/2) with south winds building to 10 kts or so later Monday mainly for Central CA. Light winds are expected Tues-Wed (10/3) followed by weak high pressure building off the coast on Thurs (10/4) with north winds building along the immediate North and Central CA coast to 15 kts.


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (9/27) in the southern branch of the jetstream remnants of a weak trough were barely holding of southeast of New Zealand. But a ridge was developing under New Zealand pushing south to 66S while a far stronger ridge was over the Central Pacific pushing well into Antarctica locking down the entire Central and Southeast Pacific offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours a ridging pattern is to continue under New Zealand and sweeping east across the entire South Pacific offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours no change is forecast until Tues (10/2) when winds are to start building under Tasmania at 58S pushing east at 180 kts and sweeping on the latitude east into Wed (10/3). This same pattern is to hold through Thurs (10/4) with the jet running east on the 56S latitude line and building east to 150W offering a pocket to support gale development. But, no trough is forecast developing therefore limited potential for solid gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (9/27) tiny southern hemi swell from a gale that built under New Zealand over a week ago was hitting California (See Another New Zealand Gale below). Also another gale tracked under and along the New Zealand coast (see Small New Zealand Gale below).

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


Another New Zealand Gale
Starting Saturday PM (9/15) a gale formed south of New Zealand with 45 kt northwest winds and seas starting to build from 27 ft at 51S 165.5E but falling southeast. On Sun AM (9/16) 50 kt west winds are to blowing east with seas 40 ft at 56.5S 173.5E but with the system falling southeast. The gale was falling southeast in the evening with winds holding at 50 kts from the west with seas building to 41 ft at 58.5S 174.5W. The gale tracked east Mon AM (9/17) while fading with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 34 ft at 57S 163W. In the evening the gale faded with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 27 ft at 55S 153W. Given the east to southeast falling direction of this system, only small swell is expected to radiate northeast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: No swell is forecast to radiate north.

Southern CA: Swell fading some on Thurs (9/27) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 203 degrees

North CA: Swell fading some on Thurs (9/27) from 1.3 ft @ 16 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 202 degrees


Small New Zealand Gale
A gale developed south of Tasmania on Mon AM (9/24) producing a broad fetch of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas 27 ft at 58.5S 146E. The gale lifted northeast in the evening with winds still 35-40 kts over a solid area but mostly impacting Southern New Zealand with 33 ft seas at 53S 158E and barely in the CA swell window (221 degrees). On Tues AM (9/25) southwest fetch was holding while easing east at 30-35 kts aimed northeast and just barely clear of New Zealand with seas 30 ft at 49S 170E just clear of Auckland Island and in the Hawaii (201 degrees) and CA swell windows (221-222 degrees). In the evening the gale barely held with 30-35 kt south-southwest winds holding and seas 29 ft at 50S 172E free and clear of any land (200 degs HI, (220 degs CA). On Wed AM (9/26) southwest fetch of 30-35 kts is to be producing 27 ft seas at 45S 180W (220 degs CA, 200 degs HI) aimed well north. In the evening the fetch faded and barely 30 kts from the southwest over a fragmented area with seas 25 ft at 49S 173W. Fetch dissipated Thurs AM (9/27) with no seas of interest left. Possible swell for Tahiti and Hawaii but much less size for US West Coast given the relatively low wind speeds and sea heights causing significant decay on the long journey north.

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected on Tues (10/2) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell to peak on Wed (10/3) at 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) . Swell to fade Thurs (10/4) from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (10/4) mid-day at 1.0 ft @ 19 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 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 the gale previously moving from the Kuril's to the dateline is to redevelop in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun PM (9/30) producing northwest winds at 40 kts over a small area with seas building from 20 ft at 47N 168W aimed southeast. The gale is to fall southeast Mon AM (10/1) with northwest winds 40 kts over a small area and seas 26 ft over a tiny area at 46N 165W. The gael is to fade in the evening producing 30 kt northwest winds over a broader area and 21 ft seas at 46N 160W. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Additionally the remnants of Typhoon Trami are to be tracking north-northeast and becoming exposed east of Northern Japan on Sun PM (9/30) with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 40N 144E. On Mon AM (10/1) the gael is to racing northeast with 50 kt southwest winds over and extending east of the Kuril Islands with 40 ft seas over a tiny area at 45N 153E aimed northeast. In the evening the gale is to be exposed off the Northern Kurils producing 50 kt west winds and seas 41 ft at 49N 165E aimed northeast at the Western Aleutians. The gale is to move into the Bering Sea Tues AM (10/2) with seas from previous fetch 34 ft at 51N 172E mostly targeting the Western Aleutians. Something to monitor.


Windswell Forecast
On Tuesday (10/2) no fetch capable of generating northerly windswell is forecast and none is expected to develop through Thurs (10/4).

Hawaii: On Tuesday (10/2) no fetch capable of generating east windswell is forecast and none is expected to develop through Thurs (10/4).


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a series of gales are forecast pushing east under New Zealand. The first is forecast developing under New Zealand on Mon AM (10/1) producing 50 kts southwest winds and seas building to 36 ft at 55S 172E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 45 kts from the west with seas fading from 38 ft at 59S 176W aimed east.

Another gale is to pass under New Zealand on Mon PM (10/1) with 45 kt southwest winds getting traction on already roughed up ocean surface producing 36 ft seas at 53S 166E aimed east. On Tues AM (10/2) 45 kt west winds to continue pushing east with 36 ft seas at 53S 179W.

Another fetch to follow directly behind on Tues PM (10/2) with a broad area of 35-40 kt west winds pushing east with 34 ft seas aimed east at 56S 170E. Additional fetch to follow with 30-34 ft seas under and east of new Zealand through Wed PM (10/3). Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps On the Rise Along Equator

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (9/26) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then fading on the dateline and turning strongly from the west just west of there and filling the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific then turning moderate westerly south of Hawaii and building to strong westerly filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/27) strong west anomalies were in the core of the KWGA and have been for the past 6 days. Strong west anomalies are to hold for another 2 days then dissipate and turning to modest east anomalies on 9/30 continuing through the end of the model run on 10/4 while retrograding west. So it appears we're in a mini-Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) right now.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/26) A modest Inactive/Dry signal was over the far West Pacific easing into the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to slowly build with a full moderate Inactive/Dry Phase in control of the KWGA at the end of week 2 in the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the exact same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/27) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was moderately strong over the Atlantic and is to be hold at moderate strength slowly moving west over Africa and into the Indian Ocean at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing but not quite as strong and making it only to Africa at the end of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/27) This model depicts a weak Wet signal over the far East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/7. A strong Dry/Inactive pattern is over the Maritime Continent then fading some while moving into West Pacific 10/7 and is to track east while fading filling the equatorial Pacific 10/12 but pretty weak and then pushing into Central America on 10/27. A modest Active/Wet signal is to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/22 pushing east to the Central equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/6.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/26) This model depicts strong west anomalies over the central KWGA today and is to hold for the next 5 days then moving east and out of the KWGA by 10/4. Modest east anomalies are to develop over the Western KWGA 10/4 retrograding west while weakening and mostly out of the KWGA by 10/17 while modest west anomalies redevelop in the Eastern KWGA about 10/18 and holding through the end of the model run on 10/24. This now looks more like a return to previous model runs where westerly anomalies are to hold steadily from here forward. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet with the Inactive Phase of the MJO likely to damped quick development.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/27) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal over the western KWGA but with moderate west wind anomalies filling the KWGA and forecast to hold for the next week. Then the Inactive Phase is to build over the KWGA and in control 10/4 holding through 10/27 with east anomalies reaching east almost to the dateline but then fading and retrograding west with west anomalies starting to develop in the heart of the KWGA on 10/18. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/23 with west anomalies at that time and holding till 11/30 when the Active Phase start fading. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/2 but west anomalies holding through the end of the model run on 12/25. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to build east to 120W (over California) by 10/2 and to 115W in mid-October. A 4th contour line previously forecast to start 12/2 and holding through the end of the model run has now vaporized on recent model runs. The high pressure bias has dissolved south of California (9/11) and is to not return and is instead building over the Indian Ocean reaching 2 contour lines on 9/28. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, especially compared to the 2 previous years.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/27) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid reaching east and stable at 169E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 157W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there breaching the surface today and steady at 115W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 180W down 150 meters and reaching east to Ecuador in the +1-2 degree range. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/20 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave pushing aggressively east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +3.5 degs reaching east to 135W at that strength then east to 95W in the +1-2 degrees range. The remnants of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was dissipating but still present at 90W at -1 deg C. Kelvin Wave #2 was poised to breach the surface from 105W to 130W. 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) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 115W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building and pushing east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies in a thin continuous stream continuing to Ecuador and branching out along the Central American Coast. El Nino appears to be developing.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (9/26) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warmer nearshore than days past. A thin stream of warm anomalies were holding directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 160W and more solid that weeks past. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii. Small pockets of persistent cool upwelling on the equator near 105W have significantly shrunk and area all but gone today. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/26): 2 previous pockets of cooling on the equator are gone. They are being replaced by a decidedly warming trend extending continuously from the Galapagos along the equator out to the dateline. This is a significant turnaround. Temps were warming along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (9/26) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Otherwise mild warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the dateline with a few very weak small imbedded pockets of cool anomalies, but those pockets are fading. We're still in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are all but gone but warm anomalies for El Nino are not yet really established, though we might be turning the corner towards a broad warming trend.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/27) Today's temps were falling some at +1.130 degs, down from the all time high for this event on 9/25 +1.316. Two previous peaks occurred of +0.510 degs on 9/17 and +0.459 on 5/13. Otherwise temps have been steady in the -0.50 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/27) Today temps were rising today at +0.649, beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and steadily fading from the +0.25 degs range the past month. This looks nothing like El Nino.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/27) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.70 degs and to +0.90 degs in early Nov and to +1.0 degs in Dec holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +0.75 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume depicts temps at +0.52 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.71 in October (+0.8 per last months forecast) and +0.8 to +0.9 in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in May. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and there's a 76% chance of a weak El Nino developing.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (9/27): The daily index was still negative at -4.69 today. The 30 day average was steady at -6.85 suggesting an Active MJO was holding. The 90 day average steady at -4.07. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (9/27) Today the index was steady at -0.24 after falling to -0.43 on 9/22. It fell below it's all time recent high of +0.24 on 9/8. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. But this recent turn to negative suggest that perhaps La Nina is not gone or at a minimum the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle is occurring. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now and it's not unexpected that the Index will toggle between weakly positive to weakly negative. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 



External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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