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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:25 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
3.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 9/28 thru Sun 10/4

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   

Gulf Swell Hitting CA
SPac Swell Also Hitting CA - Gulf Still Productive

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 15.0 secs from 169 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is currently not operating (ceased service at 9/15 - 19Z). Water temp 81.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 18.9 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 18.6 secs from 181 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 70.5 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.4 ft @ 19.4 secs from 211 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 18.9 secs from 199 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.2 ft @ 18.7 secs from 195degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 18.8 secs from 195 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 16.2 secs from 303 degrees and southern hemi swell 2.7 ft @ 18.6 secs from 212 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south at 6-8 kts. Water temp 55.4 degs (013), 59.0 degs (SF Bar) and 57.6 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (9/29) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was starting to hitting producing waves at head high and lined up but a bit ruffled from light south wind and with a health fog deck just above the oceans surface. Protected breaks were waist up to chest high on the rare sets and lined up if not closed out with clean conditions. At Santa Cruz waves were chest high and lined up and clean but pretty foggy. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest to head high on the sets and lined up and peeling but pretty hacked from northwest winds with small chops in the water. Central Orange County had set waves at head high and lined up but pretty warbled and uneven but with no wind and fog on top. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up with clean conditions but with some underlying lump intermixed making for an uneven surface. North San Diego had sets at chest high and clean and lined up but inconsistent and soft with fog. Hawaii's North Shore was near flat and a bit ruffled from northeasterly trades. The South Shore was still getting southern hemi swell with set waves chest high or so and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell with waves waist high and nearly clean with light northeasterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (9/29) a new swell from the Gulf of Alaska was starting to hit California having been generated by a gale that spun up in the Northern Gulf Sat-Sun (9/28) producing up to 41 ft seas over a small area aimed east. Hawaii was still getting swell from a system that developed under New Zealand on Sat (9/19) tracking east through the deep Central and Southeast Pacific into Tues (9/22) producing seas up 41 ft aimed east. That swell is starting to hit California too in earnest now. Up north another system was developing in the Central Gulf on Tues (9/29) expected to produce 29 ft seas aimed east. And yet another weak and small one is possible behind that tracking through the Central Gulf on Wed-Thurs (10/1) producing 23 ft seas aimed east. Not a bad start if it all materializes. After that one small system is forecast for the Northern Gulf on Sun (10/4) producing 34 ft seas aimed east. And down south one last small system developed under New Zealand Mon-Tues (9/29) producing up to 39 ft seas over a tiny area aimed well north. So Fall is happening now.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (9/29) the jet was consolidated pushing east off the Kuril Islands getting more cohesive on the dateline then tracking east and falling into a well developed trough over the Central Gulf of Alaska being fed by 180 kt winds offering good support for gale development. East of there the jet was ridging north some pushing over the East Alaska coast at 170 kts offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to continue circulating while holding position but slowly losing wind energy into Fri (10/2) with winds fading to 130 kts continuing to offer some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to be gone by Sat (10/3) but the jet is to still be consolidated tracking off North Japan and running mostly due east to the dateline, then starting to lift gently northeast and over the Northern Gulf not immediately offering any support for gale development with no obvious troughs indicated. But on Sun (10/4) a weak trough is forecast developing over the dateline but pinching off quickly in the Western GUlf on Tues (10/6) being fed by 130-140 kts winds perhaps offering some weak hope. Back to the west a fairly solid ridge is to be pushing just north of the Western Aleutians offering nothing. And another ridge is to be over the US West Coast with the jet pushing over North British Columbia. So a slowdown in gale development seems likely then.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (9/29) swell was hitting California from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska (see Gulf Gale below). Another is forecast right behind, and yet anther is to be right behind that.

Over the next 72 hours another small gale started developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska on Mon PM (9/28) producing 40-45 kt north winds and seas building to 25 ft over a tiny area at 42N 161W aimed south at Hawaii. The gale tracked east Tues AM (9/29) with 40-45 kt northwest winds over a modest sized area and seas building to 27 ft at 42.5N 155W aimed southeast and targeting more of California than Hawaii. The gale is to be lifting northeast in the evening with 40+ kt northwest winds targeting California up into British Columbia with 28 ft seas at 45N 150W aimed east. The gale is to lift north and fade on Wed AM (9/30) with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 25 ft up at 48N 149W aimed east. The gale to fade from there.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/30) building to 5.0 ft @ 12 secs late (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/1) from 4.9 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 340 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival late on Thurs (10/1) building to 4.2 ft @ 16 secs (6.5 ft). Swell peaking overnight. Swell fading Fri (10/2) from 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (7.5 ft). Dribbles early Sat (10/3) fading from3.1 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 292 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/2) building to 2.4 ft @ 14 secs mid-afternoon (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/3) from 1.9 ft @ 12-13 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 296 degrees


And yet another small gale was developing 1100 nmiles northwest of Hawaii on Wed AM (9/30) producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 23 ft at 37N 167W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to be 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii with 35-40 kt north winds and seas to 23 ft at 37N 160W aimed southeast. The gale is to lift northeast Thurs AM (10/1) with 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas 26 ft at 42N 154W aimed southeast. Fetch is to momentarily build in the evening to 45 kts from the west with seas 36 ft at 46N 148W aimed east. A rapid fade is to follow.


Gulf Gale
Another small gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf Sat AM (9/26) producing 30-35 kt west winds with seas on the increase. In the evening the gale lifted northeast producing 55 kt west winds over a small area and seas building to 31 ft over a tiny area at 47N 157.5W aimed east. On Sun AM (9/27) the gale tracked northeast with 50 kts winds and seas building to 41 ft over a small area at 50N 149.5W aimed east targeting mainly Canada but still in the North CA swell window (309 degs). In the evening the gale lifted north into the extreme Northern Gulf of Alaska with 45 kts west winds and seas 35 ft at 54N 141.5W and north of the North CA swell window (323 degs). The gale faded from there.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (9/29) pushing 5.6 ft @ 15 secs later. Swell fading on Wed (9/30) from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs (5.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (10/1) fading from 2.8 ft @ 11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/30) fading from 1.9 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5 ft). Nothing rideable after that. Swell Direction: 308 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical system are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/29) a light south wind flow was occurring and is to hold all day for North and Central CA. On Wed (9/30) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts early for North Ca and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 15 kts later for both North and Central CA. On Thurs (10/1) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for all of North and Central CA holding all day. No change on Fri (10/2). On Sat (10/3) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA all day. On Sun (10/4) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North and Central CA early but up to 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino, and fading to 5 kts south of Cape Mendocino later but holding at 20+ kts there. Mon (10/5) a light eddy flow (south winds) is forecast south of Cape Mendocino but with north winds 20 kts for northern Cape Mendocino early fading to near calm later. Tues (10/6) calm winds to prevail over the state all day. No precipitation is forecast for the week with an upper level ridge/high pressure in control of the Great Basin.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level right at 14,000 ft for the next 10 days.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (9/29) swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand and tracked east is hitting CA (See South Pacific Gale below). Another gale developed under New Zealand with swell from it radiating mainly north towards HI (see New Zealand Gale below)

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


South Pacific Gale
A gale started developing under New Zealand just off the Ross Ice Shelf on Sat PM (9/19) producing a 40-45 kt southwest winds resulting in seas at 38 ft aimed east at 59.5S 179.5W tracking east. On Sun AM (9/20) southwest winds were 40 kts over a solid area with seas building to 39 ft at 60S 172W aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest winds built to 40-45 kts over a broad and solid area aimed east-northeast with seas 40 ft at 59.5S 162.5W aimed east-northeast. On Mon AM (9/21) 40 kt west-southwest winds were covering a large area with seas 40 ft at 59S 150W aimed east-northeast. Fetch was fading in the evening while pushing east at 40 kts from the west still over a solid area with seas fading from 36 ft at 57.5S 137W aimed east. On Tues AM (9/22) fetch was fading over the far Southeast Pacific with seas 33 ft at 58S 120W aimed east. In the evening a lingering fetch of west winds to hold at 40-45 kts barely in the SCal swell window with seas 28-30 ft at 53S 119W aimed east. This system continued tracking east offering energy only up into Chile. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell all but gone on Tues (9/29). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Southern CA: Swell building on Tues (9/29) to 3.0 ft @ 18 secs mid-day (5.0-5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell solid on Wed (9/30) building to 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 6.5-7.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/1) from 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (10/2) from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (10/3) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees

North CA: Swell building on Tues (9/29) to 2.5 ft @ 18 secs late (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell solid on Wed (9/30) at 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/1) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees


New Zealand Gale
A gale developed south of New Zealand on Sun AM (9/27) producing 45-55 kt south winds and seas starting to develop. In the evening 45-50 kt south winds were just off the north edge of the Ross Ice Shelf pushing north producing seas building to 39 ft at 57S 172E aimed north. On Mon AM (9/28) south winds were fading from 40 kts holding in place and seas 28-30 ft near 55S 178E aimed north. Fetch faded some in the evening at 35 kts from the south with 25 ft seas fading at 55S 172E aimed north. By Tues AM (9/29) fetch was gone. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell arrival expected on Mon (10/5) building to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell peaking late on Tues (10/6) at 1.9 ft @ 15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Cold Water and La Nina Retain Control of Equatorial Pacific

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: 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. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (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: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

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 (9/28) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial building to modest over the Central Pacific and then building to moderate plus easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (9/29) moderate plus east anomalies were filling the KWGA today and extending east to a point south of California on the equator. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding unchanged and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 10/5. Support for energy transfer into the jet is weak and is expected to continue that way if not weakening more for at least the next week.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (9/28) A modest Active MJO signal was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Active MJO pattern is to hold at modest status on days 5 through day 15. The dynamic model suggests the exact same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/29) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the East Maritime Continent today and is to collapse while tracking east into the West Pacific and near nothing at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the MJO is to hold stationary over the next 15 days.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (9/29) This model depicts a weak Active MJO was over the West Pacific today. The weak Active pattern is to push east and into Central America on 10/24 having limited benefit to storm production. A more cohesive but still moderate Inactive Phase of the MJO is to push east over the KWGA on 10/15 tracking to the East Pacific and into Central America at the end of the model run on 11/8.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/26) This model depicts no coherent MJO signal today but with moderate east anomalies filling the KWGA and all of the equatorial Pacific. The forecast indicates no coherent MJO signal forecast but with a mix of mostly east anomalies over the KWGA. West anomalies are forecast over the East Pacific 10/1-10/6. Starting 10/12 stronger east anomalies are to be taking control in the KWGA through the end of the model run on 10/26.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (9/29 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active Phase of the MJO fading over the KWGA today but with east anomalies still controlling the area. The Active Phase is to weaken while pushing east and gone on 10/1 producing no west anomalies. A weak Inactive MJO signal is forecast 10/7-10/29 with mostly weak to modest east anomalies filling the KWGA but with stronger east anomalies setting up east of the dateline filling the area of Ecuador. The Active Phase is to try and return on 10/27 and somewhat coherent holding in the KWGA into 12/1 producing weak to modest west anomalies mostly filling the KWGA while east anomalies hold in the East Pacific. A stronger Inactive Phase is to follow building in the West KWGA 12/20 tracking east through the end of the model run on 12/27. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run while perhaps easing east some with the western edge of the high pressure bias slowly moving east through the period positioned at 170E at the end of the model run. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage through the end of the model run with its eastern periphery easing east to 165E at the end of the model run. But its core is to show no signs of moving east locked over the Indian Ocean. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year are migrating east through the West Pacific today and should continue tracking east then stabilizing setting up over the East Pacific late Sept and holding for the foreseeable future. The trend is turning towards La Nina. The good news is that at least at this early date, this might end up being a short lived event.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/29) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was stable at 162E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was stable at 175W today. The 24 deg isotherm was stable at 135W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +0-1 deg C were steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 165W at depth today. There was a pocket of cooler anomalies at -4 degs near 140W with cool anomalies filling the entire area east of there and bubbling up to the surface over that entire area. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/25 indicates the cool water bubble at depth was stronger and larger erupting to the surface from 165W eastward to Ecuador with a core to -4.5C but with cool anomalies even west to there to 170E. Warm anomalies were below the surface over the far West Pacific reaching east to 165W at depth (150m). The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/25) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 160W with negative anomalies -5 to -15 cms. Negative anomalies were weak but still present along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador at -5 cms and then reaching north up to Baja and into Southern CA. But looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from Baja south to Southern Chile and west out to the intersection of the dateline and the equator. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

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: (9/28) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Markedly cold anomalies were imbedded between the Galapagos to 135W. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina. Warm water was all but gone off Central America north of the equator. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/28): A mix of warming and cooling pockets were positioned on the equator from just west of Ecuador over the Galapagos and west to 160W. The trend was mostly neutral.
Hi-res Overview: (9/28) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/29) Today's temps were steady at -1.605 degs after previously reaching a momentary low of -2.138 on 8/13. The trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(9/29) Temps were steady at -0.870 today after dropping to -0.945 on 9/22, the lowest so far in the La Nina event. The previous low was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Before that temps were stable between 6/27-7/24 at near 0.0. And before that temps were rising after bottoming out down at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/29) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range early this year through March, then started falling down to -0.20 in late-May before stabilizing near neutral into late June. They began falling again in July down to -0.80 mid-Aug. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend from here reaching down to -2.0 degs in late Nov holding in early Dec then beginning to rise in later Dec, rebuilding up to -0.15 degs in May.
IRI Consensus Plume: The August 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.52 degs today, and are to fall in early Nov to -0.60 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.35 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by March. The low outlier is a dynamic models (NASA GMAO). But a good plethora of models are now suggesting a developing modest La Nina. 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 - this is a lagging indicator) (9/29): The daily index was positive today at 7.01. The 30 day average was steady today at +10.10. The 90 day average was rising to 7.37, suggesting a La Nina pattern was developing. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: 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 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (9/27):
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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