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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 5:39 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 10/1 thru Sun 10/7

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   

Kuril Island Swell Hitting Hawaii
New Zealand Storm Corridor Weakly Active Too

On Tuesday, October 2, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 18.3 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 18.2 secs from 224 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 15.2 secs from 207 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 66.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.6 ft @ 10.4 secs from 159 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 17.1 secs from 202 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 17.1 secs from 215 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.2 ft @ 10.2 secs from 165 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 12.4 secs from 197 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southeast at 10 kts. Water temp 60.8 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 (10/2) in North and Central CA south swell from Rosa was producing sets occasionally in the waist to chest high range on the peak and clean and lined up, but flat in between. Protected breaks were completely knee to thigh high on the rare sets and clean. At Santa Cruz surf on the sets was waist to chest high on the peaks at best spots on the sets and clean and slow. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist high or so on the sets and clean but with underlying warbled in the water. best breaks were up to head high on the peaks. In North Orange Co surf was head high on the sets and lined up with a bit of south texture intermixed. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and clean but with some underlying lump in the water early. In North San Diego surf was chest high and clean and lined up and pretty closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new swell with waves 2 ft overhead and clean and super well organized and lined up. The South Shore was chest to head high with some bigger sets and lined up and super clean. The East Shore was getting knee to thigh high windswell with light southeast winds early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (10/2) south swell from what was Hurricane Rosa was still hitting in both Southern and Northern CA at exposed breaks. In Hawaii swell from a gale that tracked from just off Japan towards the dateline with seas to nearly 30 ft was starting to hit. That gale lifted northeast some and redeveloped in the Northern Gulf briefly on Sun (9/30) with seas again building to 29 ft over a tiny area aimed east. Down south a gale tracked northeast along the coast of New Zealand with 29-32 ft seas aimed north on Tues-Wed (9/26) with swell in the water pushing northeast. A series of 3 gales are to track east under New Zealand with the first on Mon (10/1) producing 32 ft seas aimed east and another is to push through that area on Wed (10/3) with 36 ft seas aimed east and another on Sat-Sun (10/7) with up to 42 ft seas aimed east. Also the remnants of Typhoon Trami were to blow up while tracking northeast just off the Kuril Islands on Mon (10/1), but in reality only produced a tiny area of 30 ft seas aimed northeast. Nothing real to result. All the details are below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (10/2) swell from a gale previously on the dateline was hitting Hawaii (see Dateline Gale below). This gale redeveloped in the Western Gulf and swell from that is pushing towards California (See Northwest Gulf Gale below). Also the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Trami redeveloped weakly while pushing northeast off the Kuril Islands (See ET Trami below)

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

Dateline Gale
A small gale developed just east of the Southern Kuril Islands on Fri AM (9/28) producing a tiny area of 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft at 44N 155E. In the evening the gale built while pushing east producing a small area of east winds at 40 kts and seas building to 29 ft at 40N 163E aimed east. On Sat AM (9/29) the gale was tracking east approaching the dateline producing west winds at 35 kts with seas at 29 ft at 39N 170E. In the evening the gale is to reach the dateline with northwest winds 30-35 kts producing 26 ft seas at 38N 179E. The gale is to reorganize while lifting north Sun AM (9/30) with seas from the original fetch fading from 20 ft at 39N 175W targeting Hawaii well (see Short Term Forecast above). Possible swell radiating southeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (10/2) building late AM to 4.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.0 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (10/3) from 3.6 ft @ 13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North CA: Small swell to arrive starting Thurs (10/4) building to 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.0 ft) in the afternoon. swell fading Fri AM (10/5) from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-296 degrees


Northwest Gulf Gale
Remnants of the Dateline Gale (above) redeveloped in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun AM (9/30) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas building from 21 ft at 46N 172W aimed at Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the gale built producing northwest winds at 45 kts over a small area with seas building to 28 ft at 48N 166W aimed southeast. The gale lifted northeast from there and faded Mon AM (10/1) with northwest winds 30 kts over a small area and seas 23 ft over a modest sized area at 48N 161W. The gale faded away in the evening.

Swell from this system is to arrive in sync with swell from the Dateline identified above and embedded in that swell for both Hawaii (345-350 degs) and California (303 degrees), just from a more northerly direction.


ET Trami
The remnants of Typhoon Trami turned extratropical and tracked northeast and became exposed east of Northern Japan on Sun PM (9/30) with 05 kt southwest winds and seas building from 30 ft at 36N 143E. On Mon AM (10/1) the gale was racing northeast with 40 kt southwest winds over and extending east of the Kuril Islands with 30 ft seas over a modest area at 43N 155E (305 degs NCal) aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was still exposed off the Northern Kurils producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 47N 167E aimed northeast at the Western Aleutians (307 degs NCal). The gale is to moved into the Bering Sea Tues AM (10/2) with seas from previous fetch 24 ft at 51N 175E mostly targeting the Western Aleutians (308 degs NCal). Minimal swell to radiate east.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/5) building to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell continues on Sat (10/6) building to 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (10/7) from 2.8 ft @ 12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/6) building to 1.3 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building on Sun (10/7) to 2.5 ft @ 16 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft) Swell fading on Mon (10/8) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 303-307 degrees


Windswell Forecast
California: No windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast Tues-Thurs (10/4). But on Fri (10/5) high pressure at 1026 mbs is to start building 900 nmiles west of North CA ridging east into the CA coast with northwest winds building at 15 kts along the North and Central CA coast early to 20 kts later. Raw local north windswell is to start building later. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: No windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast Tues-Thurs (10/4). On Thursday evening (10/4) high pressure at 1026 mbs is to start building 900 nmiles west of North CA also getting traction well east of Hawaii with 15 kts east winds starting to build extending 900-1200 nmiles east of Hawaii. Windswell building. On Fri (10/5) a broad fetch of east winds at 15+ kts is forecast setting up from Hawaii extending 1200 nmiles east of there starting to generate solid easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores of the Islands. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Walaka: A tropical system developed 600 nmiles south of Oahu on Sat (9/29). This system tracked west while slowly building, then turned northwest Mon (10/1) AM and was getting well organized with winds 105 kts (120 mph) building to 140 kts (161 mph) in the evening and at super storm status and then turning fully north on Tues AM (10/2) with winds 135 kts (155 mph) at 14.2N and 170.0W with seas 32 ft. Walaka is to start tracking faster to the north Wed AM (10/3) with winds still 135 kts moving 600 nmiles west of Kauai in the evening possibly pushing some southwest swell in that direction. Walaka is to continue north on Thurs AM (10/4) about 800 nmiles northwest of Hawaii and fading quickly as it moves over cooler water.

Kauai: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/3) building late to 5.0 ft @ 13 secs (6.5 ft) fading Thurs AM (10/4) from 5.0 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 235-240 degrees

Hurricane Sergio: On Tues AM (10/2) Sergio was 750 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico with winds 85 kts tracking northwest 9 kts producing 30 ft seas and in the SCal swell window (168 degs Pt Dume) and is to continue on that heading while building. Sergio is to peak Wed PM into Thurs AM (10/4) with winds 105 kts (120 mph) positioned at 14.5N 119.5W or 1200 nmiles south of Pt Dume (180 degree path) with small swell possibly radiating north. Swell arrival 55 hrs later assuming a 14 sec period or 10 PM Fri PM (10/5). Something to look forward to. Sergio is to turn on a westerly course after than and fade some no longer directing swell northward.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Fri AM (10/5) peaking mid-day at 4.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (10/6) from 3.5 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170-180 degrees

North CA: Low odds of swell radiating in exposed breaks late Fri (10/5) at 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Sat AM at (10/6) at 3.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 165-175 degrees

Typhoon Kong-Rey: Kong-Rey was positioned 800 nmiles south of Southern Japan with winds 135 kts (155 mph) tracking northwest at 10 kts with seas 31 ft. Kong-Rey is to continue on this track then turning north and northeast pushing through the Sea of Japan and fully enclosed in land offering no swell production potential. The models suggest remnants of this system to eventually track east into the North Pacific off the Southern Kurils on Mon (10/8) with seas 22 ft and fading from there.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (10/2) weak low pressure was moving southeast from a point 400 nmiles off Big Sur CA with south winds 10 kts over North and Central CA. No real rain was occurring south of the Golden Gate. Wed (10/3) the low is to fade off Pt Conception with 10-15 kts south winds over Central CA and light elsewhere. Low odds for light rain along the Central CA coast and over the Sierra midday into early evening. Thursday (10/4) high pressure is to start setting up off the coast with north winds building to 15 kts along North CA later in the day and 10 kts for central CA. Fri (10/5) north winds to be 15 kts just off the entire North and Central CA coast early building to 20 kts later. Sat (10/6) north winds to be 20 kts for all of North and Central CA waters early then building to 25-30 kts later. Sunday (10/7) north winds to be 30 kts over North CA building to 35 kts later and 25 kts for Central CA. Monday (10/8) north winds to be 25 kts for North CA and 15+ kts from the Golden Gate southward. Tues (10/9) north winds to be 15+ kts for North CA early and light for Central CA and holding all day.


South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (10/2) the southern branch of the jetstream was pushing east under New Zealand solidly at 160 kts forming not quite a trough but not ridging south either weakly supporting gale development, but then ridging south over the Central Pacific pushing into Antarctica and suppressing gale development east of there. Over the next 72 hours the same pattern is to continue with the jet pushing east on the 60S latitude line under New Zealand continuing to support some form of gale development in this area while the ridge in the east fades some. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast under New Zealand but with winds fading to the 90 kt range offering less support for gale development and continuing east over the entirety of the South Pacific. Basically this is to be a zonal flow. No change is forecast through Tues (10/9) with continuing steady but generally weak support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (10/2) swell from a gale that tracked along the New Zealand coast was radiating northeast (see Small New Zealand Gale below).

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

On Monday AM (10/1) the first in a series of gales developed under New Zealand producing 50 kts west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 57S 169E aimed east. In the evening fetch fell southeast building to 55 kts from the west with seas 37 ft at 63S 179W aimed east. Also secondary fetch at 40 kts built from the west directly under New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 57S 170E aimed east. On Tues Am (10/2) the gale faded from there. No swell is expected to result, but this did serve to rough up the oceans surface.

On Wed AM (10/3) another fetch to follow behind generating 40 kt west winds with seas building from 33 ft at 58S 155E. On Wed PM (10/3) 40-45 kt west winds to continue pushing east with with 36 ft seas aimed east at 58.5S 171E. On Thurs AM (10/4) west winds to be fading at 35-40 kts from the west with seas 35 ft at 58S 178E. Fetch to fade from there with seas fading from 30 ft at 58S 171W. maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast. Something to monitor.


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 2.1 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) . Swell to fade Thurs (10/4) from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (10/5) from 1.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (10/4) mid-day at 1.4 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft). On Fri (10/5) swell is to build to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/6) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (10/4) late at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). On Fri (10/5) swell is to build to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/6) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Sun (10/7) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

Windswell Forecast
On Sat AM (10/6) high pressure is to hold solid 900 nmiles east of North CA ridging east producing a pressure gradient producing north winds 20+ kts over the while North and Central Coast and building later to 30 kts over North CA and up to 25+ kts over Central CA. Sunday (10/7) the gradient is to lift north some focused over Pt Arena with north winds 30-35 kts there early and 20 kts down into Central CA holding all day. Raw local windswell continues if not builds for North and Central CA. Monday the gradient is to hold though a little less cohesive with north winds 20-25 kts mainly along the North CA coast early building to 30 kts over North CA later and 15-20 kts along Central CA. More raw local north windswell expected down to Pt Conception. Tuesday (10/9) the gradient and windswell is to fade significantly with north winds limited to 15-20 kts over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena with light winds south of there.

Hawaii: On Saturday (10/6) high pressure at 1026 mbs is to start building 600 nmiles west of North CA also getting traction well east of Hawaii with 15 kts east winds starting to build in the afternoon about 600 nmiles east of Hawaii. No windswell building just yet. On Fri (10/5) a broad fetch of east winds at 15+ kts is forecast setting up from about 200 nmiles northeast of Hawaii extending 1200 nmiles east of there starting to generate solid easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores of the Islands. More of the is forecast on Sat (10/6) but with the fetch retracting east some from the Hawaiian Islands improving conditions some but with windswell size fading slightly. No change on Sunday. Monday (10/8) the fetch is to retract east even more with no fetch 15 kts or greater within 450 nmiles of Hawaii offering only modest odds for windswell production and holding into Tues (10/9). Much of this depends upon the track and strength of a tropical system forecast to be move to within 1300 nmiles of Hawaii, theoretically amplifying the easterly fetch and possibly generating longer period swell underneath.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to pass under New Zealand Sat AM 910/6) producing a solid area of 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 58.5S 173.5E aimed east. 45 kt west winds to hold in the evening with seas building from 40 ft at 61S 175.5W aimed east. Fetch is to start fading Sun AM (10/7) with west winds 40 kts and seas 40 ft at 60S 163W. By evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 34 ft at 61S 151WW. Some odds for small sidebands well radiating northeast.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Rising - ESPI Rising Too

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 Mon (10/1) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then south of Hawaii to the dateline and turning modestly from the west just west of there and filling the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific then turning light westerly south of Hawaii and building to moderate westerly filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/2) moderate to strong west anomalies were over the far east KWGA near 170W migrating east but with modest east anomalies building in the core of the KWGA. Strong west anomalies are to move out of the KWGA in 24 hours now centered at 150W and holding through the end of the model run on 10/9 while modest east anomalies retrograde some holding near 120E but reaching east to 150E at times. It appears the mini-Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) is over and pushing east out of the KWGA.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/1) 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 day 5, and holding steady through day 15 in the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/2) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was strong over West Africa and is to be hold at moderate strength for the next 6 days while moving over Africa and then fading while moving into the the central Indian Ocean at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/2) This model depicts a weak Wet signal all but gone over the far East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/4. A strong Dry/Inactive pattern is over the Maritime Continent and is to be fading some while moving into West Pacific 10/7 and is to track east while fading filling the equatorial Pacific 10/12 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 Eastern equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/11.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/1) This model depicts strong west anomalies over the Eastern KWGA today and is to slow weaken some while moving east and out of the KWGA by 10/6. Modest east anomalies are to develop over the Western KWGA 10/3 reaching east to 165E and holding through 10/17 then retrograding west while weakening and mostly out of the KWGA by 10/21 while modest west anomalies redevelop in the KWGA about 10/22 and holding through the end of the model run on 10/29. This now looks a little more like 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): (10/2) 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 through 10/10. Then the Inactive Phase is to build over the KWGA and in control 10/7 holding through 10/29 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 10/26 with west anomalies at that time building to WWB status 11/14-12/21 and holding even while the Active Phase start fading 12/6. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/10 but west anomalies holding through the end of the model run on 12/30. 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 return forecast and is to start on 12/7. The high pressure bias has dissolved south of California (9/11) and is to not return and is instead building over the Indian Ocean and reached 2 contour lines on 9/29. 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: (10/2) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid reaching east and stable at 175E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 158W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to Ecuador. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 170W 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 9/25 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 +4.0 degs reaching east to 120W at that strength then east to 95W in the +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: (9/25) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 120W 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 but 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: (10/1) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warming nearshore and significant warming building compared to days past. A thin stream of very warm anomalies were stretched directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 120W and more solid that weeks past then weaker warming out to the dateline. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. Previous small pockets of persistent cool upwelling on the equator have vaporized. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/1): A strong warming pattern is in place extending continuously from the Ecuador over the Galapagos along the equator out to 125W and then weaker west of there to the dateline. This is a significant turnaround. Temps were warming along the coasts of Chile and Peru too.
Hi-res Overview: (10/1) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the 125W then weaker out to the dateline. There were no longer any small imbedded pockets of cool anomalies. It seems we've turned the corner to a warm regime and are no longer in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are present intermixed with warm anomalies.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/2) Today's temps were falling at +0.293 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: (10/2) Today temps were rising some at +0.483, dropping from the all time high of +0.649 on 9/27, 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 (10/2) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.70 degs and to +1.00 degs in early Nov and to +1.2 degs in Dec fading back to +1.00 degs 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) (10/2): The daily index was still negative at -14.89 today. The 30 day average was falling at -10.29 suggesting an Active MJO was holding. The 90 day average was falling at -4.74. 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): (10/2) Today the index was rising steadily at +0.08 today 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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