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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, October 3, 2015 5:45 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
Swell Potential Rating = 2.0 - California & 2.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 9/28 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   

NPac Jetstream To Wake Up Mid-Week
EL Nino Blooming

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.


On Sunday, October 4, 2015 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea Bay): Seas were 9.0 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 15 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 8.0 secs with swell 0.7 ft @ 14.4 secs. Wind east 6-8 kts. Water temperature 72.5 degrees. At Santa Barbara swell was 2.5 ft @ 8.3 secs from 262 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 0.8 ft @ 19.7 secs from 197 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.2 ft @ 17.4 secs from 223 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 12.5 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 9.0 ft @ 10.1 secs. Wind northwest 18-23 kts. Water temp 62.8 degs.


    Buoy 46059 is scheduled to come back on-line in October.
    Pt Reyes buoy 029 scheduled for reactivation.  

Current Conditions
On Saturday (10/3) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf in the 7-8 ft face range and clean at some breaks but with a fair amount of local lump running through it early. Down in Santa Cruz surf was shoulder high on the sets and clean but weak, wrapping around from the north. In Southern California up north windswell was producing waves at waist high.cgius and consistent and clean. Not too bad. Down south surf was thigh high and textured nearly breaking on the beach. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Gulf swell with waves 4 ft overhead and lined up but with northeast warbled running through it. The South Shore was effectively flat with waves knee high and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast swell with waves 10-12 ft ft and heavily chopped from enhanced trades.  

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific a gale has generated the first swell of the Fall 2015 season and that swell was hitting Hawaii well. High pressure was ridging into Cape Mendocino CA hard generating up to 35 kt north winds there resulting in sizeable north windswell pushing into the Central CA coast at exposed north facing breaks. A broad WWB was in control of the equatorial West and Central Pacific spawning mult.cgie tropical systems, TS Choi-Wan in the west and TD Oho just south of the Hawaii with another trying to form near the dateline. And small southern hemi swell was pushing north from a gale previously under New Zealand with a larger swell behind that and yet another being generated now by a storm currently under New Zealand with seas up to 51 ft.

Looking at the forecast charts the three tropical systems are to be the main area of interest for the coming week, though none of them are to do too much. TD Oho has the best shot of producing some localized southerly swell for the Big Island of Hawaii while Choi-Wan is to only affect Japan and the Kuril Islands. There's some indication of Choi-Wan and a new system yet to form are to both race north and get absorbed in a broad low pressure system forecast to take over the Gulf of Alaska. Southwest swell might result for North and Central CA. But overall it looks like the North Pacific is trying to wake up after a 5 year sleep, with an El Nino like pattern trying to get a toehold. Down south the New Zealand storm corridor is to remain active, but nothing organized is to come out of it and make any headway into the greater Southwest Pacific. Still a steady pattern of 29 ft seas is forecast in the immediate New Zealand area offering background swell potential in the 15-16 secs range mainly for Tahiti and Hawaii. For now the focus remains squarely on El Nino induced WWB and slowly erupting Kelvin Wave #3 west of the Galapagos. 

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

North Pacific

On Sat AM (10/3) the jet was pushing respectably well east off Japan with winds 140 kts then lifting northeast reaching the north dateline area before becoming befuddled somewhat, with most energy starting to fall southeast, but not coherent. The remnants of a cutoff upper level low were still circulating 900 nmiles northeast of Hawaii and appears to be starting to draw the jet towards it. And a more focused patch of jetstream level energy was pushing south from inland Canada starting to form a backdoor trough just inland of South Oregon. In all, there was no support for gale formation yet. Over the next 72 hours the backdoor trough is to peak out with it's core just over San Francisco on Sun AM (10/4) but having no impact from a swell production standpoint. It should only serve to cool local temps down in Central CA. But to the west the jet is to start falling down into the Gulf of Alaska, drawn by the cutoff upper low pressure there, forming a weak but well defined trough later Sunday. That trough to become better defined over the coming days but not quite hitting the mark to support gale formation yet. Beyond 72 hours a significant improvement in the pattern is forecast and by Wed (10/7) 170 kts winds are to be falling from Kamchatka southeast into a trough in the Gulf with its apex down at 35N and 1000 nmiles northeast of Hawaii. Good support for gale formation seems likely. That trough to continue evolving and by Fri AM (10/9) it is to be well defined with 170 kts winds over all its western flank and with 140 kts winds pushing northeast up it's eastern flank. Solid indeed. Good support for gale formation seems likely. The trough is to steadily lift northeast into Sat (10/10) with winds still 130 kts in it's core. And back to the west 130 kt winds to be pushing off Japan bound for the dateline. In effect a flat flow from Japan into Oregon is forecast later Saturday. It looks like Fall is on the way.

Surface Analysis
On Sat AM (10/3) swell from a gale previously in the Gulf was hitting Hawaii (see Gulf Gale below). Otherwise mult.cgie low pressure systems were in flight, most of them tropical, but one was not. Remnants of the Gulf Gale (details below) were still circulating 900 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii generating 30-35 kts south winds targeting Alaska, but nothing of interest aimed south at Hawaii or California. Three tropical low pressure systems were in-flight also (see Tropical Update below). Also high pressure at 1032 mbs was ridging south from the Eastern Gulf of Alaska forming a pressure gradient and north winds to 35 kts over Cape Mendocino CA, resulting in windswell along the entire Central CA coast. A Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) was also in effect over and north of the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (Tropical West Pacific) feeding El Nino and setting up the conditions required to support development of the aforementioned tropical systems (details in the El Nino/MJO section below).

Over the next 72 hours the high pressure system and resulting gradient is to fade rapidly starting Sun AM (10/4) and be gone just after sunset. Windswell from it is to be dropping fast by Sun AM along the Central CA coast. Remnant low pressure from the Gulf Gale is to continue circulating in the Central Gulf perhaps forming a weak gradient with higher pressure forecast setting up over the dateline Sun PM-Mon AM (10/5) generating 25 kt north winds and maybe some windswell targeting Hawaii, but that's it. Otherwise the high pressure system over the dateline is to build in coverage edging east. .

Gulf Gale
Low pressure developed in the Western Gulf Wed AM (9/30) generating 35 kt north winds and starting to get some traction on the oceans surface while easing east.
By Wed PM winds built to 50 kts over a tiny area aimed south-southwest with seas building from 28 ft at 42N 150W. A slightly larger fetch of 45 kt north winds held into Thurs AM (10/1) with seas building to 30 ft at 42N 147W aimed well at Hawaii. Fetch to start fading from 40 kts in the evening aimed southwest almost west of Hawaii with seas fading from 28 ft at 44N 149W generating more swell targeting mainly Hawaii. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the northeast Fri AM (10/2) with seas fading from 26 ft over a tiny area at 43N 152W. This system to be gone after that. Most swell is to be targeting Hawaii with only low odds of sideband swell for Central CA southward.

Hawaii: Swell continuing on Sun AM (10/4) fading slowly from 6.5 ft @ 14 secs (9 ft). Residuals Mon AM (10/5) fading from 4 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 15 degrees

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


Tropical Update
A solid Westerly Wind Burst was occurring over the equatorial West Pacific supporting tropical storm formation. The WWB started in earnest on Thurs (10/1). The following systems are a result of it's influence:
Tropical Storm Choi-Wan: On Sat AM (10/3) this system was 600 nmiles north-northwest of Kwajalein Island with winds 40 kts and tracking west-northwest. It is forecast to continue on this head until Monday AM (10/5) with winds expected building to 60 kts, then turning almost due north and accelerating. This system to peak out Tues AM (10/6) at hurricane status with winds 85 kts and holding into Wed AM, then fading as it moves over cooler water. By Thurs AM 910/8) Choi-Wan is to be 250 nmiles east of Central Japan, then moving over the Kuril Islands and becoming land locked in the evening. High pressure over the dateline is to prevent it from recurving northeast. This system is to die west of the Kurils. No swell production forecast for our forecast area.

Tropical Storm Oho: On Sat AM (10/3) this system was just developing 360 nmiles south of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 35 kts. It is it forecast to meander to the north into Mon AM (10/5) while strengthening, obtaining minimal hurricane status at that time with winds 65 kts 180 nmiles south of the Big Island. From there Oho is to take a northeast track with winds building to 70 kts Tues AM (10/6) and hold that heading and strength into Wed AM (10/8) positioned 220 nmiles east of the Big Island. The GFS models suggest a rapid accelerating off to the north-northeast with Oho 700 nmiles west-southwest of Southern CA on Sat (10/10) possibly generating southwest swell targeting mainly Central CA northward eventually getting absorbed into low pressure forecast over the Gulf of Alaska.

A third tropical system is forecast developing east-southeast of Hawaii on Tues (10/6) associated with the WWB burst occurring in that area. It is to get caught in the developing Gulf low pressure system and get sucked northeast and positioned 600 nmiles off San Francisco late Fri (10/9) racing northeast. Something to monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sat (10/3) high pressure was ridging south from the Eastern Gulf over Cape Mendocino generating a pressure gradient and north winds at 30 kts down to Pt Arena with light winds over Central CA. The gradient is to start fading rapidly Sun AM with a weak upper low over south Central CA setting up offshore winds at 5 kts for most of Central CA with a light flow up into the north part of the state. A light south flow is forecast taking over all coastal waters Monday through Wednesday with perhaps higher pressure to get a toe in the door over Pt Conception on Thursday setting up north winds there at 15-20 kts with light north winds up into Monterey Bay. But low pressure is to be in the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend with high pressure remaining not much of a factor.     


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Tues AM (9/29) small swell from a New Zealand Gale was tracking towards Tahiti and Hawaii (see Small New Zealand Gale - First Swell below). A second stronger storm tracked across the deep Southwest Pacific generating seas of interest (see Southwest Pacific Gale - Second Swell below). And yet a third system was tracking under New Zealand on Sat AM (10/3) (see New Zealand Storm - Third Swell below).

Over the next 72 hours a series of weak low pressure systems are forecast flowing under New Zealand to the east but not generating seas larger than 29 ft and only lasting for 12-24 hrs each. No swell of interest is forecast resulting for our forecast area.

Small New Zealand Gale (First Swell)
A gale formed while tracking under New Zealand Mon PM (9/28) producing 45 kt west-southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 60S 170E. On Tues AM (9/29) the fetch was covering a solid area at 40 kts all from the west with seas building to 33 ft at 59S 180W. By evening fetch was fading fast with seas dropping from 29 ft at 58S 165W. Sideband swell is likely for Tahiti and maybe minimal energy for Hawaii but the extreme east to almost southeast fetch heading is not favorable for solid swell propagation to the northeast.  

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (10/6) building to 1.5 ft @ 17 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell to continue Wed (10/7) fading from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

California: Expect swell arrival Thurs (10/8) building to 1.8 ft @ 18 secs (3.0 ft). Swell holding Fri (10/9) at 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/10) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction 200 degrees


Southwest Pacific Gale (Second Swell)
Another small but stronger system developed in the deep Southwest Pacific on Wed AM (9/30) producing a tiny area of 55 kt west winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Wed PM 50 kt west winds were tracking flat east generating 40 ft seas over a tiny area at 61S 174W on the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf (189 degs HI, 205 degs NCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 206 degs SCal and not shadowed). This system tracked east Thurs AM (10/1) with 40-45 kt southwest winds starting to fade resulting in 39 ft seas at 59S 162W (182 degs HI, 201 degs NCal, 202 degs SCal). Winds to be fading from 40 kts in the evening with seas fading from 31 ft at 57S 150W. Better odds for swell from this one targeting mainly Chile and Peru with sideband energy up into California and far less size for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (10/7) with swell 0.8 ft @ 19 secs late (1.5 ft). Swell holding Thurs (10/8) at 0.9 ft @ 16-17 secs (1.5 ft). Swell dissipating after that. Swell Direction: 180-190 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival on Fri AM (10/9) with period 20 secs and size building, pushing 2.3 ft @ 19 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell building Sat AM (10/10) with period 18 secs and peaking at 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5 ft) holding into late Saturday afternoon as period hits 17 secs. Swell Direction: 201-206 degrees.

North California: Expect swell arrival on Fri AM (10/9) with period 20 secs and size building, pushing 2.0 ft @ 19 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell building Sat AM (10/10) with period 18 secs and peaking at 2.1 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) holding into late Saturday afternoon as period hits 17 secs. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees.


New Zealand Storm (Third Swell)
A stronger but small storm developed south of Tasmania on Fri AM (10/2) producing 55 kt west winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. This system moved southwest of New Zealand on Fri PM (10/2) with 60-65 kt west winds over a small area generating a tiny area of 55 ft seas at 54.5S 154E (221 degs CA, shadowed by NZ relative to HI). By Sat AM (10/3) 50 kt southwest winds were positioned directly south of New Zealand generating 49 ft seas at 54.5S 166E (200 degs HI, 217 degs CA - shadowed by Tahiti in SCal). Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts over a decent sized area Sat PM with seas fading from 43 ft at 56S 178E (192 degs HI, 211 degs CA and shadowed by Tahiti for SCal). This system to be gone by Sun AM (10/4) with seas fading from 35 ft at 57S 168W. If all goes as forecast some decent long period swell should result for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast.

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 residual low pressure from the previous gale in the Gulf (above) is to continue circulating and then start redeveloping on Wed PM (10/7) aided by an improving jetstream flow aloft. Northwest winds to build to 25-30 kts over a solid area later Thurs (10/8) targeting primarily Hawaii. And a small embedded low is to build along a developing front resulting in 40 kt south winds into Fri (10/9) , all targeting Canada and Alaska and racing northeast. Maybe windswell for Vancouver Island and points north of there to result, but nothing for the main focus of our forecast area. Tropical low pressure near Hawaii is to get sucked north with this front, offering some potential for California (see Tropical Update). The Gulf low is to continue circulating and retrograding west into the Bering Sea on Sat (10/10), possible falling southeast long term. A Fall-like pattern is getting established.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast tracking south under Tasmania late thurs (10/8) continuing west and under New Zealand on Fri-Sat (10/10) generating 43 ft seas over a small area targeting mainly Tahiti and the US West Coast but mostly shadowed relative to Hawaii by New Zealand. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


Nino3.4 Anomalies Beat Previous Peak
WWB Strong - Nino1.2 Temps Pulsing - Daily SOI Falling Hard

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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet, 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 help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).E.cgianation of data layout below: Major sections are organized in cause-and-effect sequence starting with wind conditions/forecasts for the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA - equatorial West Pacific) followed by subsurface ocean temperature conditions (i.e. monitoring for Kelvin Waves), then ocean surface temperature conditions (i.e Nino 1.2 and 3.4) followed by atmospheric co.cgiing analysis. The 1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data and is typically updated with each new forecast. The 2nd paragraph, where present, provides analysis and context and is updated as required.

Overview: A strong El Nino is developing. It began its lifecycle in late 2013 as a primer WWB and Kelvin Wave developed. Then in early 2014 a historically strong push by the Active Phase of the MJO resulted in a large Kelvin Wave, and anomalies continued in the Spring into early Summer transporting more warm water eastward. But the cycle faltered in July due to a protracted bout of the Inactive Phase of the MJO which enabled the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle to manifest driving cooler water east, muting warm water buildup along the Ecuador coast. Still the warm water pipe remained open, but surface temperatures near the Galapagos never recovered and any atmospheric momentum was lost. Then in early 2015, another historically strong push from the MJO occurred, effectively a repeat of the early 2014 event, invigorating the warm water transport process and, adding more heat to an already anomalously warm surface pool off Ecuador. That pool has been building steadily in spurts ever since. The paragraphs below describe the current status of various El Nino indicators, followed by a few paragraphs that tie all the pieces together and provide our analysis of what is to come.      

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast: As of Sat (10/3):
Analysis from TAO Buoys: Down at the surface the TOA array (hard sensors reporting with a 24 hr lag) indicated moderate west winds (not anomalies) from 162E-160W mostly north of the equator. West winds at 15 kts were covering the entire length of the KWGA at 5N from 145E to 170E. Anomalies continued strong from the west from 162E to 150W on and north of the equator with some anomalies north of the equator extending east to 120W. This situation started improving on Thurs (10/1) and continues today indicating a Westerly Wind burst is in effect. This pattern has been in control in some form since 9/2, intensified some 9/17 and holding, and then intensified again on 10/1. This pattern has been locked over the eastern half of the KWGA, which is a normal configuration as El Nino matures. Previously, west anomalies were steady for a 29 day window (7/19-8/19) and followed directly behind a very strong WWB burst (third of the year) that was associated with a robust Active Phase of the MJO (historically strong) 6/24-7/17 (nearly 2 months of west anomalies or stronger). Starting 9/2 a steady Westerly Wind anomaly pattern set up from 160E over the dateline intensifying some 9/17 and is holding through today. Most impressive.   
1 Week Forecast: West anomalies if not west winds started building on 10/1 at 175W and points east of there and are forecast to hold at least to 10/10 while easing west to 170E. The GFS model depicts west winds at 5N up into the KWGA in the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) into Tues (10/6), and at 20-25 kts up at 9N through the same period. Also good west wind coverage at 18 kts is forecast back to 135E Mon-Tues (10/6) then slowly fading out. But a steady west wind pattern at 15 kts is to be up at 8N through Thurs (10/8) extending the length of the KWGA and 10 kts at 5N and south of it and falling south. By Sat (10/100 west winds at 18 kts are forecast at 4N between 150E and 170E into Sun (10/11). In short this situation looks like a full-on WWB though limited some in terms of coverage and intensity to the northern KWGA, if not in the Intertropical convergence Zone. Elsewhere in the KWGA a slack wind pattern is to continue. This remains a great and improving situation. No east anomalies have occurred this year in the KWGA, not one day, and none are forecast. The thought is these anomalies are continuing to push warm water from the West Pacific to depth and though not generating a distinct Kelvin Wave, are filling the semi permanent reservoir already present west of the Galapagos.    

A huge WWB occurred in March followed by a second smaller one (9 day duration) in early May with weaker but still solid west anomalies continuing after that through 6/10. Anomalies faded to neutral for 8 days through 6/18 as the Inactive Phase of the MJO interfered with the pattern (the first such event of the year), then weak westerlies started again on 6/18. A significant WWB, the strongest of the year so far, starting on 6/26 peaking near 7/4 then held nicely through 7/17 (22 days), the result of a historically strong Active Phase of the MJO which produced a strong and large Kelvin Wave, the third this year and the strongest by far. Moderate westerly anomalies redeveloped 7/29 when a Rossby Wave started interacting with the building El Nino base state, enhancing the westerly flow, developing a mini-WWB at 175E through 8/5. And westerly anomalies continued through 8/19. That is nearly 2 months of non-stop anomalies if not out and out west winds (6/26-8/19). From 8/19-8/25 lesser westerly anomalies occurred and those were mainly east of the KWGA, with dead neutral anomalies in the West KWGA. West anomalies started rebuilding on 8/26 and turned to legit west winds up at 9N on 9/3 and held in some fashion up there into 9/29 while calm winds held in the KWGA proper.  And now strong west winds redeveloped in the Northeast KWGA on 10/1. West wind anomalies at the surface are the hallmark of the Active Phase of the MJO and El Nino and drive Kelvin Wave production. We certainly have had a lot of that so far this year.  

Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections: As of 10/3: 
OLR Models: Indicate an dead neutral signal over the equatorial dateline region typical of a maturing El Nino. Both the Statistic and Dynamic model suggests an Inactive pattern over the far West Pacific with no MJO pattern over the dateline and east of there and that is to hold for for the next 15 days. This is typical of the pattern when an El Nino base state strengthens.  
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): Both models indicate some form of weak 'MJO-like' signal over the Indian Ocean. forecast. The GEFS suggests a very weak Active Phase pushing into the West Pacific over the next 2 weeks while the ECMF is less optimistic, depicting it starting and fading in the Indian Ocean, and never developing fully. In reality, this is likely not the MJO, but likely an enhanced El Nino base state westerly wind burst starting now.
40 Day Upper Level Model: It depicts a weak Inactive Phase in the far West Pacific tracking east. In reality, this pattern has been on the charts for weeks now and consistently fails to materialize. It is suspected the stronger El Nino base state is in control, but exhibits an Inactive-like MJO pattern over the far West Pacific, with an Active-like pattern over the dateline and points east of there, but not moving. The model thinks it's a real Inactive Phase in a normal year in the West Pacific and tries to move it east. Clearly that is not the case. We are ignoring this model.        
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): A push of the supposed Active Phase of the MJO is occurring now and is to ease east and hold through 10/30 enhanced even now in the East Pacific by a Rossby Wave and building into 10/16 over and just west of the dateline. A solid WWB is forecast starting 10/14. As is the existing westerly wind situation on the dateline isn't nice, this is even better. We don't believe this is an Active Phase per say, but instead an El Nino fueled Westerly Wind event (that manifests on the EOF charts like an Active MJO). And now another Active Pulse to develop on the dateline early Nov keeping westerly anomalies in the strong category. An Inactive Phase to follow 11/14-12/12. Still west anomalies are to continue unabated. Perhaps another Active Phase to develop behind that starting 12/15 continuing into January, but we don't believe that. Regardless west anomalies are to hold while slowly easing east centered near 150W by 12/30, suggesting the coming end of El Nino generation. The El Nino base state is now the primary driver of Westerly Anomalies from here forward. No easterly anomalies are forecast. We are entering the core of the EL Nino cycle (Oct-Dec)  The question is, will another Kelvin Wave result or will the anomalies at least continue to fuel the subsurface warm reservoir into Dec? We think probably so. Is it possible this El Nino might last longer than previously expected? Too early to tell but we think not. The core westerly anomalies to start collapsing to the east by Jan 1 and out of the KWGA, meaning the warm water conveyer to the east is to shut down at that time, with the warm pool in the east starting to decay. At a minimum, three more months of west anomalies are forecast (per the model). Tropical systems have the best chance of constructively interfering (enhancing) westerly anomalies from here forward. We're on autopilot now.  It doesn't get any better than this unless you're back in 1997.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/1) Actual temperatures remain impressive. A tongue of 29 deg temps are pushing east from 140E to 140W and appear poised to try and make a push east. The 28 deg Isotherm reaches east to 130W (holding). Anomaly wise +2.0 degs anomalies are fully bulging from the dateline eastward and +4 deg anomalies cover from 150W eastward (easing east), the direct effect of the massive June-July WWB and non-stop westerly anomalies ever since. A large warm reservoir at +5-7 deg above normal is starting to erupt into the Galapagos. That reservoir is holding coverage with peak +7 degs anomalies centered at 108W (steady) with +5 deg anomalies extending east from 135W to Ecuador (steady). This pocket is a mixture of warm water from a WWB in early May merging with water from the most recent strong WWB in late June-July and more warm water moving in from the dateline. The pipe is wide open. And warm warm water continues falling to depth near the dateline and into this reservoir. Warm waters appears to be erupting west of the Galapagos per the hi-res subsurface animation (9/25) at 105W at +4C with +3 deg C surface movement of the warm pool 130W-->105W.  
Sea Surface Height Anomalies (SSHA):  (9/25) It is holding solid depicting 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific starting at 177E (expanding slightly). Peak anomalies were +15 cm extending from 102W to 135W (shrinking). +5 cm anomalies are pushing into Ecuador. This update (9/25) indicates arrival of the 3rd Kelvin wave with peak heating subsurface from the Galapagos westward. All this is indicative of a wide open pipe with a large Kelvin Wave in flight. This is a classic major El Nino setup.
Upper Ocean Heat Content: As of (9/25) it indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 178W and the Galapagos (holding). +1.0-1.5 degs are easing east from 154W eastward. +1.5 deg anomalies are doing the same tracking east from 145W. A large pocket of +2.0 degs anomalies are at 135W-->90W (easing east slightly). The previous large pocket of +2.5 deg anomalies that covered 20 degrees of distance has shrunk to 10 degrees between 120W-->110W (easing east and shrinking). A previous pocket of cooler 0.5-1.0 degs anomalies between the Galapagos and Ecuador is gone with +1.5 anomalies the while way into Ecuador. The Downwelling Phase of Kelvin Wave #3 is erupting now. Whatever we get is all there is going to be.  

A strong Kelvin Wave impacted the Ecuador Coast in May-June with a second somewhat weaker one impacting it in June. And now a third is erupting, but westward di.cgiaced just west of the Galapagos and not as strong as one would expect. A previous pause in warming near Ecuador occurred starting mid August, attributable to the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle, but ended on 9/20. Still the volume and temps of warm water east of the Galapagos is not as strong as one would expect. The subsurface configuration suggests there are 2.5+ months of warm water in this reservoir (till Dec 15) and some of that water is extremely warm (7 degs above normal). The peak was forecast to occur roughly on 10/4 in the Nino 1.2 region but we are revising that to 11/4 now given stalling effect the Upwelling Phase had. And westerly anomalies continue in the KWGA pushing more warm water to depth. Still, the fact that this massive Kelvin Wave is not having a more marked impact on surface temps is pe.cgiexing. Is this third Kelvin Wave the final one, or will another follow? Or maybe just a continued r.cgienishment of the warm pool will continue for the next month or more driven by El Nino fueled westerly anomalies. We all hope the answer is more is on the way. But that is entirely dependent upon how strong the El Nino base state really is. All data suggests this is a good setup, but not manifesting itself in a robust or aggressive manner. Typical of the character of this El Nino event, it is maddeningly slow and underwhelming if viewed on a daily basis. But the overall impact, though slow, is marked and historically strong. 

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.
Satellite Imagery
(10/1) Overall the picture is solid. Warmer waters are building up into Central America and south into Peru and filling the Nino3.4 region nicely. The warm water signal covers the entire equatorial Pacific from the dateline eastward with embedded pulses of warmer water now depicted from Ecuador to 130W (wave-like pulses). And the pattern is getting better defined and is exhibiting more concentration compared to previous days data. The overall signature is the strongest of any point so far this year and of any time since mid-July 1997. Compared to '97, 2015 anomalies are warmer in the Nino3.4 region, but have less concentration and coverage in Nino1.2.  Surprisingly coverage south of the equator is growing and trying to build south down the Peruvian coast, not quite on par with '97. Overall, the current expansion of water temps is impressive. Along the West African Coast, cool water continues there but has lost some ground in the past month. This is not a worry at this point in the cycle. Very warm water continues off the US West Coast and is holding and extending west the whole way to Japan but unrelated to this years El Nino, attributable to the building warm phase of the PDO. Slightly cool water is over North Australia extending north of New Guinea to the dateline (Maritime Continent), typical of a strong El Nino. The cool wake of previous tropical systems have all but faded off Japan and the Philippines. Warming water continues near Madagascar suggestive of a building Indian Ocean Dipole.  
Hi-res Nino1.2: Per the latest image (10/2) Temps have not built in coverage the past 2 days, but have built in concentration. +2.5 anomalies fill the Ecuador-Galapagos region with 2 small pockets to +4.0 embedded. A tiny cool pocket is holding just north of the Galapagos easing west slowly and has faded some in coverage the past 2 days. We're not seeing aggressive warming here as compared to west of the Galapagos, which leads us to believe the Kelvin Wave eruption area is westward di.cgiaced. Warming in this area peaked on 7/14 then crashed and has been trying to rebuild ever since. Given its been 2.5 months, and warming has not redeveloped to previous levels, di.cgiacement is the best e.cgianation.
Galapagos Virtual Station: (10/2) Anomalies are holding at 3.1 degrees, down from +3.6 on 9/28 and down from +4.0 degs on 9/26 and attributable to the tiny cool pocket just east of the Galapagos. Previously a solid reading occurred on 5/23 at +4.59 degs suggesting the first Kelvin Wave generated in Jan-Mar had arrived, then built to +5.45 degs on 6/14. Temps faded from that high peak down to +4.1 degs in late June then rebuilt up to +4.94 on 7/17. Then a fade set in, down to +3.1 degs as of 7/31 and bouncing from +3.1-3.5 through 8/7, then falling dramatically to +2.0 on 8/10 and held at +2.1-2.3 degrees 8/14-8/19. Temps built to +2.7-3.2 8/22-8/27 and up to +3.5 on 9/5 then down to +3.2 degs on 9/9.  A dramatic rise started 9/12 pushing up to +5.3 on 9/16 flirting with peak temps received back in 6/14 (+5.5). But a bit of a fade occurred 9/17 down to +4.5 falling to 3.8 degs on 9/23 then anomalies stabilized at +4.0 degs. A quick look at the Nino1.2 hi-res imagery e.cgiains the situation, with the last little pocket of the upwelling phase cooler waters moving into the East Galapagos.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/2): Warming in the south end of Nino1.2 off Peru and Chile continues. Cooling on the equator either side of the Galapagos continues. Light warming is depicted in pockets from Ecuador to the Galapagos and well west of the Galapagos from 105W to the dateline.
Hi-res NINO 3.4: 
(9/30) The latest image remains very impressive and getting more so. We are back to where we were weeks ago with a solid pool of warm surface water unbroken, advecting west from from the Galapagos with +2.25 degs anomalies from a previous Kelvin Wave reaching west to at least 160W. Within that, 2 pockets of +4 deg anomalies are present west of the Galapagos at 97W and 106W and increasing in coverage. A third pocket at 113W has fell below the +4.0 threshold. These pockets are the leading edge/breach point of Kelvin Wave #3. Total concentration of anomalies have built in the past 2 days (see previous image here 9/28 and 9/30), and now exceed the peak when Kevin Wave #3 first started breaching on 9/19 especially in the western portion of this area. Impressive. Previously +2.25 anomalies reached west to 133W on 7/16 and then 138W (7/31) pushing to 149W on 8/10 and 158W on 8/15 and filling the area to 160W on 8/30 solidly. But a breakup started on 9/5 at 155W, regrouped 9/15 and held to 9/23, faded some, but has now rebuilt and exceeded the original peak as of 10/2. This is advection west of warm water resulting from eruption of the 1st and 2nd Kelvin Waves earlier this year. And the third one is just starting to present and has already refilled the area west of 150W, with much more to come.
Hi-res Overview: (10/2) Like the low-res image, the El Nino signal is unmistakable and the strongest since 1997, and stronger than anything in the satellite age prior to that. The intensity of warm anomalies in the eruption site west of the Galapagos has stabilized since 9/28 and is building east of the Galapagos. A total of 5 pockets at 4+ degrees are now strung from Ecuador to the west, the vent ports for Kelvin Wave #3. And temps between 160W-180W are regained ground too, building almost back to levels on 9/16. They are more concentrated (at +2.25 C) but extend only to 171W where before they were to 178W. Nino3.4 temps are on the upswing per visual inspection of the satellite imagery. With building westerly anomalies and a WWB in the West Pacific, that seems to be helping the situation. Given the subsurface situation, surface water temps should be raging. They had been in a holding pattern if not backsliding from 9/20-9/28, but are finally improving. This is good.

SST Anomalies on 9/14/2015 and what is driving them from below.

Other Sources
TAO Data: +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial East Pacific, the warmest in years, advecting west from the Galapagos covering the entire area west to the dateline and beyond (holding at 175E). We're monitoring the +0.0 anomaly line on the equator to see if it's moving east. Today its at 155E (steady). +1.5 deg anomalies have rebuilt in the west with the core unbroken temps at 178E rebuilding west. There is also a massive embedded area of +2.0-2.5 deg anomalies extending from the Galapagos to 175W with a previous pocket to +3.0 deg all but gone at 115W. Overall the warm water signature is rebuilding and moving west and impressive.
Nino1.2 Daily Index Temps: (10/3) Temps are on the upswing as expected, at +2.2. They bottomed out at +1.265 degs on 9/15, and have been slowly rebuilding since. This is consistent with what is being indicated in the hi-res Nino1.2 imagery. Previously temps hovered at +2.1 degrees early June then spiked reaching +3.0 degs on 7/3, faded, then spiked again on 7/13 at +3.0 degs and yet again at +3.0 degs on 7/22. Temps fell to +1.9 degrees on 7/27 and bottomed out at +1.0 degs on 8/20 at the height of the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle. Then temps started building to +1.3 on 8/26 and +1.7 by 8/29 and to +2.0 by 9/8 before falling, down to +1.265 degs on 9/15. They started rising after that as Kelvin Wave #3 started arriving, and are solid today.  
Nino 3.4 Daily Index Temps: Temps continue a steep rise today at +2.44,a new all time peak for this event and up from +2.037 on 10/1 and +2.077 on 9/17. The previous all time peak for this event was +2.24 degs on 8/23 (one day). We have crushed that level. By any standard we are at a Strong El Nino level bordering on Super El Nino status. We expect these temps to continue upward for the foreseeable future. (Note: These temps are OISSTv.4 - biased low compared to OISSTv.2). In '97 for Sept the monthly anomaly in Nino3.4 was +2.21 (OISST.v2) The data for (Aug 2015) was +2.06. Will be interesting to see what the Sept posting looks like. For OISSTv.4 in Aug it was +1.74 ('97) and +1.49 (2015). Aug data is just a bit behind '97. Based on what is happening in the Nino 1.2 region, with the 3rd Kelvin Wave apparently starting to erupt there, the thought is additional warming is poised to occur in Nino3.4 with a 1 month delay. Water temps previously held in the +1.0-1.3 deg range since mid-April, then started building pushing +1.5 degs on 6/30, held then crept up, peaking at +1.75 degs on 7/19 and +1.7 degs on 7/29, pushing +1.8 of 8/10 and +2.24 on 8/23. 

Special Analysis (9/3): We performed an analysis of Nino1.2 and Nino3.4 weekly anomalies temps using OISST.v2 data. A very interesting pattern emerged: Nino1.2 temps are averaging lower in this years event to date compared to '97, but the Nino3.4 temps are higher.  Specifically the Nino1.2 anomaly average for the period 4/30-8/26 for 2015 is +2.42 while in '97 is was +3.43. Meanwhile west of there in the Nino3.4 region, the average for 2015 is +1.49 while it was +1.42 in '97.  This suggests the 2015 event is more focused west of the Galapagos as compared to '97. And looking at the Nino4 region, the same pattern emerges. A si.cgie view of SST anomaly charts clearly indicates the same thing. There was much more heating in the Galapagos region in '97, while in 2015 the warmth is di.cgiaced more to the west.

If you narrow the focus to just the timeframe July through August the same trend emerges with Nino1.2 anomalies +1.52 degs warmer in '97 compared to 2015 and Nino 3.4 temps almost dead even (-0.03 in 2015). 

Regardless, the working theory is this years event is westward di.cgiaced somewhat like the '82/83 super El Nino event. The main evidence for this is the eruption of Kelvin Wave #3 west of the Galapagos.  Though that eruption is fading some now, and with no evidence to suggest peak eruption is occurring in the Nino1.2 region proper (yet), we will continue with this theory. This suggests the Walker circulation is not di.cgiaced as far east as in '97 but more like '82/83. At this time we're unsure what the effects on rainfall would be. Total rainfall in San Francisco in '82/83 was 38.17" (+16.38") versus 47.22" in '97/98 (+25.43"). The long term average is 21.79". In LA in '82/83 it was 31.28" (+16.47) versus 31.01" in '97 (+16.2"). Long term average 14.81". Regardless, both events were well above average. This also suggests the core of storm production will be north of the most warming. So rather than the Eastern to Central Gulf of Alaska being the focus, it might be more in the Western Gulf. This is actually a good thing relative to California by perhaps giving resulting swells more room to groom themselves before hitting the coast. This might bode not so well for Hawaii, with large stormy conditions the result. Of course, this is just speculation at this time.  

Pacific Counter Current:  As of 9/16 the current was moderate but not overly impressive. The current is pushing strongly west to east over the west equatorial Pacific north of the equator from 130E to 155W, and still solid but fading while pushing west to 130W before fading out at 90W. A stream of weak to modest east current was just south of the equator from 110W to the dateline. Anomaly wise - modest west anomalies were spread mostly north of the equator over the West Pacific, with a strong pocket north of the equator from 170E to 150W, then fading with another pocket at 100W. One pocket of east anomalies was indicated south of the equator from 140W to the dateline. This is not impressive but not unimpressive either. Compared to the '97 El Nino at this time, there is no comparison. In '97 the current was raging east from 130E to 130W mainly north of the equator.   

SST Anomaly projections
CFSv2 model - PDF Corrected:
 For the model run 10/3 for the Nino 3.4 region, peak temperatures for this event are stable. Water temps per the model are at +1.75 deg C (verified at 2.44 degs today) and are to peak at +1.85 degs in the Nov-Dec timeframe, then dropping off. Considering temps in Nino3.4 now and the size of the new Kelvin Wave below, we suspect this projection is well on the low side. Uncorrected data has stabilized suggesting a peak to +2.45 degs in Nov. We'll venture a guess of somewhere around +2.3 degs for a one month peak in Oct-Nov but suspect that might be on the low side.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume has upgraded again, suggesting peak temps between +2.1 degs (Statistical models), +2.5 degs (Dynamic) with the CPC consensus at +2.45. The mid-July consensus was spread between +1.5-2.0 degs and the mid-Aug between +2.0-2.5 degs. See chart here - link. 

If one is to make a direct comparison of the 2015 event to '97 at this time of year based on the areal coverage of water temps, there is no comparison. '97 imagery leaves this years event in the dust. The '97 event built non-stop from this point forward (in terms of areal coverage). Instead, the 2015 event, though warming nicely with comparable to stronger anomalies in Nino3.4 and Nino4, is weak in Nino1.2 and the coverage of warm waters is a worm in this area compared to '97s mammoth coverage. A clear and significant downgrade occurred in the Galapagos area 8/12-8/20 the result of a pause in upwelling of warm water in that region, a break between the first and second Kelvin wave eruptions and the third poised just off Ecuador. It finally looks like Kelvin Wave #3 is having a good impact in this area now (10/3) but it has hurt the overall coverage compared to '97. but compared to the other super El Nino in '82, this years event crushes it. We continue solidly.cgiaced between '97 and '82. There could be no better.cgiace to be.

Atmospheric Co.cgiing Index's (lagging indicators rather than driving oceanic change):   
Daily Southern Oscillation Index (10/1): Was falling hard at -49.70. Of note: The 97 El Nino had daily values at -40 to -50 in early Nov with one spurt to -76 Jan 30-31st.
30 Day Average: Was falling from -19.93. The lowest point in years was achieved -20.95 on 8/21, with the previous lowest at -20.49 on 7/18/15.
90 Day Average: Was falling from -16.70. The peak low was obtained on 9/16 at -18.56. This is the critical threshold we've been anticipating (values -18 or lower), providing yet more evidence of strong atmospheric co.cgiing. We had hoped it would hold there, but did not. It's starting to push that way again no. It has been at or below -10.0 since early July and -15.0 since 9/4 and on a steady fall ever since. The 90 day SOI bottomed out at a low reading on 8/5 at -14.17, then beat it on 9/2 at -15.23, and peaked (9/16) at -18.56 (peak low of the year so far). 
Trend (looking for negative SOI numbers, indicative of the Active Phase of the MJO or El Nino): The near term trend based on the daily average was indicative of a building El Nino base state. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steadily building El Nino base state.
SOI Trend - Darwin (looking for high pressure here): A solid high pressure pattern was in the area and is to give way to a weaker pattern by Mon (10/5), but not outright low pressure pressure, with a new high pressure system building over Southeast Aust on Tues (10/6) holding.  
SOI trend - Tahiti (looking for low pressure here): A weak pressure pattern was in effect south of Tahiti on Thurs (10/1) but a higher pressure pattern is to develop by Sun (10/4) with no sign of abating.      
SOI 1 week Forecast: The net result is to be a trend of falling SOI values through Sunday (10/4), then rising.       
SOI Analysis: During El Nino, the SOI functions as a measure of how well the ocean and atmosphere are co.cgied. Current numbers suggest good but not great co.cgiing, but getting better footing slowly but steadily (notice the 90 day average trend). This pattern is to only change for the better as the El Nino base state builds as we move into Fall. A consistent 90 day average of -18 is our target, indicative of a strong El Nino.
Southern Hemi Booster Index (SHBI) Analysis (which is theorized to supercharge a developing El Nino): Per the past 5 day 850 mbs anomaly charts, the south flow broke up on 9/29. Per the GFS model a southerly flow is now in effect and is to hold into Mon (10/5), take a break for a few days, then return on Thurs (10/8). It is high pressure over Southeast Australia that sets up the southerly surface flow. South and southeast wind anomalies have been in this region off and on for weeks now (previous run 7/29-8/10, this run 8/13-8/18), then returning consistently 9/18 and in.cgiay up to today. The SHBI appears to only be slightly influencing El Nino development, but we have no hard numbers to confirm. 
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed cloud cover): (10/3) todays value weakened to 1.93. On (9/29) it was 2.02, down from 2.22 on 9/28, down from +2.30 on 9/26, up from +1.87 on 9/18 and up since 9/5 (+2.07). The ESPI was steady in the +2.5 range through 8/10, then began falling, to +2.42 on 8/18 and bottoming out at +1.78 on 8/26. It started rebuilding on 8/29 at +1.89 holding at +1.87 on 9/18 and up to +2.2 on 9/24 reaching +2.3 on 9/26. Historically the peak of the '82 El Nino was +2.2 and the '97 event +2.85. This suggests the '15 El Nino is reasonably well co.cgied with the atmosphere, more so than some of the other indices indicate.
Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) (Aug) The current ranking is up hard at +2.37 or up 0.39 standard deviations (65). The July MEI was 1.97 SD (65). At this same time in '97 the ranking was 3.00 SD (66) and in '82 it was 1.85 SD (62). So we're between the '82 and '97 events but close to '97, in strong El Nino territory presumably moving towards the Super El Nino range. The top 5 events since 1950 in order are: '97, '82, '91, '86, and '72 with '97 and '82 classified as 'Super El Nino's' because they reached 3 standard deviations (SD) above normal. '91 and '86 were at about 2.2 and 2.1 respectively with '72 peaking at 1.8 SD's above the norm. We've already beat all those. Suffice it to say we are somewhere between '82 and '97 in term of of atmospheric co.cgiing per this index. Most impressive.  
North Pacific Jetstream (10/3) Detailed analysis is in the NPac Short Term Forecast above. In short, the jet has started the Fall transition perhaps influenced by El Nino, but nothing remarkable yet. But come next Tues (9/6) a far more El Nino like pattern is projected. So far the jet has not at all looked like it is influenced by El Nino. This is disappointing considering this is the ultimate determiner of how well El Nino is connected to the atmosphere in terms of influencing winter storm production. We suspect it is just a matter of time before it wakes up and responds. This goes with the theme that this years El Nino is a late starter.    

Comparing the 2015 El Nino to '82 and '97
Full Sized Chart
(Click to enlarge)

Conclusion: In late 2013 into 2014 the Active Phase of the MJO and successive Kelvin Waves warmed waters over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and primed the atmosphere out of a 15 year La Nina biased pattern that had been in.cgiay since the demise of the '97-98 Super El Nino. It is assumed the PDO was dictating the change from a cool regime to warmer pattern. This warming and teleconnection continued building in 2015 with two Kelvin Waves arriving in Ecuador warming surface waters well into El Nino territory and a third, the strongest so far, starting to erupt in the Galapagos region. At this time the classic El Nino feedback loop is in effect, with the atmosphere and the ocean well co.cgied and reinforcing and feeding the El Nino pattern at a global scale.    

The 2015 El Nino pattern continues to build in fits and starts, most recently hampered by 'The Pause/Upwelling Phase of the Kevin Wave cycle ' that occurred in August and continued in Nino1.2 through Sept. Even in spite of that, El Nino continued to evolve. Temps in the Nino 3.4 region today have surpassed their previous peak and expected to only build as massive Kelvin Wave #3 continues erupting focused mainly west of the Galapagos but showing signs of building east of there. The big question remains concerning how strong will this El Nino become. That is a function of anomalies in the Nino3.4 region. The warmer the core temps and the larger their areal coverage, the more influence on the jetstream. Obtaining high Nino3.4 temps is a function of the strength and duration of westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. And the frequency of those events is dictated by the 'character' of the El Nino. The '97 event was a bulldozer, developing out of a previous cold La Nina water state, and never looked back. Contrasting that was the '82-83 event, which didn't even start presenting until the Fall. The 2015 event has taken it's sweet time getting organized, in fit's and starts, but is on a roll recently. We expect peak warming in Nino1.2 to occur on 11/4 with peak warmth reaching Nino3.4 a month later. That would.cgiace this event as a late bloomer, more in line with the '82 than '97. Either way, they were both Super El Ninos, and we're well on track to reach that status.

The longer El Nino threshold temperatures persist, the longer it will take proportionally to dissipate. The atmosphere responds very slowly to change. but once changed, it doesn't turn back to it's previous configuration quickly. An official El Nino was declared in late 2014 and has only gotten stronger since then. If westerly anomalies continue as predicted by the CFS model with a peak in mid-Oct, and another Kelvin Wave results, it would not arrive in Ecuador till mid-Jan, 2016, and not reach NIno 3.4 till mid-Feb that would mean a total duration of El Nino temps in the Nino3.4 region of 16 months. The character of this even is slow and steady but persistent. That is a good thing, in that it could slow the inevitable transition to La Nina until later in the winter of 2016-2107. And all data suggest this one is in the same league as both '97 and '82, just different in it's evolution. There no guarantee of this outcome, but all data suggests this is the trajectory we are on.

With the jetstream starting to come online, the final transition in the atmosphere appears to be underway. Still any direct influence from El Nino will probably occur later in the Fall rather than earlier. Continue preparations. Once the storm cycle starts, we expect it to only build in momentum, consistency, and intensity, peaking in the Feb timeframe.    

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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