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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 4:31 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.1 - California & 2.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

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

Issued for Week of Monday 10/8 thru Sun 10/14

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   

Sergio Swell On-Track to Rebuild In CA
Small Long Lasting New Zealand Swell Pushing Northeast

On Tuesday, October 9, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 16.4 secs from 204 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 13.9 secs from 308 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 12.8 secs from 170 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 69.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.7 ft @ 11.8 secs from 236 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.0 secs from 224 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.3 ft @ 10.4 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.8 ft @ 10.5 secs from 198 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.1 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 5.6 ft @ 9.2 secs from 313 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 10-14 kts. Water temp 58.8 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 (10/9) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at 1-2 ft overhead on the face and raw, warbled and crumbled but not white capped. Protected breaks were chest high and clean but soft and pretty formless. At Santa Cruz windswell was wrapping in producing waves to head high on the sets and reasonably lined up and clean early but with warble running through it. In Southern California/Ventura surf was chest to head high on the sets and clean and lined up but weak and mushed. In North Orange Co swell from Sergio was still hitting producing waves at head high on the sets and clean and lined up but pretty wonky from too much tide. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high and a little more on the bigger sets and clean and lined up. In North San Diego surf was shoulder high and lined up and clean but a bit closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting swell from over the dateline bigger than expected with waves head high to 2 ft overhead on the peaks and clean. The South Shore was small with waves up to waist high on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest to shoulder high and lightly chopped from modest east trades early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (10/9) small swell from a low pressure system previously over the dateline was pushing into Hawaii Northern Shores with a bit more size than expected. Locally generated north windswell was hitting North and Central California. And Hurricane Sergio has been a bit more productive than previously forecast, with swell from it bumping up in Southern CA. And Sergio has recurved northeast and is now pushing towards Baja generating yet more swell. Of interest is a series of 3 gales that tracked east under New Zealand with the first on Mon (10/1) producing 32-36 ft seas aimed east, the second on Wed (10/3) with 34 ft seas aimed east and the third Sat-Sun (10/7) with 30-32 ft seas aimed east. A storm is to develop while pushing east through the Southeast Pacific Wed-Thurs (10/12) with 48 ft seas aimed east. And another gale is to develop under New Zealand Sat (10/13) with up to 44 ft seas aimed east. Up north the models continue hinting at a gale developing over the dateline Sun-Mon (10/15) with 32 ft seas aimed east. It's starting to look like a normal early Fall pattern setting up. See all the details are below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (10/9) Swell from Hurricane Sergio was still hitting mainly Southern CA (See Tropical Update below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems or fetch of interest is forecast other than possibly more energy developing from Sergio.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Tuesday (10/9) high pressure at 1030 mbs was locked 1200 nmiles off the North CA coast producing a pressure gradient along the shore with north winds 20-25 kts over Cape Mendocino to Pt Arena with light winds if not a weak eddy flow (south winds) south of there resulting in moderate north windswell and improved conditions down into Central CA. More of the same is expected on Wed (10/10) with with winds to 30 kts overnight Tuesday possibly making for a little more windswell size in Central CA on Wed AM. Thurs (10/11) high pressure is to be fading at 1024 mbs 1000 nmiles west of North CA producing north winds at only 20 kts over a small area over and off of Cape Mendocino and light north winds 5 kts south of there resulting in only small weak north windswell down into Central CA. More of the same is expected on Fri (10/12). See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Tuesday (10/9) high pressure at 1030 mbs west of North CA was also producing fetch off it's south quadrant at 15+ kts over a large area extending from off California west to a point 300 nmiles east of Hawaii producing some degree of east windswell pushing into exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands. But that fetch is to be retracting east through the day with fetch moving up to 900 nmiles east of HAwaii in the evening offering decreasing odds for windswell production. Wednesday (10/10) no windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast and that pattern is to hold through Fri (10/12). See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Sergio: On Sunday AM (10/7) Sergio was 1200 nmiles southwest of Los Angeles with winds 90 kts (104 mph) tracking west at 8 kts and seas 24 ft. By Mon AM (10/8) Sergio is to start turning the the north with winds 80 kts near 15N 128W starting to producing small swell radiating northeast. In the evening Sergio is to be recurving to the northeast with winds down to 75 kts (86 mph) at 16N 128W again pushing some small swell towards California. On Tues AM (10/9) Sergio was tracking northeast and gaining momentum with winds 70 kts (81 mph) producing limited swell pushing towards California. On Wed AM (10/10) Sergio is to be accelerating northeast while moving over cooler waters with winds falling to 65 kts (75 mph) and barely at hurricane strength. Swell generation starting to fade out.

Southern CA: Swell possibly building after Tues (10/9) that from when Sergio supposedly turns to the north and northeast. By Wed (10/10) swell building to 3.5 ft @ 13 secs later (4.5 ft) and possibly up more on Thurs (10/11) to 4.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.5 ft). The final push from Sergio is expected on Fri (10/12) fading from 5.3 ft @ 15 secs early (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees possibly turning to 205 degrees

North CA: On Wed (10/10) swell is to start building to 2.9 ft @ 13-14 secs later (3.5 ft). Thurs (10/11) swell is to be holding at 3.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft). Friday (10/12) swell is to hold at 3.3 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft) Swell all but gone after that. Swell Direction: 185 degrees moving to 195 degrees.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/9) north winds to be 20-25 kts limited to Cape Mendocino-Pt Arena early but light to calm south of there to Pt Conception with an eddy flow possibly building from the south. Wed (10/10) north winds to continue at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino-Pt Arena but with light winds if not an eddy flow south of there to Pt Conception. Thurs (10/11) north winds are to be 20 kts over Pt Arena northward with light north winds south of there. Friday (10/12) north winds are to maybe be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early but light everywhere south of there but north in Southern CA at 5-10 kts early attributable to Hurricane Sergio moving onshore over Central Baja perhaps building some late afternoon. Saturday (10/13) light winds are forecast over the whole state. A light wind regime is to set up after that through Tues (10/16).


South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (10/9) the southern branch of the jetstream was gently lifting northeast under New Zealand to the Central Pacific reaching up to 57S at up to 110 kts forming a weak trough-like pattern there offering some support for gale development. East of there the jet was falling southeast offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to continue but with the jet lifting north some over the Southeast Pacific to 57S increasing the areal coverage of the trough continuing through Fri (10/12) offering continued support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (10/13) a more defined trough is to build under New Zealand being fed by 110-1120 kts southwest winds then building to 150 kts on Sun (10/14) offering much better odds for gale development. That trough is to pushing northeast into Mon (10/15) moving into the Central South Pacific then fading out and gone by Tues (10/18) while a ridge starts building over the Southeast Pacific locking down gale production there.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (10/9) small swell was radiating northeast from 3 gales that tracked under New Zealand (see New Zealand Gale 1, New Zealand Gale 2 and New Zealand Gale 3 below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast building over the Central South Pacific on Wed AM (10/10) with 50 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 28 ft at 55S 151W aimed east. In the evening west winds to build to 55 kts moving east with seas building to 48 ft at 58S 138.5W. Thurs AM (10/11) the storm is to be racing east with west winds 55 kts and seas 47 ft at 58S 124.5W and moving towards the western edge of the SCal swell window. By evening fetch is to be 45-50 kts from the west but east of the SCal swell window and seas 44 ft at 59S 109W and no longer of interest to our forecast area. Maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast towards California but focused more on Chile.


New Zealand Gale 1
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 with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 57S 180W. Maybe some small swell to result. At a minimum this system did serve to rough up the oceans surface.

Hawaii: Expect not much swell to result. Background energy to hit on Tues (10/9) at 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading away after that. Swell Direction: 198 degrees

Southern CA: Swell arrival on Fri (10/12) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 20 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building Sat (10/13) to 3.1 ft @ 18-19 secs (5.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) at 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 degrees.

Northern CA: Swell arrival on Fri (10/12) with swell building to 1.5 ft @ 20-21 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building Sat (10/13) to 2.7 ft @ 18-19 secs (5.0 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) at 2.8 ft @ 17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 degrees.


New Zealand Gale 2
On Wed AM (10/3) another fetch followed behind generating 40 kt west winds with seas building from 33 ft at 58S 159.5E. On Wed PM (10/3) 40 kt west winds continued pushing east with with 35 ft seas aimed east at 58.5S 172E. On Thurs AM (10/4) west winds were fading at 35-40 kts from the west with seas 32 ft at 57S 177E. Fetch to fade from there in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 57S 178.5W. Maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast.

Hawaii: Expect swell from when this storm was west of New Zealand tracking up through the Tasman Sea arriving on Wed (10/10) building to 2.0 ft @ 18-19 secs (3.5 ft). Swell holds on Thurs (10/11) at 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) with energy from under New Zealand at 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (10/12) from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) with swell from under New Zealand at 1.3 ft @ 16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 218 degrees and 198 degrees.

California: This swell to merge with Swell 1 above. See forecast there.


New Zealand Gale 3
Another gale passed under New Zealand Sat AM (10/6) producing an area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 56.5S 173.5E aimed east. A generalized fetch of 35-40 kt west winds held in the evening with seas building to 32 ft at 57.5S 175.0E aimed east. Fetch is to start fading Sun AM (10/7) with west winds 30-35 kts and seas 30 ft at 56S 171W. By evening fetch and seas are to be gone. Some odds for small sideband swell radiating northeast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/13) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) fading from 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models continue teasing about a gale developing just west of Kamchatka on Sat AM (10/13) with 45 kt northwest winds ands seas building. In the evening a broad fetch of 40 kt northwest winds is to be pushing towards the dateline with 32 ft seas approaching the dateline at 48N 171E. On Sun AM (10/14) the gale is to track east over the dateline with 40 kt northwest winds and seas to 33 ft at 47N 177E pushing east. In the evening the gale is to pushing over the dateline with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 31 ft at 45.5N 178W. Monday (10/15) the gale is to fade while moving into the Western Gulf with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 28 ft at 45.5N 172.5W targeting both Hawaii and California. The gale is to hold position in the evening with winds 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 22 ft at 43.5N 167W. The gael is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Also a low pressure system is to start building 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Sat AM (10/13) starting to produce north winds at 25 kts building to 35 kts in the evening with seas building from 18 ft at 35N 160W aimed directly at the Islands. On Sun AM (10/14) north fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts with seas 21 ft at 33N 168W aimed south to southeast. Fetch is to fade in the evening from barely 30 kts from the northwest with seas 17 ft at 34N 167W aimed southeast. No more swell production is forecast. A possible short burst of local swell to result.

Windswell Forecast
Saturday (10/13) high pressure at 1030 mbs is to be pushing into the Central Canadian Coast while ridging south some still producing a gradient mainly over Oregon waters reaching south to Cape Mendocino producing northeast winds at 20-25 kts possibly producing small north sideband windswell at exposed breaks in North and Central CA. Low pressure is to start pushing east from the dateline and Western Gulf on Sunday (10/14) with high pressure getting cut out of the picture and no windswell production indicated. No change is forecast Mon or Tues (10/16).

Hawaii: On Saturday (10/13) no windswell producing fetch is forecast aimed at the Hawaiian Islands resulting in no windswell. No change (i.e. no windswell) is forecast through Tues (10/16).


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is to develop directly under New Zealand on Fri AM (10/12) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 26 ft at 57S 167E aimed east. In the evening southwest winds are to be 55 kts tracking east with 37 ft seas at 59S 177E. On Sat AM (10/13) fetch is to be fading from 45 kts from the southwest with seas 44 ft at 58.5S 173W aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest fetch is to be 40 kts with 37 ft seas at 58S 163W. Maybe some fetch to hold into Sun AM (10/14) at 30 kt with seas 30 ft at 59S 153W. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Starting to Really Rise - ESPI Continues Rising

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 (10/8) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then turning modestly westerly over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest westerly over the entire East Pacific fading some on the dateline the turning to moderate westerly anomalies filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/9) moderate to strong west anomalies were filling the East Pacific to the dateline but with weak east anomalies in the far western KWGA reaching east to the dateline. East anomalies are to be building in coverage over the KWGA and filling it from 10/10 through the end of the model run on 10/16 but with east anomalies fading in strength and almost neutral at that time. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO is building solid over the KWGA, not good for support storm production.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/8) A moderate Inactive/Dry signal was over the West Pacific and the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold for 5 days then starting to fade and gone by day 12 with a neutral MJO Phase in control of the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to rebuild solid over the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/9) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was strong over East Africa and is to be slow fade while while moving into the Central Indian Ocean at the end of the model run 2 weeks out and very weak at that time. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing the possibly rebuilding over the Atlantic 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/9) This model depicts solid Dry/Inactive pattern is over the West Pacific and is to be fading slowly while tracking east pushing into Central America on 10/29. A modest Active/Wet signal is to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/24 pushing east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and Central America on 11/13. A new weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be moving into the West Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/18.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/8) This model depicts moderate west anomalies starting on the dateline and filling the Eastern Pacific but not in the KWGA. Weak east anomalies are filling the KWGA and are to hold through 10/22, then fading with west anomalies starting to rebuild from the east retrograding into the KWGA starting 10/23 and filling the KWGA on 10/29 holding through the end of the model run on 11/5. 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): (10/9) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal was developing over the Western KWGA and forecast building with neutral to weak east anomalies in the KWGA reaching east to the dateline on 10/12 and holding through 11/7 but with east anomalies fading and retrograding west with west anomalies starting to develop in the heart of the KWGA on 10/25 and continuing forward. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/31 with west anomalies at that time building to near WWB status and getting stronger 10/31-12/3 and holding even while the Active Phase starts fading on 12/5. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/7 but west anomalies holding mainly over the dateline fading some at the Inactive Phases peak on 12/20 and then redeveloping mainly over the dateline at the end of the model run on 1/6 as the Active Phase start rebuilding. 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 again faded, where a few days before it was to return starting 12/4. 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: (10/9) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid building east to 178E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 155W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 103W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3-4 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 10/5 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 90W in the +1-2 degrees range. The remnants of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was dissipating but still present at 90W at -1 deg C. Kelvin Wave #2 was poised to breach the surface from 105W to 130W. But more so, warm anomalies are starting to filling the entire region on the equator from 105W-165E. Much The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/5) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 125W 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 on or near the equator to Ecuador and branching out along the Central American Coast but not down into South America. 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: (10/8) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were barely biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warming nearshore and strongly lately. A thin stream of very warm anomalies were stretched directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 160W and more solid than weeks or even days past. 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. And now warming has started building south of the equator from 100W west to 160W down to 15S. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/8): A modest warming pattern is in place extending continuously from the Ecuador over the Galapagos along the equator out to 145W and then weaker west of there to the dateline and now mainly south of the equator. Temps were also warming dramatically along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (10/8) A pocket of weak cool water was present just off the coasts of Chile and Peru but warm water was building along the immediate coast of Chile and broader off Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the 140W then weaker out to the dateline and it was getting pretty warm between the Galapagos out to 125W. 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: (10/9) Today's temps were rising again at +0.761 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: (10/9) Today temps were on the rise again at +0.795, beating the previous all time high of +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and markedly rising from the +0.25 degs range the past month. This looks like perhaps El Nino is developing.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/9) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.80 degs and to +1.00 degs in mid-Oct and +1.2 degs in early Nov and to +1.3 degs in Dec fading slowly from there to +1.10 degs in 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) (10/9): The daily index was negative but up some at -4.32 today. The 30 day average was rising at -6.87 suggesting an Active MJO was fading. The 90 day average was falling some at -4.32. 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): (10/9) Today the index was rising at +0.35 today, the highest so far this event. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. 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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