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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, October 18, 2021 2:16 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
3.9 - California & 2.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 10/18 thru Sun 10/24

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

Gulf of Alaska to Awake
Much rain and Snow Possible for CA


On Monday, October 18, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt) : Seas were 3.3 ft @ 8.1 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 8.5 secs from 165 degrees. Water temp 79.2 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 79.5 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 9.8 secs from 285 degrees. Water temp 78.4 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 14.0 secs from 204 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 62.2 degs, 59.4 (Topanga 103), 59.0 degs (Long Beach 215), 65.3 (Del Mar 153), 67.5 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 201 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 12.9 secs from 212 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 12.6 secs from 202 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 189 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.2 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 6.8 ft @ 9.7 secs from 292 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 11-15 kts. Water temp 54.1 (Pt Reyes 029), 54.3 (46026), 57.0 degs (SF Bar 142), and 55.6 (Santa Cruz 254).

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 Monday (10/18) North and Central CA had waves at 1 ft overhead and somewhat lined up and with fairly decent form but with a fair amount of warble driven by moderate northwest winds. Protected breaks were shoulder high and lined up and soft with some northwest warble intermixed and light northwesterly wind. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high and fairly glassy and somewhat lined up but soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high and trashed from northwest wind with whitecaps in control. Central Orange County had sets up to chest high rarely and somewhat lined up when the sets came but warbled from northwest wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at waist to chest high and pretty torn up from northwest wind. North San Diego had surf in the waist to chest high range and lined up but pretty warbled from northwest wind. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at waist to chest high and somewhat lined up with northeast warble running through it. The South Shore still had some rare sets at thigh to waist high and clean but inconsistent. The East Shore was getting waist high east windswell and chopped from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (10/18) in California locally generated north windswell was intermixing with minimal swell from a gale that pushed southeast from the Northwestern Gulf Fri-Sat (10/15) producing up to 18 ft seas aimed southeast. A more interesting system developed over the North Dateline region tracking into the Northwestern Gulf Sun-Mon (10/18) with 23 ft seas then is forecast fading in the Central Gulf on Tues (10/19) with seas 19 ft targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. A stronger system is to follow on Wed-Thurs (10/21) with up to 28 ft seas off North CA, And another one is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf on Sat-Sun (10/24) with up to 28 ft seas aimed southeast. And yet another is to be behind that on Sun-Mon (10/25) with 32 ft seas over a small area aimed east. Fall is coming on-line.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Monday (10/18) the jet was pushing off Japan ridging hard northeast tracking north of the Central Aleutians into the Bering Sea then falling hard south over the Central Gulf forming a solid trough being fed by 140 kt winds offering great support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to hold while pushing east into Tues AM (10/19) but starting to pinch off positioned just off the coast of North California but still offering some support for gale formation. At the same time wind energy is to be building over the Dateline to 190 kts with that energy pushing into the Northwestern Gulf Tuesday evening into Wed AM (10/20) forming another trough offering good support for gale development with that trough getting solid in the evening. The trough is to start pinching off just west of Oregon and North CA on Thurs AM (10/21) with support for gale development fading with the trough moving over North CA mid-day Fri (10/22) bring weather with it. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to continue in the jet at 170-190 kts with the jet running flat west to east down on the 46N latitude line then starting to carve out a new trough in the Gulf of Alaska on Sat AM (10/23) with winds building to 190 kts feeding that trough into Sun AM (10/24) again offering great support for gale development. That trough is to be positioned just off North CA on Sun PM offering more support for gale formation and weather in drought stricken North CA.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (10/18) weak swell from a gale previously in the Gulf was starting to arrive in California (see Gulf Low Pressure System below). And swell from another gale was behind having originated over the Northwestern Gulf (see Northwestern Gulf below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Wed AM (10/20) another gale is to be building over the Western Gulf producing a broad fetch of northwest winds at 35-40 kts with seas building. In the evening the gale is to be winding up in the Central Gulf with northwest winds 40-50 kts and seas building to 27 ft over a solid area at 40.75N 147.75W aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (10/12) the gale is to be lifting northeast off Oregon producing a solid fetch of northwest winds at 35-40 kts with 30 ft seas at 40N 140W. The gale is to continue in the evening with 40 kt northwest winds just off Washington producing 28 ft seas at 46N 138W aimed southeast. The gale is to be fading Fri AM (10/22) just off Vancouver Island with 35 kts west winds and seas fading from 25 ft at 48N 135W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.


Gulf Low Pressure System
A low pressure system developed over the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs PM (10/14) producing west winds at 30-35 kts starting to get traction on the oceans surface. On Fri AM (10/15) northwest winds were 30 kts over a small area with seas 16 ft over a small but building area at 50N 160W aimed southeast. In the evening fetch was fading from 25-30 kts from the northwest with seas 18 ft at 50N 149W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (10/16) residual fetch was holding at 25-30 kts over the Northern Gulf with seas fading from 16 ft at 50N 146W aimed southeast. The gale fell southeast in the evening with 30 kt northwest winds over a small area with seas 16 ft at 48N 143W aimed southeast. The low faded from there. Possible small swell to result for the Pacific Northwest and North CA.

North CA: Small swell arriving on Mon (10/18) pushing 5.0 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft) later. Swell fading on Tues (10/19) from 4.5 ft @ 11-12 secs early (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305 degrees


Northwestern Gulf Gale
Starting Sun AM (10/17) a gale developed over the North Dateline region producing 35-40 kts northwest winds and seas building from 23 ft at 50N 172W aimed southeast. In the evening the gale moved over the Northwestern Gulf with 30-35 kt northwesterly winds over a decent sized area with seas 23 ft at 50N 170W aimed east-southeast. On Mon AM (10/18) the gale became better organized in the Central Gulf with a broad fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas 23 ft at 48N 160W aimed southeast. In the evening north winds to be 30 kts with seas 21 ft at 43N 151.5W aimed southeast and starting to bypass Hawaii. On Tues AM (10/19) fetch is to be fading from barely 30 kts in the Central Gulf with 19 ft seas at 40N 145W aimed southeast. Fetch and seas are to be fading in the evening. Something worth monitoring.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/20) building to 3.8 ft @ 14 secs later (5.0 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (10/21) fading from 3.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading on Fri (10/22) from 4.0 ft @ 11 secs early (4.5 ft) then being overrun by newer swell. Swell Direction: 340-345 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/20) building to 6.5 ft @ 13 secs later (8.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/21) from 6.2 ft @ 13 secs early (8.0 ft) possibly being overrun by new swell behind. Swell Direction: 275 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Tues (10/19) a front is to be off North CA producing south winds at 10-15 kts early for Cape Mendocino and 5 kts to the Golden Gate but calm south of there. In the afternoon south winds to be 35-40 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts down to the Golden Gate and 10 kts from the south to Pt Conception. Moderate rain developing for all of North CA later in the evening.
  • Wed (10/20) southwest winds are forecast 15-20 kts for North CA early and south at 20 kts for the SF Bay Area fading to 10 kts for the remainder of Central CA. A new low is to be winding up in the afternoon in the Central Gulf with south winds 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts for the remainder of North CA reaching well down into Central CA. Rain early for all of North CA and Central CA down to Monterey Bay with snow for higher elevations at Tahoe early. Rain fading through the afternoon.
  • Thurs (10/21) south winds are forecast at 20-30 kts for Bodega Bay northward early and 5-10 kts for all of Central CA. South winds holding at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon and 15 kts from Bodega Bay northward and south 10 kts down to the Golden Gate. Light winds south of there. Light rain possible for the SF Bay Area north to Cape Mendocino early then building while lifting north from Pt Reyes northward in the afternoon.
  • Fri (10/22) the front is to be fading over Bodega Bay with south winds 15 kts from the Golden Gate north to Cape Mendocino and south winds 5-10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon a light northwest flow at 10 kts is forecast for all of North and Central CA. Rain heavy from the Golden Gate northward early pushing south while fading reaching Pt Conception late afternoon. Snow for Tahoe down to Yosemite/Mammoth in the afternoon.
  • Sat (10/23) another front is to be queued up with south winds 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early and light winds south of there. In the afternoon the front is to push south to the Golden Gate with southwest winds 20 kts for most of North CA down to San Francisco and northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA. Rain again developing pushing south to the Golden Gate in the afternoon and then to Big Sur overnight. Snow building for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Sun (10/24) a mixed light wind pattern is forecast early for North and Central CA but maybe south at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino. Another front builds in the afternoon with south to southwest winds 15-20 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA. Light rain early for Central CA and decent snow to the Central Sierra early. Heavy rain for all of CA in the afternoon with strong snowfall for the Sierra focused on the Central Sierra from late afternoon onwards.
  • Mon (10/25) west winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA from the southwest. In the afternoon west winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. Heavy rain for the entire state including Southern CA early . Heavy snowfall for the entire Sierra mostly early.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 74.0, 79.7, 70.5, and 92.8 inches respectively.

Freezing level 4,500 ft today building to 10,500 ft tomorrow (10/19) and generally holding there into 10/21. Then it falls to about 7,000 ft late on 10/12 slowly falling to 5,000 ft on 10/25, then rising steadily to 12,000 ft on 10/27. A full on winter blast looks possible, before Halloween.


Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level (more here - scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Monday (10/18) no swell was in the water or tracking north from the South Pacific.

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


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 starting Fri AM (10/22) a small gale is to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf tracking east with 50 kt west winds and seas 37 ft at 52N 163W aimed east. The gale is to slowly move east in the evening with 45 kt west winds and seas 37 ft at 51.25N 156.25W aimed east southeast. On Sat AM (10/23) fetch is to move to the Central Gulf at 40+ kts from the west-northwest with seas 37 ft at 51.5N 151.25W aimed east-southeast. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts filling the Northern Gulf with seas 29 ft at 48.75N 144.5W aimed east. The gale to fade some from there but with residual fetch and seas falling southeast just off North CA on Sun (10/24) with seas 23 ft at 38N 138W aimed east. Larger raw swell to possibly result for North and Central CA up into Oregon.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


La Nina Building Stronger than Last Year
Summary - Cool water is building across the subsurface equatorial Pacific and as of 10/18 stronger than last year with no Kelvin Wave induced warm waters in sight. The forecast does suggest weak west anomalies taking over the KWGA in later November and nearly filling the KWGA after that as the low pressure bias slowly builds in from the west nearly filling the KWGA in late Dec. The high pressure bias is in control of the dateline but is to ease east nearly out of the KWGA by early Jan 2022. But it also seems likely cold surface waters are to hold well entrenched over the dateline through early Jan supporting bulletproof surface high pressure. The west wind anomalies forecast will likely not be enough to significantly effect the volume and depth of cold water building over Central Equatorial Pacific before Winter is over.

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead.

Fall /Winter 2021-2022 = 3.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina is making a strong return as we move into the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen. So at this point we are speculating that the CFS model will verify and that a full double dip La Nina pattern will take hold as we move into November with this second La Nina dip being nearly as strong as the previous one. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late Fall (Nov) with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern at that time and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Dec. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter. But by later in Jan 2022 perhaps a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a somewhat reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct-Dec, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by later Winter (2022), the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (10/17) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate to strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/18) east anomalies were modest over the KWGA extending east but far weaker to a point south of California. The forecast calls for east anomalies fading some over the KWGA 10/20-10/22, then regrouping a building some near the core of the KWGA 10/23 through the end of the model run on 10/25. There's no sign of westerly anomalies in the forecast.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/17) A neutral MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects a neutral pattern holding on day 5 of the model run, then turning weakly Active on days 10 and 15 of the model run. The dynamic model projects a weak Inactive Phase developing on day 5 of the model run and building some on day 10 of the model run holding at modest strength on day 15 of the model run over the KWGA.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/18) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak over the Maritime Continent and is forecast slowly retrograding west to the Central Indian Ocean still at exceedingly weak status over the 15 days model run. The dynamic model suggests some version of the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (10/17) A weak Active Phase (wet air) was indicated pushing over the East Pacific. The Active Phase (wet air) is to track east over the KWGA through 11/6 while a weak Inactive Phase (dry air) develops over the KWGA 10/27 then slowly pushing east reaching Central America on 11/16. A modest Active Phase (wet air) is to be moving east over the KWGA on 11/16 tracking to then Central Pacific the end of the model run on 11/26.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/17) This model depicts the Active Phase fading over the KWGA but with mostly moderate east anomalies controlling the entire KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase of the MJO moving east of the KWGA on 10/25 but east anomalies continuing to fill the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to be right behind controlling the KWGA 10/20-11/7 with east anomalies building to strong status during that window and controlling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 11/14. The Active Phase and west anomalies is to be poised over the Maritime Continent trying to enter the West Pacific at the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/18 - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day): Today a modest Active Phase of the MJO was peaking over the KWGA but with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase is to slowly push east through 10/28 with east anomalies remaining in control. A weak Inactive MJO signal is to follow 10/23-11/13 with east anomalies in control over the KWGA. The Active Phase is forecast developing 11/8-11/30 with west anomalies developing decently. The Inactive Phase is to follow over the KWGA 11/22-1/13 but neutral to weak west anomalies are to hold. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias (1 contour line) has developed on the dateline and is to hold while slowly building east to 120W on 12/25. A second contour is forecast 10/20 holding through the end of the model run. A broad single contour low pressure bias is to develop 11/4 centered over the Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 125E then steadily moving east into the KWGA on 12/10 and then reaching to 160E at the end of the model run filling 50% of the KWGA. Today a solid east anomaly pattern that has been in control of KWGA since early July is to slowly get shoved east as the Active Phase and west anomalies and the low pressure bias try to take root in the Western KWGA by Nov 7. This suggests redevelopment of La Nina for now but with it slowly tracking east and maybe nearly out of the KWGA as winter proper starts.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/18) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 180W. The 24 deg isotherm is stable at 125W. Warm water has receded west and has more or less stabilized there. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady but limited in coverage to the far West Pacific reaching east to only 170W. All sensors are down at 140W. Mostly cool anomalies were in control at -5 degs C at 125W down 75 meters filling the East and Central Pacific. No Kelvin Waves were obvious and cool water was in control at depth forming an impenetrable brick wall. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/10 indicates no warm water east of 170W with a bullet proof bubble of cold water at -5C below normal east of there (where the sensors are inoperable) extending upward to the surface and into Ecuador. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/10) Sea heights were negative over the entire equatorial Pacific at -5 cms over the East equatorial Pacific between the Galapagos to 175E and with a broad peak at -20 cms between 130W to 140W and -15 cms anomalies between 110W-155W. All positive anomalies were limited from 160E and points west of there. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern has become well developed in the West Pacific. La Nina has made a return and stronger than last year. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram La Nina is stronger than last year (-2.5 degs C) but larger in coverage, but clearly positioned more to the west.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (10/16) The latest images depict a broad stream of cool water on the equator from Ecuador tracking west and building in earnest from 120W to the dateline. Cooling was steady nearshore along Chile and Peru. A homogenous area of warm water was holding from Ecuador west just north of the equator to 140W and up along Central America into Southern Baja. Overall this indicates the return of cold water temps in the Central Equatorial Pacific indicative of La Nina. But some degree of weak warming is trying to develop in the far East Equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/16): Temps were warming hard over from Ecuador out to 110W , then cooling solidly from 130W out to 160W with a few interspersed pockets of warming in between.
Hi-res Overview: (10/16) A broad stream of cooler than normal water was aligned on the equator weakly from the Galapagos to 110W then stronger out to the dateline providing most coverage and intensity from 120W to the dateline. Cooler than normal waters were also south of that line down to 20S. Warmer than normal waters were limited to a line north of the equator up to Mexico and along the US Coast up to Pt Conception. A cool outflow remains in place pushing from California southwest to the a point over Hawaii's Big Island and building. La Nina is making a solid resurgence focused over the Central Pacific.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/18) Today's temps were steady today at -0.810 after falling to -0.910 on 10/10 and that after previously toggling steady at about -0.6 degs from mid Aug onward other than one downward spike to -0.927 on 9/2. Before that temps were toggling around neutral 6/13-8/5 except for one dip to -0.411 on 7/8. Prior to that temps peaked on 3/16 when they briefly hit +0.714 degs. The longterm trend has been steadily downward.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(10/18) Today temps were falling hard down to -0.854, the lowest in months after freefalling from the -0.175 range in Aug to -0.370 range in Sept. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/14) - Temps were rising in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, building to -0.01 degs in mid-June then fading to -0.3 degs through Aug and to -0.6 degs in mid Oct. The forecast indicates temps to continue a dramatic fall from here forward dropping down to -1.95 later in late November and holding into early Jan 2022, then pushing up to +0.00 degs in June 2022. This model suggests a return of La Nina conditions and strongly so this Fall and Winter. There is no indication that El Nino will develop. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps falling to -1.50 degs in late Nov starting to rise slowly after mid-Jan 2022. At this point that is as good a guess as any. And the model has been unwavering in this projection for months now.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Sept 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.41 degs today, and are to fade steadily to -0.80 degrees in Nov, then rising to -0.55 degs in Jan and neutral in April 2022. A solid return of La Nina is expected this Fall and Winter 2021-2022.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (10/18): The daily index was solid positive at 21.34 today, after peaking at +36.90 on 9/28, +27.75 on 9/13 and +37.86 on 7/15. The 30 day average continued it's steady rise up to +11.35 today. Before that it fell to -3.36 on 6/22, the lowest in a year. It peaked at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was climbing some +8.76, previously peaking on 9/21 at +9.80 after falling to it's lowest point in a year on 6/9 at +1.06. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative every since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99). 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'). If anything it appears more likely we are still in the cool phase of the PDO.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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