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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:37 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 '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 10/16 thru Sun 10/22

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   

Swell #1 On The Way To CA
1-2 More Gales to Follow


On Thursday, October 19, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.3 ft @ 9.1 secs with windswell 5.5 ft @ 8.5 secs from 37 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 14.7 secs with southern hemi swell 2.8 ft @ 14.5 secs from 190 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 68.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.0 secs from 192 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 14.6 secs from 195 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.4 ft @ 15.1 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.8 ft @ 15.0 secs from 195 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.4 ft @ 14.7 secs with southern hemi swell #3S at 2.8 ft @ 15.2 secs from 195 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4 kts. Water temp 55.6 degs.

    46006, 46059, 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 Thursday (10/19) in North and Central CA southern hemi swell #3S was hitting producing set waves at exposed breaks at head high to 1 ft overhead and steady and clean but a bit soft. Protected breaks were getting northwest windswell at waist high or so on the sets and clean. At Santa Cruz waves were head high to maybe 1 ft overhead on the sets and clean but warbled by tide. In Southern California up north south swell was producing set waves at shoulder high and clean with no wind early but some lump running through it. In North Orange Co set waves were coming from the southern hemi at head high and clean but very slow and a bit warbled by tide. In South Orange Co set waves were chest high and clean. In San Diego surf was chest high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to waist high and a but ruffled by east-northeast trades. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at shoulder high and heavily chopped from strong east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (10/19) southern hemi Swell #3S was still hitting California, but down some from it's peak on Wednesday. Local east windswell continued producing sizeable east windswell relatively speaking over the Hawaiian Islands. Of more interest now is swell from a gale that developed over the northern dateline later Mon (10/16) with seas building from 30 ft tracking into the Gulf of Alaska on Wed (10/18) with up to 41 ft seas. Larger winter like swell is pushing towards the Pacific Northwest down into California. And another smaller system is developing off the Northern Kuril's and is to track east Thurs-Fri (10/21) with up to 37 ft seas pushing through the Western Gulf Sat-Sun (10/23) with 24-26 ft seas aimed east. More swell is likely. Down south a gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat (10/14) with 36 ft seas barely in the Southern CA swell window aimed north. That swell is pushing north. And another gale developed under under New Zealand while tracking east on Sun (10/15) with up to 40 ft seas over a small area aimed east. So there's potential both north and south. And long term perhaps a stronger extratropical system might recurve northeast Tues-Wed (10/25) originating off Japan. Things look reasonably promising for a change thanks to the MJO waking up.


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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (10/19) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan on the 40N latitude line running zonally east with winds 130 kts over the dateline, then ridging slightly over the Western Gulf before building with winds to 190 kts falling into a well defined trough in the Eastern Gulf providing great support for gale development, then moving onshore over Washington. Over the next 72 hours
the Gulf trough is to move onshore over Oregon on Fri (10/20). But back to the west the jet is to continue it's zonal flow but with winds 130-140 kts over it's entire length offering potential longer term. And by Sun (10/22) a new trough is to start building on the dateline being fed by a healthy flow of 170 kts winds offering potential for gale development, while winds over the rest of the jet hold nicely at 140-150 kts. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (10/23) the trough on the dateline is to push east some an start pinching off early Tues (10/24) with its apex just 300 nmiles northwest of Hawaii and support for gale development fading. A large ridge is to be off the US West Coast with the jet pushing up into Alaska and another more modest ridge off Japan with the jet tracking over the Aleutians near the dateline. Still winds in all the jet are to be solid in the 130-140 kts range. By Wed (10/25) all that is to settle out with the jet tracking east down on the 44N latitude line with a good pocket of 170 kts winds over the dateline easing east into Thurs (10/26). No clear troughs are forecast but just by virtue of the wind energy being present, and a strong extratropical low in the same area, there should be some support for gale development. Something to monitor.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (10/19) Swell #1 was pushing towards California, ugly, but still sizeable (see Swell #1 below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to be tracking across the Northern Dateline region bound for the Gulf of Alaska. Thurs AM (10/19) a gale was developing just east of the north Kuril's producing 45 kt west winds and seas 35 ft over a small area at 47N 169E targeting mainly Hawaii (323 degs HI). West fetch is to continue tracking east in the evening at 45 kts just west of the dateline with 37 ft seas at 47N 176E aimed east (326 degs HI, 303 degs NCal). On Fri AM (10/20) the gale is to fall southeast some with northwest winds fading from 40 kts over a solid area and 35 ft seas at 47N 176W (328 degs HI, 300 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to push southeast at 35 kts over a broad area with 31 ft seas at 45N 169W (340 degs HI, 298 degs NCal) targeting mainly the US West Coast. On Sat AM (10/21) 35 kt west fetch is to move into the Central Gulf with 27 ft seas at 45N from 160W (297 degs NCal). Fetch is to fade in the evening from 30 kts from the west in the Eastern Gulf with seas 23 ft at 45N 153W (298 degrees NCal) and dissipating. Another nice pulse of swell is possible for Hawaii and California. Something to monitor.


Gulf Gale/Swell #1
A gale started developing just south of the Aleutians near the dateline starting Mon AM (10/16) producing west winds 40-45 kts and seas building from 20 ft at 49N 170E. In the evening the gale pushed to the dateline just south of the Central Aleutians with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 30 ft at 49.5N 178.5E (332 degs HI). The fetch tracked east Tues AM (10/17) while increasing in areal coverage at 45 kts from the west positioned just south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas 36 ft over a small area at 49.5N 172.5W (342 degs HI, 307 degs NCal). In the evening the gale tracked east with winds still 45 and seas 37 ft at 48.5N 163W (357 degs HI, 304 degs NCal). The gale moved over the Central Gulf on Wed AM (10/18) with northwest winds 45 kts and 41 ft seas at 47.5N 151W (305 degrees NCal). In the evening fetch faded over the Eastern Gulf with northwest winds 45 kts and seas 38 ft at 48N 141W (314 degs NCal). The gale faded from there Thurs AM (10/19) with northwest winds 30 kts over solid area off the Pacific Northwest with seas fading from 30 ft at 48N 135W (319 degrees NCal). Of note, all the core high seas are to be shadowed relative to the SF Bay area so nearshore size will be less than anticipated and less than what the buoys will indicate.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on overnight Thurs (10/19) peaking on Fri AM (10/20) at 4.0 ft @ 15 secs (5.9 ft) and fading through the day. Residuals on Sat AM (10/21) fading from 3.0 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 340 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggest swell arrival on Fri (10/20) 2 Am with period 20 secs and size small but building, starting to peak around 8 AM as period hits 18 secs and holding solid through noon. Pure swell 10.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (19-22 ft Hawaiian) with seas to 12.9 ft @ 17 secs but shadowed in the SF Bay area (meaning much less size). Raw seas state expected too. Swell fading after that down to 8.4 ft @ 14 secs (10-11 ft) on Sat (10/21) and 7.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (9.5 ft) on Sun (10/22). Swell Direction: 304-307 degrees initially pushing towards 315 degrees later.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Fri PM (10/20) building solidly overnight and peaking Sat AM (10/21) at 5.8 ft @ 16-17 secs through the day (9.5 ft) at exposed breaks. Swell fading Sun AM (10/22) from 4.1 ft @ 14 secs (5.5-6.0 ft) early. Residuals on Mon AM (10/23) fading from 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 308-312 degrees


No windswell relative to California is forecast.

For windswell relative to Hawaii:On Thurs (10/19) high pressure was 900 nmiles north of Hawaii fetch and moving east with a building fetch of 15-20 kt east-northeast winds building up to 400 nmiles east of the Islands offering improved opportunity for windswell development. Fetch is to be fading from 15 to barely 20 kts on Fri (10/20) east of the Islands but increasing in coverage with windswell starting to fade slightly. Most fetch is to be gone by Saturday (10/21) with windswell fading from there.

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


Tropical Update
Typhoon Lan on Thurs AM (10/19) was 300 nmiles west of the Northern Philippines with winds 75 kts and drifting north. Lan is forecast to build while taking track to the north over the next 72 hours with winds to 110 kts by Fri PM/Sat AM (10/21) 600 nmiles south of the southern tip of Japan. A slight turn to the northeast is forecast after that with the core of the storm passing over the Tokyo on Mon AM with winds down to 80 kts and a turn to the northeast into the open ocean forecast. See Long Term forecast for details beyond 72 hours.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/17) a front was building off Cape Mendocino and forecast to impact the coast and sweep south with southerly winds 20 kts early then turning southwest later afternoon and south winds down to maybe San Francisco late evening. North winds 20 kts were indicated limited to Pt Conception. Friday light northwest winds are forecast at mostly 10 kts for North and Central CA but 20 kts for Pt Conception early building into nearshore waters of Southern CA. Saturday high pressure is to be ridging into North CA down to Pigeon Point with light winds for Cape Mendocino Pigeon Point but north winds building from Monterey to 20-25 kts for Pt Conception. More of the same on Sunday but with north winds creeping north with 15 kts north winds from Pigeon Point southward early and 20 kt north winds reaching up to Pt Arena late. Monday (10/23) north winds at 20 kts to be from Cape Mendocino southward to Bodega Bay and 15 kts or less south of there to Pt Conception. Tuesday (10/24) a light wind flow is forecast for the entire state with the gradient and north winds dissipated. Wednesday high pressure is to return filling the Gulf with north winds 20+ kts for the area from Pt Arena northward building to 35 kts on Thurs (10/26) but light if not an eddy flow setting up for all of Central CA and up to Bodega Bay.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (10/19) swell from a gale that tracked through the South Central Pacific was hitting California (see Central Pacific Gale/Swell #3S below). Also swell from another gale in the far Southeast Pacific was radiating north towards Southern CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). And swell from a gale that tracked under New Zealand was radiating northeast (See New Zealand Gale below).

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


Central Pacific Gale (Swell #3S)
On Sun AM (10/8) a fetch of 40 kt southwest winds were getting traction on the oceans surface southeast of New Zealand with seas building from 26 ft at 58S 171W. In the evening the gale was building some with 40-45 kt south winds taking shape and seas 32 ft at 54S 157W aimed northeast. A solid area of 45-50 kt south winds developed Mon AM (10/9) with 32 ft seas at 53S 149W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch consolidated at 45 kts from the south with a tiny core of 39 ft seas at 50S 148.5W surrounded by a decent size area of 30+ ft seas aimed north. On Tues AM (10/10) south fetch was fading from 30 kts over a decent sized area aimed north with 34 ft seas fading over a small area at 45S 146W. Fetch fading from 30 kts from the south in the evening with seas fading from 28 ft at 40S 143W. Small swell is possible for Hawaii with larger size for California. Something to monitor.

South California: Swell fading Thurs (10/19) from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees

North California: Swell fading Thurs (10/19) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees


Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat AM (10/14) a moderate sized gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific on the edge of the California swell window with 40-45 kt south winds and seas building from 27 ft over a moderate area at 58S 124W. In the evening 45-50 kt south winds were pushing north-northeast with 37 ft seas at 56S 117.5W aimed north and northeast. On Sun AM (10/15) fetch was fading fast from 35-40 kts moving northeast with seas fading from 36 ft at 51S 111W targeting mainly from South Mexico and points south of there. The gale faded while moving rapidly east from there. Very south angled swell is possible for California but better focused for Mexico southward into South America.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/21) after dark and building Sun (10/22) up to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell peaking on Mon (10/23) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (10/24) from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft) early. Swell continue down on Wed (10/25) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (10/26) from 2.1 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 177-180 degrees Much of this swell to be buried in northwest swell from the Gulf.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/21) after dark and building Sun (10/22) up to 1.9 ft @ 19 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell peaking later on Mon (10/23) at 2.1 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) at exposed breaks. Swell fading Tues (10/24) from 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) early. Swell fading Wed (10/25) from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading from there. Swell Direction: 175-178 degrees This swell is to be totally buried by stronger northwest swell originating from the Gulf.


New Zealand Gale
nother gale (actually a storm) developed under New Zealand starting on Sat PM (10/14) with 50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 54S 165E tracking due east. On Sun AM (10/15) 50-55 kt southwest winds developed tracking east over a small area with 40 ft seas building at 56S 173E. The gale was fading fast in the evening with winds dropping from 40 kts from the southwest with seas fading from 37 ft at 54S 178W. The gale is to be gone after that.

Southern California: Expect swell starting to show late Tues (10/24) building to 1 ft @ 19 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell continues Wed (10/25) at 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (10/26) at 1.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees This swell to be buried in northwest swell too.

Northern CA: Expect swell starting to show late Tues (10/24) building to 1 ft @ 19 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell continues Wed (10/25) at 1.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (10/26) at 1.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees This swell to be buried in northwest swell too.

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 suggest a developing tropical system currently off the Philippines is to build while lifting north moving over Eastern Japan on Sun-Mon (10/23) then racing northeast and tapping jetstream energy off the Kuril Islands late Monday and blooming Tues (10/24) producing west winds at 45-50 kts over a small area approaching the dateline but most wind energy is to be up in the Bering Sea. By Wed AM (10/25) a solid fetch of 55 kt west winds is to be draped south of the Central Aleutians with 49 ft seas at 50N 178W. Fetch is to be fading while tracking east in the evening with 45 kt west winds over and just south of the Eastern Aleutians and seas 49 ft at 51N 169W aimed east. Fetch fading from 35-40 kt Thurs AM (10/26) in the Northwestern Gulf with seas 38 ft at 53N 159W aimed east. None of this is believable at this time but since it has been on the charts on and off for 3 days, it's something to monitor.

For California no local windswell production is forecast until Sun (10/22) afternoon when high pressure is to ridging into Oregon producing the usual pressure gradient south of there over Central CA resulting in north winds at 20 kts over the area from Pt Arena to Pt Conception and limited building north short period windswell. Monday north winds to lift north over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena Bay at 20-25 kts offering windswell south of there. By Tues (10/24) the fetch is to lift north and dissipate with only residual windswell remaining early. But the local gradient is to pulse again late on Wed (10/25) producing 25-30 kt north winds over North CA from Bodega Bay northward building to 35 kts for the same area on Thurs (10/26) offering improved windswell size. Light winds if not an eddy flow to set up for Central CA.

For Hawaii starting Sunday (10/22) high pressure is to be ridging into North CA with east fetch at 15 kts still in play relative to Hawaii, and the fetch area starting to build and pushing up to the Islands later. Windswell to build some. More of the same on Mon and Tues (10/24) but local low pressure developing just 300 nmiles north of Hawaii late Tues (10/24). A small short lived area of 35 kt north winds are forecast associated with this low on Wed (10/25) 600 nmiles northwest of Oahu possibly producing windswell.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


Active MJO Holds - But SSTs Continue Falling

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. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (10/18) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were mixed and light over the East Pacific but light to moderate easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (10/19) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. Moderate to strong east anomalies were just east of the KWGA and affecting the eastern KWGA and are to hold at modest strength into 10/23, then with a dead neutral pattern expected by the end of the model run on 10/26. For the first time in months, it appears something that almost looks like an Active Phase of the MJO might be trying to develop with easterly anomalies expected to dissipate. For now La Nina is squashing the MJO and this situation is not conducive to storm development in the greater Pacific Basin.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 10/18 a moderate Active/Wet MJO pattern was over the far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts it holding and slightly fading through the end of the 15 day model run. The dynamic model depicts a quicker fade with a weak Inactive Phase moving into the West Pacific 15 days out. This is the first Active Phase of the MJO since March, some good news and a sign that La Nina might be weakening some.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/19) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderate to strong in strength in the far West Pacific and forecast weakening slowly while while tracking east then collapsing over the dateline 1 week from now. The GEFS model suggests the same thing. This is good news.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/19) This model depicts a moderately strong Active/Wet pattern over the West Pacific and it's to track east over the equatorial Pacific and into Central America 11/3. After that a solid Inactive Phase is to follow in the West on 11/3 tracking east into Central America through 11/23. Another solid Active Phase is to develop in the West Pacific on 11/23 tracking east through the end of the model run on 11/28. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (10/19) This model has been fixed! It depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO building over the KWGA moving east with mixed east and west anomalies over the same area. The Active Phase is to move east and be gone from the KWGA by 11/5 with mixed east and west anomalies in play over that time period in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to develop in the KWGA on 11/5-12/8 with weak west anomalies over the dateline and east anomalies over the Philippines. Then the Active Phase returns weakly on 12/15 with weak west anomalies building from there into early Jan 16 2018. The low pass filter indicates a modest El Nino signal over the west KWGA and is to ease east filling it by Jan 15. The La Nina signal is over the far East KWGA near the dateline and is to move into the East Pacific and no longer in the KWGA by late Dec. Interesting. If this is true, it suggests the underpinnings of La Nina that is developing in the Pacific are weak and fading and are to be gone by late December. Assuming it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond, this winter is lost to La Nina with no significant change expected until likely early April 2018. It will take about 5+ years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/19) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps have fallen to barely 29 degs centered at 160E and shrinking in coverage. The 28 deg isotherm line is barely hanging on at 175W. The 24 deg isotherm is weak at 126W today and shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to weakly negative temperatures at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 125 meters at 140W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +0.5 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool at 170W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/10 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific and erupting to the surface in pockets between 100W to 160W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/10) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial Pacific with a large pocket of -10 cm anomalies present between 110W-160W but a bit more fragmented and showing signs of weakness compared to weeks earlier.

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: (10/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed. Upwelling continues along Peru and Ecuador (though slightly weaker than the past few weeks) and tracking northwest building in density over the Galapagos and flowing steadily west from there on the equator out to 125W then building in coverage but less cold out to 160W. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/18): A neutral trend was along Peru. But a marked cooling trend was indicated starting just off Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing west on the equator out to 120W. A less strong cool trend was indicated with mixed warm and cold out to 160W. The marked cooling is likely due to the eruption of the subsurface cool pool. Another pulse of La Nina is occurring.
Hi-res Overview: (10/18) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru and building in coverage, then turning northwest off Ecuador tracking west over the Galapagos then building out to 140W and stronger than days past. Weak cool anomalies continued west from there out to 165E. This pattern outlines the South Pacific high pressure system well which is assumed to be stronger than normal. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. Otherwise waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/19) Today's temps were rising slightly at -1.135, up from the coldest point so far this La Nina when they dipped to -1.9 degs on 10/11.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (10/19) temps were falling steeply at -0.865, and just barely above where they bottomed out on 9/12 at -0.898. The long arc still suggests a clear downward trend.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/19) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.2 in early Oct to -0.95 in early Dec holding till Jan1 2018. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.3 in April and 0.0 degs in July 2018. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (10/13) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume updated (9/19) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.4 degs in Sept, and fading to -0.6 degs in Nov, slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link.  The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.75 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is the outlier, colder than all other models. Still, given all the oceanic signals, we a tending to side with it more than the other models.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (10/19): The daily index was positive at 9.80. The 30 day average was rising at 12.48. The 90 day average was steady at +7.15. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (10/19) The index was rising slightly at -1.63 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17 but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16. We're gone deeper than that already. So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO discounting the recent La Nina dip. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32. No 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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