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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2019 3:48 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
2.0 - 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 10/21 thru Sun 10/27

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 Swell Fading in CA
One Last Southern Hemi Swell Arriving

On Sunday, October 20, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai) Seas were 3.4 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 15.0 secs from 186 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 12.4 secs from 343 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 6.4 secs from 271 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 8 kts. Water temperature 66.0 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.5 ft @ 13.7 secs from 310 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 19.1 secs from 223 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 19.3 secs from 200 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 19.1 secs from 221 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.8 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 307 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 14-18 kts. Water temp 51.8 degs (013) and 57.2 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 Sunday (10/20) in North and Central CA the last of 3 Gulf swells was hitting with waves 2-3 ft overhead and lined up and organized but with a bit of wind bump intermixed but with clean surface conditions and a little on the soft side. But hey, there's surf. Protected breaks were head high to 1-2 ft overhead and super lined up if not closed out with clean conditions. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and lined up and clean but a bit on the soft side and real foggy early. In Southern California/Ventura surf was chest high and lined up and soft with some light surface texture and mushed early. In North Orange Co waves were waist to chest high and soft and clean coming from the north. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had set waves at waist to maybe chest high and clean and lined up but inconsistent. North San Diego had surf at chest high on the sets and clean and and lined up if not closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting chest high sets and clean coming from the north and lined up and somewhat rideable at top spots. The South Shore was flat to barely rideable with sets thigh high and clean and soft. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist to maybe chest high and chopped early from moderate east-southeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (10/20) in California swell was still hitting from a series of gales that developed in the Northwestern Gulf with the second of three falling southeast Tues-Wed (10/16) with up to 34 ft seas pushing towards the US West Coast and the final in the series developing Thurs (10/17) just off the Pacific Northwest with 29 ft seas aimed east. A small portion of sideband energy from these systems was also hitting Hawaii's North Shore. Down south small southern hemi swell was hitting California from a gale that developed in the Central South Pacific on Fri-Sat (10/12) with up to 42 ft seas aimed east-northeast. Beyond a weak and poor organized gale is to try and develop while tracking from Japan to the Western Gulf Sun-Tues (10/22) initially producing 43 ft seas aimed east then redeveloping over the same area producing 39 ft seas aimed southeast at Hawaii. So there's now some hope for the North Pacific. and 18-20 ft seas targeting mainly Hawaii. The South Pacific looks to be asleep for the Winter with no swell producing weather systems forecast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Sunday (10/20) the jetstream was consolidated pushing off North Japan with winds 140 kts and ridging gently northeast then falling into a very weak and gentle trough over the North Dateline region offering some weak support mainly for low pressure development then ridging firmly north over the Gulf of Alaska with winds building to 160 kts before pushing into Washington state supporting only high pressure over the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours some version of that weak trough is to persist over the Northern dateline region moving slowly to the far Northwestern Gulf of Alaska through Wed Fri (10/23) being fed by 130-140 kts winds offering some support for gale development. At the same time weak ridges are to hold in the core of the Gulf and off Japan. Beyond 72 hours a small but more organized trough is to start developing just east of Kamchatka pushing firmly east on Thurs (10/24) being fed by 160-170 kts winds pushing to the North Dateline region by Fri (10/25) offering good support for gale development. But by Sat (10/26) the trough is to start pinching off and becoming weaker and very pinch by Sun (10/27) offering no support for gale development. At that time a strong ridge is to be in control of the Gulf of Alaska with a backdoor trough just inland over North CA likely supporting some sort of windswell event for CA then. Back to the west the jet is to remain fairly decent streaming off Japan with 120-130 kts winds. It's actually kind of amazing anything positive is to occur in the North Pacific jet given the strength of the Inactive MJO starting to develop over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (10/17) swell from gale energy previously in the Gulf of Alaska was still hitting the US West Coast (see Final Gulf Pulse below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Sun PM (10/20) a weak gale is to develop off North Japan producing 35 kt northwest winds and seas building to 20 ft over a tiny area at 40N 156E aimed east at Hawaii but a long way away from there. On Mon AM (10/21) the gale is to track southeast with 30 kt northwest winds and seas still 20 ft over a tiny area at 37N 162E aimed southeast. In the evening the gale is to be tracking east fast over the dateline with 30-35 kt northwest winds and that fetch loosing traction given the gale fast forward speed with 18 ft seas in a tiny pocket at 38N 177E aimed southeast. On Tues AM (10/22) the gale is to racing northeast towards the Northern Gulf of Alaska producing 30 kt north winds aimed south at Hawaii with 18 ft seas at 41N 170W aimed somewhat at Hawaii. After that the gael is to be racing north with no fetch aimed anywhere but at Alaska. Perhaps some weak and tiny swell to result for Hawaii with luck.


Final Gulf Pulse
On Thurs AM (10/17) one more pulse of wind energy was pushing through the Eastern Gulf at 40 kts from the northwest and seas building to 27 ft off Vancouver Island at 50N 141W (319 degs NCal). In the evening 30-35 kt west winds are to be pushing east through the Eastern Gulf with 29 ft seas at 50N 132W aimed east and east of the NCal swell window and 24 ft seas back at 50N 152W (319 degs NCal) with the core of the gale pushing into North Vancouver Island.  

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/19) at 1 AM with period 16 secs and size building, peaking just before sunrise as period hits 15 secs with pure swell 7 ft @ 15 secs (10.5 ft but shadowed in the SF Bay Area). Size hold through the day. residuals fading on Sun (10/20) from 5.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.5 ft). Residual swell fading Mon (10/21) from 4.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft) Swell Direction: 319 degrees


Windswell Outlook
On Sun (10/20) for California north winds are to be 20-25 kts for all of Central CA over outer waters and 15 kts up to Pt Arena offering windswell production mainly for Southern Central CA. For Hawaii east fetch is to hold at 15 kts up to 1500 nmiles east of the Islands producing windswell impacting the Hawaiian Islands. On Monday (10/21) north winds are to be 20 kts just off all of North and Central CA early becoming more focused on North CA later building to 25 kts producing small windswell for all of North and Central CA. Easterly fetch is to be holding between 300-1800 nmiles east of Hawaii at 15+ kts producing more easterly windswell radiating towards the Islands. On Tues (10/22) north winds are to be 20-25 kts off of North CA producing windswell pushing south into Central CA. For Hawaii east fetch is to be holding at 15 kts up to 1200 nmiles east of the Islands offering continued support for windswell production along exposed east facing shores. On Wed (10/23) north winds to continue at 20-25 kts over North CA and off the Central CA coast producing more modest to moderate north windswell radiating down into exposed breaks in Central CA. For Hawaii east fetch is to be fading from 15 kts in patches up to 900 nmiles east of the Islands with windswell production potential fading some.


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


Tropical Update
On Sun AM (10/20) Typhoon Bualoi was developing 1400 nmiles south-southeast of Tokyo Japan or 250 nmiles east of Guam with 70 kt winds tracking northwest. Slow steady strengthening is forecast while Bualoi continues on this northwesterly track into Wed (10/23) with winds building to 115 kts (132 mph) then turning and accelerating to the northeast. Bualoi is to be 300 nmiles east of Tokyo Japan on Fri AM (10/25) with winds 95 kts (109 mph) tracking north-northeast. The GFS model suggest some possible redevelopment after this system turns extratropical if not fully cold core on Sun (10/27) (see Long Term Forecast below).

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (10/20) high pressure and north winds to be building at 15-20 kts for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA but light for Cape Mendocino. Mon (10/21) north winds are forecast at 20 kts for North CA early and 10 kts for Central CA and mainly off the coast there building to 20-25 kts for North CA later and 10-15 kts later for Central CA. Tues (10/22) north winds are forecast at 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but 10 kts from Bodega Bay southward. Wednesday (10/23) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA and building some later but 10 kts or less for Central CA. Thurs (10/24) north winds are forecast at 25+ kts for Cape Mendocino but calm south of Pt Arena to Pt Conception. Friday (10/25) calm winds are forecast for all of California. Sat (10/26) north winds are forecast at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino with north winds at 15 kts reaching south to Bodega Bay but with light north winds south of there. Sun (10/27) north winds to hold at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino but with light winds from Bodega Bay southward. No precipitation forecast over the entire period with high pressure in control.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
Swell from a gale that developed over the South Central Pacific is to start hitting CA (see South Central Pacific Gale below).  

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.


South Central Pacific Gale
A gale developed just north of the Ross Ice Shelf on Fri AM (10/11) producing 45 kt west winds and seas building to 29 ft at 60.5S 17W aimed east. In the evening fetch built to 45-50 kts over a solid area streaming north off the Ross Ice Shelf with seas building to 40 ft at 59.5S 162W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (10/12) southwest winds were 45 kts aimed northeast with seas building to 42 ft over a moderate sized area at 58.5S 149W aimed northeast. Fetch to fade at 30-35 kts in the evening aimed northeast with 35 ft seas fading at 58S 141.5W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (10/13) southwest fetch to fade to 30-35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 57.5S 135.5W aimed northeast.

South California: Swell building on Sun (10/20) at 2.0 ft @ 18-19 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell holds on Mon (10/21) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (10/22) from 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (10/23) from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). A little bit to linger on Thurs (10/24) fading from 1.9 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (10/25) fading from 1.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

North California: Swell building on Sun (10/20) at 1.6 ft @ 18-19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell builds on Mon (10/21) to 1.7 ft @ 17 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (10/22) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (10/23) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). A little bit to linger on Thurs (10/24) fading from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Dribbles on Fri (10/25) fading from 1.5 ft @ 13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 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 are teasing concerning a stronger gale if not a storm developing over the North dateline region on Thurs AM (10/24) with 50+ kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft over a tiny area at 45N 171E aimed east. In the evening west winds are forecast at 45-50 kts with seas building to 43 ft over a small area aimed east at 47.5N 1178E. On Fri AM (10/25) fetch is to be wrapping around down into the gales west quadrant aimed south at 50 kts and clear of the Central Aleutians with 35 ft seas building at 48N 175E aimed south at Hawaii. In the evening a solid area of 40-45 kt northwest winds are to be in place over the North dateline aimed south with 38 ft seas at 46N 179.5E targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast well. North fetch is to be fading on Sat AM (10/26) from 35-40 kts with 28-30 ft seas at 43N 178W aimed southeast targeting Hawaii well. Something to monitor.

Residual energy from this gale to continue tracking east into the Western Gulf into Sat PM (10/26).

And theoretically another gale is to be developing off the North Kurils on Sun (10/27) from the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Bualoi with 45 kt west winds building aimed east. Maybe Fall is going to start in earnest.

Windswell Outlook
On Thurs (10/24) north winds are forecast at 25+ kts over Cape Mendocino mainly early producing north windswell radiating south into Central CA. No east fetch of interest and no windswell is expected for Hawaii. On Fri (10/25) no windswell producing fetch is forecast. On Sat (10/26) high pressure is to be building hard in the Northeastern Gulf with north winds 30-35 kts over Cape Mendocino producing windswell radiating south into exposed breaks in Central CA. No windswell indicated for Hawaii. On Sun (10/27) north winds to persist over Cape Mendocino at 30-35 kts with windswell radiating south. No change for Hawaii.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Warming Pattern Collapses Over East Equatorial Pacific

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: A double dip La Nina was in control 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 over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was 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. El Nino was dead.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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 is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (10/19) 5 day average winds were moderately from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific shrinking in coverage but still present over the Central Pacific then continuing weakly east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral to light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific turning neutral over the Central Pacific and then neutral to weak westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/20) easterly anomalies were maxed out over the KWGA today and filling it. The forecast is for east anomalies to hold in coverage filling the KWGA through the end of the model run a week out on 10/27 and reaching a point south of California on 10/23 holding through the end of the model run. There is no sign of west anomalies anywhere for the next 7 days. A strong pulse of the Inactive Phase of the MJO is underway. And strong east anomalies are to remain locked in the Indian Ocean at 70-80E.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/19) A strong Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to hold through day 5 then dissipate by day 10 and and with a weak Active Phase starting to build in the far West at day 15. The dynamic model indicates the Inactive Phase strong through day 5 then moderating on day 10 and very weak at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/20) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the East Indian Ocean and is to migrate to the Maritime Continent and at very weak strength at that time. The GEFS model remains on board suggesting the exact same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (10/20) This model depicts a modest Inactive MJO was over the West Pacific today and is to slowly fade while tracking east pushing into Central America on 11/4 while a moderate Active Phase starts building in the West Pacific. This Active Phase is to ease east pushing into Central America at the end of the model run on 11/29. At that time a new moderate Inactive Phase is to be moving east into the West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/19) This model depicts modest east anomalies filling the KWGA today and they are forecast to hold through 10/26 driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO. On 10/27 west anomalies are to start building in the core of the KWGA and are forecast slowly building in coverage filling the KWGA by 11/9 and holding through the end of the model run on 11/16. Extremely strong east anomalies are filling the Indian Ocean today centered at 80E and are to remain unchanged through the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/17) This model depicts a moderate Inactive MJO pattern filling the KWGA today with weak east anomalies also filling the KWGA. The forecast has east anomalies holding through 10/24 then fading, with weak west anomalies starting to build on 10/26 and increasing in coverage and Inactive Phase fades on 11/5. The Active Phase is to begin on 11/10 lasting through 11/29 with solid west anomalies in the heart of the KWGA. A weak Inactive MJO signal is to develop 11/27 fading to neutral on 12/16 with a weak MJO pattern after that and modest west anomalies forecast in the KWGA through the remainder of the model run. Of note: Strong east anomalies are in the core of the Indian Ocean today at 80E and are to hold solid through 12/12 then slow weakening but still present at the end of the model run with it's leading edge perhaps easing east to 150E at the end of the model run moving into the KWGA. The low pass filter changed on 7/25 and is holding today with a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California. A third contour line is to develop on 12/1 while a high pressure bias builds in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22 holding through the end of the model run. This model indicates that a weak El Nino like pattern is to possibly rebuild. That is not believable given the subsurface and surface water temperature anomaly pattern over the equatorial Pacific. But it is still a bit early to declare that an outright impossibility. 

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/20) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs over a steady area reaching east to 177E while the 29 deg isotherm was easing east to 167W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 153W today. The 24 deg isotherm moved east today from 120W to 105W. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific with pockets at +2 degs near 160 meters down on the dateline with a +2 deg pocket centered at 120W indicative of Kelvin Wave #5 on the move to the east. Neutral anomalies were all but gone off Ecuador, being replaced by warming water moving in from the west. The collapse of a previous cool pool in the East Pacific is a significant positive development. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/15 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 has formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 160E under the Dateline east to 105W with temps +2-3 degs over the whole area with cool anomalies from 105W into Ecuador drawing up from depth to the surface and being forced east by the Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/15) A broad area of positive anomalies were centered on the dateline pushing west from 150E reaching east to near 110W at +5 cms. Negative anomalies were fading fast but still present local around the Galapagos and backtracking to the east compared to days and week previous.

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: (10/19) The latest images ( 1.2 3.4 ) indicate cool anomalies were steady along Peru and Ecuador and holding up to the Galapagos out to 100W. Warm water was fading in pockets 1 deg north of the equator from the Galapagos west to 115W and stronger west of there. Weak cool anomalies were north and south of the equator from Ecuador to 105W other than some pocket of weak warming on the equator. There has been a steady evaporation of El Nino in the East equatorial Pacific south of the equator this summer and that pattern continues today. A previous warming spurt the last 2 weeks appears to be fading out.  
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/19): Today modest warming continues to occur between Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 130W. But now pockets of cooling are appearing over that same area. And solid warming previously off Peru and Chile is fading. The short term trend is now towards at best weak warming.
Hi-res Overview: (10/19) A weak La Nina like cool pool is holding mainly south of the equator off Peru reaching north almost to the equator and west of there out to 125W. Otherwise gentle warming is pushing west on the equator, strongest from 105W and point west of there. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator from the remnants of El Nino, and all gone south of the equator. El Nino appears to be in retreat but La Nina does not appear to be building.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/20) Today's temps were peaking today at -0.341 after dropping to -1.921 degs on 10/10, that after falling to -1.8 degs on 9/15, then up to +0.030 on 10/2. Temps have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(10/20) Temps were steady today after falling slightly at +0.203 degs after previously bottoming out on 8/28 at -0.510 degs and 9/15 at -0.60 degs. The trend has been generally downward since mid-June.

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 (10/16) The model indicates a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then rising to +0.25 degs in mid-Oct. The forecast has temps rising reaching +0.5 degs by Oct 31 and then forecast to toggle between the +0.3 to +0.5 deg range through May 2020, then fading to neutral in early June and diving to -0.2 degs in July. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the mid-term, possibly turning cooler after that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Aug 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.30 degs in August, and are to hold in the +0.50 range into Dec/Jan, then fading slightly to +0.45 in May/April 2020. 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) (10/20): The daily index was positive today at 11.21. The 30 day average was negative but rising hard at -3.96. The 90 day average was rising at -6.16, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Sept +1.13, August +0.64, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. 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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