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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 12:18 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 & 4.2 - 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 10/23 thru Sun 10/29

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 #1 Fading in CA
Smaller Dateline Swell Behind


On Saturday, October 21, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 9.1 secs with windswell 4.7 ft @ 9.2 secs from 109 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 6.7 secs with windswell 4.0 ft @ 6.4 secs from 270 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 67.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.4 ft @ 8.9 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.3 secs from 242 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.5 ft @ 8.0 secs from 262 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.9 ft @ 17.1 secs from 286 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with Gulf Swell #1 fading from 8.7 ft @ 14.9 secs from 300 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 12-16 kts. Water temp 59.0 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 Saturday (10/21) in North and Central CA Gulf Swell #1 was hitting producing raw larger set waves at exposed breaks at double overhead with rare sets to 15 ft on the face but warbled and unrefined even though wind was calm. Protected breaks were 3 ft overhead and clean and closed out. At Santa Cruz waves were 3 ft overhead and clean but soft. In Southern California up north shadowed Gulf swell was producing set waves at shoulder high or so and warbled with light northwest winds in effect. In North Orange Co set waves were shoulder high and soft coming from the north and unimpressive. In San Diego surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and clean but with some warble running through it. Hawaii's North Shore was head high and clean but a little unorganized. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was getting a mix of north swell and east windswell at shoulder to head high and chopped from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (10/21) Gulf Swell #1 was still hitting California, but a bit raw and unorganized. A fraction of it as also hitting Hawaii mixing with easterly windswell. Swell from another smaller system that developed off the Northern Kuril's and tracked east Thurs-Fri (10/21) with up to 37 ft seas and is forecast to pushing through the Western Gulf Sat-Sun (10/23) with seas fading from 26 ft is in the water pushing southeast. And long term perhaps a stronger extratropical system might recurve northeast Tues-Wed (10/25) originating off Japan with seas to 56 ft over the northern dateline region. So more swell is possible. 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 some lingering southern hemi potential. The Active Phase of the MJO is having the desired effect.


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

North Pacific

On Saturday AM (10/21) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan on the 45N latitude line running zonally east eventually pushing into Washington State with winds 150 kts over a good portion of that entire distance. No marked troughs or ridges were depicted offering no clear support for gale development, though the jet was gently sagging south through the Western Gulf offering some support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours
a well defined trough is forecast developing in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Sun-Mon (10/23) being fed by 180-190 kt winds falling hard south and that trough pinching off Monday evening with it's apex 300 nmiles northwest of Hawaii. Given the quick time it will take for it to pinch off, little support for gale development is suggested. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed (10/25) that trough is to turn into a cut-off upper level low circulating north of Hawaii while the jet in the west falls to 40N pushing to the dateline with winds 160 kts forming a weak trough there offering support for gale development. At the same time a big ridge builds over the Eastern Gulf of Alaska pushing the jet up over the Alaskan Coast offering nothing but high pressure down at the surface through Thurs (10/26). A weaker pattern to follow and by Sat (10/28) the jet is to be weak and split some over the Kuril ISlands then forming a trough over the dateline being fed by a small pocket of 150 kts winds then splitting east of there offering nothing. So a weaker pattern is expected long term.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (10/21) Swell #1 was fully hitting California north of Pt Conception, but a bit raw and unrefined. (see Swell #1 below). Another gale was tracking into the Gulf having been stronger on the dateline (see Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours an extratropical system is to be of interest in the far West Pacific (see Possible Extratropical Storm below)

Dateline Gale
Another gale developed Wed PM (10/18) just off Kamchatka with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 49N 164E. On Thurs AM (10/19) the gale was just south of the Aleutians and moving towards the dateline producing a solid fetch of 40 kt west winds and seas 35 ft over a small area at 47.5N 169E targeting mainly Hawaii (323 degs HI). West fetch continued tracking east in the evening at 45 kts just west of the dateline with 35 ft seas at 47.5N 176E aimed east (326 degs HI, 303 degs NCal). On Fri AM (10/20) the gale was starting to drift southeast with northwest winds fading from 35-40 kts over a solid area and 34 ft seas at 47N 176W (328 degs HI, 300 degs NCal). In the evening fetch was pushing 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 was over the Central Gulf with 26 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.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/22) building to 5.0 ft @ 17 secs late (8.5 ft). swell peaking overnight and then fading Mon AM (10/23) from 5.3 ft @ 15 secs early (8.0 ft). Residuals early Tues (10/24) 3.9 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft) with local windswell added into the mix. Swell Direction: 323-328 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon sunset (10/23) at 3.0 ft @ 18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell building and peaking Tues AM (10/24) at 4.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.5) but shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Wed AM (10/25) from 5.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.5 ft). Swell Direction: 297-304 degrees


Possible Extratropical Storm
On Sat AM (10/21) Typhoon Lan was 650 nmiles south southwest of Tokyo Japan tracking north-northeast with winds 130 kts (150 mph). this system is to move directly over Tokyo on Sun AM (10/22) with winds 110 kts, briefly moving over land to do that, then back over the North Pacific a few hours later Sun PM with winds 90 kts and heading northeast. This system is to race northeast Mon AM (10/23) and start reorganizing as an extratropical storm in the evening with its core just off Southern Kamchatka with a broad fetch of 45 kt west winds off the Central Aleutians with seas 38 ft at 44N 160E aimed east. On Tues AM (10/24) a large fetch of 50 kt west winds are to set up just south of the Aleutians as the storm center stalls over the Western Aleutians and seas build from 40 ft at 49N 164-175E aimed east. In the evening 55 kt west winds to build in coverage approaching the dateline with 54 ft seas forecast at 49.0N 170.5E aimed east (325 degs HI, 307 degs NCal). The core of the storm is to track east over the Aleutians Wed AM (10/25) with winds fading from 45-50 kts early south of the Aleutians over the North Dateline region with seas 51 ft at 47.5N 179.5E (335 degs HI, 304 degs NCal). The storm is to dissipate in the evening with 35 kt northwest winds fading and seas dropping from 40 ft at 47N 175W (335 degs HI, 305 degs NCal). 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: Residuals on Sat AM (10/21) fading from 3.0 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 340 degrees

North CA: Swell fading Sat (10/210 down to 8.4 ft @ 14 secs (10-11 ft) early 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 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

For windswell relative to California: Starting Sunday (10/22) afternoon 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 providing the opportunity for limited building north short period windswell. Monday north winds to lift north over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena Bay at 20 kts offering windswell south of there building to 25 kts late. By Tues (10/24) the fetch is to lift north and dissipate with only residual windswell remaining early.

For windswell relative to 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 is to be developing just 300 nmiles north of Hawaii late Tues (10/24) producing a small short lived area of 35 kt north winds and holding into Wed AM (10/25) 650 nmiles northwest of Oahu possibly producing windswell.


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


Tropical Update
Typhoon Lan on Sat AM (10/21) was 650 nmiles south-southwest of Tokyo Japan with winds 130 kts (150 mph) tracking north-northeast at 16 kts with seas estimated at 41 ft. Lan is forecast to track over the eastern most tip of Japan (Tokyo) later Sun (10/22) being over land just a few hours, then proceed northeast into the open Pacific with winds down to 90 kts. Significant development is forecast as this system taps jetstream energy and builds. See Long Term forecast for details.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (10/21) a gale was tracking through the Gulf of Alaska with weak high pressure at 1024 mbs south of it ridging into North CA generating north winds at 20 kts limited mainly to the Pt Conception area with southwest winds from the low impacting Cape Mendocino at 15-20 kts. Dead air was in between. More of the same is expected Sunday AM but with north winds creeping north at 15 kts reaching from Pigeon Point southward early and 20 kt north winds reaching up to Pt Arena late. Monday (10/23) north winds at 20 kts are 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 East Gulf at 1030 mbs with north winds 20+ kts for the area from Pt Arena northward building to 30 kts late and continuing early Thurs (10/26) but light if not an eddy flow setting up for all of Central CA and up to Bodega Bay. A light flow is forecast Friday (10/27) for the state and holding into mid-Saturday.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Saturday (10/21) swell from a gale previously 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.


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 except at protected breaks.

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 except at protected breaks.


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 no swell producing fetch is forecast.

For windswell relative to California: The local gradient is to pulse again late on Wed (10/25) producing 25-30 kt north winds over North CA from Pt Arena northward holding over the same area early Thurs (10/26) offering improved windswell size. Light winds if not an eddy flow to set up for Central CA. All local fetch to dissipate after that.

For windswell relative to Hawaii: No local windswell production is forecast.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


Active MJO Holds - But La Nina Footprint Building

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 Fri (10/20) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were moderate east over the East Pacific and light easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (10/19) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the eastern KWGA. with weak west anomalies over the Western KWGA. East anomalies are to fade steadily through 10/24 with weak west anomalies forecast over the entirety of the KWGA from there forward to the end of the model run on 10/28. 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 10/20 a moderate Active/Wet MJO pattern was over the West Pacific reaching to the dateline. 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 dead neutral pattern in control of 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): (10/21) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderate in strength in the far West Pacific and forecast weakening slowly while while tracking east then collapsing over the dateline 6 days from now. The GEFS model suggests the same thing. This is good news.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/21) This model depicts a moderately strong Active/Wet pattern over the Central 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 11/25. A weak Active Phase is to develop in the West Pacific on 11/25 tracking east through the end of the model run on 11/30. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (10/21) This model has been fixed! It depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO over the KWGA and moving east with weak west west anomalies over the same area. The Active Phase is to move east and be gone from the KWGA by 11/7 with light west anomalies in play over that time period in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to develop in the KWGA on 11/10-12/11 with neutral anomalies perhaps turning very weakly east late Nov. Then the Active Phase returns weakly on 12/15 with weak west anomalies building from there into early Jan 18, 2018. The low pass filter indicates a modest El Nino signal over the extreme west KWGA and is to ease east filling it by Jan 15. The La Nina signal is over the 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. even at that 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: (10/21) 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 133W today and shallow at 50 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 -3 degs C down 100 meters at 130W 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 10/15 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: (10/15) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial Pacific with a large pocket of -10 cm anomalies present between 95W-160W with on patch to -15 cms at 143W.

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: (10/20) 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 North Peru continuing unbroken over Galapagos and flowing steadily west from there on the equator out to 130W. The cool pool continues west from there 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 (10/20): A neutral trend was along Peru. A weak cooling trend was indicated starting just off Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing west on the equator out to 160W with mixed warm and cold signals over the region.
Hi-res Overview: (10/20) 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 and 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: (10/21) Today's temps were rising slightly at -0.965, 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 (10/21) temps were falling steeply at -0.965, now cooler than a previous downward spike on 9/12 at -0.898. The long arc clearly suggests a downward trend. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/21) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.4 in early Oct to -0.9 in early Dec holding till Jan1 2018. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.2 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 (10/21): The daily index was positive at 3.35. The 30 day average was rising at 13.21. The 90 day average was steady at +7.06. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (10/21) The index was rising slightly at -1.39 (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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