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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Friday, October 22, 2021 9:16 AM
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
4.0 - 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 10/18 thru Sun 10/24

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

Storm Pattern Building in Gulf
Rain and Snow Forecast for CA


On Thursday, October 21, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt) : Seas were 3.8 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 258 degrees. Water temp 79.2 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 79.3 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 12.6 secs from 334 degrees. Water temp 78.6 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 10.6 secs from 269 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 4 kts. Water temperature 62.2 degs, 60.4 (Topanga 103), 59.9 degs (Long Beach 215), 64.8 (Del Mar 153), 66.2 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.9 ft @ 14.3 secs from 292 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 11.8 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.2 secs from 257 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 3.4 ft @ 12.2 secs from 274 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.7 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 8.0 ft @ 13.4 secs from 299 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was south-southeast at 16-21 kts. Water temp 57.0 (Pt Reyes 029), 55.4 (46026), 56.5 degs (SF Bar 142), and 57.2 (Santa Cruz 254).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

Current Conditions
On Thursday (10/21) North and Central CA had waves at 3-4 ft overhead and somewhat lined up but pretty destroyed from south wind and intermixed warble boarding on chop. Protected breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up if not closed out but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and fairly glassy and somewhat lined up but warbled and uneven. In Southern California/Ventura waves were 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean with decent form but a little uneven. Central Orange County had sets in the chest to shoulder high range and clean and lined up but soft. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at chest high and lined up with some texture on it but rideable. North San Diego had surf in the chest high range and lined up and clean with just some light texture on it. Hawaii's North Shore was getting swell with waves 1 ft overhead and lined up and a little closed out with a little northeast warble running through it. The South Shore still had some sets at waist to chest high and clean but inconsistent. The East Shore was getting north wrap around swell with waves shoulder high and a little warbled from light northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (10/21) swell was hitting Hawaii and California from a decently interesting system that developed over the North Dateline region tracking into the Northwestern Gulf Sun-Mon (10/18) with 23 ft seas then faded in the Central Gulf on Tues (10/19) with seas 19 ft targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. A stronger system developed Wed-Thurs (10/21) with 28-30 ft seas off North CA. And a stronger one is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf on Fri-Sat (10/23) with up to 39 ft seas initially aimed southeast, fading then redeveloping off North CA on Sun (10/24) with 45 ft seas aimed southeast driven by an atmospheric river (i.e. jetstream) pushing into Central CA. Large raw swell along with much weather is possible. A smaller system is to follow over the Northwestern Gulf Mon-Tues (10/26) with 26 ft seas over a small area aimed east. A bit of a break to follow but another wave of storm energy looks likely beyond. Fall if not Winter is here!

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (10/21) the jet was pushing firmly off Japan ridging gently northeast tracking north to a point just south of the Central Aleutians with winds building to 170 kts then falling hard into a steep trough over the Eastern Gulf being fed by 160 kts winds offering great support for gale development. The jet was ridging hard north from there pushing into Vancouver Island for the moment. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push into North CA on Fri (10/22) producing much weather there while winds start building again in the jet just west of the dateline to 190 kts and the ridge over the dateline holding. By Sat (10/23) 180 kts winds are to be pushing over the ridge and starting to fall into the Gulf of Alaska carving out a new and stronger trough there building to 190 kts early on Sun (10/24) fueling development of another solid trough off the North CA coast then pushing fully inland early Mon (10/25) reaching south to Santa Barbara County. Much weather seems possible for California. Beyond 72 hours a weaker jetstream pattern is forecast with a slight ridge forecast developing off California while a weaker trough builds over the Northwestern Gulf Wed (10/27) being fed by 150 kts winds offering some support for gale development pushing east into Thurs (10/28). At that time winds are to start building in the jet in a developing ridge over the Western Pacific to 170 kts potentially spilling into the Gulf beyond. Maybe another round of weather to result.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (10/21) swell from a gale previously in the Northwestern Gulf was hitting California (see Northwestern Gulf below). Swell from another stronger gale was pushing weakly towards Hawaii and better towards California (see Central Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Fri AM (10/22) a gale is to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf tracking southeast with 55 kt west winds and seas 34 ft at 53N 163W just off the east most Aleutians. The gale is to slowly move east in the evening with 45 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 53N 156.5W aimed east-southeast. On Sat AM (10/23) fetch is to be falling into a developing trough in the Central Gulf at 30-35 kts from the northwest with seas 28 ft at 52.5N 152.5W aimed east-southeast from the original fetch. In the evening fetch is to be building from 40-45 kts filling the Central Gulf with seas building from 24 ft over a large swath with its leading edge at 41N 146W aimed southeast. The gale is to build to storm status Sun AM (10/24) off South Oregon with 55kt west winds and seas 41 ft at 43.5N 136W aimed southeast. Winds to be fading in the evening from 45+ kts over a solid area off Oregon and North CA with seas 42 ft at 42.8N 132.5W aimed southeast. Larger raw swell to possibly result for North CA (308-313 degs) down into Central CA and up into Oregon. Will monitor


Central Gulf Gale
On Wed AM (10/20) another gale was building over the Western Gulf producing a broad fetch of northwest winds at 30-35 kts with seas building. In the evening the gale is to be winding up in the Central Gulf with northwest winds 35-40 kts and seas building to 23 ft over a solid area at 42N 147.75W aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (10/12) the gale was lifting northeast off Oregon producing a solid fetch of northwest winds at 40-45 kts with 31 ft seas at 41.5N 138W. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with 45 kt northwest winds just off Washington producing 26 ft seas at 47N 135W aimed southeast and moving north of the CA swell window. The gale is to be fading Fri AM (10/22) just off Central Canada with 35 kts west winds and seas fading from 23 ft up at 48N 130W aimed southeast but out of the NCal swell window. Swell is in the water.

Hawaii: Expect small sideband swell arriving later on Fri (10/22) building to 4.5 ft @ 11 secs later (5.0 ft). Swell builds on Sat (10/23) to 5.1 ft @ 13 secs mid-AM (6.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (10/24) 3.1 ft @ 10-11 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 355 degrees moving to 10 degrees

North CA: Swell building on Fri (10/22) to 9.8 ft @ 14-15 secs later (14 ft). Swell fading on Sat (10/23) from 8.4 ft @ 13-14 secs early (11 ft). residuals on Sun (10/24) fading from 5.5 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees


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

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

North CA: Swell fading on Thurs (10/21) from 6.2 ft @ 13 secs early (8.0 ft) possibly being overrun by new swell behind. Swell Direction: 275 degrees


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


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

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Fri (10/22) A front is to be dissipating over the Golden Gate with south winds 15 kts from Monterey Bay north to Cape Mendocino and south winds 5-10 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon a light west flow is forecast at 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA. Rain heavy from the Golden Gate northward and light rain down to Monterey Bay early pushing south while fading reaching Morro Bay late afternoon and clearing to the north. Snow for Tahoe down to Yosemite/Mammoth mid-day.
  • Sat (10/23) another front is to be queued up with south winds 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early and light northwest winds south of there. In the afternoon the front is to push south to the Golden Gate with south to southwest winds 15 kts for most of North CA down to San Francisco and northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA. Rain again developing pushing south to the Golden Gate in the afternoon and then to Big Sur overnight. Snow for the highest elevations of Tahoe late afternoon.
  • Sun (10/24) a strong front is to be building along the coast early with south winds 20-30 kts early for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA turning southwest for North CA at 15-25 kts later and southwest 20-25 kts for Central CA. Steady rain early for North and Central CA and decent snow developing for Tahoe early. Heavy rain for all of North and Central CA late morning into the afternoon fading some in the evening with strong snowfall for the entire Sierra starting 10 AM on through the day and evening.
  • Mon (10/25) west to southwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA and southwest winds 15 kts down into Southern CA early. In the afternoon west to southwest winds are forecast at 15 kts for North CA and northwest winds 5 kts for Central CA with light northwest winds for Southern CA. Steady moderate rain for the entire state through the day including Southern CAy. Heavy snowfall for the entire Sierra fading some late afternoon.
  • Tues (10/26) Another mini-front is forecast off North CA producing south winds 15-20 kts for North CA early building to 20+ kts mid-AM and northwest winds 5 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon southwest winds are forecast for North Ca at 15 kts and northwest winds 5-10 kts for Central CA. Rain building south to the Golden Gate through the day.
  • Wed (10/27) light winds are forecast for North and Central CA early but northwest 15 kts for Pt Conception. This pattern to hold all day. Light rain fading early for North CA.
  • Thurs (10/28) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA early and 15 kts for the southern half of Central CA early and holding all day. Light rain for Cape Mendocino later.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 60, 62, 48, and 78 inches respectively.

Freezing level 10,000 ft today (10/21) falling to 7,000 ft on 10/22 holding but peaking at 10,000 ft briefly early 10/24 before falling to 5,000 ft on 10/25, then rising steadily to 10,000 ft on 10/27 and up to 12,5000 ft on 10/27 holding through 10/28. Freezing level falling to 9,000 ft on 10/29.


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

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thurs (10/21) no swell was in the water or tracking north from the South Pacific.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale was forecast tracking through the Western Gulf Mon-Wed (10/27) with seas in the 25 ft range. But with the 12Z run of the model this AM (Thurs 10/21) that gale has vaporized.

That said, the jetstream looks poised to rebuild over the dateline falling southeast into the Gulf on (10/29) perhaps setting up another storm event. But that is a total guess.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


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

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

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

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (10/20) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light west over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and light east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/21) east anomalies were modest over the KWGA but extending no further east. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding mostly filling the KWGA 10/22-10/25, then building in coverage over the KWGA 10/26 through the end of the model run on 10/28 at moderate strength. There's no sign of westerly anomalies in the forecast.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/20) A neutral MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistic model projects a neutral pattern holding on days 5-15 of the model run. The dynamic model projects a weak Inactive Phase developing on day 5 of the model run and building some through day 10 of the model run, then fading to weak strength on day 15 of the model run over the KWGA.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak over the Indian Ocean and is forecast holding unchanged over the 15 days model run. The dynamic model suggests some version of the same thing but with the Active Phase moving to Africa at the end of the model run.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (10/20) A weak Active Phase (wet air) was indicated over the KWGA with the Inactive Phase (dry air) over the East equatorial Pacific. The Active Phase (wet air) is to track east over the KWGA through 11/4 and into the Central America on 11/16. A modest Inactive Phase (dry air) develops over the KWGA 11/4 then slowly pushing east reaching Central America at the end of the model run on 11/29. A neutral pattern is to be over the KWGA at that time.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/20) This model depicts the Active Phase fading over the KWGA but with mostly modest east anomalies controlling the entire KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase of the MJO moving east of the KWGA on 10/25 but east anomalies continuing to fill the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to be right behind controlling the KWGA 10/27-11/10 with east anomalies building to strong status during that window and controlling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 11/17. The Active Phase and west anomalies is to be poised over the Maritime Continent trying to enter the West Pacific at the end of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/21 - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day): Today a modest Active Phase of the MJO was past its peak over the KWGA but with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active Phase is to slowly push east through 10/29 with east anomalies remaining in control. A modest Inactive MJO signal is to follow 10/24-11/15 with east anomalies in control over the KWGA. The Active Phase is forecast developing 11/8-12/10 with west anomalies developing decently and filling the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to follow over the KWGA 12/2 through the end of the model run on 1/18 but with neutral to weak west anomalies holding. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias (1 contour line) is centered over the dateline and is to hold while slowly building east to 120W on 12/25. A second contour is forecast 10/29 holding through 12/15. A broad single contour low pressure bias is to develop 11/6 centered over the Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 125E then steadily moving east into the KWGA on 12/10 and then reaching to 160E at the end of the model run filling 50% of the KWGA. Today a solid east anomaly pattern that has been in control of KWGA since early July is to slowly get shoved east as the Active Phase and west anomalies and the low pressure bias try to take root in the Western KWGA by Nov 14. This suggests redevelopment of La Nina for now but with it slowly tracking east and maybe nearly out of the KWGA as winter proper starts.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/21) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 179E. The 24 deg isotherm is stable at 125W. Warm water has receded west and has more or less stabilized there. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady but limited in coverage to the far West Pacific reaching east to only 170W. All sensors are down at 140W. Cool anomalies were in control at -5 degs C at 125W down 75 meters filling the East and Central Pacific. No Kelvin Waves were obvious and cool water was in control at depth forming an impenetrable brick wall. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/10 indicates no warm water east of 170W with a bullet proof bubble of cold water at -5C below normal east of there (where the sensors are inoperable) extending upward to the surface and into Ecuador. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/15) Sea heights were negative over the entire equatorial Pacific at -5 cms over the East equatorial Pacific between the Galapagos to 175E and with a small peak at -25 cms at 130W with broad area at -20 cms between 130W to 140W and -15 cms anomalies between 110W-155W. All positive anomalies were limited from 160E and points west of there. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern has become well developed in the West Pacific. La Nina has made a return and stronger than last year. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram La Nina is stronger than last year (-2.5 degs C) but larger in coverage, but clearly positioned more to the west.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (10/20) The latest images depict a broad stream of cool water on the equator from Ecuador tracking west and building in earnest from 120W to the dateline. Cooling was steady nearshore along Chile and Peru. A homogenous area of warm water was holding from Ecuador west just north of the equator to 140W and up along Central America into Southern Baja. Overall this indicates the return of cold water temps in the Central Equatorial Pacific indicative of La Nina. But some degree of weak warming is trying to develop in the far East Equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/20): Temps were mixed with equal cooling and warming from 105W to 160W.
Hi-res Overview: (10/20) A broad stream of cooler than normal water was aligned on the equator weakly from the Galapagos to 110W then stronger out to the dateline providing most coverage and intensity from 115W to the dateline. Cooler than normal waters were also south of that line down to 20S. Warmer than normal waters were limited to a line north of the equator up to Mexico and along the US Coast up to Pt Conception. A cool outflow remains in place pushing from California southwest to the a point over Hawaii's Big Island and building. La Nina is making a solid resurgence focused over the Central Pacific.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/21) Today's temps were steady today at -0.859 after falling to -0.910 on 10/10 and that after previously toggling steady at about -0.6 degs from mid Aug onward other than one downward spike to -0.927 on 9/2. Before that temps were toggling around neutral 6/13-8/5 except for one dip to -0.411 on 7/8. Prior to that temps peaked on 3/16 when they briefly hit +0.714 degs. The longterm trend has been steadily downward.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(10/21) Today temps were steady at -0.827 after falling to -0.854 on 10/18, the lowest in months after freefalling from the -0.175 range in Aug to -0.370 range in Sept. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/21) - Temps were rising in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, building to -0.01 degs in mid-June then fading to -0.3 degs through Aug and to -0.6 degs in mid Oct. The forecast indicates temps to continue a dramatic fall from here forward dropping down to -2.00 later in November and holding into early Jan 2022, then pushing up to +0.00 degs in June 2022. This model suggests a return of La Nina conditions and strongly so this Fall and Winter. There is no indication that El Nino will develop. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps falling to -1.55 degs in late Nov starting to rise slowly after mid-Jan 2022. At this point that is as good a guess as any. And the model has been unwavering in this projection for months now.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.90 degs today, and are to fade to -0.91 degrees in Nov, then rising to -0.46 degs in Feb and neutral in April 2022. A solid return of La Nina is expected this Fall and early Winter 2021-2022.
See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (10/21): The daily index was positive at 12.18 today, after peaking at +36.90 on 9/28, +27.75 on 9/13 and +37.86 on 7/15. The 30 day average continued it's steady rise up to +11.38 today. Before that it fell to -3.36 on 6/22, the lowest in a year. It peaked at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was falling some at +8.66, previously peaking on 9/21 at +9.80 after falling to it's lowest point in a year on 6/9 at +1.06. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 

Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

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

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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