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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 4:43 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
2.2 - California & 2.1 - 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 10/22 thru Sun 10/28

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   

Small NPac Gale Forecast - More Behind
New Zealand Swells Pushing Northeast

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.8 ft @ 14.7 secs from 191 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 9.9 secs from 331 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 17.2 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 17.1 secs from 201 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 66.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.0 ft @ 17.2 secs from 198 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 17.2 secs from 223 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.9 ft @ 17.0 secs from 222 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 17.4 secs from 218 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.9 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 17.4 secs from 210 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temp 60.4 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 Tuesday (10/23) in North and Central CA southern hemi swell was producing waves at head high and lined up on the rare set but a bit warbled though local wind was near calm. Protected breaks were flat and clean. At Santa Cruz a mixture of northwest and southwest southern hemi swells were producing waves at 1-2 ft overhead and lined and clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was up to waist high and clean but generally weak and slow. In North Orange Co waves were flat and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high to 1 ft overhead and real clean and lined up. In North San Diego surf was chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to waist high and pretty warbled from northeast trades. The South Shore still getting New Zealand swell with waves chest to head high and maybe 1 ft overhead on the bigger sets and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting mixed easterly windswell producing waves at thigh high and lightly chopped from moderate east-northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (10/23) swell from a gale developed under New Zealand Fri-Sat (10/13) with up to 37 ft seas aimed northeast was fading in Hawaii and hitting CA. Yet one more gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (10/18) with up to 34 ft seas aimed well northeast with up to 26 ft seas continuing into early Sat (10/20). But after that the South Pacific is to turn non-productive. Up north a small gale was developing in the Gulf of Tues (10/230 forecast building on Wed (10/24) with 25 ft seas aimed east, then turning northeast and out of the picture. Another gale is to fall southeast through the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs-Fri (10/26) pushing 20-22 ft seas at Hawaii with windswell after that pushing towards CA. And maybe a small system is to produce 32 ft seas initially over the North Dateline region Fri (10/26) falling southeast while dissipating Sat-Mon (10/29) towards Hawaii. So a slight turn towards Fall appears imminent while a Summer-like pattern fades away.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (10/23) the northern branch of the jetstream was running east off Northern Japan on the 42N latitude line tracking over the dateline with winds building to 160 kts in one pocket extending into the Gulf of Alaska then fading and splitting over the far Eastern Gulf near 140W with some wind energy peeling north up into North Canada and the rest pushing southeast and over Baja. No clear troughs were indicated but there was some support for gale development in the Gulf of Alaska attributable to the wind pocket/energy there. Over the next 72 hours a trough is to start getting carved out over the Central Gulf of Alaska later Wed (10/24) offering some support for gale development there and with the trough getting more defined into Fri (10/26) with it's apex at 40N 155W but winds energy feeding the trough fading down to 120 kts. Still some support for gale development is likely,. To the west then jet is to be splitting just off North Japan then consolidating at 170W feeding the aforementioned trough. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to push northeast and move into British Columbia on Mon (10/29) no longer supporting gale development. The split pattern is the west is to continue but with winds energy building in the southern branch just off Japan to 170 kts and falling into a developing trough over the dateline and that trough getting pretty pronounced on Tues (10/3) with the split dissipating. Improved support for gale development seems likely with 165 kt winds extending from Japan into the trough on the dateline. A big ridge is to be east of the trough over the Gulf of Alaska reaching north to 55N then pushing down the Pacific Northwest coast. No support for gale development expected there. A clear transition to a Fall pattern appears likely.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (10/23) swell from a gale that previously developed in the Gulf of Alaska was pushing towards California (see Gulf Gale below). Also swell from another tiny gale was pushing towards Hawaii (see North Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another tiny gale was developing Tues AM (10/23) in the Western Gulf producing a decent fetch of 30-35 kt west winds at 40N 163W mainly targeting the US West Coast. In the evening fetch is to build while it moves to the Central Gulf at 35 kts with seas to 22 ft over a small area at 41N 150W. The gale is to be racing northeast on Wed AM with 35 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 43N 144W (296 degrees NCal) aimed east. The gale is to be lifting north in the evening producing 40 kt northwest winds and 25 ft seas at 48N 139W aimed east targeting mainly Oregon and points northward. From there the gale is to lift hard northeast and is to be pushing over the North Canadian coast Thurs AM (10/25) with 45 kt west winds and seas 32 ft at 54N 139W impacting the coast there. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell building on Thurs (10/25) to 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0 ft). More possibly to follow.


Also a gale is to be developing on the North Dateline region Thurs AM (10/25) producing 30-35 kt north winds and seas building just south of the Aleutians. In the evening north winds to build in coverage at 30-35 kts falling into the Central Gulf with 22 ft seas at 45N 170W targeting Hawaii best. On Fri AM (10/26) north winds to fade from 30 kts with seas fading from 20 ft at 42N 164W. This system is to be gone by the evening. Possible swell pushing towards Hawaii.


Gulf Gale
A small gale started to develop in the Western Gulf on Fri PM (10/19) producing a small area of 35 kts west winds with seas starting to build. On Sat AM (10/20) the gale was lifting northeast into the Northern Gulf producing 45 kts west winds and seas building from 28 ft at 48.5N 155.5W aimed east and tracking northeast. In the evening the gale was racing northeast with 45 kt west winds and seas 37 ft at 53W 151W in the gales south and southeast quadrants aimed mainly at Central Canada with side band energy down to maybe North CA. On Sun AM (9/21) the gale was racing north and moving into Alaska with 31 ft seas just off the Alaskan Coast targeting only locations there. Possible small sideband swell to result for the mainland from Pt Conception northward.

North CA: Small swell was radiating east and expected to reach North CA later Tues (10/23) pushing 2.8 ft @ 12 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading Wed (10/24) while being overtaken by another swell. Swell Direction: 300 degrees


North Dateline Gale
A weak fetch of west winds set up off Kamchatka on Fri AM (10/19) tracking east and producing 20 ft seas pushing over the dateline Sat AM (20 ft seas at 49N 180W over a tiny area) and to the Western Gulf on Sun AM (10/21) with 19 ft seas at 47N 166W tracking southeast with seas fading from 17 ft at 43N 155W Mon AM (10/22) before fading out in the afternoon. Low odds for small 12-13 sec period background/windswell for Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (10/24) at 3.6 ft @ 12 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading Thurs AM (10/25) 2.8 ft @ 11 secs (3.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 335 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/24) building to 4 ft @ 11 secs (4.0 ft). 297 degrees


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


Tropical Update
Typhoon Yutu was located 1400 nmiles south-southeast of Tokyo Japan on Tues (10/23) with winds 90 kts and seas 26 ft tracking west-northeast. This track is to continue with Yutu strengthening to 140-145 kts (161-167 mph) on Fri-Sat (10/27) 1000 nmiles south of Tokyo still tracking west-northeast. The GFS model has Yutu stalling on Tues (10/30) off the Northern Philippines and possibly turning northeast from there. Something to monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/23) a front was pushing into Oregon and extreme North CA with south winds 5 kts down to maybe Pt Arena but calm over most of the region down to Big Sur, then with north winds 15 kts over Pt Conception and holding all day. On Wed (10/24) light north winds continue at 5-10 kts but 15-20 kts for Pt Conception with another front fading 200 nmiles off the extreme North CA coast. Thurs (10/25) north winds are to be building at 15 kts from Pt Arena south to Pt Conception just a bit off the coast and lighter nearshore early. but south at 10 kts from Pt Arena northward and north at 15 kts for Big Sur southward. Fri (10/26) north winds to be 15 kts from Pt Reyes southward to Morro Bay mainly 10 miles off the coast and less nearshore. Then on Sat (10/27) north winds to lift north and isolated mainly to Pt Arena to Bodega Bay and much lighter south of there. Sunday (10/28) light winds to set up as low pressure builds off North California with a front pushing into Cape Mendocino later with south winds 15-20 kts there at sunset. Monday (10/29) clearing high pressure is to be building in with north winds 15+ kts for all of North and Central CA building to 25+ kts later in the afternoon. Tuesday north winds to be 25 kts for then entire North and Central Coast with high pressure still in control.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (10/23) swell from the first of 3 gales that developed under New Zealand was fading in Hawaii and hitting California. The first gale of this series developed on Fri-Sat (10/13) (see Another New Zealand Gale - #1 below). A second gale developed behind that one (See New Zealand Gale #2 below) and secondary fetch was developing right behind it too (see Secondary New Zealand Fetch below).

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


Another New Zealand Gale (#1)
On Fri AM (10/12) a gale developed directly under New Zealand with 50-55 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 59S 159E aimed east. In the evening southwest winds built in coverage at 45 kts tracking east with 37 ft seas at 57S 170E aimed east. On Sat AM (10/13) fetch was fading from 40 kts from the southwest with seas 34 ft at 53.5S 173.5E aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest fetch was 35 kts with 29-30 ft over a broad area at 55S 179W aimed northeast. Some 40 kt southwest fetch rebuilt Sun AM (10/14) aimed well northeast in the same area with barely 29 ft seas at 52S 173W. In the evening fetch is to fade from 35 kts aimed northeast with a decent area of 29 ft seas at 46S 168W. Fetch is to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell slowly fading on Tues (10/23) from 2.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Wed (10/24) from 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Thurs (10/25) from 1.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft) and being overtaken by a new swell. Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Swell builds on Tues (10/23) to 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (4.0 ft). Swell continues on Wed (10/24) at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/25) from 2.1 ft @ 15 secs early (3.0 ft). Dribbles on Fri (10/26) at 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215-216 degrees

North CA: Swell builds on Tues (10/23) to 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (4.0-4.5 ft). On Wed (10/24) swell holds at 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (10/25) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri (10/26) fading from 2.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 214-215 degrees


New Zealand Gale #2
Yet another gale developed under New Zealand Wed AM (10/17) producing 45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 58S 164E aimed northeast. In the evening southwest winds continued lifting northeast at 40-45 kts with seas building to 31 ft at 56S 173E. On Thurs AM (10/18) southwest fetch was holding at 40 to barely 45 kts lifting northeast with 35 ft seas aimed northeast at 52S 167.5W tracking northeast. Fetch was fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 31 ft at 49.5S 161.5W. The gale to faded from there. Some more southwest swell is in the water pushing northeast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (10/24) building to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Thurs (10/25) to 2.4 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading some Fri (10/26) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) and starting to be overridden by Secondary New Zealand swell (see below). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/26) building to 1.0 ft @ 19 secs later (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell building slightly on Sat (10/27) to 1.5 ft @ 17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/28) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell being overtaken after this by Secondary New Zealand swell (see below). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/26) building to 1.0 ft @ 19 secs later (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell building slightly on Sat (10/27) to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 204 degrees


Secondary New Zealand Fetch
Another gale was building right behind New Zealand Gale 32 (above) on Fri AM (10/19) with 30-35 kt southwest winds building aimed northeast over abroad area with seas building to 25 ft at 53S 168W. In the evening fetch built to 35+ kts over abroad area from the southwest with 27 ft seas at 52S 168W aimed northeast. Fetch on Sat AM (10/20) is was fading from 30 kts from the southwest lifting hard northeast with 27 ft seas at 47S 162W aimed northeast. Fetch is to fade from 30 kt from the south in the evening with 25 ft seas at 40S 156W aimed northeast. This system is to fade from there. Possible solid secondary southwest swell in the 15 sec range to tag on to the end of the New Zealand swell developing above for Hawaii and CA.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/26) building to 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell peaking Sat AM (1027) at 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun AM (10/28) from 2.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). Dribbles fading out on Mon (10/29) from 1.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 189 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/28) afternoon and peaking Mon AM (10/29) building to 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (10/30) from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (10/28) afternoon and peaking Mon AM (10/29) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (10/30) from 2.0 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 205 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 another gale is to develop west of the dateline on Fri (10/26) producing a short lived are of 55 kt west winds falling southeast with seas building to 36 ft over a tiny area at 45N 167E aimed east. On Sat AM (10/27) northwest winds to be 40 kts approaching the dateline with 28 ft seas at 44N 171E aimed southeast. On Sat PM northwest winds to be fading from 35 kts and seas 27 ft falling southeast at 43N 175E aimed well at Hawaii. On Sun AM (10/28) the gale is to be fading with northwest winds 30 kts on the dateline with seas fading from 25 ft at 40N 177E. The gale is fade from there. Something to monitor especially for Hawaii.

A tropical system is to be turning extratropical while tracking north through the West Pacific with seas to 40 ft possibly getting ready to recurve northeast. So a possibly more productive pattern is to set up.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


SST's Building - SOI & ESPI Holding Near Neutral for Now

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. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued 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 in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.5 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (10/22) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then fading significantly and calm over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific continuing to the dateline, then turning light westerly in pockets over the KWGA and neutral elsewhere in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/23) strong west anomalies were over the KWGA. Strong west anomalies are to hold in the core of the KWGA for the next week, but starting to fade some at day 7.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/22) A neutral Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts this pattern is to hold or if anything a weak pulse of the Inactive Phase is to slowly build in the far West KWGA at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase building to moderate strength 2 weeks out. The 2 models are not particularly in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/23) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the Indian Ocean and is to build some weakly over the West Pacific 1 week out, then collapse and track rapidly back to the INdian Ocean 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing. The 2 models are in sync.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/23) This model depicts a modest Dry/Inactive pattern is over the East Pacific and is to track east pushing into Central America on 11/7. A weak Active/Wet signal was over the West Pacific and is to push east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and Central America on 11/22. A stronger Active Phase is to push over the West Pacific 11/17 fading while pushing to the mid-Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/2. But overall a very weak MJO signal is forecast through early December.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/22) This model depicts strong west anomalies were over the core of the KWGA with a small pocket of east anomalies just east of there at 170E. This pattern is to hold for a few days, and then west anomalies to build filing the entire KWGA by 10/29 and holding for the foreseeable future while tracking east and starting to move east of the KWGA at the end of the model run on 11/19 while weak east anomalies start moving from the Indian Ocean to the far West Pacific at that time. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet fully coupled.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/23) This model depicts weak west anomalies were developing over the KWGA today with a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO fading on the dateline. Western anomalies are to slowly build in the core of the KWGA from here forward with the Inactive Phase gone by 10/31. After that point no clear MJO pattern is expected (typical of a building El Nino situation). West anomalies are to build steadily through the end of December, then hold through the end of the model run on 1/21/19 while drifting east and centered on the dateline (and still in the KWGA) at that time. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east over California to 115W and forecast holding beyond. A 4th contour line previously forecast to start 12/2 and holding through the end of the model run has again reappeared starting 12/22-29 ish. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, especially compared to the 2 previous years.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/23) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid retrograding west slightly to 177E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 153W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 95W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 165W down 150 meters and reaching east and pushing into the coast of Ecuador. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region and reaching South America. This is likely the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this El Nino. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/15 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave starting in the West Pacific near 160E pushing under the dateline at up to +5.0 degs but mostly +4.0 degs reaching east to 120W and in the +2 degrees range and then pushing into Ecuador. A small pocket of cool anomalies was developing just west of the Maritime Continent. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 90W to 145W solidly with secondary solid warm anomalies starting to fill the entire region on the equator from 105W-165E. 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) Positive anomalies were solid from New Guinea over the Dateline and broad in coverage peaking at +5-10 cms at 160W and continuing east in pockets at that level to 100W with +5 cms reaching east to the Galapagos and weaker into the Ecuador coast (just barely) indicative of Kelvin Wave (#2) peaking and pushing east and then pushing north up the Central American and Mexico coasts and with hints of it pushing down into Peru. El Nino appears to be developing.

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: (10/22) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were solidly warm in a classic Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, with imbedded pockets of stronger warming. There was slight warming building along the coast of Chile up into mid-Peru but less so than 3 days ago. Generic warm anomalies were north of the equator from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/22): A solid warming trend has set up from Ecuador to 125W with some pockets of embedded solid warming. Weak warming was along the coast of Peru and Chile. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to be fading.
Hi-res Overview: (10/22) A pocket of weak cool water was present just off the outer coast of Chile but warm water was building along the immediate coast of Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the dateline with many pockets of stronger imbedded warming. There were no pockets of imbedded cool anomalies. It seems we've turned the corner to a warm regime and are no longer in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are present intermixed with warm anomalies.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/23) Today's temps were finally steady at -0.628 down from the all time high for this event on 9/25 +1.316. Two previous peaks occurred of +0.510 degs on 9/17 and +0.459 on 5/13. Otherwise temps have been steady in the -0.50 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/23) Today temps were up slightly at +0.521, below the peak of +0.795 on 10/9, beating the previous all time high of +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and markedly rising from the +0.25 degs range the past month. This looks like perhaps El Nino is developing.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/23) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising to +1.00 degs in mid-Nov and to +1.10 degs in Dec and Jan 2019, then fading slowly from there to +1.00 degs in April 2019 then slowly fading through July 2019 down to +0.60 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. But perhaps La Nina to follow in Fall of 2019. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume depicts temps at +0.52 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.71 in October (+0.8 per last months forecast) and +0.8 to +0.9 in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in May. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and there's a 76% chance of a weak El Nino developing.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (10/23): The daily index was rising some at +3.54 today. The 30 day average was rising at -0.56 suggesting an Inactive MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling some at -3.96 and has been essentially steady for a month now. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (10/23) Today the index was falling some at -0.20 after having risen to +0.39 on 10/10, the highest so far this event. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was having a negative effect and that precip and evaporation are about normal, not above normal as one would expect if El Nino were in play. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now and it's not unexpected that the Index will toggle between weakly positive to weakly negative. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
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 -0.88, July -0.23. 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. 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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