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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2023 2:37 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
1.5 - California & 2.8 - 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   

Small North Swell Continues for Hawaii
Two Small New Zealand Swells Propagating Northeast

BUOY ROUNDUP
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 5.6 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 3.4 ft @ 12.4 secs from 310 degrees. Water temp 80.6 (Barbers Pt), 81.0 (Pearl Harbor 233), 81.1 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 187 (Pauwela): Seas were 6.1 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 12.5 secs from 323 degrees. Water temp 80.6 degs
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea)/Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 12.9 secs from 325 degrees. Water temp 80.4 degs
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 15.0 secs from 209 degrees. Wind northwest at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 67.1 degs, 61.0 (Harvest 071) 66.2 (Topanga 103), 64.0 (Long Beach 215), 66.0 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 66.7 (Del Mar 153), 66.4 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.6 ft @ 10.3 secs from 315 degrees. At E. Santa Barbara (46053) swell was 3.7 ft @ 6.3 secs from 268 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.9 ft @ 8.6 secs from 266 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.7 ft @ 8.4 secs from 273 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.4 ft @ 8.4 secs from 281 degrees. Water temperature was 63.3 degrees (Imperial Beach).
  • Buoy 029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.4 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 8.9 ft @ 9.4 secs from 325 degrees. Wind northwest at 16-20 kts (46026) and north-northwest 13-16 kts (1801589). Water temp NA (Bodega Bay 46013), 58.1 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 60.8 (San Francisco 46026), 59.5 (SF Bar 142), 60.4 (1801589) and 60.6 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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).
Summer
- 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).
Summer
- 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.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Tuesday (10/24) in North and Central CA waves were waist to maybe chest high and weakly lined up and pretty warbled from northwest winds over outer waters and soft and mushed with heavy fog just off the deck. Protected breaks were waist to maybe stomach high on the sets and soft and warbled but clean with fog. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to waist high on the sets and weakly lined up and very soft and mushed with decent form but clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were waist high or so and lined up and pretty clean with good form but soft with light northeast winds. Central Orange County had sets at waist high or so and lined up but soft and weak with clean conditions and no wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at chest high and lined up and real clean but soft with decent form. North San Diego had sets at waist high and lined up and clean but soft and gutless. Oahu's North Shore was getting north swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean with decent form but really warbled. The South Shore had sets at waist high and lined up but pretty warbled from southerly wind. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh high or so and clean from light southwest winds.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (10/24) fading and minimal background southern hemi swell was dissipating in California. Swell was hitting Hawaii from a weak gale that fell southeast from the dateline towards the Islands and into the Gulf Fri-Mon (10/23) producing 16-18 ft seas targeting Hawaii well. No energy from this system is to reach California. Beyond no obvious swell producing weather systems are forecast for the North Pacific. A gale developed under New Zealand Wed (10/18) with seas to 31 ft with small swell radiating north towards Hawaii and CA. And another developed Sat-Sat (10/22) in the same area with seas up to 33 ft aimed northeast. So more small southern hemi swell is likely.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday (10/24) the jet was somewhat consolidated wit the main flow tracking east off Japan on the 38N latitude line but weak with winds to 120 kts in over pocket falling into a weak trough over the the Central Gulf before rising hard north and dissipating. Scattered broken energy was in pockets north of the main flow mainly over the Bering Sea. A backdoor trough was also trying to organize pushing inland over Washington with winds 130 kts while falling south. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Central Gulf is to redevelop late Thurs (10/26) being fed by 125 kt winds but quickly pinch off just 400 nmiles north of Hawaii early Sat (10/28) likely not offering support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun (10/29) more energy is to be building into the jet with winds 120 kts off japan and up to 140 kts just east of the dateline and almost reaching the California coast on Tues (10/31) starting to form a trough over the dateline then. Maybe there some hope longer term. .

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (10/24) no swell of interest was hitting Hawaii or California.

Over the next 72 hours swell from a low pressure system that was north of the Hawaiian Islands is to continue impacting Northern Shores through Thurs (10/26) (see Hawaiian Low below).

Otherwise no swell producing weather system of interest are forecast.

Hawaiian Low
A low pressure system started developing Thurs PM (10/19) over the North Dateline region producing northwest winds at 30 kts aimed southeast with seas building to 20 ft at 47N 177E aimed east. On Fri AM the low weakened while falling southeast producing 25-30 kt northwest winds and seas 17 ft at 45N 178W aimed southeast. In the evening the low moved to the far Western Gulf with 25 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii well and seas 17 ft at 41N 173W aimed southeast. The low began to rebuild some Sat AM (10/21) 1200 nmiles northwest of Hawaii producing 30 kts north winds and seas 17 ft at 39N 172W. The low held position north of Hawaii in the evening producing 30+ kt north winds and seas 16 ft seas at 39N 170W aimed southeast. The low stalled there producing another fetch of north winds at 30 kts on Sun AM (10/22) producing 19 ft seas at 37N 171W aimed south. In the evening north winds to lose coverage but still at 30 kts with 16 ft seas at 33N 170W aimed south. The low is to dissipate through the day Monday (10/23). Windswell possible for Hawaii.

Oahu: Swell building some through the day Tues (10/24) to 5.5 ft @ 12 secs later (6.5 ft). Swell fading some on Wed (10/25) from 4.4 ft @ 11-12 secs early (5.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (10/26) fading from 3.9 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325 moving to 335 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (10/25) northwest winds to be 10-15 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 5 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino through daylight hours. No windswell forecast. Light snow for Tahoe late afternoon through the night.
  • Thurs AM (10/26) northwest winds start rebuilding at 10 ks for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts for the rest of North CA and all of Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds are to be 15 kts for North CA and and 15 kts for Central CA but up to 20 kts south of Monterey Bay. No windswell of interest forecast. Light snow early for Tahoe. Otherwise no precip forecast.
  • Fri AM (10/27) northwest winds to be 15 kts for North CA early and 15 kts for Central CA but 20 kts south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA. Minimal windswell forecast. No precip forecast.
  • Sat AM (10/28) northwest winds to be 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the rest of North CA and 20 kts for Central CA south of Monterey Bay early. In the afternoon north winds to be 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts for the rest of North CA and 15 kts for Central CA south of Monterey Bay. Windswell building some.
  • Sun AM (10/29) northwest winds to be 10 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 5-10 kts for North and Central CA. Windswell dissipating early.
  • Mon AM (10/30) northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts early for North and Central CA. Winds fading to 5 kts in the afternoon. No windswell forecast.
  • Tues AM (10/31) northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 8, 8, 3, and 2 inches respectively.

Temperatures for the Pacific Crest Trail and Tioga Pass Road intersection (8,700 ft): 40 degrees Tues (10/24) before falling hard to 25-30 degs Wed PM (1025) through Sat PM (10/28) then warming some to the 35-40 degree range beyond. Winter is coming.

- - -

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

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
On Tues (10/24) swell from third New Zealand Gale was propagating northeast targeting Hawaii first (see Third New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a Fourth New Zealand Gale is to be propagating northeast (see 4th New Zealand Gale below).

Otherwise no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

 

Third New Zealand Gale
A gale developed under New Zealand on Wed AM (10/18) producing 35-40 kts southwest winds and seas 32 ft at 56.75S 168.25E. In the evening fetch was fading from 30-35 kts aimed northeast with seas 26 ft at 53.25S 176.5W. Fetch and seas faded from there. Some small swell to radiate northeast.

Oahu South Shore: Small swell is to arrive starting Wed (10/25) at 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell building on Thurs (10/26) 1.7 ft @ 16 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell continues on Fri (10/27) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading out after that. Swell Direction: 195 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/28) building to 1.9 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell to continue on Sun (10/29) at 2.0 ft @ 16 secs early (3.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (10/30) from 1.8 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (10/31) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 205 degrees

 

4th New Zealand Gale
On Fri PM (10/20) another small gale built under New Zealand with 40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 56.75S 167.75E aimed northeast. On Sat AM (10/21) the gale was building while pushing southeast of New Zealand with 45 kt southwest winds and seas 33 ft at 54.5S 179.75W aimed northeast. In the evening the gale continued tracking east with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 32 ft at 54S 172.25W aimed northeast. On Sun AM (10/22) fetch was fading from 35-40 kts from the southwest with seas 28 ft at 55.75S 167.75W aimed northeast. The gale to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Oahu South Shore: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/28) building to 1.1 ft @ 17 secs late (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell building on Sun (10/29) to 1.7 ft @ 15 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell fading some on Mon (10/30) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.5 ft). Residuals on Tues (10/31) fading from 1.8 ft @ 13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (10/31) building to 1.1 ft @ 16-17 secs later (2.0 ft). Swell to continue on Wed (11/1) at 1.7 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (11/2) from 1.7 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (11/3) from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 211 degrees

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

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

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

El Nino Steadily Building
Kelvin Waves #4, #5 and #6 Erupting - NINO3.4 SSTs reflect El Nino
1 Kelvin Wave traversed the Pacific in Dec '22 with a 2nd in Jan-Feb and a 3rd and 4th in March-April, a 5th in May and a 6th in August. But after the last Active MJO in mid-to-late May (resulting in Kevin Wave #5), the MJO stalled. Finally the Active Phase restarted in later July Producing Kelvin Wave #6 which is erupting off Ecuador now. Sea Surface Temperatures in the east are warm and holding, and slightly expanding. And another Active Phase of the MJO is developing now (mid-Oct) likely starting to produce Kelvin Wave #7 which is pushing east. All these Active MJO/Kevin Wave pairs are backfilling warm water off Ecuador and helping push the atmosphere towards El Nino. And El Nino is finally starting to be evident in the atmosphere as evidenced by the SOI, OLR. ocean current, and wind anomalies.

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. That pattern continued until late Fall 2022 when trades started fading and by early 2023 multiple Kelvin Waves were in flight with significant warming developing over the East Equatorial Pacific. La Nina was dead on 3/18/2023 with El Nino apparently developing. But it was not coupled with the atmosphere as of 7/20/2023.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Winter 2023 = 7.7 (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: A 3 year La Nina started fading in Jan 2023 and was gone by April. 6 Active MJO's produced 6 Kelvin Waves over early to mid 2023 with Kelvin Wave #7 in August building over the West Pacific and the 4th, 5th and 6th backed up off Ecuador now (10/20/23). The CFS model is predicting steady west anomalies from here forward and the leading edge of the low pressure bias moving over California now filling the Pacific. We are now under an El Nino status. We are moving into a period of enhanced storm production (starting late Sept 2023) and beyond, getting intense come late Fall and early Winter. This should result in an above normal level of swells, with swells being longer than normal duration from here forward as El Nino gets a stronger footprint on the atmosphere. The net result is a well above normal number of swells with above normal size and duration (i.e 15 significant class swells perhaps). Last year there were 0 and year before 5 or less.

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 (10/23) 5 day average winds were moderate to strong from the east over the East equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate to strong west over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and neutral over the Central Pacific and strong west over the entire KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (10/22) Strong west anomalies were filling the KWGA today but with a pocket of east anomalies over a small area on the dateline. The forecast indicates west anomalies are to fade through 10/29 as the pocket of east anomalies on the dateline also fades. Modest east anomalies are to build into the West KWGA reaching 150E on 11/1 and hold position through the end of the model run on 11/9 while strong west anomalies develop on the dateline holding through the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/23) A neutral MJO was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive MJO (cloud free air) is to build steadily from the far West KWGA then filling the KWGA on day 15 of the model run at near strong status. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive MJO signal perhaps a little weaker on day 15.
Phase Diagrams - 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (10/24) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was very weak over the Atlantic. The forecast indicates it is to move to the Indian Ocean 15 days out and very weak. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal moving to the West Indian Ocean and very weak 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (10/24) A neutral MJO pattern was indicated over the KWGA today. The forecast has a very weak Inactive Phase (dry air) tracking east and over the KWGA 11/3-11/23 then moving east of the KWGA while a weak Active (wet air) pattern sets up over the KWGA 11/23 through the end of the model run on 12/3. But the extreme weakness of this suggest an El Nino pattern is in play now.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/23)
Today a neutral MJO was over the KWGA but with strong west anomalies filling the KWGA associated with a positive Equatorial Rossby Wave present over the KWGA. The forecast has the Rossby Wave fading out on 10/30 with west anomalies continuing at moderate to strong status through the end of the model run on 11/20. Of note: Moderate east anomalies started building over the Indian Ocean on 9/2 and are now at strong status today and forecast holding through then end of the model run. That coupled with building west anomalies in the West Pacific suggest massively falling air occurring somewhere near 120E (Maritime Continent). This is likely the falling branch of the Walker Circulation. The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently strong positive and building (the falling branch of the Walker Circulation). We're moving into the start of a real El Nino pattern according to this model.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(10/24) - 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 Active Phase was all but gone over the KWGA with modest to moderate west anomalies in control. A weak Inactive Phase is moving over the West KWGA and is to hold into 11/12 but moderate to strong west anomalies are to hold. The Active Phase is to then build 11/13-12/26 with moderate to strong west anomalies developing on 11/7 filling the KWGA and then peaking at strong status 11/7-1/4/24. Impressive. A weak Inactive Phase develops 12/2 in the far west KWGA filling it 12/27 and holding through the end of the model run on 1/21/24 but with west anomalies holding at modest to moderate status till the end of the model run while easing east to 150W. Also note that east anomalies started building at 70E (West Indian Ocean) on 9/7 and are forecast building through 10/25 at strong status and holding through 12/27, then moderating some and holding through the end of the model run while pushing hard east on 12/25 almost filling the KWGA starting 1/4. and holding through the end of the model run. This strong east and west anomaly pattern looks very much like falling air centered over the Maritime Continent (120E) and the the downward branch of the Walker Circulation/+IOD. Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) suggests cloud activity took over the KWGA weakly on 6/24 and started building in earnest June 25 and then more solid starting Sept 15, It started building strongly on 10/16 and is continuing to build today. It is forecast building strongly from here forward while easing east to 140W at the end of the model run. Conversely clear skies started building over the Maritime Continent in mid-May and have continued solidifying today and are forecast building from here forward. This also suggests a rising air pattern associated with the upward branch of the Walker Circulation developing today on the dateline nd moving east to 140W in January. The low pass filter indicates a broad low pressure bias is established over the KWGA centered at 175W with 3 contour lines (starting 7/14). A 4th contour line is to develop Nov 2. A 5th contour line is scheduled to develop on 12/17. The high pressure bias has dissolved and is no longer in the Pacific but started to build over the Maritime Continent on 10/2. A second high pressure contour is to develop on 12/5. 7/18 was the start of a major positive change in the development of El Nino with advent of the Active Phase of the MJO and west anomalies and that momentum is growing stronger each passing day. It appears a strong El Nino is finally starting to develop in a classical sense and is to move east over the next 3 months.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/24) Today in the far West Pacific the leading edge of the 30 deg isotherm was steady at 168W (previously 169W). The 29 degree isotherm was backtracking to 158W (previously 157W). The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 146W (previously 140W) and looks like east winds that had been hitting it are abating. The 24 degree isotherm extended the whole way across the Pacific and was steady at 39m (25m earlier but at one point down to 65m) in the far East. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +2 deg C started in the far West Pacific at 172E associated with newly developing Kelvin Wave #7 centered at 172W pushing east in a continuous stream feeding into Kelvin Wave #6 and other previous Kelvin Waves that have formed a broad pocket of +3-5 degs anomalies over the East Pacific starting at 145W (152W on 9/11). +4-5 degree anomalies were tracking east now from 134W (previously 138W). The warm pool in the east (originating from Kelvin Waves #6, 5, 4...) is discharging to the surface while being backfilled by more warm water/Kelvin Wave #7 and growing in coverage some. There's about 3 months of warm water backed up off the Ecuadorian Coast (previously 2 months) today with a stream of warm water backfilling into it. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/20 indicates a large very warm stream of +1-2 degs anomalies extending west to east starting at 170E and over a large section of the subsurface equatorial Pacific (Kelvin Wave #7) and building while tracking east with 2 deg anomalies from 175W and points east of there and +4-5 degs anomalies from 121W and points east of there originating from Kelvin Waves #6, #5 and #4 erupting into Ecuador. A steady stream of +1-2 degree anomalies were falling off the Maritime Continent merging with the preexisting warm stream. In other words, this image suggests a steady flow of warm water flowing east from the Maritime Continent suggesting Kelvin Wave #8 is developing. No cool anomalies were indicated. El Nino is developing. The GODAS animation is 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately depicted since its satellite based.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/20) Sea heights were positive across the equatorial Pacific starting at 162E at +0-5 cms extending east into Ecuador. +5 cm anomalies were in the east from 175E east to95W just off Ecuador with 2 small pockets of +10 cm anomalies imbedded to the south. Positive anomalies extending north into Central America and south to Peru. This means no cool water was at depth. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram (10/20) warm water is building at +0.5 degs from 175E and points east of there. +1.00-1.50 degs were in a building pocket between 179W to 145W and fading in the east limited to 107W to 96W over the East Pacific and shrinking in coverage while migrating east. A pocket of near neutral to slightly negative anomalies was between 140-150E and steady. The full development of El nino is starting with cooler water developing over the West Pacific and warm water building in the east and pushing east with a new Kelvin Wave in flight. But the demise of the warm pool in the west signal an eventual turn to La Nina (sometime next year).

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: (10/23) The latest images depict a strong warm stream from Ecuador west out to 138W (previously 115W) and building in strength and coverage. There are signs that a moderate warm pool is also building further west on the equator out at 170W (between 180 to 160W). Only the gap between 140W to 160W needs to be filled. Heat also extends north up to Central Baja and south down into Patagonia. There is a very clear El Nino signal with the classic El Nino triangle in-place and building towards as strong status.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/23): A small thin stream of pockets of warm anomalies were aligned on the equator from the Ecuador west to 145W. Otherwise mostly neutral temps prevailed. Perhaps some energy is being added to the warm surface pool. A warming trend had been well entrenched over the East Pacific since Nov 1 2022 with no cooling waters over the equatorial East Pacific since 12/15.
Hi-res Overview: (10/23) Warmer than normal waters are filling the East Pacific off Chile, Peru, Ecuador and north up to Mexico with strong warming in many pockets from Ecuador out to 138W and building. And the classic El Nino tongue of more intense warming is building considerably over the equator west to the dateline. Everything is now looking like El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/24) (The official OISST temp record runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Today's temps were stabilizing if not rising up to +1.972. Previous temps were down at +1.755 (10/22), down to +1.527 (10/6), up to +2.10 (9/17) and have been falling since 8/31 when they were up to +3.073 after rising to +3.164 (8/18) after being up to +2.925 on 8/10 after rising at +3.074 degs (8/7) after being up to +3.391 (on 7/20) and had been rising from +2.906 (starting 7/3) rising from +2.451 after peaking at +2.7926 on 6/13 and have been up in the +2.0 to +3.0 degs range since 4/1 having previously peaked at +2.891 (4/13). Previously temps reached +2.302 degrees on 4/6, +1.732 degs (3/22), up from +0.462 since 2/28. Temps had reached as high as +1.076 on 2/19 and were previously steady at +0.848 since 2/7. Previously they started steadily rising 11/13 when they were around -1.5 degs C.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(10/24) (OISST runs about +0.2 degrees higher). Todays temps were falling at +1.163 after rising to +1.300 on 10/20 at after falling down to +1.149 (10/11). . Weekly OISST were up at +1.6 the week of 10/18, +1.5 the 3 weeks previous (through 10/11) after being up to +1.7 degs the week before and +1.6 degs 3 weeks in a row prior (starting 8/30) putting us in minimal strong El Nino status. Temps first time above +1.0 degs was on 8/7 after being up to +0.967 (8/1) up from +0.873 degs (7/25) after peaking at +0.985 (7/18). Previously temps were rising slightly at +0.882 (7/9) after being steady at +0.794 4-5 days and that after being steady at +0.895 (3 days near 6/25) after being in the +0.712 range the previous 9 days after previously rising to +0.975 on 6/9. We are now 31 days into a trend of being above the El Nino threshold (for the 2nd time). Temps reached the El Nino threshold for the first time on 5/17 at +0.507 then quickly fell over the next 10 days down to +0.378 (5/26). Previous peaks of +0.318 on 4/30 besting the previous peak at +0.199 on 4/21. Temps have been steadily increasing hitting 0.0 on 4/12 and were then more or less steady the previous 4 weeks. Temps previously rose to -0.402 on 2/23. Temps rose above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) on 2/22 and had been rising slowly since 2/12 when they were about -1.0 degs C. They had been in the -1.0 deg range since at least Nov 2022.

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 Data (Nino3.4 Region)
Previous - Temps bottomed out at at -1.25 degs in early Nov 2020, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov but then slowly rising to -0.75 degs in Jan 2023 and up to -0.5 degs (above the La Nina threshold) on 2/12. Temps rose to +0.50 degs mid-May and were at +0.9 degs in mid-June, and +1.05 mid July reaching up to +1.30 degs early Aug peaking at +1.6 degs in Sept.
Forecast (10/24) - Temps are to hold at +1.5 degs into mid-Nov, then rising fast to +1.95 degs in Dec and +2.0 degs in Jan and solidly in strong El Nino territory before starting a slow fade thereafter. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps are forecast falling to +1.45 degs in mid-Nov then rising to +1.70 degs in Dec and Jan. According to this version of the model we are building into a mid to upper level strong El Nino.
IRI Consensus Plume: The October 19, 2023 Plume (all models) depicts temps are +1.777 degs today and it's the 7th month above the La Nina threshold. Temps to rise steadily from here forward up to +1.836 degrees in November then fading from there. The dynamic model suggest temps peaking at +2.004 in Nov and +1.979 in Dec while the statistic models show +1.836 and +1.769 degrees respectively. The dynamic models are running a bit hotter than the statistic models. The CFS model is on the low end of the dynamic model range with 7 of 17 models above +2.0 degrees.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (10/24) the Daily Index was positive at +0.77 but had been negative for 64 days prior (starting 9/16). It was positive the previous 7 days, then negative the previous 29 days (7/14-8/11) with a peak down to -37.30 on 7/25.The SOI has effectively been negative since 7/12. It was positive the previous 21 days then was negative 11 days prior and positive 5 days previous then negative for 27 days previous ending 6/6 with a peak down to -29.32 on 5/31, -64.63 on 5/24 and -31.31 on 5/12. Previously readings were toggling between +10 and -10 for 13 days, but negative the 15 days previous to that, positive the 6 days prior to that after being mostly negative 25 days before that. It fell to -19.40 on 4/2. -17.44 on 2/22, the beginning of a change from which no return seemed likely. It was up to +21.85 on 2/10 and +55.74 on 12/22 and were in the +20 range the previous 22 days.
The 30 day average was rising some at -8.11 after falling to -15.70 on 9/23. It fell below the neutral point on 7/26. It rose above positive 7/3-7/25. It previously fell to -19.64 on 6/5 had been falling to -4.13 on 4/4 (lagging indicator driven by the Active Phase of the MJO) after falling to -0.52 on 3/22 previously falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was rising some at -10.94 and turned negative the first time in years on 5/12. Recent max lows were -11.85 on 10/15, -8.90 on 8/8 and -7.57 on 6/6. It previously peaked at +14.63 on 2/20, +15.61 on 10/25 and +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggests that the Active Phase occurring now is starting to drive the index down, hopefully with no upward trend in sight for at least a year.

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 ever 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) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

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: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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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