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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2018 4:03 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 Swell Pushing Towards CA
Possible Small Swell Developing For HI Later

On Thursday, October 25, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 16.3 secs from 187 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 8.8 secs from 300 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 15.1 secs from 199 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 68.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.2 secs from 194 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.1 ft @ 14.9 secs from 208 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.2 ft @ 15.2 secs from 221 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.9 ft @ 15.2 secs from 214 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 12.3 secs from 293 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 14-18 kts. Water temp 59.5 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 Thursday (10/25) in North and Central CA northwest swell from the Gulf was producing waves at up to 2 ft overhead and with clean surface conditions, though a little warble was mixed in. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and foggy. At Santa Cruz northwest swell had taken over with waves chest to head high on the bigger sets and clean but pretty soft. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to waist high on the rare sets and clean but weak and slow. In North Orange Co waves were flat and clean and swamped by tide. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to head high on the rare sets and real clean and lined up but very slow. In North San Diego surf was up to head high on the sets and clean and lined up bordering on closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was chest high and clean and pretty soft with a little warbled from northeast trades. The South Shore getting another New Zealand swell with waves head high on the sets and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell producing waves at waist 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 Thursday (10/25) another swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand Wed-Thurs (10/18) with up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast was building in Hawaii. In North California swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska Tues-Wed (10/24) with up to 25 ft seas aimed east was starting to show. And Southern CA was getting underlying New Zealand swell. One more pulse of New Zealand swell is scheduled for Hawaii and 2 more for California, but they will likely be lost under Gulf swell north of Pt Conception. Another gale is to fall southeast through the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs-Fri (10/26) pushing 23 ft seas at Hawaii initially then turning east Sat (10/27) producing 26 ft seas at California. with windswell after that pushing towards CA before dissipating. And a small system is to produce 32 ft seas initially over the North Dateline region Sat (10/27) falling southeast then dissipating Mon (10/29) while pushing over the dateline with swell tracking towards Hawaii. Maybe another system is to develop off North Japan on Thurs (11/1) with 32 ft seas aimed east. So a turn towards Fall appears to be developing while the Southern Hemi goes to sleep. Were about 6 weeks behind schedule.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (10/25) the northern branch of the jetstream was split pushing off Japan and the Kurils with the 2 tracks ridging northeast parallel to each other then merging on the dateline while falling southeast forming a trough in the Western Gulf with winds building to 150 kts with it's apex 1200 nmiles northwest of Hawaii and offering decent support for gale development. From there the jet was ridging northeast pushing consolidated into Vancouver Island and supporting high pressure off the California coast. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to ease east to the Central Gulf on Sat (10/27) still being fed by 140 kts winds and offering support for gale development while the jet starts consolidating over North Japan with winds there building to 140 kts. And by Sun (10/28) winds over Japan are to build to 170 kts and are to start easing east towards the dateline while the trough in the Gulf pushes up to the Pacific Northwest coast while fading some. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to continue building east in the southern branch of the jet off Japan on Mon (10/29) at 170 kts and falling into a developing trough over the dateline and that trough getting pretty pronounced on Tues (10/3) though a bit pinched and continuing into Thurs (11/1) offering some support for gale development. Winds still 170 kts off Japan at that time. In the east a solid ridge is to be in place over the Eastern Gulf with the jet there pushing up into North Canada and high pressure likely off the bulk of the US West Coast. A clear transition to a Fall pattern is developing.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (10/25) swell from a gale that previously developed in the Gulf of Alaska was hitting California. A stronger reinforcing swell was right behind from another gale in the Gulf (see Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale was developing on the North Dateline region Thurs AM (10/25) producing 30-35 kt north winds streaming south off the Central Aleutians and seas building from 18 ft just south of the Aleutians at 50N 177W. In the evening north winds to build in coverage while falling south at 30-35 kts falling into the Central Gulf with 22 ft seas at 47N 170W targeting Hawaii best. On Fri AM (10/26) winds to turn from the northwest at 30-35 kts with the gale starting to track east with seas 23 ft at 42N 162W targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale is to reorganize while tracking east with winds building to 35-40 kts from the west and seas 24 ft at 42N 153W aimed east and bypassing Hawaii. The gale is to push fast east and lose organization Sat AM (10/27) with winds barely 30 kts from the west and seas 23 ft at 42N 145W. This system is to be gone after that. Possible swell pushing towards Hawaii initially and then towards the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Sat PM (10/27) after dark building to Sun AM (10/28) at 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.0 ft) fading steadily through the day. Dribbles on Mon AM (10/29) fading from 3.2 ft @ 12 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 350 degrees.

Another gale is to develop west of the dateline on Fri PM (10/26) producing a short lived area of 50 kt northwest and west winds falling southeast with seas building to 28 ft over a tiny area at 46N 168E aimed east. On Sat AM (10/27) northwest winds to be falling southeast at 40 kts approaching the dateline with 32 ft seas at 44N 170E aimed southeast. On Sat PM northwest winds to be fading from 40 kts and seas 32 ft falling southeast at 42N 175E aimed well at Hawaii. On Sun AM (10/28) the gale is to be fading with northwest winds 35 kts on the dateline with seas fading from 30 ft at 39N 180W targeting Hawaii. In the evening the gale is fade with 30 kt west winds and seas 26 ft over a small area at 39N 173W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor mainly for Hawaii.


Gulf Gale
A tiny gale developed 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 built while the gale moved to the Central Gulf at 35 kts with seas to 22 ft over a small area at 42N 148W. The gale was racing northeast on Wed AM (10/24) with 35+ kt west winds and seas 23 ft at 43N 141W (295 degrees NCal) aimed east. The gale was lifting north in the evening producing 45 kt northwest winds and 28 ft seas at 49N 139W aimed east targeting mainly Oregon and points northward. From there the gale was lifting hard northeast and was pushing over the North Canadian/Alaskan coast Thurs AM (10/25) with 45 kt west winds and seas 31 ft at 54N 137W impacting the coast there. Swell likely for Central CA northward up into Canada.

North CA: Swell building on Fri (10/26) at sunrise to 6.9 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft) then fading slowly from there. Residuals on Sat (10/27) fading from 5.3 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (10/28) fading from 4.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction 296 degrees


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


Tropical Update
Super Typhoon Yutu was located 1400 nmiles south-southeast of Tokyo Japan on Thurs (10/25) with winds 140 kts (161 mph) and seas 32 ft tracking west-northeast. This track is to continue with Yutu slowly weakening to 125 kts (144 mph) on Fri-Sat (10/27) 1050 nmiles south of Tokyo still tracking west-northeast pushing towards a point midway between the North Philippines and Taiwan on Tues (10/30) tracking west with winds 105 kts with no signs of recurving northeast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/25) weak high pressure was off the Central CA coast producing north winds 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. Fri (10/26) north winds are to be 15 kts from Monterey Bay southward to Pt Conception mainly a bit off the coast and less nearshore. On Sat (10/27) north winds are to fade in coverage more at 15 kts and weak from Pigeon Point northward. Sunday (10/28) light winds are to be in control from Monterey Bay northward early but with north winds 20 kts from Big Sur to Pt Conception but with high pressure building in later and north winds building over all of North and Central CA at 15 kts. Monday (10/29) clearing high pressure is to be building in with north winds 120 kts from Bodega Bay south to Pt Conception early and building to 25-30 kts later in the afternoon over all of North CA. Tuesday north winds to be 25 kts for then entire North and Central Coast with high pressure still in control. Wednesday (10/31) north winds to be fading from 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but 10 kts or less from Pt Arena southward. On Thurs (11/1) high pressure is to be holding off North CA generating 25 kt north winds there and 10-15 kts from Pt Reyes southward to Pt Conception.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (10/25) swell from the first of 3 gales that developed under New Zealand was fading in California (see Another New Zealand Gale - #1 below). A second gale developed behind that one (See New Zealand Gale #2 below) and secondary fetch developed 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: 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 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 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: 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) was fading from 30 kts from the southwest lifting hard northeast with 27 ft seas at 46S 162W aimed northeast. Fetch was fading from 30 kts from the south in the evening with 25 ft seas at 40S 156W aimed northeast. This system faded 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 a gale is to start developing off Japan on Thurs AM (11/1) with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 41 ft at 42N 175E. Something to monitor.

A tropical system (Yutu) in the Northwest Pacific is to be tracking west with no clear signs of recurving northeast.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


SST's Holding - SOI & ESPI Remain Neutral

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 Wed (10/24) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific fading some while pushing towards the dateline, then fading to near calm over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and the dateline, and neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/25) strong west anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. Strong west anomalies are to hold in the core of the KWGA through 10/29, then fading with light east anomalies developing over the same area on 10/31 holding through the end of the model run on 11/1.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/24) A neutral Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA. The statistical model depicts this pattern is to hold for the next 5 days, then a weak pulse of the Inactive Phase is to slowly build in the far West KWGA building to moderate strength at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. The 2 models are now in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/25) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the West Pacific and is to build some weakly there over the next 5 days, then collapsing and tracking 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: (10/25) This model depicts a modest Dry/Inactive pattern is over the far East Pacific and is to track east pushing into Central America on 11/5. A weak Active/Wet signal was over the West Pacific and is to push east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and Central America on 11/17. A stronger Active Phase is to push over the West Pacific 11/7 fading while pushing to Central America at the end of the model run on 12/4. Another weak wet/Active MJO signal is to be pushing over the West Pacific 11/19 and pushing to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/4.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/24) 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 filling the entire KWGA by 10/29 and holding while easing east into 11/9. After that a weak Inactive Phase is to develop with weak east anomalies in the KWGA starting 11/9 through the end of the model run on 11/21. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not yet fully coupled.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/25) 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 hold steady through the end of the model run on 1/22/19 while drifting east and centered on the dateline (and still in the KWGA) at that time. But east anomalies are to also be easing east from the Indian Ocean to the Maritime Continent over that same duration. 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 in the 12/22-29 period. 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. 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: (10/25) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid retrograding west slightly to 177E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady 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 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 10/20 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave starting in the West Pacific near 160E pushing down under the dateline at up to +4.0 degs reaching east to 105W 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 100W 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: (10/20) Positive anomalies were solid from New Guinea over the Dateline and broad in coverage peaking at +5-10 cms at 150W and continuing east in pockets at that level to 100W with +5 cms reaching east from there over the Galapagos and into the Ecuador coast indicating that Kelvin Wave (#2) was peaking and pushing east. El Nino appears to be developing, but weak.

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: (10/24) 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, a bit stronger than days past. 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. But no solid warming was branching north and south along the Central and South American coast, suggesting this El Nino is only weakly in control.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/24): A moderate warming trend was set up from Ecuador to the dateline with some pockets of embedded solid warming. Weak warming was along the coast of Peru and Chile.
Hi-res Overview: (10/24) 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 building 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: (10/25) Today's temps were rising at -0.281 after falling to -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: (10/25) Today temps were steady at +0.512, 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 (10/25) 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 holding at +1.00 degs into April 2019 then slowly fading through July 2019 down to +0.50 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-Oct Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +0.90 degs in October and +0.9-+1.0 degs in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.78 in June. 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) (10/25): The daily index was falling some at +0.51 today. The 30 day average was rising at +0.46 suggesting an Inactive MJO was building. The 90 day average was falling some at -4.15 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): (10/25) Today the index was falling some at -0.22 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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