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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, November 5, 2020 4:34 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
2.3 - California & 2.4 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 11/2 thru Sun 11/8

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   

Local Swells For HI and CA
2nd Southern Hemi Swell Hitting CA

On Thursday, November 5, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 14.6 secs from 200 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 14.6 secs from 319 degrees. Water temp 82.0 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.1 secs from 205 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 10-12 kts. Water temperature 67.6 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.0 ft @ 11.7 secs from 287 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 14.8 secs from 212 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.6 secs from 207 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.4 ft @ 13.5 secs from 228 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 12.3 secs from 297 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 12-16 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs (013), 56.5 degs (SF Bar) and 57.9 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 (11/5) in North and Central CA waves were chest high at top breaks on the sets and lined up and clean but inconsistent. Protected breaks were waist to chest high on the sets and clean but weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and clean and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to waist high and clean and inconsistent and weak. Central Orange County had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and powerful and clean. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at shoulder high and clean but with a slight texture on top and lined up when they came. North San Diego had sets at thigh to maybe waist high and weak and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting waves at head high to 1 ft overhead at top breaks and lined up and clean. The South Shore was getting minimal swell with waves waist high and clean but with some lump intermixed. The East Shore was getting some limited east windswell with waves thigh high and ruffled from modest east-south trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (11/5) swell was all but gone in California from a small gale that tracked over the dateline Wed-Fri (10/29) producing up to 42 ft seas over a small area aimed east then faded in the Western Gulf early Sat (10/31) with seas fading from 23 ft. Swell was hitting Hawaii from a short lived gale that developed off the North Kuril Islands tracking southeast with up to 28 ft seas Sat-Sun (11/1) but dissipated as it hit the dateline on Mon (11/2). Another gale started developing in the Northeastern Gulf Thurs-Fri (11/6) producing 26 ft seas aimed east and then southeast. And a local gale was developing north of Hawaii Thurs-Fri (11/6) producing 24 ft seas aimed pretty well west of the Islands. Longer term perhaps another system is to develop off the North Kuril Islands Mon-Tues (11/10) producing 39 ft seas aimed east fading over the North Dateline region. Swell from the Southern Hemisphere is fading in California from a gale that developed while moving over the Southeast Pacific on Sun-Mon (10/26) producing up to 34 ft seas aimed east. And another swell is hitting Hawaii and starting to how in California from a gale that tracked through the Central South Pacific Wed-Thurs (10/29) producing a tiny area of up to 42 ft seas aimed northeast. Beyond the southern hemi swell pattern is forecast to get progressively weaker with no meaningful swell producing weather systems forecast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (11/5) the jet was consolidated tracking east off Japan with winds 130 kts then starting to ridge hard northeast building to 160 kts pushing north of the Aleutians at the dateline then falling southeast forming something that looks like a trough over the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska before turning east and pushing into the Pacific Northwest with winds 150 kts. There was limited support for gale development in the Northeast Gulf trough. Over the next 72 hours this trough is to fall southeast offering some limited support for gale development then pushing inland on Sat (11/7) over Southern CA. At that time back to the west the jet is to start splitting over the dateline with a cutoff trough forming in the bottom portion of that split over the dateline reaching south to 25N on Sun (11/8) perhaps offering some support for low pressure development there. Beyond 72 hours that split trough is to quickly fade later Mon (11/9) but with the jet consolidating and becoming more energetic pushing off Japan on Tues (11/10) with winds building to 160 kts pushing east-northeast up into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska and continuing into Thurs (11/12) with winds building to 180-190 kts then starting to fall into a developing trough in the Northern Gulf and then pushing into the Pacific Northwest perhaps offering some hope in that area and also improving odds for weather there.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (11/5) swell was all but gone in California associated with a gale that previously pushed over the North Dateline Region. Of more interest is swell that is radiating southeast and hitting Hawaii today from a gale that previously tracked off the Kuril Islands (See Kuril Island Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a local system is forecast along the US West Coast and another North of Hawaii (see Northeast Gulf Gale below and Hawaii Local Gale below).


Kuril Island Gale
A small gale formed just off the Kuril Islands on Sat PM (10/31) producing a small fetch of northwest winds at 45 kt with seas building from 26 ft at 47N 163.5E aimed southeast. On Sun AM (11/1) northwest fetch was fading while tracking southeast at 30-35 kts producing seas to 26 ft seas at 44.5N 167E aimed southeast. The gale is to be fading by the evening with 30 kt northwest winds approaching the dateline and seas fading from 22 ft at 42.5N 174E aimed southeast. Fetch was fading Mon AM (11/2) from barely 30 kts from the northwest with 20 ft seas at 40N 177E aimed southeast. Something to monitor mainly for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (11/5) pushing 4.8 ft @ 13-14 secs early (6.0-6.5 ft). Swell fading some later. Swell fading Fri AM (11/6) from 4.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Dribbles on Sat (11/7) fading from 2.8 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 moving to 340 degrees


Northeast Gulf Gale
A gale started developing in the Central Gulf Wed AM (11/4) producing 35-45 kt north winds and seas 20 ft at 46N 147W aimed south and southeast. In the evening the gale moved to the far Northeastern Gulf producing 45-50 kt west winds and seas building from 27 ft at 49N 138W aimed southeast and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs). On Thurs AM (11/5) the first fetch was pushing inland over Central Canada but a secondary fetch developed in the Central Gulf at 35 kts from the northwest producing 22 ft seas at 46N 146W aimed southeast. In the evening 30-40 kt northwest fetch is to be off Oregon with 23 ft seas at 42N 134W aimed southeast targeting North and Central CA well. On Fri AM (11/6) a tertiary low is to develop just off the CA-Oregon border producing 40 kt north winds with 28 ft seas at 42.5N 131W aimed south. In the evening the low is to push south forming a gradient with a 1042 mb high pressure system over the Central Gulf generating north winds at 35-45 kts just off San Francisco sweeping down the North CA coast with 20-25 kt north winds down into Southern CA and 27 ft seas just off Pt Arena and 20+ ft seas along the North CA coast pushing into Central CA. By Sat AM (11/7) the low is to be gone by a board fetch of 30+ kt north winds is to be along the West Coast from British Columbia down to Monterey Bay with 23 ft seas off Pt Conception at 34N 124W aimed southeast. A wind machine and raw sea state to expected to follow for CA. Something to monitor.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Fri (11/6) building through the day to 8 ft @ 14 secs later (11 ft) but shadowed. Swell peaking early Sat (11/7) at 13 ft @ 13-14 secs (15 ft) and jumbled and shadowed. Windswell in control on Sun (11/8) fading from 10 ft @ 11-12 secs early (10 ft). Swell Direction: 300-315 degrees

Southern CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Sat (11/7) peaking mid-day at 6.5 ft @ 14 secs (9.0 ft) at exposed breaks and jumbled. Swell holding Sun (11/8) at 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft) at exposed breaks. Windswell fading on Mon (11/9) from 3.2 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.5 ft) at exposed breaks early. Swell Direction: 302-315 degrees


Hawaii Local Gale
Also on Thurs AM (11/5) a cutoff low was forming 600 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii producing 35-40 kt northeast winds and seas building from 20 ft at 34N 160W aimed southwest. In the evening north-northeast winds to hold at 35-40 kts with seas 26 ft at 35N 165W aimed south with sideband energy targeting Hawaii. On Fri AM (11/6) 30 kt northwest fetch is to wrap around the core of the low producing 17 ft seas at 30N 170W targeting Hawaii somewhat. Small local swell is possible for the Islands.

Oahu: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Fri (11/6) building to 4.4 ft @ 12 secs later (5.0-5.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (11/7) from 3.2 ft @ 11-12 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 350 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather system of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/5) low pressure was developing in the Northern Gulf of Alaska pushing southeast with high pressure trying to ridge into CA from the west producing north winds 10 kts for North and Central CA early building to 15+ kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA later. Fri (11/6) the wind machine starts in earnest with northwest winds forecast at 25 kts for Central CA early and 20 kts for North CA fading to 5-10 kts later for the SF Bay Area and reaching north to Bodega Bay and south to Big Sur as the core of the low moves down the coast over SF. And northwest winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for Southern CA in the afternoon. Rain is forecast pushing south to the Golden Gate late afternoon then down to Pt Conception in the evening. Light snow for higher elevations of the Sierra mainly late afternoon into the evening. Sat (11/7) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts all day for North and Central CA (though possibly much weaker nearshore for Bodega bay south to Big Sur) and 20-25 kts for Southern CA all day. Maybe some light rain continuing for Central CA early building down into Southern CA and holding there all day while clearing sets up for North and most of Central CA late afternoon. Light snow for the Sierra. Sun (11/8) north winds are forecast at 25-30 kts early for North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA and 15 kts for Southern CA early building to 25 kts all location later. Light rain for North CA early clearing mid-day but light rain for Central CA building quickly in to South CA and holding all day. Moderate snow pushing south through the Sierra during the day. Monday (11/9) clearing takes hold with northwest winds forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA early fading to 10 kts later. Light winds building into Southern CA through the day. Tues (11/10) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA building to 25 kts later. Light rain for Cape Mendocino late. Wed (11/11) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts for North and Central CA early holding all day. Light rain fading early for Cape Mendocino. Thurs (11/12) North CA to see light northwest winds 10 kts early building to 10-15 kts later with Central CA at 15-20 kts early fading to 10-15 kts alter. Rain pushing south to Big Sur later. Water temps to plummet over the state starting Fri (11/6).

Total snow accumulation for the 10 day window for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 33 inches, 34 inches, 30 inches, and 5 inches respectively. Freezing level roughly at 14,000 ft falling to 3,000 ft on 11/7 then toggling between 3,000-6,000 ft daily through then end of the model run. Winter is coming.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (11/3) sideband swell from a small gale that developed in the far Southeast Pacific was hitting California today (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Swell from another gale that developed over the South Central Pacific was radiating towards Hawaii and California behind (see Central South Pacific Gale below).

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

The southern hemi is starting to go to sleep.


Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale developed over the Southeast Pacific on Sun PM (10/25) producing a broad area of 40 kt west winds aimed east with seas building to 29-30 ft just off the north edge of the Ice Shelf at 60S 140W aimed east. On Mon AM (10/26) winds built to 40 kts from the west with seas building to 34 ft at 59.5S 122.5W all aimed well east over the far Southeast Pacific. In the evening this system was east of even the Southern CA swell window with seas fading from 32 ft at 118W 60.5S aimed east. Low odds of meaningful sideband swell radiating north. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Swell dissipating on Thurs (11/5) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs early (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees

North CA: Swell fading Thurs (11/5) from 1.3 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees


Central South Pacific Gale
A small gale developed in the Central South Pacific Wed AM (10/28) producing a small area of 50-55 kt south-southwest winds and seas 36 ft over a tiny area at 54.5S 156W aimed northeast. In the evening 50 kt southwest winds continued tracking east with seas building to 42 ft at 52.5S 146.5W aimed well northeast. Fetch was starting to fade Thurs AM (10/29) at 40-45 kts from the southwest with seas 39 ft at 53S 136.5W aimed northeast and fading while starting to fall southeast. In the evening south fetch is to be fading from 35+ kts with seas fading from 30 ft at 53S 131W aimed northeast. The gale is to be dissipating from there. Something to monitor.

Hawaii: Swell holding on Thurs (11/5) at 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (11/6) from 1.5 ft @ 13 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 188 degrees

Southern CA: On Thurs (11/5) swell is to be building to 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell building on Fri (11/6) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs mid-day (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (11/7) from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees

North CA: Swell arrival on Thurs (11/5) building to 1.6 ft @ 19 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell building on Fri (11/6) to 2.1 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (11/7) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 195 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 forecast developing just off the Kuril Islands on Mon (11/9) producing 50 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 33 ft at 47.5N 163E aimed east. The gale is to track east in the evening with 50 kt west winds and seas building to 42 ft at 47.5N 169E aimed east. On Tues AM (11/10) the gale is to be over the North Dateline region producing 45 kt west winds and seas 40 ft at 49N 178.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be moving north of the Eastern Aleutians with 35 kt west winds still lingering south of the Aleutians producing 30 ft seas at 49N 173W aimed east. Something to monitor.

Another gale is to form in the far northwestern Gulf on Wed PM (11/11) producing 40-45 kt west winds just south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas building from 24 ft at 49N 172W aimed east. On Thurs AM (11/12) the gale is to build to storm status with 55kt west winds and seas 45 ft at 51N 161.5W aimed east. In the evening the gael is to be in the NOrthern Gulf with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 49 ft at 50N 150W aimed east southeast. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

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



MJO/ENSO Forecast


East Anomalies to Take Over Pacific for the Winter

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: A double dip La Nina was in control 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 over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was 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. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (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: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (11/4) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak from the west over the East equatorial Pacific turning weak easterly over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the East KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/5) weak west anomalies were over the West KWGA with strong east anomalies over the East KWGA. The forecast calls for weak west anomalies fading in the West KWGA gone by 11/8 with moderate to strong east anomalies backtracking from the dateline and into the heart of the KWGA holding through the end of the model run. Support for energy transfer into the jet is weak and is expected to be gone by 11/8 and points thereafter.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/4) A neutral MJO signal was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates a weak Active MJO is expected over the KWGA for the next 15 days. The dynamic model suggests the a weak Inactive MJO pattern for the next 15 days. Likely a dead neutral pattern is to result.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/5) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak to non-existent over the West Pacific today and is to fade to almost imperceptible status while not moving east at all. The GEFS model suggests pretty much the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (11/4) This model depicts a very weak Active MJO was over the West Pacific today with a somewhat stronger Inactive signal over the East Pacific. The Inactive signal is to push east over Central America on 11/14 while the weak Active Phase tracks east behind it and into Central America on 12/2 having weak support for storm production. Another weak Inactive Phase is to build in the West Pacific11/24 pushing into Central America on 12/14. And a weak Active Phase of the MJO is to push east over the KWGA on 12/4 tracking east through the end of the model run on 12/14.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/4) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO today was all but gone over the far East KWGA today with east anomalies building in the heart of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to be building in coverage at strong status and filling the KWGA starting 11/11 and building in coverage and intensity steadily through the end of the model run on 12/2. And the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to not even be over the Pacific until starting 12/1 and then weakly pushing over the west KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/5 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal all but gone in the KWGA with a mix of mainly east anomalies in control of the KWGA. The Active MJO is to push east exiting the KWGA on 11/8 continuing to produce mainly east anomalies. A moderate Inactive Phase is to follow over the KWGA 11/6 tracking east through 12/15 producing east anomalies in the KWGA and points east of there to Ecuador and stronger in the East Pacific with only a few small hints of west anomalies forecast. A weak Active Phase is to follow on 12/7 with modest to moderate west anomalies building and holding as the Active Phase pushes out of the KWGA on 1/4. West anomalies are modeled but not making any progress over the East Pacific. A neutral pattern is to return 1/8 and holding through the end of the model run on 2.2 with mostly east anomalies filling the KWGA and extending east over the entirety of the Pacific. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run with it's western periphery easing east to 150E at the end of the model run. A third contour line is to appear on 12/16 holding for the foreseeable future with a fourth contour line setting up on 1/25. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage through the end of the model run with its eastern periphery easing east to 145E at the end of the model run. Its core and western periphery is to show no signs of moving east locked over the Indian Ocean. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year have migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and are forecast stabilizing there for the foreseeable future. The trend is towards a building La Nina.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/5) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was stable at 163E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking to 179E today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 148W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +0-1 deg C were steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 165W at depth today but no warmth east of there. There was a pocket of cooler anomalies at -5 degs near 135W with cool anomalies filling the entire area east of the dateline and shallower west to 160E. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/30 indicates the same with a large cool water bubble at depth stronger and larger erupting to the surface from 165W eastward to Ecuador with a core to -5C but with cool anomalies even west of there to 160E. Warm anomalies were below the surface over the far West Pacific reaching east to 160W at depth (150m). The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/30) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 160E building to -20 cms at 130W and -15 cms solid between 110W-140W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and then reaching north up to Baja and into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from San Francisco south to Southern Chile and west out to the intersection of the dateline and the equator. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

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: (11/4) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Colder anomalies were imbedded in that flow between 110W to 150W and growing in coverage today. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. Warm water was all but gone off Central America north of the equator. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/4): Temps were warming some on the equator over it's width except from 125W to 160E were weak cooling was occurring.
Hi-res Overview: (11/4) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea with markedly cool anomalies between 110-150W. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/5) Today's temps were rising some at -0.910 degs and previously were down to -2.138 on 8/13. The trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/5) Temps were rising some at -1.525 after reaching a new low of -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/5) Today the model indicates temps at -1.30 degs. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend to continue reaching -2.4 degs in mid-Jan then beginning to rise, rebuilding up to -0.40 degs in mid-July. This is becoming a 2 year event in that even after temps return to 0/normal it will take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Sept 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.75 degs today, and are to fall in Nov to -0.85 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.54 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by April. The low outliers are dynamic models (NASA GMAO, NCEP CFSV2). But most model are suggesting a moderate La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (11/5): The daily index was negative today at -5.79. The 30 day average was rising some to +4.04. The 90 day average was rising some at 7.84, suggesting the current fading Active MJO has had some limited impact on the deep state La Nina pattern. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. 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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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