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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2018 4:40 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
3.3 - California & 3.0 - 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 11/19 thru Sun 11/25

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 Swell Tracking from NW Pacific
Far Stronger Storm Pattern Forecast

On Monday, November 19, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.0 secs from 190 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 11.3 secs from 226 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 13.3 secs from 225 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 66.2 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.1 secs from 266 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 12.7 secs from 247 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 12.8 secs from 228 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.2 ft @ 13.3 secs from 243 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 12.3 secs from 287 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was east at 12-14 kts. Water temp 60.8 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 Monday (11/19) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was fading out with a few head high sets straggling through and clean and lined up but slow and weak. Protected breaks were chest to shoulder high on the bigger sets and clean and lined up if not closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was maybe waist high and clean and slow. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to maybe waist high and clean and weak. In North Orange Co Gulf swell was getting in producing waves at chest high and lined and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to shoulder high and clean with occasional head high sets and lined up with good form but slow. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was small with set waves maybe head high at top breaks and warbled but clean with northeast windswell running through it. The South Shore was thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high and chopped from moderate east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (11/19) in California swell was fading out generated from a gale that previously tracked east through the Gulf Wed-Thurs (11/15) targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast with 26 ft seas aimed southeast and east. A somewhat stronger gale developed off the Kuril's Fri (11/16) with seas to 29 ft aimed east but faded Sat-Sun (11/18) as moved over the dateline with 18 ft seas then into the Western Gulf and fading out. A local gale is forecast off California on Wed-Thurs (11/22) with 18 ft seas possible. After that a more interesting pattern is to set up with a gale developing off Kamchatka on Wed-Fri (11/23) with seas to 42 ft aimed east making it to the dateline then fading. And perhaps a stronger system is to develop over the dateline Fri-Sat (11/24) with 48 ft seas aimed east. And a small system is to follow Mon (11/26) pushing over the dateline with 41 ft seas aimed east. So there's finally something to monitor. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is dissipating with a turn to the Active Phase forecast, which is supposedly responsible for the up tick in storm activity.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Monday AM (11/19) the jet was consolidated over and just off Japan then splitting at 160E pushing split over the dateline with the northern branch reaching up to 50N then falling southeast into a weak trough over the Gulf before splitting again with the northern branch pushing up into Alaska. The southern branch was tracking east down at 25N and pushing into Baja. There was limited support for low pressure development in the trough over the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to dig out a little more with winds energy building into the trough to 120 kts on Wed (11/21) and pushing into the Pacific Northwest coast on Thurs (11/22) with it's apex moving to a point 250 nmiles west of San Francisco offering some support for low pressure development there. Back to the west wind energy is to be building just off Japan at 190 kts on Thurs AM (11/22). Beyond 72 hours starting Fri AM (11/23) the jet jet is to be building cohesive from Japan over the dateline to 170W with winds to 190 kts and starting to carve out a trough on the dateline and getting solid into early Sun (11/25). Great support for gale development in this trough. The trough is to be less impressive as it pushes east into the Gulf on Mon (11/26), stalling there and splitting at 135W. But wind energy is to be solid if not building again over the dateline at 180 kts perhaps offering support for gale development again. At that time a bit of a split is forecast developing over Japan. It sure looks like the Active Phase of the MJO is to start feeding the jetstream and increasing odds for gale development.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (11/19) leftover swell from a gale previously in the West Gulf was fading in California. Swell from a small gale that developed in the far Northwest Pacific is tracking east (see Northwest Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours remnants of the Northwest Pacific Gale are to possibly redevelop off North California on Wed PM (11/21) with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 15 ft at 42N 148W aimed east mainly from the interaction of high pressure north of Hawaii and generic weak low pressure in the northeastern Gulf producing a gradient and west winds. On Thurs AM (11/22) 35 kt west winds are to just off Cape Mendocino with seas building to 18 ft at 41N 138W. The gale is to track east in the evening and fade while pushing into Pt Arena with 25-30 kt west winds just off North CA and 17-18 ft seas at 40N 135W or just 500 nmiles off Pt Arena. The gale/low is to dissipate from there. Raw local protoswell could possibly result pushing into North and Central CA if all goes as forecast.

The models also suggest a gale is to develop just off Kamchatka on Wed AM (11/21) producing 40 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. In the evening northwest winds to build to 55 kts with seas to 32 ft at 48N 165E tracking east. On Thurs AM (11/22) fetch is to push east at 50 kts with seas building to 39 ft at 47N 170E aimed southeast. In the evening 40-45 kts west winds to be approaching the North Dateline region with seas building to 41 ft at 47N 177E aimed east. The gale is to rapidly fade Fri AM (11/22) with winds fading from 30 kts from the west with seas fading from 33 ft at 46N 175W. If this occurs some degree of northwest swell is to be pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.


West Gulf Gale
Starting Tues AM (11/13) a small gale was developing on the dateline with 30 kt southwest winds targeting Hawaii and seas building from 18-20 ft over a tiny area aimed southeast. In the evening fetch built to 35+ kt from the north while the gale tracked east steadily with seas to 22 ft at 37N 177W aimed south almost targeting Hawaii well. On Wed AM (11/14) the gale tracked east with north winds to 40 kts and seas 25 ft at 39N 169W aimed south targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale was start lifting northeast with winds 40 kts solid from the north and seas to 26 ft at 40N 162W targeting Hawaii and California well. On Thurs AM (11/15) the gale was over the Central Gulf with a moderate sized fetch of 35 kts northwest winds and seas 26 ft at 42.5N 157W targeting California well. In the evening the gale was fading while holding position with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas fading fast from 21 ft at 45N 157W aimed southeast. The gale was fading Fri AM (11/16) with winds dropping from barely 35 kts and seas below 18 ft aimed southeast. The gale was gone after that.

North CA: Leftovers on Mon (11/19) fading from 3.0 ft @ 12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 290 degrees


Northwest Pacific Gale
A broad but ill formed gale developed in the Northwest Pacific just off the North Kuril Islands on Thurs PM (11/15) producing a tiny area of north winds at 45 kts starting to get traction on the oceans surface. Fri AM (11/16) the gale produced a moderate area of 40 kt northwest winds with a core to 45 kts and the gale tracking east with seas 28 ft at 45.5N 164.5E. In the evening fetch was racing east at 35+ kts positioned about half way to the dateline with seas 27 ft at 44N 172E pushing east. On Sat AM (11/17) the gale was fading with west winds barely 30 kts on the dateline with seas fading from 23 ft at 43N 178E aimed east. The gale is to fade to low pressure status with west winds 25-30 kts and seas 20 ft at 46N 171W. Fetch fading to 25 kts Sun AM (11/18) with seas barely 18 ft at 45N 168W aimed east. The gale to fade after that. Small swell is possible for Hawaii and less for exposed breaks in California. There's a slim chance remnants from this gale are to start redeveloping off California on Wed (11/21).

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues AM (11/20) at 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (11/21) from 2.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday AM (11/19) weak low pressure was 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception driving a weak south to southeast flow at 5 kts early over Central CA and even less into North CA forecast building to 10 kts in Central CA later. On Tues (11/20) the low is to fade out while a weak front builds off North CA and Oregon with south winds 10 kts along the North and Central CA coast building to 20+ kts down to Pt Arena later. Wed (11/21) south winds to continue at 15-20 kts from Pt Conception northward early then fading some as another low and front starts moving east. Rain developing early over all of California from Pt Conception northward and even into Santa Barbara County late afternoon and to San Diego later evening with snow developing at sunset for the entire Sierra and stronger if not solid later in the evening. Thurs (11/22) yet another front builds off the North CA coast with west winds 10 kts early turning to south winds building to 20-25 kts from Bodega Bay northward at sunset. North winds 5-10 kts later for Central CA. Snow fading into the Sierra late morning. Rain fading along the coast early but building strong for Cape Mendocino into the afternoon holding into the evening. On Fri (11/23) that front is to stall over San Francisco and fade with west winds 20 kts over all of North CA early and fading to 15 kts limited to the SF Bay area later. Rain solid for Pt Arena and light rain to the Golden Gate early pushing to Monterey Bay in the late afternoon and snow only for the highest peaks of the Sierra during the day then fading late. Saturday (11/24) high pressure is to be well off Southern CA with light winds for North and Central CA holding through the day while a weak front pushes south over extreme north CA to maybe Pt Arena with south winds 15 kts there and rain for that area forecast. Sunday (11/25) weak high pressure is to be just off the North and Central CA coast with north winds 20 kts for Pt Conception but generally light at 10 kts from Big Sur northward. Monday (11/26) high pressure is to weaken with north winds 10 kts over all of North and Central CA.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Fri AM (11/23) a new gale is to be building west of the dateline and pretty far south aided by a strong jetstream flow aloft with 50 kt west winds and seas building from 32 ft late 40N 166E. In the evening the storm is to be on the dateline with winds building to 60 kts aimed southeast and seas building to 42 ft at 40N 174E aimed east. On Sat AM (11/24) the gale is to be east of the dateline with west winds 55 kts and seas 47 ft aimed east and southeast over a decent sized area. In the evening west winds are to start fading from 45 kts over the Western Gulf with seas 38 ft at 38N 169W pushing east and southeast. On Sun AM (11/25) the gale is to be fading with northwest winds 40 kts and seas 32 ft over a large area aimed east at 40N 161W. The gale is to fade from there.

And yet another fetch is to be building right behind , the remnants of a tropical system that is to become extratropical while recurving northeast on Sun PM (11/25) with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 33 ft over a tiny area at 35N 171E aimed east. In the evening west winds are to build to 60 kts from the west with seas 41 ft at 36N 178W aimed east. Winds to hold decently in the evening at 55 kts from the west and seas 41 ft at 37N 167W aimed east. Something to monitor.

So a more active pattern is forecast.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


SST Temps Fading - ESPI 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 over the Summer 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 (11/18) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then fading to calm over the bulk of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central equatorial Pacific, then turning moderate westerly from 165E and points west of there over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/19) moderate west anomalies were centered over the core of the KWGA at 165E with modest east anomalies on the dateline. The forecast has the same general pattern holding for the next 3-4 days but with east anomalies fading on the dateline and west anomalies developing there at modest strength and holding, filling the KWGA through the end of the model run (11/26).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/18) The Active Phase of the MJO was modestly in control of the West Pacific. The statistical model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is to continue pushing east through the West Pacific reaching the dateline on day 10 then fading some but still in control through day 15. The dynamic model has the Active Phase doing effectively the same thing peaking at day 10 then moving rapidly east on day 15 over the dateline with the Inactive Phase building east from the Maritime Continent. The 2 models are in sync other than the day 15 projection.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/19) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the Maritime Continent and is to build some while tracking east through the West Pacific quickly and racing east and out of the West Pacific 9 days and back in the Indian Ocean at day 14. The GEFS model depicts the Active Phase building far stronger over the West Pacific peaking on day 8, then into the Atlantic at day 15. The 2 models are generally in sync.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/15) No update - This model depicts a very weak Active signal was over the dateline tracking east. The Active Phase is to continue tracking east weakly over the Central Pacific then pushing over the East Pacific and into Central America on 12/5. After that a very weak Inactive Phase is to again set up over the West Pacific on 11/25 and is to track to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/25.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/18) This model depicts moderate west anomalies were over the core of KWGA near 165E and retrograding west with east anomalies on the dateline. This pattern is to hold through 11/25. After that the Active Phase and west anomalies are to track east and fading some but still filling the KWGA into 12/3 and then dissipating whole moving east to the dateline on 12/9 and holding there through the end of the model run on 12/16. At that time east anomalies are to be building into the Western KWGA reaching east to 150E.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/18) This model depicts weak weak west anomalies were in the core of the KWGA today with a weak Active Phase of the MJO developing there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to start building but with modest west anomalies retrograding west and fading out of the KWGA by 11/26. Neutral anomalies are forecast in the KWGA 11/20-12/4. After that the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop in the KWGA 12/3 -12/21 but with weak west anomalies in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to rebuild 12/25 holding through 1/29 with west winds anomalies building, to WWB status. After that a weak Inactive MJO signal is forecast through the end of the model run on 2/15 with west anomalies holding. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east over California and forecast holding beyond while slowly easing east, but still centered over the dateline at the end of the model run. A 4th contour line previously forecast to to develop in the 12/22-1/21/19 period is no longer on the charts. It now appears El Nino development is becoming less certain per this model. The atmosphere and ocean are trying to become coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence of it yet. If it hasn't happened yet (by Nov 1), it's doubtful there will be significant weather influence even if it does develop. And this model is not suggesting they will not become coupled with the MJO coming back to life and steady west anomalies fading. Still this pattern is to slowly become more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, especially compared to the 2 previous years given that we're still moving towards Winter and La Nina is gone. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, but nothing more.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/19) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid but retreating west slight from 180W to 179E. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W a few weeks back, then moved east to 154W 11/6, and today was stable at 156W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then getting progressively shallower east of there and no longer pushing into Ecuador, but was breaking the surface at 101W. Kelvin Wave #2 appeared to peak in the West Pacific, and temps were retrograding, but starting 11/8 they surged east again, but started fading on 11/13 and continue in that trend. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific but with temps far weaker in the West Pacific than weeks and months past. Kelvin Wave (#2) starts at 180W at +2-3 degs and is building to +5.0 degs centered at 100W down 90 meters then pushing into the coast of Ecuador. But with temps certainly weakening in the far West Pacific, down to +2.0 degs from 175E and points west of there, it seems this Kelvin Wave is fading. The peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred, but upwelling from it is still to be ongoing for a few more weeks. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/9 paints the same picture with the Kelvin Wave #2 starting in the West Pacific near 175W with building temps peaking at +5.0 degs at 100-110W and then pushing into Ecuador but weaker. A small pocket of neutral anomalies that was in the far West Pacific just east of the Maritime Continent appears to be getting cooler with negative anomalies present there now and building in coverage. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 100W to 155W solidly with secondary solid warm anomalies starting to fill the entire region on the equator from 100W-165E. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/14) Positive anomalies were solid from north of New Guinea over the Dateline, then weakening some from 160W to 140W with pockets of neutral anomalies there, then rebuilding and solid at 140W into Ecuador and broad in coverage peaking at +10 cms in one small pocket at 100W an fading fast. This indicates that Kelvin Wave (#2) was peaking south of California and pushing quickly east. It was branching north to Baja and south to Southern Peru, a good sign.

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: (11/18) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were warm in a Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, with imbedded pockets of slightly stronger warming. But these temps are cooler over the past few days compared to 2 weeks prior and continuing to weaken. There was minimal slight warming along the coast of Chile unbroken up into Peru, but nothing indicative of a strong trend towards El Nino. Generic warm anomalies were north of the equator from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. This pattern looks somewhat like El Nino, but also like La Nina with no solid warming branching north and south along the Central and South American coast, and most warming still in the West Pacific, suggesting this developing El Nino is only weakly in control and still fragile at best in the East equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/18): A weak cooling trend continues from Ecuador over the Galapagos on the equator on out to 140W. No warming was indicated there. Fading warming was along the coasts of Peru, but nowhere else.
Hi-res Overview: (11/18) A tiny sliver of weak cool water was present just off the outer coast of North Chile with warm water building over the coast of Chile and along the immediate coast of Peru. Otherwise moderate plus warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos building out to the dateline but with no stronger imbedded warming. We have 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. And one could kinda think we are moving towards a El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion based on what is going on sub-surface. And given the time of year, the warm signal should be much stronger if El Nino were truly developing. We are in ENSO neutral and likely only going to move to a minimal warm regime, though not reaching full El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/19) Today's temps were rising to +0.854 and near the peak of temps in this region since mid October. Temps have been toggling between the 0.0 and +0.6 deg range for 2 weeks now. They were down to -0.628 on 10/22, after having fallen from the all time high for this event on 9/25 +1.316. Basically things are neutral here.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/19) Today temps were holding at +0.499, down from the all time high for this event of +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are noodling around at +0.5 to +0.7 degs above normal adding some hope that perhaps El Nino is trying to develop, but nothing serious.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/18) The model indicates temps at +0.9 degs in mid-Nov (which isn't even close to reality) then rising some and toggling from +1.00 to +1.20 degs from Dec into July 2019, then fading to +1.0 degs into Aug 2019. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. But given all the data we've seen, we believe odds of even a weak El Nino developing are fading. Most models are 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) (11/19): The daily index was rising today at -7.51. The 30 day average was rising some at -0.85 suggesting an Inactive MJO was fading and turning neutral. The 90 day average was rising some at -2.14, but still the highest its been in months. 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): (11/19) Today the index was near stable at -0.06, but still not as positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It was down to -0.22 the week of 10/22, after having risen to +0.39 on 10/10, the highest so far this event. This suggests that precip and evaporation are just slightly less than normal, and not above normal as one would expect if El Nino were in play. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year.
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 -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. 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, 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

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