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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2018 4:18 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 Gale Developing Off Kamchatka
Far Stronger Storm Forecast for Dateline

On Wednesday, November 21, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 6.5 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 6.4 secs from 133 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 7.8 secs from 22 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 10.5 secs from 216 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 12-16 kts. Water temperature 66.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.6 ft @ 10.0 secs from 255 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 12.8 secs from 209 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.3 secs from 201 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.3 secs from 204 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 6.0 secs from 178 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was southeast at 10-12 kts. Water temp 61.3 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 Wednesday (11/21) in North and Central CA local south windswell was hitting producing waves at chest high or so at top breaks and pretty warbled if not chopped and not very rideable with rain. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and soft and fogged in. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to thigh high and chopped and warbled from wind and high tide. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh to maybe waist high and lightly textured and weak. In North Orange Co fading Gulf swell was producing waves at waist high or so and lined and clean but mostly just breaking on the beach. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high and clean and lined up. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean and lined up and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was still small with set waves maybe chest high at top breaks and mostly clean but with some northeast windlump running through it. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves head 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 Wednesday (11/21) no real swell was hitting California other than locally generated windswell. Hawaii was getting the final day of tiny swell from a gale that developed off the Kuril's Fri (11/16) with seas to 29 ft aimed east but then faded Sat-Sun (11/18) as it moved over the dateline with 18 ft seas then into the Western Gulf and gone. A local gale is developing 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 38 ft aimed east making it to the dateline then fading. And the models continue to tease suggesting that a stronger system is to develop off Japan Fri-Sat (11/24) with 41 ft seas pushing over the dateline aimed east and then fading in the Western Gulf on Sun (11/25) with seas dropping from 30 ft. And a small system is to follow Tues-Wed (11/28) in the Eastern Gulf with 38 ft seas building just off Oregon. So there's finally a few systems to monitor. The Active Phase of the MJO is developing, and it is to feed the jetstream and therefore the storm track. Finally something to look forward too.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Wednesday AM (11/21) the jet was consolidated over and just off Japan wit winds to 150 kts starting to form a trough off the Kuril Islands offering some hope for gale development. At 170E the jet split heavily with the northern branch pushing hard north and into the Bering Sea, then falling southeast over the Northeastern Gulf forming a weak trough there with it's apex down to a point 350 nmiles off Big Sur CA being fed by 110 kts winds offering some support for gale development. The southern branch was tracking east down at 20N and pushing into Baja. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to push east and fade with the jet pushing inland over North CA on Thurs (11/22) offering more opportunity for rain there but with diminishing support for gale development. Back to the west the jet is to be getting heavily infused with wind energy, with winds 210 kts off Japan late Thurs into early Fri AM (11/23) with 130-140 kt winds pushing over the dateline and into the Western Gulf starting to form a broad trough north of it with the trough filling the entire North Pacific and easing into the Gulf of Alaska by Sat (11/24). Good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Sun AM (11/25) winds in the jet are to be fading some but still at 180 kts over the dateline pushing east into the Western Gulf and well consolidated from Japan to about 140W with a broad trough over the dateline and into the Western Gulf offering great support for gale development. The trough is to slowly weaken and push east focused on the Western and Central Gulf on Tues (11/27) with winds still 170+ kts continuing to offer support for gale development, but with the jet starting to split just off Japan and the split reaching to the dateline. That said, more wind energy is to be building over Japan on Wed (11/28) with winds there to 150 kts and the split over the dateline, then reconsolidating in the Central Gulf with winds 160 kts there and pushing consolidated into North CA offering great support for gale development in the Gulf and precipitation into the northern half of California. Finally Fall is arriving, and dramatically and all at once.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday (11/21) no swell was hitting California. But small swell from a small gale that previously developed in the far Northwest Pacific is hitting Hawaii (see Northwest Pacific Gale below). A series of gales

Over the next 72 hours remnants of the Northwest Pacific Gale are to redevelop off North California on Wed PM (11/21) with 30 kt west winds and seas building from 15 ft at 42N 145W 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 40N 137W. The gale is to track east in the evening and fade while pushing into Pt Arena with 25 kt west winds just off North CA and a new fetch of 30 kt west winds developing well off Cape Mendocino and 18 ft seas at 40N 140W. The gale/low is to fade Fri AM (11/23) with 25 kt west winds off the Oregon border and 17 ft seas at 39N 134W and fading. Raw local protoswell could possibly result pushing into North and Central CA mainly on Fri (11/23).

The models also suggest a gale is developing 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 over a tiny sliver with seas to 35 ft at 48N 165E tracking east. On Thurs AM (11/22) fetch is to push east at 45 kts with seas building to 37 ft at 47.5N 169E aimed southeast. In the evening 40 kts west winds are to be approaching the North Dateline region with seas building to 37 ft at 47N 176E 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 30 ft at 45N 175W. If this occurs some degree of northwest swell is to be pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast but it could easily be overtaken by what to be developing behind it.

Starting Fri AM (11/23) a new gale is to be building just off North Japan with west winds 50 kts over a solid area aimed east and seas building from 36 ft at 43N 155E he 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 midway to the dateline with winds 50 kts aimed southeast and seas building to 43 ft at 41N 164E aimed east. On Sat AM (11/24) the gale is to be just west of the dateline with west winds 45-50 kts and seas 46 ft at 40.5N 174.5E aimed east over a decent sized area. In the evening west winds are to start fading from 45 kts over the Western Gulf with seas 43 ft at 38N 176W pushing east and aimed southeast. On Sun AM (11/25) the gale is to be fading with northwest winds 35 kts over a large area aimed east and seas 36 ft over a large area aimed east at 37.5N 169W. The gale is to fade from there in the evening with 35 kt west winds and seas 33 ft over a large area aimed east at 41N 160W. On Mon AM (11/26) fetch is to fade from 30-35 kts from the west in the Central Gulf with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 40N 153W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible large swell to result.


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 Wednesday AM (11/21) low pressure was off the CA coast with south winds 15-20 kts from Pt Conception northward early then fading some as another low and front starts building off the coast. Rain over all of California from Pt Conception northward and even into Santa Barbara County late afternoon and to San Diego late 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 northwest winds 10 kts early for Central CA and south winds building from Bodega Bay northward to 20-25 kts at sunset. Snow fading into the Sierra late afternoon. Rain fading along the coast early but rebuilding solidly for North CA down to Monterey Bay later and holding into the evening. Snow rebuilding for higher elevations of the Sierra down to Kirkwood later in the evening. On Fri (11/23) that front is to stall over San Francisco and fade with southwest winds 15-20 kts over all of North CA all day and light from San Francisco down to Morro Bay and north 15 kts for Pt Conception. Rain solid for all of North CA and light down to Big Sur. Snow continuing for higher elevations of the Sierra down to Yosemite during the day then fading late. Saturday (11/24) high pressure is to be well off Southern CA with light north winds for North and Central CA but building all area to 15 kts later. No real rain forecast. Light rain for the Sierra early. Sunday (11/25) weak high pressure is to be holding off the Central CA coast with north winds 15 kts for Central CA but light for North CA. Monday (11/26) high pressure is to weaken with north winds 5-10 kts over all of North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA mainly near Pt Conception. Tuesday (11/27) high pressure is to weaken and fall south with light winds for North and Central CA expect 15 kts for Pt Conception. Light rain for North CA pushing south to Big Sur late afternoon then fading early evening. Wed (11/28) low pressure is to be building just off Cape Mendocino to gale status midday pushing into Oregon with southwest winds 20 kts early for North CA building to 25 kts down to San Francisco late afternoon. Rain for all of North CA early building to Morro Bay later and getting very heavy in all of North CA later.


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 things are to settle down some. Then another fetch is to be building with 35 kt west winds in the Gulf on Wed (11/28) targeting California well. But at 180 hrs out, it's not believable at this early date.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


SST Temps Steady - ESPI Dead 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 = 6.0 (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 does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the Jan timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly 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 (11/20) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then turning to west winds over the bulk of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central equatorial Pacific, then turning to modest westerly anomalies from 170E and points west of there over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/21) 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 2 days then with east anomalies gone on the dateline and weak west anomalies filling the entire KWGA and building also over the entire East Pacific by the end of the model run (11/28).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/20) 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 hold in the West Pacific then slowly fading and gone a the end of the model run on day 15. The dynamic model has the Active Phase doing effectively the same thing then moving east over the dateline at day 10 with the Inactive Phase building over the far West Pacific and then moving fully into the West Pacific at day 15 as the Active Phase fades out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/21) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the Maritime Continent and is to build to modest strength tracking east through the West Pacific through day 7 then quickly d racing east and back in the Indian Ocean at day 14. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same theme. The 2 models are generally in sync.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/21) This model depicts a weak Active signal was over the West Pacific 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 12/26. After that a slightly stronger Inactive Phase is to again set up over the West Pacific on 12/6 and is to track to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/31. A moderate Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 12/26 tracking east.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/20) 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 11/24. After that the Active Phase and west anomalies are to track east and fading some but still filling the KWGA into 11/27 then building on the dateline and holding there into 12/3. At the same time east anomalies are to be building in the Western KWGA starting 11/27 and holding through the end of the model run 12/18 with west anomalies holding on the dateline to 170E.
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 modest Active Phase of the MJO developing there. The Active Phase of the MJO is to hold but with modest west anomalies retrograding west and fading out of the KWGA by 11/25. 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 12/4 -12/20 but with weak west anomalies in the KWGA mainly on the dateline. The Active Phase is to rebuild 12/25 holding through 1/30 with west winds anomalies building, to WWB status 1/10 onward. After that a weak Inactive MJO signal is forecast through the end of the model run on 2/15 with west anomalies holding at WWB status. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through 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: (11/21) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid but retreating west slightly 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 155W. 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 97W. Kelvin Wave #2 appears to have peaked in the West Pacific, and is pushing east through the far East Pacific. 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 temps are certainly weakening in the far West Pacific, down to +2.0 degs from 175E and points west of there and covering a thinning area. So 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 negative anomalies is in the far West Pacific just east of the Maritime Continent. 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 and into the East Pacific and Ecuador at +5 cms with a few small pockets to +10 cms. This indicates that Kelvin Wave (#2) was peaking south of California and pushing quickly east but not dissipating. It was branching north to Baja and south to Southern Peru along the coasts there, 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: (11/20) 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. These temps are no longer cooling, and if anything are warming slightly in the past 48 hours. There is 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 (11/20): A pocket of weak cooling was just off Ecuador and another out at 120W, as were interspersed pockets of warming. A steady pattern is indicated. Warming was building some along the coasts of Peru and North Chile.
Hi-res Overview: (11/20) Warm water was 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 strong 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 (fading Kelvin Wave scenario). And given the time of year, the warm signal on the surface 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, likely not reaching full El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/21) Today's temps were falling slightly at +0.741 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:
(11/21) Today temps were holding at +0.560, 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 (11/20) The model indicates temps at +0.8 degs in mid-Nov (which isn't even close to reality) then rising some and toggling from +0.90 to +1.20 degs from Dec into July 2019, then steady at +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 turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall. It's not certain we're there yet.
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) (11/21): The daily index was rising today at 5.85. The 30 day average was rising some at -0.17 suggesting an Inactive MJO was fading and turning neutral but not moving towards the Active Phase. The 90 day average was rising some at -1.96, 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. Unfortunately we have made no progress from there towards a negative El Nino pattern.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (11/21) Today the index was stable at 0.00, not 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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (11/18):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

Powerline Productions New Movie Preimer - Next Level - Friday (11/9) at 7 PM. Details here:

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Stormsurf and Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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