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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2019 2:29 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
3.8 - California & 3.8 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 11/18 thru Sun 11/24

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   

WPac/N. Dateline Swell Hits HI
Another Dateline Gale Developing

On Thursday, November 21, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.7 secs from 287 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 9.1 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 16.8 secs from 313 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.4 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 12.6 secs from 238 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 63.7 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.9 ft @ 11.6 secs from 312 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.3 ft @ 11.9 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 2.2 ft @ 12.7 secs from 214 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 4.4 ft @ 12.3 secs from 262 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.0 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 10.1 secs from 308 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was east at 10-16 kts. Water temp 51.4 degs (013), 57.2 degs (012) and 57.0 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 (11/21) in North and Central CA locally generated windswell was producing waves at 2 ft overhead and somewhat lined up but a bit soft and unorganized but clean. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up but pretty closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high on the sets and somewhat lined up but pretty lumpy and warbled from easterly sideshore wind. In Southern California/Ventura north windswell was wrapping in well producing waves at chest high and line dup and peeling but soft with a little warble in the water though local wind was calm. In North Orange Co windswell was producing waves at 1 ft overhead and lined up but pretty raw and warbled from southerly wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were chest to shoulder high and jumbled and uneven with a light southwest flow creating local bump. North San Diego had waves at chest high and warbled and lined up but not really rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new dateline swell with waves triple overhead (8-10 ft) and lined up and clean and thick but a little raw. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal east windswell with waves thigh to waist high and chopped early from east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (11/21) in California local windswell was hitting. Of more interest was swell hitting Hawaii from another gale that pushed off Japan on Sun-Mon (11/18) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east and then redeveloped over the North Dateline Region Tues-Wed (11/20) with up to 34 ft seas aimed east. And yet another fragmented gale developed over the Dateline/Western Gulf on Wed-Fri (11/22) with 32 & 38 ft seas aimed east. A cutoff low is to develop northwest of Hawaii Mon-Thurs (11/28) with 20-24 ft seas aimed southeast. A local low is to produce 21 ft seas falling south along the US West Coast on Wed (11/27).

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday (11/21) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds 170-180 kts falling into a broad but weak trough west of the dateline then lifting gently to the northeast pushing into the Northern Gulf and then into North Canada. The trough west of the dateline was offering decent support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east-northeast to the dateline, stall on Fri (11/22) then deepen Sat (11/23) before starting to pinch off on Sun (11/24) offering some continued support for gale development. At the end of that window a ridge is to be building off Japan while another builds north-northeast of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours the dateline trough is to pinch off fully and become cutoff early Tues (11/26) but still support some degree of low level circulation capable of supporting low pressure development, then lifting north on Thurs (11/28) and starting to become assimilated into the large flow. On Thurs (11/28) the general flow is to be pushing off Japan and splitting with most energy lifting northeast pushing over the Central Aleutians at 130 kts continuing east into Coastal Alaska and down the coast of the Pacific Northwest with a backdoor trough pushing off the Central CA coast. The remnants of the dateline trough are to be causing the split but that energy is to be fading fast with the balance of the jet displaced well to the north offering nothing.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (11/21) swell from a gale that developed off Japan pushing to the dateline, then redeveloped while lifting northeast through the Northwestern Gulf was hitting Hawaii and bound for the US West Coast (see Dateline/Northwest Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale started pushing off North Japan on Tues PM (11/19) producing a fragmented area of 35-40 kt west winds. On Wed AM (11/20) west winds built at 35-40+ kts over a broad area streaming off North Japan reaching east to the dateline with seas building to 31 ft at 41.5N 155E aimed east and another pocket at 24 ft at 42.5N 178E aimed east. In the evening a broad area of 35-40 kt west winds were tracking east pushing over the dateline with seas building to 32 ft at 41N 163.5E aimed east and another pocket at 26 ft at 43N 174W aimed east with 24 ft seas connecting them and extending up into the Northwestern Gulf. On Thurs AM (11/21) 30-35 kt west fetch was filling almost the entire North Central Pacific centered at 45N with one pocket to 45 kts just east of the dateline with 31 ft seas at 42.5N 171E aimed east and a small er area of 37 ft seas at 47N 177.5W aimed east with 26+ ft seas continuous from 165E east to 163W roughly on the 45N latitude line (1353 nmiles in width). In the evening fetch is to be fading in coverage while rapidly tracking northeast at 45 kts mainly in the Northwestern Gulf with seas 36 ft in one small area at 48N 167.5E and another at 28 ft back at 43N 178E and 22+ ft seas connecting the two. Fetch is to race east on Fri AM (11/22) repositioned in the Northern Gulf at 45 kts with 35 ft seas at 53N 155W aimed east. Fetch and seas to fade out in the evening.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (11/23) building to 2.8 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5 ft). Swell building some overnight and peaking Sun AM (11/24) at 5.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (8.5 ft). Swell fading on Mon AM (11/25) from 3.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5 ft). Dribbles fading on Tues AM (11/26) from 2.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon afternoon (11/25) building to 2.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0 ft) and buried in local windswell. Swell building mid-Tues (11/26) at 6.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (10 ft) with copious local windswell still an issue. More and larger windswell to follow.


Dateline/Northwest Gulf Gale
A gale started building off Japan on Sat PM (11/16) with 35 kt west winds and seas building from 20 ft at 40N 150E aimed east. On Sun AM (11/17) winds built to 45 kts from the northwest in one pocket and 45 kts in another with seas 29 ft at 38N 156E aimed east. In the evening the gale built in coverage filling the Northwest Pacific pushing east moving over the dateline with 40 kt northwest fetch lingering back halfway between the dateline and Japan with 31 ft seas at 39N 164.5E aimed southeast at Hawaii well. The gale held together decently Mon AM (11/18) covering the dateline region with 35-40 kt northwest winds over a solid area and a core to 45 kts from the northwest producing seas at 33 ft at 41N 172E aimed southeast. Fetch lifted north in the evening at 40-45 kts repositioned over the North Dateline region with residual fetch at 30-35 kts south of there with the largest area of seas at 33 ft at 42.5N 179W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. All fetch consolidated over the North Dateline region on Tues AM (11/19) at 40-45 kts with 34 ft seas at 47.5N 172W aimed east. The gale faded from there while tracking east just south of the Eastern Aleutians at 35 kts from the west producing 33 ft seas at 49N 164W aimed east at the US West Coast. The gale faded Wed AM (11/20) with 30 kt west winds and seas dropping from 29 ft at 50N 160W aimed east-northeast. The gale dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Swell held solid Thurs AM (11/21) at 7.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (11.5 ft) fading some through the day. Residual energy to continue Fri AM (11/22) fading steadily from 4.8 ft @ 14 secs (6.5 ft). Dribbles on Sat AM (11/23) fading from 2.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 317 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (11/22) building to 5.9 ft @ 17-18 secs late (10 ft). Swell holding overnight and still solid Sat AM (11/23) at 7.3 ft @ 16 secs early (11.5 ft). Swell to continue on Sun (11/24) at 7.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (10.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294 moving to 304 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat AM (11/23) peaking at 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.0 ft) at exposed breaks. Swell fading on Sun (11/24) from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (11/25) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft) and being overridden by local windswell. Swell Direction: 298-308 degrees


Windswell Outlook
On Thurs AM (11/21) north fetch off was fading from 20+ kts off the coasts of North and Central CA still producing some windswell early but with light winds nearshore. For Hawaii east trades were 15+ kts up to 600 nmiles east of the Islands generating local east windswell. On Fri-Sat (11/23) no windswell of interest is forecast for California. For Hawaii east trades are to be rock solid at 20 kts up to 600 nmiles east of the Islands generating solid east windswell. For California on Sun (11/24) north winds are to be building at 20 kts along the North CA coast early and up to 25 kts later and 10 kts early along the Central Coast pushing 15 kts in the afternoon starting to get some traction and generating building north windswell. For Hawaii east trades are to hold at 15-20 kts solid up to 900 nmiles east of the Islands producing continued east windswell along exposed east facing shores.

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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thurs (11/21) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts well off the coast but 5-10 kts nearshore for all of North and Central CA holding in that pattern all day. Previous estimates of 5 inches of snow at Tahoe on Wed (11/20) did not materialize. On Fri (11/22) a light offshore flow is forecast holding all day Sat (11/23) but north at 10 kts later for Cape Mendocino. Sun (11/24) north winds are forecast at 10 kts early for North CA building to 15-20 kts later and 10 kts from the north for Central CA early building to 15 kts later. Monday (11/25) the wind machine kicks back in with north winds 30 kts for all of North and Central CA. Tues (11/26) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early for all of North and Central CA fading some later. Low pressure along the North CA coast is to start producing rain for all of North and Central CA overnight and moderate snow for the entire Sierra. On Wed (11/27) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts early fading to 10 kts for Central CA later but holding for North CA. Rain forecast for Central and South CA all day. Heavy snow for the Sierra mainly early but continuing through the day fading late evening. Thurs (11/28) a light north flow is forecast all day. Light rain fading in Southern CA.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch is occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is 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 a cutoff low is to start building just east of the dateline on Sun PM (11/24) producing a small area of 50 kt north winds and seas building from 29 ft at 40.5N 175.5W aimed south. On Mon AM (11/25) the gale is to fade and fall south with 40 kt north winds and seas 29 ft at 38N 176.5W aimed south. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 35 kts from the north with 26 ft seas over a small area falling south at 35N 175W. On Tues AM (11/26) 30 kt north winds are to be fading while falling south with 22 ft seas at 32N 177W aimed south and mostly bypassing Hawaii to the west. On Wed PM (11/27) new fetch is to build to the north at 30-35 kts with seas starting to develop. On Thurs AM (11/28) 40 kt north-northeast fetch is to build well north of Hawaii with 25 ft seas at 42.5N 171W aimed south. Fetch fading from 30 kts in the evening with seas fading from 23 ft at 41N 171W aimed south somewhat at Hawaii. Something to monitor.

Beyond the model suggest another gale developing in the far Eastern Gulf off North CA on Wed AM (11/27) with 30-35 kt north winds and 20 ft seas at 42N 135W aimed south. Fetch fading off North CA in the evening from 30 kts with 20 ft seas aimed south at 40N 132W. The gale to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Windswell Outlook
On Mon (11/25) north winds are to be 30+ kts over all of North and Central CA generating building north windswell. For Hawaii east trades are to be rock solid at 20 kts from off California east over the Islands generating solid east windswell. On Tues (11/26) along the California Coast north winds are to be 20-25 kts from southern North CA and all of Central CA producing windswell fading late afternoon then building to 45 kts 300 nmiles off San Francisco late afternoon. Windswell to prevail. For Hawaii east fetch at 15-20 kts is to continue east of the Hawaiian Islands continuing to produce windswell. Wed (11/27) north winds at 20-25 kts are forecast for all of North and Central CA early fading to 10 kts for Central CA later. East fetch is to continue to at 15-20 kts up to 1500 nmiles east of the Hawaiian Islands producing windswell there. Thurs (11/28) for North and Central CA north winds are to be 20 kts off the coast but north at 10 nearshore all day resulting in more windswell. For Hawaii east fetch at 15+ kts is to continue east of Hawaii producing more windswell.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Active MJO Fading - But West Anomalies Forecast to Hold

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: 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.

Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (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: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.

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 (11/20) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific fading over the Central Pacific rebuilding to moderate easterly over the dateline then turning neutral over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the far East equatorial Pacific turning light west over the Central Pacific and continuing light westerly over the dateline and over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/21) westerly anomalies were unexpectedly moderate filling the KWGA today. The forecast now calls for west anomalies holding moderately and filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 11/28. This is an unexpected improvement.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/20) A modest Inactive MJO pattern was building over the core of the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to build some at day 5 holding in the far West KWGA holding on day 10 then weakening some on day 15 but still filling the KWGA. The dynamic model indicates the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase fading at day 10 and holding at weak status at day 15 still controlling the KWGA.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Atlantic today and is to migrate steadily east and into the Central Indian Ocean at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase moving rapidly east and into the West Pacific at day 10 but weak, and fading there through day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (11/21) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the Central Pacific today. This Inactive Pattern is to track east fast pushing into the Central America and very weak on 12/8 and then gone. A weak Active Phase is to start building in the West Pacific 12/8 tracking east while holding strength pushing into Central America on 12/21. A new weak Inactive Phase is to be starting moving over the West Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/31.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/20) This model depicts the Active Phase was holding in the core of the KWGA today with moderate west anomalies filling the KWGA pushing east. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are to hold at moderate strength in the core of the KWGA and filling it through 12/1 and then tracking east and out of the KWGA. Beyond the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to start building into the far West KWGA starting 11/27 and filling the KWGA on 12/1 holding till 12/17, then moving east out of the KWGA. At the end of the model run on 12/18 there's some indications of west anomalies building in the KWGA with signs of the Active Phase of the MJO starting to push east from the Indian Ocean.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/21) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was past its peak over the KWGA with west anomalies weakly in control. The Active Phase is to track through and out of the KWGA by 11/23 but with west anomalies forecast holding in the in the KWGA through 12/4. The Inactive Phase is to develop 11/23 in the west and building east holding through 12/22 with east anomalies building in the KWGA 12/6-12/13 then fading with west anomalies redeveloping. Another weak Active Phase is to develop tracking east through the KWGA 12/23-1/3 with weak west anomalies holding through the period. Beyond a weak Inactive MJO pattern is forecast 1/6-1/20 with east anomalies building to 165E. Weak west anomalies are forecast redeveloping 1/20 holding through the end of the model run while the Active Phase redevelops 1/24-2/18. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. The second contour lines is forecast to start fading on 1/16 and is to be all but gone at the end of the model run on 1/18. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22 and is to hold through the end of the model run through getting slightly weaker at the end of the run. A strong area of east anomalies in the Indian Ocean is now forecast to dissipate on 2/9.

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 the 30 deg isotherm was pushing east to 179E while the 29 deg isotherm was stable today after moving east from 173W to 169W. The 28 deg isotherm line was stable today recently moving east from 162W to 154W today. The 24 deg isotherm moved east on 10/20 from 120W to 107W and is 95W today. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific with an interesting pocket at +2 degs pushing east from the Maritime Continent moving east from 166E to 179E and a broader one at +3 degs centered at 103W pushing into Ecuador indicative of Kelvin Wave #5 pushing east there. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/14 indicates warm water from Westerly Wind Burst #5 had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 150E under the Dateline east and is now starting to impact Ecuador with temps +2-3 degs over the whole area with a small pocket of cool anomalies just off Ecuador all but gone now being forced east by the Kelvin Wave. 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) A modest area of positive anomalies were present on the equator between 130W east to Ecuador at +5 cms. A new pocket of +5 cms anomalies has redeveloped back at 140E-175E. Negative anomalies were gone along Peru. A mostly neutral sea height pattern is setting up with a a few pockets biased positive.

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 cooling anomalies were building along the immediate coast of Peru with weak warming fading along Ecuador with a stream of weak warm anomalies extending west on the equator over the Galapagos out to the dateline. Weak cool anomalies were south of the equator off Peru and up to 4S building west out to 100W today. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/20): Today weak warming was indicated along Chile and Peru steaming west off Ecuador on the equator to 110W. The short term trend is now towards weak warming but only just above neutral.
Hi-res Overview: (11/20) A weak cool pool is holding south of the equator and off Peru reaching out to 125W. Otherwise gentle warming is pushing west on the equator, strongest from 100W and points west of there on the equator and south to 5S. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator from the remnants of El Nino, but mostly gone south of the equator. Water temps appear to be stable mildly favoring El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/21) Today's temps were falling some down to -0.137 after previously falling to a peak low of -1.921 degs on 10/10, that after falling to -1.8 degs on 9/15, then up to +0.030 on 10/2. Temps have been pretty consistently negative since June 1.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/21) Temps were rising today at +0.504. temps previously rose on 11/14 to +0.509 degs, and that after previously bottoming out on 8/28 at -0.510 degs and 9/15 at -0.60 degs. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept.

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 (11/21) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct rising to +0.4 degs in early Nov. The forecast has temps fading to maybe +0.20 March and then forecast rising some to 0.3 degs in May, then fading to -0.10 in late July. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the mid-term, possibly turning neutral after that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.25 degs, and are to hold in the +0.25 deg range into May 2020, then fading slightly to +0.15 in June 2020. 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) (11/21): The daily index was negative today at -11.65 and has been mostly negative the last 29 days. The 30 day average was negative and falling some at -9.91. The 90 day average was falling some at -9.30, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Sept +1.13, August +0.64, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
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 -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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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