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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:24 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
3.5 - California & 2.3 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

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

Issued for Week of Monday 11/23 thru Sun 11/29

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   

Decent N. Gulf Storm Forecast
Modest Gale Pattern to Follow

On Saturday, November 21, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 8.6 secs from 202 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 8.4 secs from 90 degrees. Water temp 80.6 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 13.6 secs from 224 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 6 kts. Water temperature 59.2 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 4.0 ft @ 15.3 secs from 289 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.4 secs from 239 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.1 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.7 ft @ 10.3 secs from 276 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.5 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 13.9 secs from 307 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northeast at 12-16 kts. Water temp 51.6 degs (013), 54.9 degs (SF Bar) and 55.2 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 Saturday (11/21) in North and Central CA North dateline swell was producing waves at waist to maybe chest high and glassy and lined up but soft. Protected breaks were waist to chest high on the sets and clean and lined up and soft. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to thigh high and clean and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to maybe waist high and clean and soft. Central Orange County had waves at shoulder to head high and lined up and clean. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets to chest high and lined up with decent form and clean but inconsistent. North San Diego had sets at thigh high or so and clean and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some chest high sets and slightly warbled from northeast trades. The South Shore had some thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves head high and fully chopped from strong east-northeast trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (11/21) tiny remnant swell was hitting exposed breaks in North and Central CA associated from a gale that tracked east over the North Dateline Region on Mon (11/16) then faded with up to 35 ft seas aimed east. Beyond an ill-formed gale developed over the North Dateline region Wed-Thurs (11/19) producing 21-23 ft seas aimed east then tracked into the Northwestern Gulf Fri (11/20) producing 18-21 ft seas over a broad area aimed east. Swell is pushing towards HI and CA. And perhaps another weak system is to form in the Central and Northeastern Gulf on Sun-Wed (11/23) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed southeast. And perhaps another to follow Tues-Thurs (11/26) in the Northwestern Gulf with 24-28 ft seas aimed east. And yet one more is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf Fri-Sat (1/28) with 28 ft seas aimed east.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (11/21) the jet was somewhat consolidated pushing off Japan with winds 130 kts then ridging over the dateline pushing over the Central Aleutians with winds building to 150 kts then falling southeast over the Northern Gulf starting to form a trough there offering decent support for gale development before pushing east over Central Canada. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to push east into the Pacific Northwest late Sun (11/22) with support for gale formation fading then. Beyond 72 hours another weak trough is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf on Tues (11/24) falling southeast and tracking over Washington on Wed (11/25) again offering some support for gale development. And back to the west on Tues (11/24) wind energy is to be building off Japan to 160 kts carving out a new trough over the North Dateline region with that trough tracking quickly east and barely tracking south of Alaska into Fri (11/27) and digging out a deeper trough on Sat (11/28) perhaps offering improved support for gale development in the Northern Gulf. At that time the jet is to be stronger with 160 kts winds pushing east off Japan then jogging northeast slightly tracking just south of the Central Aleutians with winds to 170 kts then feeding into the aforementioned trough. An improved North Pacific jetstream pattern is suggested.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (11/21) small swell from a gale previously over the North Dateline region was fading in North CA (see Another North Dateline Gale below). And swell from another gale that tracked over the North Dateline region into the Northwestern Gulf was was pushing towards HI and CA (see Yet Another North Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a secondary fetch is to develop Sat AM (11/21) in the Western Gulf at 35 kts from the west with seas 19 ft at 45N 165W aimed east. Fetch is to push east in the Central Gulf in the evening at 35 kts with seas 19 ft over a small sized area aimed east 45N 153W. On Sun AM (11/22) fetch is to fade from there at 30 kts over the Eastern Gulf with seas 19 ft at 46N 141W aimed east. Tiny windswell to possibly result mainly for the Pacific Northwest down into North CA.

Yet another gale is forecast developing in the Central Gulf on Sun AM (11/22) producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 45N 162W aimed east. Fetch is to build in the evening in the Central Gulf at 40 kts from the northwest with seas 30 ft at 46N 165W aimed east. On Mon AM (11/23) the gale is to lift northeast and start building in the Northern Gulf producing northwest winds at 45-50 kts and seas 28-30 ft at 53N 158W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to build to storm status in the Northern Gulf with 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 43 ft at 53N 151W aimed east. On Tues AM (11/24) the storm is to fall southeast and fade with 40-45 kts northwest winds and seas 41 ft at 52.5N 143.5W aimed southeast. The gale is to track southeast in the evening positioned just off North British Columbia with 40 kts northwest winds and seas 36 ft at 50.5N 137W aimed southeast and outside (east of) the NCal swell window. Something to monitor.


Another North Dateline Gale
Another small system started developing just west of the dateline on Sun PM (11/15) producing 45-50 kt northwest winds over a tiny area with 32 ft seas at 47.5N 170.5E aimed east. On Mon AM (11/16) the gale was tracking east with 40 kt west winds over a small area on the North Dateline region with 32 ft seas 48.5N 177.5E aimed east. In the evening the gale pushed east and dissipate over the extreme North Dateline region with seas fading from 25 ft at 50N 176.5W aimed east. Something to monitor.

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (11/21) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 302 degrees


Yet Another North Dateline Gale
An ill-formed gale developed off the North Kuril Islands and Kamchatka on Wed AM (11/18) producing 30-35 kt west winds and seas to 23 ft at 50N 172E aimed east. In the evening fetch was fading from 30 kts but with a secondary gale forming just south of the previous fetch producing west winds at 35-40 kts over a tiny area and seas from the original fetch at 21 ft over a small area at 48N 175E aimed east. On Thurs AM (11/19) a new fetch developed extending from Kamchatka to the North Dateline at 30-35 kts with seas 19-21 ft over that entire area with it's leading edge at 47N 177W aimed east. In the evening the low pushed east into the Western Gulf with 30 kt west winds over a solid area aimed east with 19-21 ft seas over a moderate area extending from 49N 170E to 46N 168W aimed east. Fetch faded on Fri AM (11/20) from 25-30 kts over a solid area in the Northern Gulf with seas fading from 18-22 ft over a solid area at 46N 162W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to fade from 25 kts with seas fading from 19 ft still over a decent sized area at 47N 157W aimed east. The gale faded from there.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sun (11/22) building to 3.6 ft @ 14 secs later (5.0 ft). Swell holding on Mon (11/23) at 3.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (11/24) from 2.6 ft @ 12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 330 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/23) building to 5.6 ft @ 14 secs mid-day (7.5 ft). Swell holding early Tues (11/24) at 5.6 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft) but with windswell building in between. Swell fading on Wed (11/25) from 5.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 303-306 degrees


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


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

California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (11/21) north winds were 15-20 kts early off North CA but 10 kts nearshore south of there building to 10-15 kts everywhere north of Pt Conception nearshore in the afternoon. Sun (11/22) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North Ca early and 10 kts south of there building to 20+ kts from Bodega bay southward in the afternoon. A weak front is forecast producing light rain for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon. Mon (11/23) north winds are forecast at near 20 kts early for all of North and Central CA early except Cape Mendocino with light winds early but also building from the north to 20 kts in the afternoon. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early. Northwest winds 20-25 kts for Central CA in the afternoon. Tuesday (11/24) north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts off the coast of North CA but lighter nearhsore early and 10 kts for Central CA early and fading to 15 kts in the afternoon for North CA and holding at 10-15 kts for Central CA. Wed (11/25) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA early building up north to 20 kts limited to the area from Pt Arena southward and 20-25 kts for Central CA. Thurs (11/26) north winds to hold at 20-25 kts from Pt Arena southward to Pt Conception early building even over Cape Mendocino in the afternoon. Fri (11/27) north winds are forecast early at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena and north at 10 kts for Central CA fading to 10 kts for most of North Ca in the afternoon and turning northeast at 5-10 kts for Central CA. Sat (11/28) north to northeast winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA early.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 10,500 ft through today (11/21) falling to 7,000 ft early Mon (11/23) rising Tues to 10,500 ft again then falling to 4,000 ft on Thurs (11/26) building back to 10,500 ft on Friday (11/27) and holding there.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (11/21) residual swell from one last gale that formed in the far Southeast Pacific was fading in CA (see Last Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.


Last Southeast Pacific Gale
One last gale developed over the Southeast Pacific Tues AM (11/10) producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 60S 143W aimed east. In the evening that fetch pushed east producing southwest winds at 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 57.7S 132.5W aimed northeast. On Wed (11/11) that fetch dissipated but a new fetch of 40 kt west winds built right behind producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 60.5S 146.5W aimed east. In the evening the fetch built with 40-45 kt west winds in the far Southeastern Pacific producing 32 ft seas at 59.5S 131W aimed east. Core fetch and seas moved just east of the Southern CA swell window Thurs AM (11/12) with 28 ft seas lingering at 56.5S 118W barely in the SCal swell window. There some odds for small southern hemi swell to result radiating north towards Southern CA and points south of there.

Southern CA: Dribbles on Sat (11/21) fading from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees

North CA: Dribbles on Sat (11/21) fading from 1.3 ft @ 15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 192 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours on Tues PM (11/24) another gale is to develop in the extreme Northwestern Gulf with 40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 51N 165W aimed east. On Wed AM (11/25) winds are to fade from 30-35 kts from the west with seas fading from 25 ft aimed east at 53N 161W. In the evening the gale is to fade out. Low odds of any swell resulting.

On Fri AM (11/27) another gael is projected developing in the Northwestern Gulf with 45 kt southwest wind and seas building from 28 ft at 48.5N 167W aimed east-northeast. In the evening a building fetch of west winds is forecast at 30-40 kts extending from nearly Kamchatka to the Northwestern Gulf producing seas building to 28 ft at 49N 155W aimed east. Fetch is to continue on Sat Am (11/28) at 30-35 kts with seas 26-27 ft filling the Northwestern Gulf centered at 48N 153W aimed east. Something to monitor.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast. The southern hemi is going to sleep.



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Inactive MJO Driving Increased Trades and Colder Anomalies

MJO/ENSO Discussion
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).

Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (11/20) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak from the east over the East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (11/21) strong east anomalies were over the KWGA. The forecast calls for strong east anomalies building in coverage and filling the KWGA on 11/24 and holding through the end of the model run on 11/28 while also building over the East Pacific to a point south of California today and holding through the end of the model run. Support for energy transfer into the jet is weak and is expected to be getting progressively weaker.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/20) A moderate Inactive MJO signal was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Inactive Phase is to start fading and tracking east on day 5 of the model run then fading more on day 10 and east of the dateline and nearly gone on day 15 with a weak Active MJO building over the west KWGA. The dynamic model suggests much the same thing but with the Inactive Phase completely gone on day 10 and no Active Phase building on day 15 with a dead neutral pattern in play.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/21) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to track east to the Maritime Continent and very weak on day 15. The GEFS model suggests pretty much the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (11/20) This model depicts a moderate Inactive Phase (dry air) over the Central and East Pacific tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 11/30. A moderate Active Phase is to set up over the West Pacific on 11/28 pushing east and into Central America on 12/20. On 12/18 another strong Inactive/Dry Phase is forecast pushing over the KWGA reaching the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 12/30.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/20) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA today with strong east anomalies over the core of the KWGA and reaching east to a point south of California. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold in coverage and strength filling the KWGA through 12/4 as the Inactive Phase pushes east and then out of the KWGA. Beyond strong east anomalies are to hold filling the KWGA and east to a point just south of California for the foreseeable future or at least through the end of the model run on 12/18.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (11/21 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was near peaking over the KWGA with east anomalies in control. The Inactive Phase is to pushing over the KWGA through 12/9 producing east anomalies initially filling the KWGA and points east of there to Ecuador and slowly decaying in coverage over that duration. A modest Active Phase is to follow on 12/7-2/5 producing only limited west anomalies in the KWGA with east anomalies holding solid over the East Pacific. A weak Inactive MJO is to return 2/2 with weak west anomalies over the west KWGA and east anomalies holding strong over the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/18. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run with it's western periphery easing east to 150E at the end of the model run. A third contour line is to appear on 12/15 but with no fourth contour line as was previously indicated. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage holding through the end of the model run and its eastern periphery easing east to 140E at the end of the model run. Its core is to remain locked at 80E. A second contour is to develop on 12/31 then fading. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year previous migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and are forecast stabilizing there for the foreseeable future. The trend is towards a building La Nina that is not likely to be dislodged anytime soon. This is turning into a 2 year event.

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 gone. The 29 deg isotherm was stable at 160E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east slightly to 178E today. The 24 deg isotherm was backtracking to 137W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 160W at depth today but no warmth east of there and no sign of moving east anytime soon. The non-stop cold anomaly pocket at -3 degs was near 120W with cool anomalies filling the entire area east of the dateline and shallower west to 150E. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/14 indicates the same with a large cool water bubble at depth stronger and larger erupting to the surface from 160E eastward to Ecuador with a core to -5C at 130W. 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) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 160E building to -15 cms at 130W and -10 cms solid from Ecuador to 150W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and then reaching north up to Baja and into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from San Francisco south to Southern Chile and west out to the intersection of the dateline and the equator. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (11/20) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Colder anomalies were imbedded in that flow between 110W to 150W and steady in coverage today. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru through a small pocket of warming anomalies were indicated along southern Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. Warm water was all but gone off Central America north of the equator. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/20): Temps were cooling in building pockets on the equator between Ecuador to 145W and steady west of there.
Hi-res Overview: (11/20) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea with markedly cool anomalies between 110-150W. A clear La Nina signal is depicted.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/21) Today's temps were falling steadily to -1.206 after rising to a high of -0.650 on 11/15. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13. The longterm trend has been steady but quite cold since June.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(11/21) Temps were falling slight today to -1.260 today after bottoming out at -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps have been on a steady decline since 7/25. Overall the trend appears to be in a steep decline.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/21) Today the model indicates temps at -1.45 degs. The forecast depicts a steady downward trend to continue reaching -1.95 degs in mid-Jan then beginning to rise, rebuilding up to -0.40 degs in early Aug and stabilizing there. This is becoming a 2 year event in that even after temps return to 0/normal it will take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -1.10 degs today, and are to hold into Dec, then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.89 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by June. Most models are suggesting a moderate to La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (11/21): The daily index was falling to +2.86. The 30 day average was rising at +7.21. The 90 day average was falling some at 8.15, suggesting the current fading Active MJO has had some limited impact on the deep state La Nina pattern. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Sunday (11/15):
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

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.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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