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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 2:34 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.4 - California & 4.0 - 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 12/5 thru Sun 12/11

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Local Swell Forecast for HI
Weak Locally Generated Swells for CA

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Saturday, December 3, 2022 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 13.5 secs from 312 degrees. Water temp 78.4 degs (Barbers Pt), 78.4 (Pearl Harbor 233), 79.2 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.1 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 11.0 secs from 62 degrees. Water temp 77.9 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 10.8 secs from 305 degrees. Wind northwest at 4 kts. Water temperature 61.3 degs, 61.9 (Topanga 103), 61.7 degs (Long Beach 215), 61.3 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 59.7 (Del Mar 153), 60.6 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.6 ft @ 11.8 secs from 298 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 11.9 secs from 236 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.4 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 14.4 secs from 261 degrees. Water temperate was 59.9 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 17.6 secs from 282 degrees. Wind south at 10-12 kts. Water temp 53.4 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.1 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.3 (San Francisco 46026), 52.5 (SF Bar 142), 52.5 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 52.0 (Monterey Bay 46042).

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).
Summer
- 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).
Summer
- 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.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Saturday (12/3) North and Central CA had sets at chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up but soft and somewhat mushed. Protected breaks were waist high on the sets and clean and lined up but soft and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high or so and clean and lined up when the sets came and fun. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest high on the sets and super lined up and clean with good form and quite fun looking. Central Orange County had sets at maybe waist high and clean and somewhat lined up but weak. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at maybe waist high and lined up but soft and slightly textured. North San Diego had sets at thigh to waist high and clean but soft and formless. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 2-3 ft overhead and lined up with decent form at top spots and clean with some underlying warble. The South Shore had some stray thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at head high and chopped from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (12/3) Hawaii was getting fading swell from a gale that developed just west of the dateline holding stationary Mon-Wed (11/30) with up to 40 ft seas aimed well east. A fraction of that swell is hitting California too. A local gale has fallen south off the Pacific Northwest Wed-Thurs (12/1) with 24 ft seas aimed south and another is forecast for Fri-Sat (12/3) with 21 ft seas aimed south producing shorter period swell impacting California through the weekend also dragging weather with it. A local gale is forecast developing northwest of Hawaii Mon-Tues (12/6) producing 32 ft seas aimed south. After that a pair of weak gales are forecast tracking southeast through the Northern Gulf Thurs (12/8) and again on Sat 912/10) producing 23 ft seas aimed east. It looks like the North Pacific is forecast to take a break.

See all the details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Saturday (12/3) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan to the dateline then splitting with most energy pushing hard north up into the North Bering Sea and beyond while fragmented weak energy in the southern branch tracked east on the 40N latitude line into Central CA. A weak trough was trying to develop just west of the dateline while a backdoor trough was pushing south over the Oregon Coast. In all no real support for gale development was indicated. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to weakly develop while falling southeast into Tues (12/6) and cutting off just northwest of Hawaii offering some support for gale development. And the backdoor trough is to continue holding over Oregon pushing the jet directly over North CA falling south to Central CA offering support mainly for weather there. Beyond 72 hours starting Wed 912/7) the jet is to hold consolidated in the west off Japan splitting on the dateline with most energy lifting northeast with winds building to 150 kts tracking over the Central Aleutians then falling southeast over the Northern Gulf generating a weak trough there offering some support for gale development. That trough is to deepen on Thurs (12/8) falling southeast off North California moving inland there on Fri (12/9) mainly supporting weather production. And another trough is forecast starting to develop in the Northern Gulf at that time perhaps offering more weather in the near future. But in the west no troughs are forecast with no clear support for gale development indicated.


Surface Analysis
On Saturday (12/3) swell from storm that developed stationary on the dateline was still hitting Hawaii but on it's way down with lesser energy hitting the US West Coast (see Dateline Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours small swell from a local gale off California is to hit on Sun (12/4) (see Local CA Gale below). And swell from a local gale north of Hawaii is to be hitting the Hawaiian Islands (see Local Hi Gale below). .

 

Dateline Storm
Another storm was developing just west of the dateline Mon AM (11/28) with 50-55 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 27 ft at 34.75N 169.25E aimed east. Fetch built in the evening at 55 kts from the west with the storm holding nearly stationary and seas building to 35 ft at 36N 175.5E aimed east. The gale held on the dateline Tues AM (11/29) with 50-55 kt west winds and seas 40 ft at 38.25N 176.75E aimed east and southeast. Fetch was fading in the evening from 40-45 kts from the west and northwest with seas 32 ft at 38N 179E aimed east. Fetch was fading Wed AM (11/30) from 35-40 kts and seas fading from 26 ft at 36.75N 177E aimed southeast. The gale was gone after that.

Oahu: Swell fading on Sat AM (12/3) from 4.3 ft @ 14 secs early (6.0 ft). Residuals on Sun AM (12/4) fading from 3.1 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (12/3) building to 2.5 ft @ 17 secs later (4.0 ft) with local windswell intermixed. Swell building on Sun (12/4) to 3.2 ft @ 15 secs early (4.5 ft) but buried in locally generated swell. Swell fading on Mon (12/5) from 2.0 ft @ 13 secs (2.5 ft) and still buried. Swell Direction: 287 degrees

 

Local CA Gale
A local gale started developing off Washington on Fri AM (12/2) with 30 kt northwest winds and seas 18 ft at 47.75N 140.5W aimed southeast. The gale fell south off Oregon in the evening with 25 kts northwest winds and seas 18 ft at 45N 139W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (12/3) 30-35 kt north winds were were off North CA with 22 ft seas at 45.5N 136W aimed southeast. In the evening winds are to be fading from 30 kts from the north with seas 19 ft just off Cape Mendocino at 41N 135W aimed south. The gale is to dissipate from there. More raw swell likely for North CA starting late Sat (12/3).

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (12/4) building to 5.4 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (12/5) from 4.1 ft @ 9-10 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 285 degrees

 

Local HI Gale
On Mon AM (12/5) a gale is to start building 650 nmiles northwest of Hawaii producing 35 kt north winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. In the evening northeast winds to build to 45 kts with north winds 40 kts and seas building to 27 ft at 30.25N 165.5W aimed south. On Tues AM (12/26) the gale is to be tracking west with 45 kt north winds and seas 33 ft at 29.25N 167.25W aimed south. In the evening north winds to be 30 kts with seas 30 ft at 29N 171W and pretty much west of the Hawaiian swell window.

Oahu: Expect swell late on Tues (12/6) building to 7.8 ft @ 13-14 secs late (10.5 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (12/7) from 6.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.5 ft). Residuals Thurs AM (12/8) fading from 2.8 ft @ 12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Sun AM (12/4) the low is to be just off Cape Mendocino and weakening with south winds forecast at 15 kts for all of North CA down to Monterey Bay and northwest 5-10 kts from there to Pt Conception. In the afternoon the low is to be dissipating off the coast with south winds 10-15 kts for all of North CA and south 5-10 kts down to Pt Conception. Rain for all of North and Central CA early starting to fade in the afternoon over Central CA. Moderate snow for the Sierra through the day becoming focused north on Tahoe late afternoon and fading some in the evening.
  • Mon AM (12/5) the low is to be moving inland over Cape Mendocino with south to southwest winds 10-15 kts for North CA and south winds 5-10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon a neutral pressure pattern sets up with northwest winds 5 kts for all of North and Central CA. Light rain continues for North CA early with the dividing line Half Moon Bay and holding in the afternoon. Snow continues for Tahoe and points north of there possibly turning to rain in the evening.
  • Tues AM (12/6) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts for North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northeast winds are forecast for Cape Mendocino at 5-10 kts with northwest winds 5-10 kts south of there. Light scattered showers along the North and Central CA coast in the afternoon. Maybe a few flurries for the Southern Sierra.
  • Wed AM (12/7) northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for North and Central CA early. No change in the afternoon. No precip forecast.
  • Thurs AM (12/8) south winds are forecast at 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early and south 5-10 kts down to the Golden Gate with northwest winds 5-10 kts southward to Pt Conception. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for all of North California down to Monterey Bay and south 5-10 kts down to Pt Conception. Heavy rain and snow forecast for North CA in the afternoon building south to Morro Bay in the evening. Snow developing for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Fri AM (12/9) northwest winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA early. In the afternoon northwest wind are forecast at 15-20 kts for all of North and Central CA. Rain for all of North and Central CA early building down over all of Southern CA in the afternoon. Heavy snow for the Sierra early moderating in the afternoon and evening.
  • Sat AM (12/10) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts for North and Central CA except northwest winds 15 kts for Pt Conception. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 5-10 kts down to the Golden Gate. Northwest winds are forecast for Central CA and 10 kts but up to 20 kts for Pt Conception. Rain and snow building for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 74, 77, 61, and 48 inches. All split between Sat-Mon (12/5) with another dump on Thurs-Sun (12/11).

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 7,000 ft today then falling to 5,000 ft or less beyond and staying there.

- - -

Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level
More locations here (scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water or radiating towards the coast.

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

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

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

A small gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf on Thurs AM (12/8) falling southeast with 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas 23 ft at 52N 141W and then fading in the evening.

Perhaps another gale is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf on Fri PM (12/9) with 35 kt west winds and 25 ft seas at 52.5N 159W aimed east. The gale is to fade while falling southeast into Sat PM (12/10). Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Upwelling Trying to Hold
Weak West Wind Anomaly Pattern Setting Up over KWGA - SOI Falling Some
Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, faded in May and June 2022, but rebuilt in late July and is holding today. La Nina conditions are in control oceanically but appear to be fading some on the surface south of Nino3.4. And atmospherically anomalous Westerly Winds are starting to develop in the West KWGA and are forecast to continue for the foreseeable future, with La Nina collapsing near Christmas and water temps rising beyond. The outlook is turning more optimistic.

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: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed through the Winter of 2022 and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2022 = 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 was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina made a strong return by the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen and a full double dip pattern took hold through the Winter of 21/22. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December 2022 with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Jan. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter 2022. But by later in Jan or early Feb 2023 a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct 22-Jan 23, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by Feb 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after Jan 2023. The swell pattern will be below normal before Jan and above normal after Jan 23 with the average of the two being 'normal'. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early date.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/2) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were weak east over the East equatorial Pacific and weak east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1-2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/3) Weak east anomalies were filling most of the KWGA today but strong east over the dateline. The 7 day forecast calls for no change. The 2 week GFS model suggest modest east anomalies pulsing over most of the KWGA and continuing for the next 2 weeks but with west anomalies in the far west KWGA today through 12/9 then dissipating.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/2) A neutral MJO signal was indicated over the dateline today. The statistical model indicates no change over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model suggest the same other than perhaps a weak Inactive Signal on days 5 and 10 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (12/3) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was weak over Africa today and is to track east over the Indian Ocean 2 weeks and very weak. The dynamic model suggest 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): (12/3) A weakly Inactive MJO (dry air) was over the Central Equatorial Pacific today with a weak Active signal (wet air) over the KWGA. Effectively no change is forecast for the next 40 days.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/2)
A weak Inactive MJO signal was trying to push east into the KWGA today but weak west anomalies were filling most of the KWGA. Modest west anomalies are build over the KWGA filling 70% of it west of 170E moving forward till 12/16 with east anomalies locked over the bulk of the Pacific east of the dateline with west anomalies losing energy on 12/20 but losing no ground. After that east anomalies are to creep west to 150W with neutral anomalies filling the western half of the KWGA. But west anomalies are to try and start building west the last 2 days of the model run on 12/20.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(12/3) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today a neutral to weakly Inactive MJO was over the KWGA with weak west anomalies in control of the KWGA. No change is forecast through 12/24. The a weak Active Phase of the MJO is to push over the KWGA 12/25-2/5 with west anomalies filling the KWGA. A moderate Inactive MJO signal is to traverse the KWGA 1/29 through the end of the model run on 3/2 but with west anomalies filling the KWGA. The big change we've been anticipating is underway marked by the arrival of west anomalies filling the KWGA starting on 11/16. East anomalies are to be relegated mostly to the dateline and points east of there moving forward. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 180W with its western perimeter at 150E today. The second contour is to collapse on 12/29 with the primary contour collapsing or east of the KWGA by 1/28. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 90E with it's leading edge at 125E today and is to slowly start pushing east starting today then pushing hard east starting 1/28 and reaching the dateline at the end of the model run. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is starting to fade with no return in sight and suggests the demise of La Nina is starting to occur.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/3) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone, previously at 171E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 176E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 152W. The 24 deg isotherm backtracked from 118W to 128W but was easing east today at 123W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 deg C were in a broad pocket in the far Central Pacific down 150m with it's leading edge easing east from 150W to 130W. A pocket of cool anomalies at -2 degs C were centered at 115W and filling the area from 130W and points east of there and steady. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/29 indicates the same broad area of warm anomalies in the west pushing east to 130W and far warmer. A cool pocket was filling the area east of 130W with it's core at 110W and reaching the surface and far cooler. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/29) Sea heights were stable but negative over the East Equatorial Pacific. A broad pocket of positive anomalies were over the equator in the far West Pacific reaching east to 150W. A pocket of negative anomalies were covering from Ecuador to 145W with a core of -15 cm anomalies between 110W-120W and far smaller than the last reading and -10 cm anomalies easing east from 125W. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies were in quick retreat positioned in the Central Equatorial Pacific between 137W to Ecuador with the previous cold core gone. It appears the stubborn cool pool is starting to track east and dissipate.

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 Qualitative Analysis: (12/2) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool water extending west from Peru to the dateline and filling well south of the equator in a line east to west down at 20S. The coldest stream was embedded in it running from Ecuador to 145W on the equator but weaker than days past and not even along the direct coast anymore. And the broad area of cool water south of that stream previously reaching south to 25S was losing intensity steadily and now only fully positioned north of 20S ad barely that. A broad area of warm water was present on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W but mostly just north of the equator starting at 2N. Overall this indicates the late stages of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/2): A stream of warming waters extended west from Ecuador to 100W. Warming was also solid along Peru and Chile extending west to 100W and weaker the whole way across the South Pacific. The balance was towards warming. In fact one could say a warming trend is underway.
Hi-res Overview: (12/2) Persistent cool waters cover a large area from Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from South America down at 20S with the coolest waters between 85W to 125W directly over the equator. But the intensity and density of those cold waters are in steep decline over it's entire area. Warmer than normal waters were on the equator in the east aligned in a thin stream from Ecuador to 120W starting 3 degrees north of the equator. La Nina remains in control over the East Equatorial Pacific but the density and intensity of the cooling appears to be fading.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/3) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising solidly to -1.125 after warming to -1.570 a few days around 11/17 and that after falling to to -2.177 (11/8) and generally falling to the following points -1.850 (10/20), -1.498 (9/21) and had been falling since 9/14 after being in the -1.0 range since 7/29. Coral Reef indicates temps were falling slightly at -0.948 after rising steadily the previous 8 days to -0.901 and that after falling to the lowest in weeks on 11/22 after rising to nearly -1.0 degs on 11/17, previously toggling between -1.8 to -2.1 degs since Oct 9th. Temps were down on 7/20 to -1.6 degs. Previously temps were stable near -1.4 degrees 6/12 through 7/27. Peaks in that time frame were -1.189 (7/7), -1.534 (7/5). Previously temps were at -1.822 on 6/9 after being up to -1.506 (5/21) and that after hovering around -2.0 degs since 4/21/22. Prior to that temps were fading after peaking at +0.760 on 3/18. Temps had been moving upwards since 2/20, and beat a previous high of -0.650 degs on 1/9 and that after being down at -1.871 on 1/3/22 and -1.954 on 12/18/21, the lowest this year so far. Previously temps dropped on 11/24/21 at -1.700, the lowest in months after previously toggling steady at about -0.6 degs from mid Aug to Oct 6, then falling from there. That year temps bottomed out at -2.138 on 8/13/20. The longterm trend has been steadily downward.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(12/3) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were falling some at -1.089 after falling to -1.110 on 11/3 and up to -0.900 on 10/18 beating a previous peak of -0.819 on 9/22. In general temps have been in the -1.0 range since 8/16. Coral Reef indicates temps were steady at -0.959 degs after rising to -0.870 on 11/29 and had been rising for 12 days prior after bottoming out at -1.168 degs on 11/2 after falling hard the previous 12 days. Temps had fallen since 7/15 reaching La Nina threshold on 7/27 after being more or less steady the previous 3 weeks peaking at -0.25 on 7/14 and -0.275 on 7/5. Previously temps had been on an upward trend since 5/15/22 rising to -0.414 degs (6/19) and -0.493 on 6/9, the first reading above La Nina threshold values since Sept 2021. Temps were down to -0.929 (5/2/22) and that after rising to a peak at -0.704 on 3/27 and had been on a gentle rising trend since falling to -1.012 on 3/8. Previously temps were rising slightly to -0.505 on 2/2 and that after reaching a peak low of -1.096 on 1/3/22 beating the previous low of -1.080 on 11/2/21, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept/21. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1/21 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March 2021. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

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 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and earl Sept rising to -0.8 degs mod Oct.
Forecast (12/3) - Temps are to be steady at about -1.00 degs into mid-Dec then starting a fairly steady rise hitting -0.65 degs mid January and reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) the last week of Jan and up to +0.95 degs in August and in El Nino territory. This model suggests we are going to steadily transition towards ENSO neutral in Jan. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps bottoming out at -1.00 the 2nd week of Dec and then are to start pushing up to -0.60 degs mid- Jan rising above La Nina threshold the 3rd week of Jan and rising from there forward to +0.70 degs in July and holding in August. All this is a significant upgrade. According to this version of the model we will hold in weak La Nina conditions through Fall before starting a trend towards neutrality in Dec with momentum towards El Nino in Spring. The surface temp coverage model suggests a temps holding steady through Nov. then a steady erosion of the coldest waters south of Nino3.4 (down at 20S) is to begin. By Dec a clear discharge of La Nina is to begin with near neutral temps prevailing over the entire equatorial Pacific and turning fully neutral in Feb and beyond. The greater equatorial Pacific cool signature looks to hold through mid-Oct then quickly dissolving beyond.
IRI Consensus Plume: The November 18, 2022 Plume depicts temps are -0.921 degs today. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to -0.732 degs in Dec and above the La Nina Threshold at -0.494 in Jan and -0.256 in Feb rising to +0.572 in July. This model suggests a continuation of minimal La Nina temps through early Dec then transitioning to ENSO neutral. This model is in line with the CFS model.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (12/3) the Daily Index was rising at +18.32 and has been above +10 the past 6 days but was generally at +10.0 or lower from 11/-11/27. It was negative for 5 days dropping to -31.05 on 11/7. This was the first negative run in months and suggests that the westerly anomaly wind activity in the West Pacific might be having an impact on the SOI. Previous peaks were +37.19 (10/5), +33.57 (5/24), +40.77 (5/10), +31.44 (4/27), +31.80 (4/6), +27.33 (1/31) and +46.71 (12/26). The trend has been solidly positive. Previous other notable peaks were +30.98 (11/26/21), +36.90 (9/28), +27.75 ( 9/13) and +37.86 (7/15).
The 30 day average was rising at +5.55 after peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was stable at +14.22 previously peaking at +15.61 on 10/25 and previously peaking at +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative ever since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ

Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-predict-the-best-surfing-waves-EsNiR~0xR5yXGOlOq2MqfA.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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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