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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:01 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
Swell Potential Rating = 1.0 - California & 3.5 - 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 12/1 thru Sun 12/7

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   

Super Typhoon Off Philippines
Dateline-West Gulf Region to Come on-Line

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.


Current Conditions
On Thursday (12/4) in North and Central CA surf was chest high and warbled with light southerly chop in effect. Just pure southwest windswell. Not really rideable except at protected breaks. Dateline swell was indicated on the buoys but buried under the more frequent but lesser period windswell. Down in Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and a bit warbled too from south winds even though the surface was clean. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high and clean but soft, all driven by southwest local windswell. Pretty fun looking. Down south waves were chest to head high but pretty warbled by northwest winds. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northwesterly dateline swell and northeast swell with waves 2 ft overhead on the sets and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast swell at 2-3 ft overhead and chopped.  

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

Meteorological Overview
A gale was over the dateline Fri (11/28) producing 33 ft seas then lifted northeast Sat (11/29) with seas dropping from 30 ft targeting mainly Hawaii, then turned east Sun-Tues (12/2) producing 24-26 ft seas targeting the US West Coast. Swell from it was still hitting Hawaii and now starting to show at the buoys in California. Also a small fetch developed off Central CA on Sun-Mon (12/1) producing 20-26 ft seas and that swell was hitting Hawaii (from the northeast). On Fri-Sat (12/6) the first in a series of 3 MJO fueled gales is to form in the Western Gulf tracking east-southeast with 26-30 ft seas, followed by a stronger one on the dateline Sat-Sun (12/7) with up to 44 ft seas fading while pushing into the Western Gulf, with a third developing northwest of Hawaii pushing east-northeast Mon-Tues (12/9) with 30-32 ft seas moving into the Eastern Gulf. A run of semi-legit surf looks possible mainly for the US West Coast wit sideband energy for Hawaii. And more possibly behind. Get it while you can.  

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

North Pacific

Jetstream - On Thursday (12/4) the jet was fragmented and incoherent east of the dateline but pulling together more than previous days. A weak trough was pushing through the Gulf of Alaska with 110 kt winds falling into it offering limited support for gale development. The bulk of the energy east of there was pushing directly over Central and South CA at 70 kts. But of more interest was a consolidated.cgiume of 180 kt winds starting to track east off Northern Japan almost reaching the dateline. A finger of limited energy from that.cgiume was tracking over the dateline and starting to feed the aforementioned trough in the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours the Japan.cgiume is to be front and center, pushing over the dateline Fri (12/15) and starting to dig out a trough on it's leading edge with that trough reaching the Eastern Gulf on Sun (12/7) and maturing there. Winds for the duration are to be in the 170-190 kts range, offering a.cgie energy to support gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere over the entirety of the North Pacific. Gale development to be focused wherever troughs are present. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to be running flat west to east on the 36N latitude line by Mon (12/8) with 190 kt winds mid-way between Japan and the dateline with 140 kt winds reaching east to a point at 145W (mid-way between Hawaii and CA). A weak and broad dip in the jet is to be over the Western Gulf trough and starting to dig in by Wed (12/10) with winds 150 kts building to 190 kts on Thurs (12/11) with the apex of the trough moving very close to Central CA late in the day.  A significant weather event (for higher elevations especially) is possible if this forecast holds true. Solid support for gale development is possible through the period. An improving storm pattern looks to be setting up over the Pacific thanks to the Active Phase of the MJO and a developing El Nino occurring in phase. 

Surface Analysis  - On Thursday (12/4) swell from a gale that tracked from Japan to the dateline then lifted northeast was still hitting Hawaii (see Japan Gale below). Also northeast swell from a gale off the California was also hitting Hawaii (see California Gale below).  

Over the next 72 hours a new gale is to develop in the Western Gulf on Thurs PM (12/4) tracking east-southeast with seas building to 30 ft (see First Gulf Gale below). 

Also the models hint that tropical energy is to be migrating northeast off Japan on Thurs (12/4) and start forming into a legitimate gale Fri AM (12/5) with 45 kt northwest winds south of the Aleutians and west of the dateline with seas building. It is to bloom in the evening with 50-55 kt west-northwest winds and seas building from 37 ft at 46N 170E. 50 kt west winds to hold over a small area into Sat AM (12/6) with 40 ft seas building over a small area at 46N 178E (327 degs HI, 301 degs NCal). 45 kt west winds to be tracking east-southeast over the dateline and into the Western Gulf in the evening with 42 ft seas at 44N 173W (334 degs HI, 296 degs NCal). 45 kt west winds to continue Sun AM (12/7) with 39 ft seas at 43N 166W (347 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). Winds to be fading in the evening from 35 kts with sea fading from 31 ft at 41N 157W (288 degs NCal).  Something to monitor.  

Hawaii:  rough data for.cgianning purposes suggests early arriving forerunners are to hit Hawaii starting sunset on Mon (12/8) with pure swell 6 ft @ 19 secs (11 ft Hawaiian). Swell Direction: 327 degrees


Japan Gale
On Fri AM (11/28) a new gale developed mid-way between Japan and the dateline generating 45-50 kt north winds and 34 ft seas at 35N 162E targeting only the Marshall Islands. Fetch held in the evening with 45 kt north winds and 35 ft seas at 35N 167E again targeting the Marshall Islands, but also making some headway towards Hawaii (299 degs). Winds were fading from 45 kts over a small area Sat AM (11/29) while the gale lifted northeast with 31 ft seas at 34N 172E (305 degs HI). Solid 35-40 kt northwest winds held in the evening with seas 28 ft at 38N 173E (310 degs HI). Sun AM (11/30) the gale was lifting northeast fast with fetch fading from 40 kts and seas 24 ft at 37N 180W (315 degs HI). Residual 40 kt northwest winds were just south of the Central Aleutians Sunday PM with 25 ft seas at 45N 177W (331 degs HI). Residual 35 kt west fetch occurred Monday targeting the US West Coast only with 24 ft seas at 49N 170W (304 degs NCal). Additional fetch developed over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians on Tues (12/2) producing 26 ft seas at 50N 180W (334 degs HI) holding into the evening then dissipating. 

A decent pulse of swell is in the water targeting the Islands.

Hawaii: A secondary pulse of swell energy is expected on Fri (12/5) building to 6.0 ft @ 15 secs late (9.0 ft) from 334 degrees. That swell is to be fading on Sat AM (12/6) from 6 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.5 ft). 

California Gale
A new semi cutoff gale started to form between Hawaii and California on Sun AM (11/30) with 30-35 kt west winds in it's north quadrant targeting primarily Hawaii. Seas building from 17 ft. Northeast winds built in the evening in coverage and strength to near 40 kts with 26 ft seas over a tiny area at 36N 142W targeting Hawaii down the 48 degree path. Fetch was fading from 35 kt Mon AM (12/1) and moving more to the gales west quadrant aimed south with 24 ft seas at 35N 142W (45 degs HI) and 1199 nmiles out. A secondary fetch of 35 kt northeast winds developed Mon PM (12/1) in the gales northwest quadrant generating 22 ft seas at 38N 140W (42 degs HI). The gale faded from there. Small northeast swell possible for Hawaii.

Hawaii:  Residual swell fading Fri (12/5) from 3.4 ft @ 11-12 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 40 degrees

First Gulf Gale

A new gale is to develop in the Western Gulf on Thurs PM (12/4) with 40 kt northwest winds building over a small area with 23 ft seas building at 42N 173W aimed southeast. 40 kt northwest winds to push east and build in coverage Fri AM (12/5) with 27 ft seas at 43N 170W (336 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). 40 kt northwest fetch to push east in the evening and loosing coverage with seas 30 ft at 43N 164W (350 degs HI, 292 degs NCal). 35 kt northwest winds to be fading Sat AM (12/6) with seas fading from 28 ft at 41N 157W (290 degs NCal). Fetch dissipating after that. Assuming all goes as forecast some sideband swell is to result for Hawaii with more direct energy for the US West Coast.

Hawaii (Oahu): Rough data for.cgianning purposes suggest swell arrival in Hawaii starting late Saturday (12/6) after dark building over night, peaking near sunrise at 8.5 ft @ 14 secs (12 ft Hawaiian) with longer period energy building underneath to 8.4 ft @ 16-17 secs (13.5 ft Hawaiian) by 8 PM. Swell fading from 6.6 ft @ 13 secs early Mon (12/8). Swell Direction: 335-350 degrees      


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

Tropical Update
Typhoon Hagupit formed Tues AM (12/2) 800 nmiles south-southwest of Guam with winds 85 kts and seas 28 ft. This system was tracking west-northwest and continued on that track. Hagupit was peaking Thurs AM (12/4) with winds 150 kts (173 mph - Super Typhoon status) 325 nmiles east of the Central Philippines and still pushing west-northwest. A slow fade is expected beyond with Hagupit tracking more westerly positioned just east of the Central Philippines Sat AM (12/6) with winds 130 kts (150 mph) and then making a steady track over the North Central Philippines positioned directly over Manila Tues AM (12/9) with winds 90 kts (104 mph).  The GFS model supports this track.  No recurvature to the northeast is forecast. Something to monitor. 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (12/4) weak low pressure was building in the Eastern Gulf with south winds ahead of it flowing into the North and Central Coasts with light winds over Southern CA waters. Atmospheric instability was still producing scattered showers in Central and North CA. A few snow showers were still occurring in higher elevations at Tahoe with 33 inches of snow accumulation at Squaw Valley over the past 7 days about 7,500 ft. 0 inches in the parking lot (6,400 ft). Friday the new low is to be pushing towards the coast with south winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts from Pt Conception northward. Rain moving into all points north of Pt Conception near 4 PM with light snow showers for higher elevations of Tahoe and the Southern Sierras starting at 10 PM. By Saturday AM the front is to be gone with a light wind pattern and clearing forecast. Maybe 1-2 inches of accumulation for Tahoe. Wind turning southerly late Saturday afternoon into Sunday AM for Pt Conception northward pushing 25+ kts for a short time noontime for Cape Mendocino and 20 kts for San Francisco late afternoon with rain for Cape Mendocino to San Francisco by 4 PM reaching down to Pt Conception later Monday. A light southerly flow is forecast for San Francisco northward Monday (12/8). Snow showers for Tahoe late Monday then clearing for Tuesday.  Light winds Tuesday from Pt Reyes southward. But another front is to be queuing up hitting Cape Mendocino Wednesday AM with south winds 25 kts pushing into San Francisco Thurs AM (12/11) (30 kts) and Pt Conception late.  Heavy rain for North CA Thurs AM reaching San Francisco (and still heavy) late morning and blasting Big Sur and Tahoe at sunset. Of course, that is subject to change based on the whims of the models.  A nice tease though.    


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  - No swell producing fetch of interest 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 another broad gale is forecast developing in the Western Gulf on Sun PM (12/7) with a modest fetch of 45 kt west-northwest starting to get traction on an already roughed up ocean surface with a tiny area of 30 ft seas developing at 41N 178E. The gale is to start moving into the Central Gulf on Mon AM (12/8) with 45 kt west winds 1000 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii and seas 30 ft over a building area at 40N 170W (335 degs HI, 290 NCal, 295 degs SCal). Fetch is to race east still at 45 kts in the evening with seas building to 34 ft at 40N 156W targeting only the US West Coast (285 degs NCal, 293 degs SCal). 45-50 kt west winds to lift northeast on Tues AM (12/9) off Oregon with 34 ft seas at 43N 142W (296 degs NCal). The core gale to fade after that. But a broad area of 30-35 kt northwest to west winds to be in.cgiace Tues AM stretching from the dateline into the Gulf aimed at Hawaii and the US West Coast with 26 ft seas at 35N-37N 163W (347 degs HI, 280 degs NCal, 287 degs SCal). Secondary swell possible. A large area of 30 kt west winds to continue into the evening with 24 ft seas moving to 36N 153W bypassing Hawaii but targeting the US West Coast (274 degs NCal, 285 degs SCal). This fetch to hold into late Wed (12/10). 

And yet another small gale is forecast developing on the dateline on Thurs (12/11).           

Note: 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet. 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. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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).

(1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data. 2nd paragraph where present is analysis data and is updated only as required).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) On Thursday (12/4) the daily SOI was up some at -3.43. The 30 day average was rising from -8.42 and the 90 day average was falling at -7.74. The near term trend based on the 30 day average was indicative of a weak Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a steady-state Active Phase of the MJO with the 90 day average near -8 since 10/20. A weak pressure pattern was south of Tahiti and expected to hold in some fashion for the foreseeable future. 30 and 90 day averages expected to rise some and then.cgiateau. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator.   

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated modest west anomalies over the Central Maritime Continent turning to light to easterly anomalies just west of the dateline. Modest west anomalies developed on the dateline and extended from a point south of Hawaii turning neutral east of there and extending that way into the Galapagos. A week from now (12/12) modest east anomalies are to redevelop over the Central Maritime Continent fading to weak easterly over the dateline with light west anomalies from a point south of the Hawaiian Islands to the Galapagos. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated neutral anomalies (12/3) over the entire equatorial Pacific. The first easterly wind event of the year appears to be over (duration 11/18-12/2).  

Looking at the trend over the past year there has not been a extended period of enhanced trades, other than the one occurring now. The trend is clearly towards westerly anomalies (suppressed trades) which suggests a bias towards El Nino. Big westerly wind bursts occurred Jan-April, followed by a neutral period May into early June. The TOA array surface sensors (the ground truth) indicated moderate westerly anomalies re-developed west of the dateline 6/25-7/6, then again 7/11-7/20, building into a WWB and holding through 8/10. Light westerly anomalies developed again 8/20-8/22, 8/29-9/2, 9/10-9/17, and stronger 9/20-10/8 (a WWB) west of the dateline with another 10/12-10/31 (WWB) on the dateline. More weak west anomalies occurred 11/11-14. Neutral anomalies filled the gaps. A modest Kelvin Wave impacted the Galapagos (11/3-11/30) associated with westerly anomalies during June, July into mid-August. And another Kelvin Wave is in flight under the 160W region being fed by westerly anomalies in late October there. We're in great shape for the 2014 year into early 2015. The question now becomes what, if any, effect the easterly wind event that ran 11/18-12/1 will have.  

See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here .

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 12/3 are in sync. They both suggest a modest Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading between the dateline and a point south of Hawaii with the Active Phase of the MJO pushing east over the far West Pacific. The Statistic model depicts the a solid version of the Active Phase slowly easing into the West Pacific over the next 15 days reaching the dateline. The Dynamic model has the Active Phase pushing east and into the West Pacific but fading quicker, and gone by 15 days out with a fully neutral pattern in.cgiay. The ultra long range upper level model run on 12/4 depicts a moderate Active Phase over the West Pacific tracking east and fading quickly through 12/24. A modest Inactive Phase to follow 12/24-1/13 and fading quickly after entering the Pacific with another Active Phase behind that starting 1/8/15. 

The troubling development is that an Inactive Phase that produced legitimate easterly anomalies occurred and is now being followed by an Active Phase. The presence of any Inactive Phase at all would not occur if El Nino were in effect. This means the MJO is returning, which in turns suggests El Nino might be giving up some ground.  Normally the MJO fades away during El Nino events. But since this is a very weak El Nino to start with, maybe it should not be surprising that the MJO is making a showing. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

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.  As of the most recent low res imagery (12/4) a moderately warm water regime remains in control of the equatorial East Pacific (up some since early Sept) and still building. A clear but weak El Nino signature is holding. Warm water (not just pockets) has gotten good traction while tracking continuously east between 90W to 160W, likely the result of the first of a pair of Kelvin Waves impacting the Galapagos region (as expected). This weak El Nino signature has stabilized but is not getting any stronger, TAO data suggests +1.0 deg C anomalies are present over a continuous area on the equator from the Galapagos to the far West Pacific and appears to be pushing east. Warm water is clearly present on the surface in the NINO 3.4 region based on TAO and hi res imagery. 

Elsewhere, the entire North Pacific Ocean is full of warmer than normal water. There are virtually no signs of high pressure induced upwelling streaming southwest off California. Warm water remains entrenched along the California coast suggesting the Gulf of Alaska High pressure system is much weaker relative to normal years, with north winds and upwelling much suppressed. The South Pacific is also starting to build in warmth with only on small cool pocket well off Chile, not reaching even north to 10S and in decline. A warm regime has the upper hand over the entire Pacific Basin.

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator continue solidly warm.  As of 12/4 a +1.0 C anomaly flow was filling the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up and east of 150E with a broad embedded pocket of +3-4 deg anomalies centered near 120W pushing east embedded in with a steady stream of +2.0 deg anomalies pushing east from the dateline into the Galapagos. The +3-4º C anomalies are the second in a pair of recent Kelvin Waves in-flight. Satellite data from 11/29 depicts a broad area of 0-5 cm anomalies are covering the entire equatorial Pacific from New Guinea to the Galapagos, with +5-10 cm anomalies midway between Hawaii and the Galapagos indicative of a Kelvin Wave in flight pushing east. Other models collaborate the presumption that a Kelvin Wave is in flight. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (11/29) indicates the second of a pair of recent modest Kelvin Waves started building back at 145E-160W in Sept and is now pushing east reaching to 100W and is the second strongest Kelvin Wave of this ENSO event.  

When this second Kelvin Wave arrives in the east (about Dec 30) we will be set for the winter. Of course what is good enough to feed storm develop and what constitutes an official El Nino are two different things.  We are focused on the former. The quandary now is whether this will be a one year event, or something longer.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 12/1 remains improved. The current is pushing moderately west to east over the entire Pacific north of the equator focused on the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) reaching into Central America. It is strongest north of New Guinea. There was one pocket of easterly anomalies south of Hawaii. Anomaly wise - west anomalies were just north of the equator over the width of the equatorial Pacific strongest near 125W. This data continues to suggest an improved picture is continuing to evolve and supportive of warm water transport to the east.

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 12/3 for the Nino 3.4 region are holding in an upgraded position. It suggests water temps are up to +1.0 deg C and are to fade some to between +0.8-0.9 through April 2015. But the real interesting part is that water temps are to start building from +1.0 degs in May 2015, pushing +1.8 degs C by early August 2015.

This suggests that perhaps we are moving towards a multi-year warm event, and not a weak one either. See the chart based version here - link.  A consensus of other models are not as optimistic.

Analysis: A downwelling Kelvin Wave was generated and pushed east starting in Aug 2013, followed by a stronger one in Oct-Nov, and a massive one in Jan-April 2014. A weaker one followed in July with yet a modestly stronger one building under the dateline in October. The only interruptions have been attributable to the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle. Water temps in the Galapagos-Ecuador-Peru triangle have held remarkably consistent from May 2014 onward, even during upwelling phases. Continued suppressed trades with embedded weak westerly anomalies have held in the West Pacific all year so far producing the aforementioned Kelvin Wave with +3 degs C in flight now. There has been no signs of easterly anomalies or a shut down of the Kelvin Wave pipe for better than a year now. This is a huge step forward. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

At this point a teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere is in.cgiay.  Evidence includes a total breakdown of the Gulf of Alaska high pressure system this summer, resulting in very high water temps off California. Also the early season recurving of mult.cgie tropical low pressure systems tracking northeast off Japan bound for the dateline.  And the pulse of tropical activity near Hawaii on the week of 8/4 and those systems continued evolution in the West Pacific is most telling. And then the near record pulse of tropical activity off Mexico (8/18-9/20) resulting in Lowell, Super Hurricane Marie, followed by Odile and Polo (though these last 2 produced no swell) and finally Rachel. And then even a few inches of snow in the Sierra on Sept 27 and again on Oct 15 and 6 inches on Oct 31. The last time any of this happened was during the '97 and '83 El Ninos. And mult.cgie recurving tropical systems pushed off Japan reaching the Gulf of Alaska in October (Fengshen and Vongfong). And then one more recurving tropical system in November (Super Typhoon Nuri). And even the Pacific Counter Current is now falling in line. 

About 3 months of undisturbed heating is required for the atmosphere to start responding on a global level where the point of 'no return' could be achieved from our perspective. The warm pool starting forming in earnest on 5/1, and so the atmosphere would not trip over the 'no-return' point till 8/1. We have passed that threshold. As of 9/2, all the arguments against a feedback loop being in.cgiace were gone. 

Note that what we consider 'teleconnected' and what NOAA considers threshold El Nino conditions are two different things and serve different purposes. We are focused on monitoring weather events that contribute to the production of open ocean storms (and therefore swells) mainly in the Pacific Basin that may or may not have the same impacts as a full blown El Nino. So our criteria is certainly less than the threshold of NOAAs. That said, considering the size and duration of the westerly wind bursts in Jan-April, and the Kelvin Wave that preceded it, it seem hard to believe that at least some Pacific Basin wide 'change' was not already well entrenched even early this year, and had been developing since perhaps as early and Aug of 2013 (when the first Kelvin Wave of the series started taking shape). We will continue monitoring westerly wind anomalies and warm subsurface water buildup in and under the Kelvin Wave Generation area. Also monitoring of the NPac jetstream (which has already been productive) and Atlantic hurricane activity (which was nonexistent) are key. But at this time odds continue stacking up in favor that a global teleconnection is now established. If that's true, the focus then becomes estimating how deep the ENSO cycle will become, or whether it will stay shallow but transition into a multi-year event. At this time we're predisposed to the multiyear, Midoki scenario. And that is actually the better of all options.    

Officially we are still in a neutral ENSO atmospheric pattern, with no El Nino in.cgiay. But given all current signs, from a winter storm and swell production perspective, atmospheric transition is well underway and we are in a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 


South Pacific

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

Details to follow...


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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