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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 3:31 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
3.2 - California & 3.2 - 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 12/4 thru Sun 12/10

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   

Progressive Gale Pattern Forecast for Gulf
West Gulf Jetstream Trough Well Entrenched


On Tuesday, December 5, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 9.4 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 14.7 secs from 324 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 5.8 secs from 48 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 25-31 kts. Water temperature 60.4 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.2 ft @ 9.6 secs from 280 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 15.1 secs from 214 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.3 ft @ 16.0 secs from 221 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.7 ft @ 14.9 secs from 230 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.4 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 9.8 secs from 320 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 4-6 kts. Water temp 57.0 degs.

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 Tuesday (12/5) in North and Central CA residual swell from the Gulf of Alaska was still present producing rideable waves in the head high range and clean with offshore winds lightly in control. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high or so and heavily textured from east winds. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high and clean but soft. In North Orange Co surf was waist high or so and hardly rideable from strong offshores producing whitecaps heading out to sea. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean but slow and weak. In San Diego surf was waist to chest high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting dateline swell 3 ft overhead but pretty ragged from northeast winds with whitecaps in effect along the entire North Shore. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting north-northwest swell at 1 ft overhead and chopped from northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (12/5) swell from another small gale that developed over the North Dateline falling southeast Sun-Tues (12/5) with 25 ft seas was pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. Another small system formed in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun (12/3) with 30-32 ft seas aimed east and that swell is poised for California. Yet another was developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Tues (12/5) forecast easing slowly east into Wed (12/6) with seas in the 25-30 ft range in pockets aimed east. Another is to follow in the Western Gulf pushing east Thurs-Fri (12/7) with 26 ft seas targeting CA well. And another to develop in the Southwestern Gulf Fri-Sat (12/9) with 27 ft seas targeting Hawaii initially, then building on Sun (12/10) with 38 ft seas targeting Central CA well. Another to follow directly behind in the Western Gulf Mon (12/11) with 36 ft seas aimed briefly southeast. And all the while a storm is to be building off the North Kurils falling southeast Sat-Sun (12/10) with up to 39 ft seas aimed east then fading while falling southeast Mon-Tues (12/12) with 25-26 ft seas targeting Hawaii well and moving within 450 nmiles of the Islands. So a rather energetic storm track is forecast.


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (12/5) the jetstream was ridging northeast off Japan with winds to 190 kts in one pocket almost reaching the Aleutians near the dateline then falling southeast into the Western Gulf of Alaska again with winds to 190 kts in one pocket forming a large trough and providing great support for gale development. The trough bottomed out 600 nmiles north of Hawaii then split with most energy tracking northeast and inland up into Northern Canada with the southern branch splitting and pushing over Southern CA and southeast towards the equator. Over the next 72 hours
the same general pattern is to hold. The trough is to pinch some later Wed (12/6) then start regenerating Thurs-Fri (12/8) with a ridge again over the Northwest Pacific falling into a well defined trough in the Western Gulf bottoming out 700 nmiles north of Hawaii and being fed by 190 kts winds offering great support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the West Gulf trough is to hold solid north of Hawaii Sat (12/9) before starting to push east and pinch off on Sunday. But at the same time winds are to be building solidly off Japan to 200 kts running flat east pushing to 150W where the jet splits. By Monday (12/11) the jet is to start ridging north again off Japan with the trough north of Hawaii building, stronger than the last 2 times being fed by 200 kt winds and providing great support for gale development wit the apex of the trough moving directly over Hawaii on Tues PM (12/12). The jet is to split some east of there but most energy is to be tracing northeast up into North Canada. The bulletproof ridge over the Canadian and US West Coasts is to hold. The Active Phase of the MJO is to in control of the West Pacific feeding energy to the jet and dramatically improving support for gale and storm production in lower levels of the atmosphere.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (12/5) swell from a gale previously in the Northwest Pacific was moving towards Hawaii (see Northwest Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a gale previously in the Northern Gulf of Alaska was poised to hit California (see North Gulf Gale below). And another gale was developing in the Gulf (see Another Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours an improving jetstream flow aloft is to be feeding the storm track. A gale is to be tracking east from the Southern Kurils Tues-Wed (12/6) generating up to 28 ft seas over a small area at 46N 168E Wed AM (12/6) then fading. On Thurs AM (12/7) 40 kt northwest winds are to be moving into the Western Gulf with 25 ft seas at 46N 172W (298 degs NCal). In the evening fetch is to fall southeast some at 35 kts over a broader area with 28 ft seas at 44N 166W targeting NCal well (296 degs) with sideband energy to Hawaii (345 degs). Fri AM (12/8) fetch is to hold at 30+ kts with additional 30-35 kts northwest fetch building in just west of it resulting in 25 ft seas over a solid area at 42N 160W (291 degs NCal) with sideband energy into HI (355 degs). In the evening the gale is to fade with fetch gone and seas fading 22 ft at 45N 157W aimed east (296 degs NCal). But the secondary fetch is to be building (see Long Term Forecast below). Another small pulse of swell for North and Central CA is possible.


North Gulf Gale
On Sun AM (12/3) 30 kt west winds were nearly filling the entire North Pacific from the Northern Kuril Islands into the Western Gulf of Alaska aimed east. A small area of 40-45 kt northwest winds were embedded in that area in the Northwestern Gulf associated with a building gale there. Seas were building from 27 ft at 47N 160W (300 degs NCal). In the evening fetch built to 50 kts aimed east while the gale lifted northeast with seas 33 ft at 51N 153W (310 degs NCal) aimed aimed mainly at the Pacific Northwest and points north of there with sideband energy down into Central CA. By Mon AM (12/4) the gale was lifting northeast up into Alaska with 40 kts west winds and 34 ft seas over a small area at 56N 148W aimed east targeting only the Canadian coast. Small swell possible for North and Central CA mainly form the early part of this storm.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues PM (12/5) pushing 4.2 ft @ 16 secs (6.7 ft). Swell peaking early Wed AM (12/6) at 5.5 ft @ 15 secs (8.0 ft) but swell will be shadowed in the SF Bay area, so size will be smaller there. Hardly anything left by Thurs AM. Swell Direction: 300-319 degrees focused on 302 degs.


Northwest Pacific Gale
On Sun AM (12/3) a persistent fetch of 30-35 kts west winds were over a large are filling the area from the Kuril's to the dateline generating a broad area of 23 ft seas at 45N 175E targeting Hawaii well (323 degs HI). Fetch and seas held into the evening while migrating east generating 25 ft seas at 44N 180W (325 degrees). Fetch faded in coverage and velocity while tracking southeast Mon AM (12/4) with seas fading from 24-25 ft over a moderate area at 42N 172W (329 degs HI). Fetch fell southeast in the evening with winds still 35 kts from the northwest with seas 22 ft at 37N 163W 100 nmiles NNW of Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (12/6) building to 9.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (13.0 ft) early and holding most of the day but pretty raw. Swell continues Thurs (12/7) at 7.8 ft @ 14 secs (10.5 ft). Swell fades some on Fri (12/8) dropping from 7.0 ft @ 12-13 secs early (8.5 ft). Residuals on Sat (12/9) fading from 4.8 ft @ 11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 335 degrees.


Another Gulf Gale
On Mon PM (12/4) a small gale was developing in the extreme Western Gulf being fed by a good upper level jetstream flow aloft resulting in a tiny area of 30-35 kt northwest winds tracking east with 24 ft seas over a modest area at 45N 171W (297 degs NCal). On Tues AM (12/5) the gale was tracking east-southeast with 40 kts winds over a small area and 27 ft seas at 45N 165W (295 degs NCal). In the evening the gale is to stall with 40 kt northwest winds and 28 ft seas holding at 44N 160W (296 degs NCal). On Wed AM (12/6) the gale is to fade with 35 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 44N 158W (296 degs NCal) with a secondary fetch developing south of there at 35 kts with 22 ft seas at 34N 160W targeting Hawaii some (353 degs HI, 275 degs NCal). The gale is to push east and fade in the evening with 20 ft seas at 42N 158W with secondary seas 20 ft at 31N 156W aimed at Baja. The gale is dissipate from there. Something to monitor relative to Hawaii and North/Central CA.

Hawaii: Swell from this system is to arrive in combination with the North Gulf Gale (see above).

North CA: For planning purposes expect small swell arrival on Thurs PM (12/7) peaking Fri AM (12/8) at 4.1 ft @ 15 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 296 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (12/5) bulletproof high pressure at 1038 mbs was inland over British Columbia setting up and offshore flow for the entire US West Coast on Tues (12/5) at 15 kts. The high is to weaken some but holding stable through Mon (12/11) with a light offshore flow forecast. No precipitation projected. This is the classic La Nina high pressure blocking ridge effect. Winds to turn a little more northerly on Tues (12/12) but still effectively northeast/offshore. The high is to be controlling waters out to 137W (600+ nmiles off the coast).


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another gale is to form on the dateline Fri AM (12/8) with 35 kt northwest winds taking aim on Hawaii and seas building. In the evening northwest winds to build to 35-40 kts from the northwest with the fetch falling southeast aimed directly at Hawaii with 25 ft seas at 37N 170W (331 degs HI). Fetch is to fall southeast and hold at 35 kts Sat AM (12/9) just 600 nmiles north of Hawaii with 26 ft seas at 32N 162W (345 degs HI). The gale is to stall and rebuild in the evening possibly setting up 50-55 kt northwest fetch over a small area in the gales west quadrant aimed south with 24 ft seas building fast at 36N 150W aimed south at Hawaii with sideband energy in to Southern CA. Sun AM (12/10) the fetch is to move into the gales south quadrant at 50+ kts with the gale moving east some and 30 ft seas at 40N 147W aimed at all of CA. The gale to lift fast north in the evening with residual 35-40 kt west winds aimed at the Pacific Northwest and seas fading from 24 ft at 42N 143W.

On Sat (12/9) a storm is forecast developing over and just east of the North Kurils slowly getting traction on the oceans surface. In the evening 45 kt west wind are forecast there and seas building from 38 ft at 48N 163E. On Sun AM (12/10) 45 kt west winds are to start pushing east and seas 34 ft at 48N 162E. In the evening the core fetch is to fade from 40 kts still locked off the Kuril Islands with 30 kt west winds extending to the dateline and a new fetch of 50 kt northwest winds building in the Western Gulf with seas 24 ft stretching from the southern tip of Kamchatka to the Western Gulf and building to 26 ft at 42N 168W (the eastern tip of this huge fetch). Mon AM (12/11) fetch is to start becoming concentrated in the Western Gulf at 45 kts from the west over a small area with 30 kt northwest winds lingering back almost to the North Kuril Islands with 26-28 ft seas on the dateline merging with a core area of 36 ft seas at 39N 163W aimed at CA. Much swell energy to be pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the leading edge fetch is to fade while tracking northeast at 40 kts with seas fading from 27 ft at 40N 154W and the lingering fetch up to 45 kts from the northwest with seas building to 32-34 ft at 39N 170W targeting Hawaii. Tues AM (12/12) northwest fetch is to be fading with 32 ft seas at 32N 167W targeting Hawaii directly moving closer in the evening. Larger raw swell is possible for the Islands.

A well entrenched pattern is setting up if one is to believe the models.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


MJO Turning Active - La Nina Maturing

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (12/4) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific but west in the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific and strong easterly over the Central Pacific then weakly west over the Western KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/5) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the Eastern KWGA but moderate westerly anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. This situation is to hold for the next week. The dividing line between east and west anomalies is to be 165E. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to be moving east and the Active Phase of the MJO appears to be holding in the west.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 12/4 a Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was in control of the equatorial East Pacific centered near 155W with a building moderate Active/Wet signal west of the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet Phase easing east while the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly dissipates and gone by the end of the run 15 days out with the Active Phase over the dateline. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Dry signal reappearing weakly at 150W.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/3) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the West Maritime Continent and is to push slowly east into the West Pacific 2 weeks out while loosing energy, then possibly rebuilding there. The GEFS model suggests much the same.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/5) This model depicts a moderate Active/Wet MJO pattern over the dateline region and slowly easing east pushing into the far East Pacific 12/20. A slightly stronger Inactive/Dry MJO signal is to follow starting in the West Pacific 12/18 and tracking east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 1/14/18 (40 days out). This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (12/5) This model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was all but gone migrating east and weakening over the KWGA with west anomalies west of the dateline and east anomalies east of there. The Inactive Phase is to be gone by 12/7 with West anomalies moving east slightly. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/10 and easing east through 12/27 with decent west anomalies in the KWGA through the period. After that the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to reappear 12/29 building weakly over the dateline holding through 1/15/18 with weak east anomalies forecast. Beyond the Active Phase is to take control from 1/16 through the the end of the model run on 3/2/18 with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA. But west anomalies to never make it further east than the dateline. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the extreme west KWGA and it is to ease east filling 75% of the KWGA by 1/28 and holding there. A high pressure bias is over the East KWGA at 170E and is to move east into the East Pacific and only 15% remaining in the KWGA by Feb 1 and tracking east from there. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. This suggest that as winter builds (typically the peak of La Nina in the jan timeframe), support for La Nina is to be fading. But it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond to whatever happens in the atmosphere, so this winter is lost to La Nina regardless of what the low pass filter indicates. No significant oceanic change is expected until likely early April 2018. Even at that it will take about 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops. So a neutral ENSO pattern is likely to develop.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/5) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs in the far West Pacific at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line is holding at 177W. The 24 deg isotherm was weak and has retrograded to 135W and shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 100 meters at between 95-155W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool temps retrograded west to 180W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/29 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between 90W to 170W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/29) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 155W. But a little break is at 125W.

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: (12/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains is in control. Upwelling continues along Peru and Ecuador but not as strong as days past then tracking west on the equator out to 160W with a well defined cool pool evidenced mainly between 100W to 150W. The cool pool continues west from there but not as strong. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/4): A warming trend was still in place along Peru and now in building pockets on the equator out to 140W. A modest cooling trend was indicated in pockets also along the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos west to 140W. .
Hi-res Overview: (12/4) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up to Peru and Ecuador and building in coverage pushing west over the Galapagos and building out to 180W and stable. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/5) Today's temps were rising some to -0.700. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (12/5) temps have hit a new record low at -1.167, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/5) The forecast has temps holding steadily at -0.85 in early Nov and forecast to stay there there through March. Then a weak upward trend is suggested with temps reaching -0.7 in April and -0.6 degs in July 2018 and holding there. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018 and possibly extending into 2018-2019. The CFS SST images (11/05) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Dec-Jan 2018, then fading but still very present into May 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume updated (11/7) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.7 degs in Oct and holding through Dec, then slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.85 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (12/5): The daily index was steady at 15.67. The 30 day average was rising from 10.64. The 90 day average was steady at +9.10. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (12/5) The index was falling again at -1.66 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is generally stable for now. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05 . No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool


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

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