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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, December 5, 2020 5:50 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
4.9 - California & 4.1 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

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

Issued for Week of Monday 12/7 thru Sun 12/13

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   

Dangerous Storm #2 Forming
Weaker Storm Pattern To Follow

On Saturday, December 5, 2020 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 9.5 secs from 232 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 12.3 secs from 337 degrees. Water temp 80.6 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 14.0 secs from 259 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 288 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.4 secs from 261 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.3 secs from 266 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 2.4 ft @ 14.9 secs from 277 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.1 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 13.0 ft from 282 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 10-14 kts. Water temp 51.6 degs (013), 54.9 degs (SF Bar) and 53.8 degs (042).

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Saturday (12/5) in North and Central CA Swell #1 was fading with waves 4 ft overhead early and glassy and peeling at better breaks. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and mostly closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and lined up and peeling but pretty soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest high and lined up and peeling down the point and clean even later. Central Orange County had set waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and clean. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at waist high or so and clean and lined up but soft. North San Diego had some rare sets to waist high and clean and lined up if not closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was getting decent residuals from Swell #1 at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean and with decent form. The South Shore was flat to knee high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high and lightly chopped from easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (12/5) Swell #1 was fading in California and even more so in Hawaii originating from a storm that pushed over the dateline with seas to 57 ft aimed east. And the second significant class swell of the season appears imminent originating from another strong storm that is developing right behind. Beyond a quiet storm pattern is forecast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (12/5) the jet was fully consolidated pushing hard off Japan with winds building to 180 kts pushing east over the dateline then carving out a developing trough over the Western Gulf of Alaska offering great support for gale if not storm development there. East of there the jet was trying to push east reaching a point about 600 nmiles off the North California coast then veering hard north tracking up into Central Canada. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to hold position and continually being reinforced by 160 kt winds falling into it from a point over Japan on Sun (12/6) still offering great support for storm development with the leading edge of the jet finally pushing inland though deflected north so over British Columbia. This pattern is to hold into early Tuesday (12/8) with the trough then weakening and washing out. Still the jet is to not be split and generally running flat east on the 38N latitude line. Beyond 72 hours winds are to rebuild to near 200 kts over the dateline on Wed (12/9) developing a new small trough over the North Dateline region easing slowly east into later Thurs (12/10) then weakening. Perhaps a new pocket of wind energy is to build over the dateline at 160 kts carving out a modest trough over the Western Gulf Fri-Sat (12/12) producing a modest trough and offering some limited hope for gale formation in lower levels of the atmosphere.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (12/5) swell from Storm #1 was fading in California and Hawaii.

Over the next 72 hours swell from Strong Storm #2 is to be impacting both Hawaii and and the US West Coast (see Storm #2 below).

An ill formed gale developed in the Western Gulf of Alaska Thurs AM (12/3) producing pockets of 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast with seas on the increase. In the evening fetch built to 40 kts in 3 small pockets with 22 ft seas at 39.5N 172W aimed east to southeast. On Fri AM (12/4) 30-35 kt northwest fetch persisted producing 21 ft seas at 35N 160W targeting Hawaii and California. In the evening this system was fading and getting consumed by developing Storm #2. Low odds from some 12 sec period background swell radiating into Hawaii and the US West Coast. See QuikCASTs for details.


Storm #2
Another strong storm developed just west of the dateline on Fri AM (12/4) producing 45-50 kt west winds and seas building to 23 ft at 40N 172E aimed east. In the evening the storm pushing over the dateline producing 60-65 kt west winds (hurricane force) with seas building from 44 ft at 40N 176.5W aimed east. On Sat AM (12/5) the storm was sweep fast east with 55 kt west winds over the Western Gulf with seas building to 52 ft at 40.5N 165.5W aimed east. The storm is to plod east-northeast in the evening with 50-55 kt west winds in the Western Gulf with seas 54 ft at 45.5N 157W aimed due east. On Sun AM (12/6) the storm is to start fading with 45-50 kt west winds while lifting northeast and seas fading from 52 ft up at 47N 154W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to continue fading in the Northern Gulf with 40 kt west winds and seas fading from 45 ft at 49N 149W aimed east-northeast. On Mon AM (12/7) the last little fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts from the southwest positioned in the Northern Gulf with seas fading from 37 ft at 53N 147.5W aimed east-northeast targeting only British Columbia and points north of there. Large swell is expected targeting mainly the US West Coast.

Hawaii (Oahu): For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Sun (12/6) mid-day building to 8.4 ft @ 17-18 secs later (14 ft). Swell peaking early evening under cover of darkness. Swell still decent Mon AM (12/7) fading from 8.4 ft @ 15 secs (12.5 ft). Residuals fading on Tues AM (12/8) from 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.0 ft). Swell fading Wed AM (12/9) from 5.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (6.5 ft). Thurs AM (12/10) swell fading out from 2.8 ft @ 11 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 330-335 degrees

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on late on Mon (12/7) building to 7.0 ft @ 21 secs just after dark (14 ft). Swell building fast from there. On Tues AM (12/8) pure swell to be 13.1 ft @ 18-19 secs (24 ft) and slowly fading through the day but still substantial at sunset. Residual swell fading on Wed (12/9) from 10 ft @ 15 secs (15 ft). Large consistent and dangerous swell conditions likely. Do not venture near or into the ocean unless you are highly experienced.


Storm #1
A small but potent storm started developing in the West Pacific on Sat PM (11/28) a bit off North Japan with west-northwest winds at 55-60 kt and seas building from 34 ft at 43N 163E aimed east. On Sun AM (11/29) the storm was approaching the dateline with 60 kt west-northwest winds and seas building from 53 ft at 44N 171.5E aimed east pushing 57 ft at 18Z at 44N 175.5E aimed east. In the evening a broad area of 50 kt west winds were straddling the dateline with 54 ft seas at 43.5N 179.5E aimed east. On Mon AM (11/30) the gale was solid in coverage with 45 kt west-northwest winds and seas 48 ft at 41.5N 172.5W aimed east. In the evening the gale was fading with 35-40 west-northwest winds over a solid area 1200 nmiles northwest of Hawaii in the Western Gulf with seas fading from 40 ft at 41N 166W aimed east. On Tues AM (12/1) west winds were fading from 30 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 41.5N 158.5W aimed east. Large long period swell is expected to result.

North California: Expect swell arrival at sunset Wed (12/2) with period 23-24 secs and size just barely noticeable. Swell building overnight. Swell continuing up through the day Thurs (12/3) building to 9.8 ft @ 18 secs late (17.5 ft) and holding well into the evening. Swell still solid Fri AM (12/4) fading from 9.0 ft @ 16 secs early (14.0 ft). Residuals on Sat (12/5) fading from 5.6 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 289-299 degrees with peak energy at 298.55 degrees and slightly shadowed in the SF Bay Area.

Southern CA: Swell fading early Sat (12/5) from 3.2 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Dribbles on Sun (12/6) fading from 1.8 ft @ 12-13 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295.6-303.54 degrees with most energy coming from 302.7 degrees


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


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

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/6) north winds are forecast at 10-15 kts for North and Central CA early building to 15-20 kts later. Monday (12/7) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early nearshore for North and Central CA but 20 kts offshore fading to 5-10 kts later. Tues (12/8) northeast winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA early at 5-10 kts perhaps turning northwest at 5+ kts later. Wed (12/9) north winds are forecast at 20-25 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 30 kts in the afternoon for North CA and 15+ kts for Central CA. On Thurs (12/10) northwest winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA early pushing 25 kts both North and Central CA in the afternoon. Maybe some sprinkles for Cape Mendocino later afternoon. On Fri (12/11) northwest winds are forecast at 25 kts for all of North and Central CA holding all day. On Sat (12/12) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts early fading to 15 kts later.

Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0 inches, 0 inches, 0 inches, and 0 inches respectively.

Freezing level 10.000 today falling to 7,000 ft 12/6 then rising to 12,000 ft on 12/7 slowly falling to 7,000 ft on 12/12.

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


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (12/5) no swell was in the water and no swell producing weather systems were occurring. but a small storm did produce some seas of interest (See New Zealand storm below)

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

New Zealand Storm
A small storm developed just southwest of New Zealand on Wed AM (12/2) producing 50 ft west winds and 45 ft seas at 52.5S 156E aimed east. In the evening west winds faded from 40 kts and seas were 42 ft at 54.5S 166E aimed east. On Thurs AM (12/3) 40 kt west winds persisted south of New Zealand with 35 ft seas at 57S 166.5E aimed east. Fetch fading from 35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 33 ft at 56.5S 174E aimed east. The gael dissipated after that. Small swell has been generated and is expected to radiate into Southern CA.

Southern CA: Swell arrival roughly on Fri AM (12/11) at 1 ft @ 20 secs (2 ft). Swell building on Sat (12/12) to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 219 degrees


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours on Wed AM (12/9) a small gale is forecast developing over the North Dateline region producing 40-45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 20 ft at 44N 179W aimed southeast. In the evening west winds are to build to 45-50 kts over a small area aimed east with seas 31 ft at 46.5N 176.5W aimed east. On Thurs AM (12/10) fetch is to lift north at 40-45 kts from the west with seas 32 ft just south of the Central Aleutians at 50N 178W aimed east. This system is to fade out after that. Small northerly angled swell is possible for Hawaii and the US West Coast.

A secondary fetch is to possibly result off the North Kurils Islands on Thurs PM (12/10) producing northwest winds at 40 kts slowly moving towards the dateline into Fri PM (12/11) then fading with seas up to 28 ft over a small area at 47N 172E aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

And maybe another small storm is to develop on the dateline on Sun (12/13).


South Pacific

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



MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Warming - Peak La Nina State Possibly Over

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

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

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

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

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/4) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and stronger from the east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning modest easterly over the Central Pacific and strong easterly over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, so they lag what is happening today by about 2 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (12/5) strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA reaching east to a point south of California. The forecast calls for strong east anomalies holding rock solid filling the KWGA through 12/8 then moderating to moderate status after that through the end of the model run on 12/12. East anomalies are to slowly backtrack west starting 12/7 but then rebuild strong south of California starting 12/10 holding through the end of the model run.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (11/30) A weak MJO signal is present today over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates the Active Phase is to slowly track east from the Maritime Continent into the KWGA on day 5 then peaking over the KWGA on day 10 at weak strength then fading slightly on day 15. The dynamic model suggests much the same.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/5) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Maritime Continent today and is to track east to the West Pacific and getting steadily weaker on day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to hold over the Maritime Continent at weak status through day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/5) This model depicts a weak Active Phase (wet air) over the West Pacific/KWGA tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 12/25. A modest Inactive Phase is to set up over the West Pacific on 12/25 pushing east and into the Central Pacific on 1/9. At that time another weak Active Phase is to push over the West Pacific easing east at the end of the model run on 1/14. .
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/4) This model depicts no MJO signal over the KWGA today but with strong east anomalies over the core of the KWGA and reaching east to a point almost south of California. The forecast indicates east anomalies are to hold in coverage and strength filling the KWGA through 12/10 then fading some but still present at moderate status into 12/17, then rebuilding to moderate status by 12/15 and holding till the end of the model run over the KWGA into 1/1 and reaching east to a point south of California from 12/9 onwards. In short - La Nina.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/5 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA today with east anomalies in control. The Inactive Phase is to push east and out of the KWGA by 12/16 producing east anomalies filling the KWGA and points east of there to California slowly decaying in coverage over that duration. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 12/10 and tracking east through 2/12 initially producing weak west anomalies in the KWGA then building to moderate status starting 1/25. A weak Inactive MJO is to return 2/2 but with west wind anomalies unchanged over the dateline through the end of the model run on 3/4. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is firmly in control over the dateline today with 2 contour lines reaching east to a point south of California and is to continue through the end of the model run with it's western periphery easing east to 170E at the end of the model run. A third contour line is to appear on 12/14 holding through 2/14 then fading. A single contour low pressure bias is over the Indian Ocean today and is to build in coverage holding through the end of the model run and its eastern periphery easing east to 160E at the end of the model run. Its core is to start moving east at that time. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean for over a year previous migrated east through the West Pacific to the East Pacific on 10/1 and then stabilized there, but now are forecast to perhaps start weakening in early Feb. For now the trend is towards a building La Nina though the model suggest it might be dislodged in Spring.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/5) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was gone. The 29 deg isotherm was retrograding to 156E today. The 28 deg isotherm line has retrograded west to 170E today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 145W today with a finger on the surface extending east to 120W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +1 deg C were steady in the West Pacific pushing east to 155W at depth today but no warmth east of there and no sign of moving east anytime soon. A far more modest cooling pattern is setting up over the East PAcific with anomalies -2 degs C in the far East, but otherwise temps generally -1 deg C over most of the East and Central Pacific at depth. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/29 indicates a stronger cool pattern over the East Pacific at depth but with warming easing east to 150W. 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) Negative anomalies were forming a wave pushing west from the Galapagos to 165W peaking at -15 cms at 115W and -10 cms solid from Ecuador to 140W. Negative anomalies were -5 to -10 cms along the coast of Peru up into Ecuador and then reaching north up to Baja and into South and North CA. Looking at the big picture, negative anomalies were forming a massive triangle from San Francisco south to Southern Chile and west out to the intersection of the dateline and the equator. No positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific, except from the dateline and points west of there.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (12/4) The latest images indicate cold anomalies were on the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and solid in density over that entire and large area. Colder anomalies were imbedded in that flow between 110W to 150W today but not a cold as weeks past. And the overall cool pool does not look as cold as weeks and months past. Cool anomalies were also holding along the coasts of Chile and Peru. This clearly indicates a well developed version of La Nina filling the entire equatorial Pacific and down into Chile. But the overall cool intensity of that pool appears to have stabilized if not losing some of its intensity.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/4): Temps were warming dramatically along Chile and Peru reaching west to 140W with nary a sign of cooling over that area.
Hi-res Overview: (12/4) A stream of consistent cool water is well entrenched from Chile up to Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to the dateline and west to New Guinea. But the trail of markedly cool anomalies previously imbedded in that flow is dissipating. Perhaps the peak of La Nina has been reached.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/5) Today's temps were on a slow rise to -0.922 after previously rising to a high of -0.650 on 11/15. This area has been on a seesaw rising trend since early October. Temps were previously down to -2.138 on 8/13.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(12/5) Temps were steady today to -1.240 today after bottoming out at -1.654 on 11/3, beating the previous low of -0.945 on 9/22. The previous low before that was -0.733 on 9/10. Temps appear to be stabalizing.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/5) Today the model indicates temps at -1.25 degs. The forecast depicts temps perhaps dipping to -1.35 degs in mid-Jan then beginning to rise, rebuilding up to -0.20 degs mid-July and stabilizing there. This is becoming a 2 year event in that even after temps return to 0/normal it will take 3-5 months for the upper level circulation to respond in kind.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 21, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -1.10 degs today, and are to hold into Dec, then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.89 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by June. Most models are suggesting a moderate to La Nina returning to Neutral in the late Spring. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad - this is a lagging indicator) (12/5): The daily index was falling to +8.25. The 30 day average was rising at +9.19. The 90 day average was rising some at 7.72. This index is a lagging indicator.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.

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

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

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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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