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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, December 9, 2017 1:34 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
3.8 - 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 12/11 thru Sun 12/17

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   

NPac Active Till Monday
Weaker Storm track to Follow


On Saturday, December 9, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.4 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 11.6 secs from 332 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 13.8 secs from 244 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.3 ft @ 13.5 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 14.6 secs from 247 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.9 secs from 220 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.0 ft @ 15.6 secs from 269 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.8 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 13.7 secs from 275 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 4 kts. Water temp 54.9 degs.

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 (12/9) in North and Central CA swell from the Western Gulf of Alaska was still producing waves in the head high to 1 ft overhead range at top breaks and clean with offshore winds in control. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to rarely maybe chest high and clean with light offshores early. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high and clean but smokey with stiff offshores. In North Orange Co surf was chest to shoulder high on the sets and clean coming from the north. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean. In San Diego surf was up to waist high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting well rideable northwest swell with waves 2-3 ft overhead and very clean early with decent form. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell at chest to shoulder high and clean early with west winds less than 5 kts early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (12/9) swell from a gale that developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Tues (12/5) easing slowly east into Wed (12/6) with seas in the 26-30 ft range in pockets was hitting California and fading in Hawaii. Another gale followed in the Western Gulf pushing east Thurs-Fri (12/7) with 26-27 ft seas targeting CA well. That swell is in the water pushing east now. And another gale was developing in the Southwestern Gulf Fri-Sat (12/9) with 24-25 ft seas targeting Hawaii initially, then is forecast to redevelop weakly Sun-Mon (12/11) lifting north off the Pacific Northwest with a tiny area of 28 ft seas briefly targeting Central CA and points north. And a broad system remains forecast to build off the North Kuril's tracking southeast Sat-Sun (12/10) with up to 37 ft seas aimed east then fading while falling southeast over the dateline Mon-Tues (12/12) with 28-30 ft seas targeting the US West Coast but Hawaii best and moving within 600 nmiles of the Islands. So a rather productive pattern is forecast for the next 5 days, then things settle down.


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

North Pacific

On Saturday AM (12/9) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds building to 190 kts ridging some over the dateline then falling into a broad trough over the Central Gulf of Alaska being fed by 140 kts wind before splitting at 145W with the northern branch tracking northeast up into Northern Canada and the southern branch continuing east over Baja. There was good support for gale production in the Gulf trough. Over the next 72 hours
the Gulf trough is to quickly pinch off and fade while wind energy in the jet over the dateline rebuilds to 210-220 kts briefly Sun PM feeding redevelopment of the semi-stationary trough east of there in the Gulf of Alaska and getting broader and more defined into Tues (12/12), though wind energy is to moderate to 150 kts. This is to offer great support for gale development in the Gulf trough. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to hold solid into Wed (12/13) then start pinching off while falling south with its apex just east of Hawaii on Thurs (12/14) and support for gale development fading quickly. Winds off Japan are to start fading to down to 110 kts but still consolidated running flat east over the dateline. By Saturday (12/16) the jet is to loosely consolidated pushing off Japan with winds 160 kts in one pocket over Japan but only 110 kts in pockets pushing east over the dateline then splitting just north of Hawaii with most energy continuing east pushing into British Columbia while the southern branch falls southeast over Hawaii and then continues towards the equator from there. No troughs are forecast with no support for gale development indicated. It appears the Active Phase of the MJO is to continue feeding the jetstream into Wed (12/13) of next week, then starting to dissipate, and with it support for gale development is to start fading. Perhaps this change in pattern will help to break down the high pressure ridge over the US West Coast and improve odds for precipitation, but that potential outcome is far from certain.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (12/9) residual swell from a gale previously in the Northwest Pacific was fading in Hawaii (see Northwest Pacific Gale below). Also swell from a gale that developed in the Western Gulf of Alaska was fading in California (see Another Gulf Gale below). Swell from a new gale that was falling southeast and positioned just northwest of Hawaii was building tracking towards Hawaii (see Another Gulf Gale - Hawaii below). Also swell from another gale in the Northwestern Gulf of alaska wa tracking towards California. (See West Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Sat PM remnants of a gale previously just north of Hawaii are to start developing while moving north 900 nmiles off the North CA coast with westerly winds building from 30-35 kts aimed east. On Sun AM (12/10) winds are to be 40-45 kts from the northwest lifting north off North CA with 26 ft seas at 40N 146W aimed east (285 degs NCal). Winds to build to 50 kts from the west briefly mid-day Sun then fading from 35+ kts while lifting north fast. Seas to 28 ft mid-day Sunday at 43N 145W (295 degs NCal) then building to 30 ft in the evening but all aimed at Alaska. This system is to be impacting Alaska Mon AM (12/11). Whatever swell is generated is to be arriving in sync with West Gulf Gale swell (see below).

Also on Saturday AM (12/9) a gale was developing just east of the North Kuril's slowly getting traction on the oceans surface generating a broad area of west winds at 30-40 kts aimed east. In the evening 45-50 kt west winds are forecast there with seas building from 32 ft at 48N 167E. On Sun AM (12/10) 45-50 kt west winds are to hold position aimed east while additional 35-40 kt west winds push hard east reaching into the Western Gulf with seas in the original fetch to 39 ft at 50N 165E (323 degs HI) and 20 ft seas build east over the dateline to 42N 175W. In the evening the core fetch is to fade from 45 kts still locked off the Kuril Islands with 35-40 kt west winds extending east into the Gulf with 38 ft seas off the Kuril's over a modest sized area at 49N 165E (322 degs HI) but with 28+ ft seas stretching from the southern tip of Kamchatka the whole way into the Western Gulf with its eastern tip at 44N 168W (296 degs NCal). 1500 nmiles of fetch. Mon AM (12/11) fetch is to start becoming concentrated in the Western Gulf at 35-40 kts from the northwest and west over a large sized area with 30 ft seas centered at 39N 175W targeting Hawaii directly (325 degs HI, 291 degs NCal, 295 degs SCal) and a small area of 36 ft seas at 44N 165W targeting the US West Coast (296 degs NCal). Much swell energy to be pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the fetch is to fade while tracking southeast at 30-35 kts with a large area of 29 ft seas falling southeast at 35N 169W targeting Hawaii (326 degs HI, 281 degs NCal, 287 degs SCal) and California. Tues AM (12/12) fetch is to be from the northwest fading from barely 30 kts with 25 ft seas at 35N 165W targeting mainly Hawaii. Larger raw swell is possible for the Islands.


West Gulf Gale
An improved jetstream flow aloft was feeding the storm track on Tues-Wed (12/6). A gale tracked east from the Southern Kuril's Tues-Wed (12/6) generating up to 28 ft seas over a tiny area at 46N 167E Wed AM (12/6) then fading. But on Thurs AM (12/7) that gale continued tracking east and rebuilding with 35 kt northwest winds moving into the Western Gulf with 23 ft seas at 46N 172W (298 degs NCal). In the evening fetch was falling southeast some at 35 kts over a broader area with 27 ft seas at 43N 166W targeting NCal well (296 degs) with sideband energy to Hawaii (345 degs). Fri AM (12/8) fetch held it's position at 30-35 kts with additional 30 kts northwest fetch building in just west of it resulting in 25-26 ft seas over a solid area at 42N 162W (291 degs NCal) with sideband energy into HI (355 degs). In the evening the gale faded with fetch gone and seas fading 23 ft at 41N 158W aimed east (293 degs NCal). But the secondary fetch is to be building (see Another Gulf Gale - Hawaii) below. Another modest pulse of swell is expected for North and Central CA.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on overnight Sun (12/10) with size slowly building pushing to 4.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.5 ft) on Monday AM holding through the day. Swell Direction: 291 degrees Swell from the secondary fetch is to arrive in California on Tues (12/12) 6.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (12/13) from 4.8 ft @ 12 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 291 degrees


Another Gulf Gale - Hawaii
Yet another gale formed in the Western Gulf Fri PM (12/8) with 35 kt northwest winds taking aim on Hawaii and seas building from 20 ft at 37N 170W and just 1000 nmiles northwest of the Islands. Fetch is to fall southeast and grow in coverage on Sat AM (12/9) at 30-35 kts from the Aleutians south to a point 600 nmiles north of Hawaii with 25 ft seas peaking at 34N 163W (345 degs HI) and lesser seas behind that. The gale is to fade in the evening and start tracking east with 23 ft seas from previous fetch at 30N 156W just 600 nmiles north of Hawaii (360 degrees HI). The gale is to be gone and out of the swell window for Hawaii after that.

Hawaii: Rough data indicates swell arrival starting well before sunrise Sun AM (12/10) and building through 10 AM pushing 10 ft @ 14 secs (14.0 ft) holding well through the day. Swell likely pretty raw with unfavorable wind early on the North Shore of Oahu. Swell fading Mon AM (12/11) from 6.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.0 ft). Swell Direction 340 degrees


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: Residual swell 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 44N 165W (296 degs NCal). In the evening the gale stalled with 40 kt northwest winds and 29 ft seas holding at 43N 160W (294 degs NCal). On Wed AM (12/6) the gale was fading with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 22 ft at 44N 158W (296 degs NCal) with a secondary fetch developing south of there at 30 kts with 21 ft seas at 34N 160W targeting Hawaii some (353 degs HI, 275 degs NCal). The gale pushed east and faded in the evening with 20 ft seas at 42N 158W with secondary seas 19 ft at 30N 156W aimed at Baja. The gale is dissipate from there. Swell is radiating towards Hawaii and North/Central CA.

North CA: Swell fading on Sat (12/9) from 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294-296 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 Saturday AM (12/9) bulletproof high pressure continued at 1042 mbs over the Great Basin continuing an offshore flow for the entire US West Coast at 5-10 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. High pressure is to rebuild over the Pacific Northwest on Tues (12/12) with winds turning north over outer waters to 15 kts Wed-Thurs (12/14) but still northeast/offshore nearshore. Then on Friday (12/15) a pattern change is possible with high pressure building in from the west and north winds building to 25-30 kts over North CA and 20 kts southward to just off the tip of Pt Conception. More of the same is forecast Sat (12/16) with north winds 30 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA. The offshore flow is to be over for now.

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 small gael is to develop off the Kuril Islands on Tues (12/12) pushing east with 55 kt west winds ands seas to 40 ft at 46N 162E in the evening. It is to fade while tracking east Wed (12/13) making it to the North Dateline region in the evening with seas fading from 31 ft at 49N 180E. Limited energy to continue east into the Northwestern Gulf on Friday evening (12/15) with seas 25 ft at 50N 163W.

Otherwise no swell production of interest is forecast.

South Pacific

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

More details to follow...


MJO To Hold Modestly Active

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 Fri (12/8) 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 moderate easterly over the Central Pacific then weakly west over the Western KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/9) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the Eastern KWGA but moderate plus strength westerly anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. This situation is to hold for the next week but with the westerly anomalies making some eastward progress the last 2 days of the model run on 12/15 & 16 to 175E. The dividing line between east and west anomalies is to be 165E prior to that. 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 12/8 an Inactive/Dry MJO pattern that was weakly present on the equator south of Hawaii was now gone. A moderate Active/Wet signal was west of the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet Phase easing east making it to the dateline 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts much the same thing but with the Active/Wet signal perhaps a little weaker 15 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/9) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the West Pacific and is to push slowly east towards the Central Pacific 2 weeks and and holding energy level. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to fade in the West Pacific 4 days out then rebuild there 10 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/9) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO pattern over the dateline region and slowly easing east pushing into Central America 1/8 and incoherent. A modest Inactive/Dry MJO signal is to follow starting in the West Pacific 12/24 and tracking east to the East Pacific through the end of the model run on 1/18/18 (40 days out). Another Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/13. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (12/9) This model depicts a transitional MJO pattern over the KWGA with west anomalies west of the dateline and east anomalies east of there. A very weak Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/12 and easing east through 12/25 with decent west anomalies in the KWGA through the period and pushing east of the dateline 12/23. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to reappear 12/27 building over the dateline holding through 1/10/18 with weak east anomalies forecast mainly from the dateline eastward. Beyond the Active Phase is to take control in the West Pacific 1/10 through the the end of the model run on 3/8/18 with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA and east anomalies from the dateline eastward with 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: (12/9) 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 179W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and has pushed east to 133W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead neutral to modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 150 meters filling the area between Central America to 170W 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 12/4 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between Ecuador to 170W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/4) 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 150W. But a little break in the -10 cm anomalies is at 125W (but insignificant).

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: (12/8) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains is in control. Upwelling is building again solidly along Peru and Ecuador tracking west on the equator out to 160W with a well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region. 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 (12/8): 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: (12/8) 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: (12/9) Today's temps were falling some to -1.174. 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: (12/9) Today temps were inching up but still well negative at -1.107 degs. On (12/7) temps hit a new record low at -1.219, 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 (12/9) The forecast depicts temps at -0.7 in early Nov falling to to -1.0 degs Jan1 and holding into Feb. Then a weak upward trend is suggested with temps reaching -0.7 in April and -0.5 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-Nov Plume updated (12/8) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.7 in early Nov and are to hold into Dec then slowly rising, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in July2018. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Nov average indicates temps -0.9 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. 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 (12/9): The daily index was rising at +11.11 today. The 30 day average was rising from +10.71. The 90 day average was rising +9.44. This suggests La Nina is in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (12/9) The index was steady at -1.58 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is generally stable for now but clearly indicative of La Nina. 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, Nov = -0.52. 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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