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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2021 2:58 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.2 - California & 2.1 - 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 12/6 thru Sun 12/12

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   

Small Gale Swell for CA
Broad Gulf Gale Still Forecast - Rain and Snow for CA

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Thursday, December 9, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 8.7 secs from 164 degrees. Water temp 76.1 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 77.2 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 9.3 secs from 42 degrees. Water temp 77.7 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were NA ft @ NA secs with swell NA ft @ NA secs from NA degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 16-18 kts. Water temperature NA degs, 60.8 (Topanga 103), 60.3 degs (Long Beach 215), 60.8 (Del Mar 153), NA (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 2.6 ft @ 9.3 secs from 42 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 10.1 secs from 247 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.3 secs from 212 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) this buoy was inoperable.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 13.3 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 11.1 ft @ 8.4 secs from 322 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 29-37 kts. Water temp 54.1 (Pt Reyes 029), 55.2 (46026), 54.7 degs (SF Bar 142), and 54.9 (Santa Cruz 254).

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

 
Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (12/9) North and Central CA had set waves at head high and pretty torn up by northwest winds with whitecaps in effect. Protected breaks were head high and warbled and trashed by northwest wind and whitecaps. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to thigh high and clean and fragmented and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were knee high and blown out from west winds and rain. At least there was rain. Central Orange County had sets up to waist high and warbled if not chopped from strong northwest wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had a wave or two at maybe thigh high on the peak and slightly warbled but nowhere near as bad as anywhere up north. North San Diego had sets at knee high and warbled and weak and not really rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a few waves at thigh to maybe waist high and weak but fairly clean. The South Shore was getting waist to maybe chest high windswell and lumpy. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell with sets chest high and chopped from solid east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (12/9) neither California or Hawaii was getting any discernible swell of interest. Looking forward a weak system tracked through the Northern Gulf of Alaska Tues-Wed (12/8) producing 22-23 ft seas aimed southeast. Small swell for Ca for the weekend. Of more interest is a broad system forecast developing over the Northern Gulf on Fri (12/11) falling southeast producing up to 33 ft seas moving off California on Tues (12/14). Weather is possible for the Golden State from this one too. A bit of a gale is forecast developing off North Japan Tues-Wed (12/15) producing 33 ft seas aimed east but fading before reaching the dateline.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday (12/9) the jet was split streaming off both Japan and Kamchatka then merging over the North Dateline Region with winds building to 170 kts tracking east over the Northern Gulf and then sagging down the US West Coast pushing inland over Pt Conception. No obvious troughs or support for gale development was indicated. Over the next 72 hours starting Fri (12/10) the jet is to remain split in the west and consolidated over the dateline and starting to sag south forming a trough over the Northern Gulf of Alaska. By Sat (12/11) the jet is to be falling harder south from the Northern Gulf with winds starting to build to 170 kts and then pushing hard south with winds to 190 kts on Sun (12/12) and the apex of the trough 700 nmiles off San Francisco offering good support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to hold position into Tues (10/14) while slowly pushing east with it's apex moving over the SF Bay Area in the evening offering more support for gale development and likely setting up weather for Central CA northward. Back to the west the jet is to become consolidated on Sun (12/12) pushing off Japan with winds 160-170 kts then splitting near the dateline, possibly signaling the start of the Active Phase of the MJO tracking east over the West Pacific. The split point is to track slowly east to about 170W on Thurs (12/16) and still consolidated but with a massively split and fragmented patter east of the split point offering no support for gale development. The hope is the split point will move east as the leading edge of the Active Phase of the MJO tracks east into later December.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (12/9) no swell was hitting Hawaii or California. A small gale developed in the Northern Gulf with swell from it radiating south towards the Pacific Northwest and California (see North Gulf Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a stronger gale is forecast developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Fri AM (12/10) with northwest winds building from 35-40 kts and seas building from 24 ft at 51N 169W aimed southeast. In the evening a solid fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be streaming southeast from the Eastern Aleutians with seas building from 26 ft over a solid area at 48.75N 160.25W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (12/11) 40-45 kt northwest winds are forecast streaming south over a building fetch with a broad area of 28 ft seas building at 49N 152.75W aimed southeast. The gale is to hold in the afternoon with 45 kt northwest winds and 33 ft seas forecast at 51N 146W aimed southeast. Fetch is to hold unchanged Sun AM (12/12) with 40-45 kt northwest winds in the North and Central Gulf with 31 ft seas falling southeast at 47.75N 145.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be holding in the evening at 35-40 kts solid from the north-northwest with seas 29 ft at 49N 139.5W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (10/13) the gale is to be falling south with northwest winds fading from 30-35 kts reaching down to a point off San Francisco with 27 ft seas at 38N 142W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kts northwest winds are to be fading off the North and Central CA coast with 25 ft seas over a broad area roughly near 36N 137W aimed southeast. Fetch gone on Tues AM (12/14) with seas from previous fetch 21 ft at 33N 135W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.

Swell likely for North, Central and Southern CA starting in the North on Mon (12/13).

 

North Gulf Gale
On Mon AM (12/6) a weak and small gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf producing 35 kt west winds and seas 22 ft at 49.5N 161.5W aimed east. In the evening the fetch lifted northeast at 30-35 kts over the far north Gulf with seas 23 ft at 53.25N 155.75. More of the same was happening on Tues AM (12/7) producing a tiny area of 25 ft seas at 56.75N 149W aimed east. In the evening a broader fetch of 30-40 kt west winds were building in the Northern Gulf producing 23 ft seas at 58N 147.25W aimed east. Fetch was starting to fall southeast on Wed AM (12/8) at 30-35 kts with seas 23 ft at 55N 142W aimed southeast. Fetch was fading in the evening with seas fading from 19 ft impacting North British Columbia and no longer producing swell.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (12/10) building to 4.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (12/11) from 4.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Fri (12/10) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts south of Cape Mendocino early extending south over all of Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10-15 kts south of there to Pt Conception. No precip forecast.
  • Sat (12/11) light northwest winds are forecast (5 kts or less) for North and Central CA early but a front and south winds at 25 kts developing for Cape Mendocino. In the afternoon the front is to be pushing south with south winds at 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts down to Pt Arena with light winds from the Golden Gate southward. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon building slowly south.
  • Sun AM (12/12) the front continues south with south winds 20 kts from the Golden Gate northward and 10 kts south to Monterey Bay. Light winds south of there. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 20 kts near San Francisco with light south winds north of there and light northwest winds from Big Sur southward. Rain building south from the Golden Gate early reaching Monterey in the afternoon and Big Sur in the evening. Snow developing for Tahoe early slowly sinking south over the entire Sierra through the day.
  • Mon (12/13) the front is to be over Big Sur with southwest winds 25-30 kts there up to the Golden Gate and 10-15 kts north of there and up to 20 kts over Cape Mendocino. In the afternoon the front reorganizes with southwest winds 20-25 kts from Pt Arena south to Pt Conception and south winds 15 kts into Santa Barbara County. Heavy rain for all of North Ca and moderate rain for Central CA early building through the day. Heavy snow for Tahoe and the Northern Sierra well before sunrise falling south and covering the entire Sierra later and strong overnight.
  • Tues (12/14) the front is to be over Pt Conception with southwest winds 15-20 kts from the Golden Gate southward and 20-25 kts from Big Sur to LA county and south winds 15 kts to San Diego. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 15 kts from Pt Reyes into Baja. Northwest winds 10 kts from Pt Reyes northward. Rain early for all of CA except maybe San Diego then pushing south to San Diego late afternoon. Very heavy snow for the entire Sierra all day fading in the evening. .
  • Wed (12/15) a new local low is forecast off North CA with southwest winds 10-15 kts for Cape Mendocino and light northwest winds 5 kts for Central CA. In the evening south winds are forecast at 25-30 kts for Bodega Bay northward and south winds 15 kts down to the Golden Gate. Light winds south of there. Light rain for North CA early becoming focused on Cape Mendocino later. No snow for the Sierra.
  • Thurs (12/16) the low is to be impacting the coast with south winds for all of North CA at 25 kts and south winds 15-20 kts down to Big Sur. No change in the evening. Rain for all of North Ca down to Monterey Bay early reaching Morro Bay later. Snow developing for Tahoe late Morning falling south to Yosemite later.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 108, 115, 106, and 57 inches with some on Dec 9th But most starting 12/12-12/14 with more continuing through 12/16.

Freezing level 5,000 ft on 12/9 and holding at that level during the warmest part of the day dropping to 3,000-4,000 ft in the evening through 12/13, falling to 1,000-2,000 ft on 12/14-12/15 then rising to 8,000 ft on 12/17 and holding through the end of the model run. Winter is coming.

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

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred of is forecast.

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

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast building off Japan on Mon PM (12/13) producing west winds at 40-45 kts with seas 34 ft at 42N 155.75E aimed east. On Tues AM (12/14) 35- 40 kt west winds are to be positioned half way to the dateline generating 30 ft seas at 40N 163E aimed east an southeast. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the west nearly reaching the dateline with 27 ft seas fading at 43N 171E aimed east. Fetch fading out on Wed AM (12/15). Perhaps some swell for Hawaii to result.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

La Nina Cold Sub-Surface Pool Discharging - Active MJO Building
Summary - Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, beating last years volume, and now is discharging to the surface while fading and easing east. A stronger than expected Active Phase of the MJO is producing west anomalies forecast to take over the Western KWGA as previously forecast and filling 75% of the KWGA with the low pressure bias slowly building in from the west in earnest late Dec and filling the KWGA by mid-Feb with a return to a more regular cadence of Active and Inactive MJO phases starting now. With the cold subsurface pool discharging to the surface in the East Pacific, and a return of the MJO projected, it seems the the peak of this years La Nina event is already behind us. But the atmosphere will be slow to respond.

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

Overview: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were fading, and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall /Winter 2021-2022 = 3.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: It was assumed that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 was on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state would set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But La Nina is making a strong return as we move into the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen. So at this point we are speculating that the CFS model will verify and that a full double dip La Nina pattern will take hold as we move into November with this second La Nina dip being nearly as strong as the previous one. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late Fall (Nov) with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern at that time and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Dec. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a less than normal swell production forecast especially for Fall into early Winter. But by later in Jan 2022 perhaps a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a somewhat reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct-Dec, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by later Winter (2022), the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/8) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. Anomalies were moderate east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate east over the Central Pacific and moderate east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (12/9) west anomalies were strong over the West KWGA to 170E and moderate east over the East KWGA reaching east to a point south of California. The forecast calls for moderate to strong west anomalies holding and covering to 160E or greater filling the western 65% of the KWGA through 12/14, then backtracking and and nearly out of the KWGA at the end of the model run on 12/16. East anomalies are to hold east of the dividing line then filling the KWGA at the last day of the model run. This is a solid step in the right direction and the first in a very long time.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/8) A moderate Active MJO signal was indicated filling the KWGA today. The statistical model suggests the Active Phase is to build east on day 5 of the model run filling the KWGA then holding steady over the dateline to a point south of Hawaii filling the KWGA on days 10 and 15 of the model run. The dynamic model projects the evolution to the east a little slower still locked over the dateline at day 15 of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/9) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the West Pacific and is forecast tracking to the West Atlantic at day 15 of the model run and modest. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase moving to the East Pacific and holding at moderate plus strength on day 15 of the model run. It's been a long time since we've seen this.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/8) A moderate Active MJO signal (wet air) was building over the West Pacific/KWGA today. The forecast indicates it is to track east pushing to the Central Pacific on 12/18 and into Central America 1/7. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start developing over the West Pacific on 12/28 moving to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 1/17. The Active Phase (wet air) is forecast starting to build over the far West Pacific on 1/12 moving east from there.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/8) This model depicts the Active Phase was solid over the Central KWGA today filling nearly 75% of the KWGA with moderate to strong west anomalies. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal tracking through the KWGA and exiting east of it on on 1/1 positioned just west of the dateline. West anomalies at moderate to strong status are forecast filling the west KWGA through 12/16 then moderating and pushing east punching a hole in the high pressure bias 12/20 moving to the eastern edge of the KWGA on 12/22 before redeveloping moderately over the Central and East Pacific beyond. East anomalies are to redevelop near the dateline weakly on 12/22 and building in coverage but not strength filling the KWGa at the end of the model run on 1/5.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/9 - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day): Today the Active Phase of the MJO was filling the KWGA with moderate west anomalies filling the western 75% of the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO is to be moving over the KWGA through 1/4 with west anomalies filling the KWGA through 1/2. The Inactive Phase is to follow 12/23-2/7 with neutral to weak east anomalies building over the KWGA. Another Active Phase is to develop on 1/16 holding through the end of the model run on 3/8 with weak west anomalies over the bulk of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines was centered over the dateline and is to hold till 12/31, then easing east and almost east of the dateline on 2/19. A broad single contour low pressure bias is now established centered over the Maritime Continent at 100E with it's leading edge at 125E and barely in the KWGA and is forecast starting to move east further into the KWGA to 150E on 12/31 filling 50% of the KWGA and building east to the dateline at the end of the model run. Today a solid east anomaly pattern that has been in control of KWGA since early July is being significantly challenged by west anomalies from a building Active Phase of the MJO. A return to a more normal MJO alternating pattern is forecast moving forward. This could signal the demise of La Nina as we get deeper into Winter.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/9) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was back at 164E. The 28 deg isotherm line was tracking east to 178E. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 125W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady at about 150W. All sensors are down at 140W. Cool anomalies were fading from -2 degs C at 105W down 75 meters and tracking east and almost gone from the East Pacific. No Kelvin Waves were obvious and cool water was in control in the east at depth but definitely less of a force than weeks and months past. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/4 indicates no warm water east of 170W at depth with a bubble of cold water at -4C below normal east of there (where the sensors are inoperable) extending upward to the surface off Ecuador but with noticeably less intensity than weeks past and definitely losing ground. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/4) Sea heights were negative over the East equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to 170E at -5 to -10 cms with only a tiny speck of -15 cms anomalies fading at 105W. No -20 or -25 cms anomalies exist. And the coverage of the -15 cms anomalies is in quick decline. All positive anomalies were limited from 170E and points west of there at 20 to 25 cms. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern is well developed in the West Pacific. La Nina made a return and stronger than last year, but now appears to be in decline, at least from the subsurface water temp perspective. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram La Nina subsurface cold temperatures peaked in coverage in mid-Oct, far broader than last year (-2.5 degs C), but as of 12/4 that coverage is collapsing centered at 105W with the coolest anomalies (-2.5 degs) gone and -1.5 deg anomalies shrinking fast from the west and east. It appears a cold water Kelvin Wave (upwelling Kelvin Wave) is erupting just west of the Galapagos.

Surface Water Temps
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4 Qualitative Analysis: (12/8) The latest images depict a broad stream of cool water on the equator dominant from Chile up to Peru then turning west and building from the Galapagos east to 110W then weaker but still solid west of there to at least the dateline. A classic la Nina pattern was evident. An area of warm water just north of the equator was fading from Ecuador west to 140W and up along Central America into Southern Baja. Overall this indicates the return of cold water temps in the Central Equatorial Pacific indicative of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/8): Temps were warming along Chile and Peru but cooling in pockets strung between the Galapagos to 150W. A cold water Kelvin Wave is erupting at the surface in the East equatorial Pacific resulting from the discharge of subsurface water below it.
Hi-res Overview: (12/8) A broad stream of cooler than normal water was aligned on the equator from Ecuador to 110W then weaker but still solid out to 160E. Cooler than normal waters were also south of that line down to 20S. Warmer than normal waters were limited to a line north of the equator up to Mexico and along the US Coast up to Pt Conception. A previous cool outflow from South California southwest to the a point over Hawaii's Big Island was gone. La Nina is solid but not building anymore focused over the equatorial Central Pacific.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/9) Today's temps were steady today at -1.598 after rising to -1.432 on 11/29 and that after bottoming out on 11/24 at -1.700, the lowest in months after previously toggling steady at about -0.6 degs from mid Aug to Oct 6, then falling from there. Before that temps were toggling around neutral 6/13-8/5 except for one dip to -0.411 on 7/8. Prior to that temps peaked on 3/16 when they briefly hit +0.714 degs. Last year temps bottomed out at -2.138 on 8/13/20. The longterm trend has been steadily downward.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(12/9) Today temps were falling some at -0.925 after rising to -0.685 on 11/9, and that after bottoming out at -1.08 on 11/2, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/9) - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June then fading to -0.3 degs through Aug and to -0.75 degs in mid Oct and -1.0 degs in mid-Nov. The forecast indicates temps to continue a steady fall from here forward dropping down to -1.40 in mid Jan 2022 then quickly pushing up to +0.00 degs in July 2022. This model suggests a return of La Nina conditions and strongly so this Fall and Winter. There is no indication that El Nino will develop. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps falling to -1.25 degs in mid-Dec starting to rise slowly after mid-Jan 2022. At this point that is as good a guess as any. And the model has been unwavering in this projection for months now.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Nov 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -1.019 degs today, and are to warm to -0.57 degrees in Feb, then rising to -0.00 degs in May and neutral after that. A solid return of La Nina is expected peaking about now then warming thereafter.
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) (11/30):
The daily index was positive at +6.38. The trend has been towards positive readings with previous notable peaks were at +30.98 on 11/26, +36.90 on 9/28, +27.75 on 9/13 and +37.86 on 7/15.
The 30 day average was falling at +12.11 after previously falling to +6.06 on 11/6 after peaking at +11.58 on 10/22. Before that it fell to -3.36 on 6/22, the lowest in a year. It peaked at +19.51 on 1/14.
The 90 day average was rising slightly at +10.17 today after falling to +7.10 on 11/1. It previously peaking on 9/21 at +9.80 after falling to it's lowest point in a year on 6/9 at +1.06. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator but suggest La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative every since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99). 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'). If anything it appears more likely we are still in the cool phase of the PDO.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


Powerlines Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131

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

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

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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