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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2021 2:54 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
3.9 - California & 2.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

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

Issued for Week of Monday 12/13 thru Sun 12/19

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   

Raw Gulf Swell Hitting CA
Small Japan Swell Pushing East


On Tuesday, December 14, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 9.0 secs from 194 degrees. Water temp 77.0 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 77.4 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 5.1 ft @ 8.5 secs from 29 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 067 (San Nicholas): Seas were 12.8 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 7.4 ft @ 16.1 secs from 309 degrees. Water temperature 60.3 degs, 59.2 (Topanga 103), 59.5 degs (Long Beach 215), 60.3 (Del Mar 153), 60.4 (Imperial Beach 155). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 12.3 ft @ 15.8 secs from 307 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 7.2 ft @ 6.8 secs from 210 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 7.4 ft @ 6.2 secs from 191 degrees. Southward at Torrey Pines (Outer) (100) swell was 7.2 ft @ 6.2 secs from 202 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 16.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 11.1 ft @ 15.6 secs from 318 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was north at 12-18 kts. Water temp 54.3 (Pt Reyes 029), 53.8 (46026), 53.2 degs (SF Bar 142), and 53.8 (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).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (12/12) North and Central CA had set waves at 12-15 ft with northwest wind putting a pretty good bump on it. Protected breaks were 8-10 ft and bumpy with long lines and totally closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high and warbled and mushed but almost clean but ill formed. In Southern California/Ventura waves were head high and bumpy and lumpy from northwest winds and not rideable with rain. Central Orange County was getting pure south windswell at waist to chest high and trashed from south wind. had sets at waist high pushing chest high rarely and lined up and clean. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at 2 ft overhead and a full whitecapped mess from south wind. North San Diego had sets at 2 ft overhead and blown out from south wind and rain. Hawaii's North Shore was getting sideband swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and peeling but a little raw early. The South Shore was flat to knee high and clean. The East Shore was getting northeasterly windswell and swell with sets head high and chopped from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (12/14) North and Central California were getting raw swell from gale that developed over the Northern Gulf on Fri (12/11) falling southeast producing up to 30 ft seas then moved off California through Tues (12/14) with seas in the 26-28 ft range. A bit of a gale developed off North Japan Tues-Wed (12/15) producing 29 ft seas aimed east but fading before reaching the dateline. Small swell is radiating towards Hawaii. IA small local gale is forecast developing off the Pacific Northwest Wed (12/15) producing 26 ft seas aimed southeast at North and Central CA. And another is forecast off California Sun-Wed (12/22) producing 18-20 ft seas. Alot of mostly junky surf looking forward focused on the US West Coast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (12/14) the jet was pushing east off Japan consolidated with winds 150 kts then splitting hard on the dateline with the northern branch ridging hard north pushing into the Bering Sea over the dateline only to fall southeast over the Eastern Aleutians with winds 90 kts trying to form a weak trough over the Northern Gulf then falling into a stronger trough that was pushing inland over North and Central CA being fed by 130 kt winds offering weather there. There was no clear support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours starting Wed (12/15) the jet is to continue much the same as before but with the ridge on the dateline moderating and the flow generally tracking northeast and staying south of the Aleutians with most energy over the West Pacific. A small trough is to develop on Wed (12/15) just off the Pacific Northwest falling southeast being fed by 130 kts winds offering some support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (12/17) winds to build to 170 kts over Japan racing eat then splitting solidly at 160E (half way to the dateline) with the northern branch again racing north into the Bering Sea then falling hard south on Sun (12/19) carving out a building trough in the Northeastern Gulf with the apex of that trough positioned 600 nmiles off North CA on Mon (12/20) offering good support for gale development and holding stationary into Tues (12/21). It looks like another Atmospheric River (AR) scenario is possible for California.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (12/14) swell from a gale previously in the Northern Gulf was hitting the US West Coast (See Northeast Gulf Gale below). Also small swell from a gale off Japan was radiating east towards the Islands (See Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours starting Tues AM (12/14) a small fetch of northwest winds at 30-35 kts is to start building associated with a building small gale in the Northwestern Gulf falling southeast with seas building. In the evening 35-40+ kt northwest winds are to off Vancouver Island with seas building from 20 ft at 48N 143W aimed southeast. On Wed AM (12/15) 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be just off the Pacific Northwest with 26 ft seas at 47N 135W aimed southeast and barely in the NCal swell window (316 degs). In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30 kts with the gale just off South Oregon and seas 22 ft fading at 43N 132W aimed southeast. Possible modest and raw swell pushing into North CA on Thurs (12/16).

North CA: Rough data for planning purposes indicates swell arrival on Thurs (12/16) later building to 8.4 ft @ 13 secs (10.5 ft). Swell fading on Fri (12/17) from 6.2 ft @ 12-13 secs early (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 317 degrees


Northeast Gulf Gale
A gale developed 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 were streaming southeast from the Eastern Aleutians with seas building from 25 ft over a solid area at 48.5N 159.5W aimed southeast. On Sat AM (12/11) 40-45 kt northwest winds were streaming southeast over a building fetch with a broad area of 27-28 ft seas building at 49N 151.5W aimed southeast. The gale held in the afternoon with 35-45 kt northwest winds and 30 ft seas at 51N 145.5W aimed southeast. Fetch held unchanged Sun AM (12/12) with 40+ kt northwest winds in the North and Central Gulf with 29 ft seas falling southeast at 48.5N 148.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be holding in the evening at 35 kts solid from the north-northwest with seas 28 ft at 46N 145W 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 Monterey Bay with 27 ft seas at 40N 142W aimed southeast. In the evening 30 kts northwest winds are to be fading off the North and Central CA coast with 24 ft seas over a broad area roughly near 36.5N 138.5W aimed southeast. Fetch is to be gone on Tues AM (12/14) with seas from previous fetch 20 ft at 33N 133W aimed southeast or a bit off Point Conception. Something to monitor.

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

North CA: Swell to build some on Tues (12/14) pushing 9.7 ft @ 15 secs early (14.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (12/15) from 8.4 ft @ 13 secs early (11.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs (12/16) fading from 8.1 ft @ 11-12 secs (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees moving to 280 degrees

Southern CA: Swell building Tues (12/14) to 4.3 ft @ 15 secs (6.5 ft) later at exposed breaks Swell fading some on Wed (12/15) from 3.8 ft @ 14-15 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (12/16) from 2.1 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 305 moving to 296 degrees


Japan Gale
A gale developed off Japan on Mon AM (12/13) producing west winds at 40+ kts starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 25 ft at 40N 151E aimed east. In the evening 40-45 kt west winds were tracking off the coast with seas 29-30 ft at 42N 159E aimed east. On Tues AM (12/14) 35 kt west winds were positioned half way to the dateline lifting north generating 26 ft seas at 41.5N 166.5E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts from the west still lifting north off Kamchatka and making no east headway with 26 ft seas fading at 48.5N 168.5E aimed east. Fetch fading out on Wed AM (12/15) with 24 ft seas fading just south of the Western Aleutians at 50N 172E aimed east. The gale is to be gone after that. Perhaps some swell for Hawaii and inconsistent energy radiating into California with luck.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival near sunset on Fri (12/17) building to 2.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell building on Sat (12/18) to 3.8 ft @ 14-15 secs mid-day (5.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (12/19) from 2.8 ft @ 13 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (12/19) building to 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.0 ft) a very inconsistent. Swell holding on Mon (12/20) at 2.8 ft @ 14.15 secs (4.0 ft) with local windswell intermixed. Swell Direction: 296 degrees.


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed (12/15) a new local low is forecast off North CA with a front from it pushing into Cape Mendocino early with south winds 30-35 kts and lighter south winds at 15 kts from Pt Reyes northward and building southward. Light northwest winds 10 kts for Central CA are forecast and northwest winds 20 kts for all of Southern CA early. In the evening the front is to be over San Francisco with southwest winds 20-25 kts there and southwest winds extending north at 15-20 kts into Cape Mendocino. A light northwest flow at 5 kts is forecast for Morro Bay southward and into Southern CA. Light rain from a front for Cape Mendocino early pushing south to Monterey Bay late afternoon. Snow developing for Tahoe late afternoon pushing south to Yosemite in the evening.
  • Thurs (12/16) the low is to be evaporating over North CA early with light northwest winds 10 kts for all of North CA and southwest winds 15 kts from Monterey Bay south to Morro Bay. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA and 15+ kts for Central CA. Rain for all of North CA down to Morro Bay early reaching Santa Barbara County later and stalling and evaporating there. Snow for the whole Sierra till mid-afternoon then fading out.
  • Fri (12/17) weak high pressure tries to develop with north winds 5-10 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA early. In the afternoon more of the same but winds north winds 10 kts for Central CA. No precip forecast.
  • Sat (12/18) north winds are forecast at 5-10 kts early for all of North and Central CA. in the afternoon a front followed by north winds at 20-25 kts is to move over Cape Mendocino. A light wind regime is to hold from Bodega Bay southward. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon pushing south to Pt Reyes overnight.
  • Sun (12/19) remnants of a weak front are to be sagging south over Pt Arena with north winds 10-15 kts for Cape Mendocino and 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception. In the afternoon light winds from the northwest at 5 kts are forecast for all of North and Central CA. Rain in the vicinity of Cape Mendocino through the day.
  • Mon (12/20) south winds and a front set up over North CA at 20 kts early with south winds 10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon a broad low start building off North and Central CA with south winds 15 kts in Santa Barbara County building to 20 kts for Central CA and 15 kts for North CA. Rain trying to build along the North CA coast early and lighter for Central CA early. Snow building for the Sierra. Rain solid for all of North and Central CA in the afternoon with snow continuing for the Sierra.
  • Tues (12/21) south winds are to be 35-40 kts for all of Central CA and North CA up to Pt Arena and southeast 20 kts for Cape Mendocino. South winds 15 kts for Los Angles northward. In the afternoon south winds to be 20-30 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA. South winds 20 kts for all of Southern CA too. Rain for all of North and Central CA early down into Southern CA building over the entire CA coast later. Snow stopping in the Am then building in strong for the afternoon and beyond.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 114, 126, 122, and 69 inches with some (2 ft) 12/15-12/16 and then steadily accumulating from there 12/20-12/24.

Freezing level 4,000-500 ft through 12/16 building to 9,000 ft 12/17-12/18, only to fall back to 5,000-6.000 ft through 12/21 then down to 4.000 ft beyond and steady. Winter has begun.


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


South Pacific

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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing off Washington on Sun AM (12/19) producing 30+ kt northwest winds and seas building from 20 ft at 46N 137W aimed southeast. Fetch to build some at 30 kts in the evening with 18 ft seas at 42N 138W aimed south. On Mon AM (12/20) north winds are to be building off the CA coast at 30 kts with seas 19 ft at 37N 140W aimed south. A more cohesive closed isobar low is to build off CA in the evening. On Tues AM (12/21) 35 kt south winds are to be impacting Central CA with local 18 ft seas along the coast. In the evening a new gale is to build just off Cape Mendocino with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 18 ft at 38N 125W aimed southeast. Something to monitor.


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.

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 (12/13) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light east over the East equatorial Pacific and moderate east over the Central Pacific and modest 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 (12/14) west anomalies were strong over the West KWGA to 150E but moderate easterly over the East KWGA reaching east to a point south of California. The forecast calls for moderate west anomalies slowly fading and gone by 12/17 with east anomalies trying to build in, but west anomalies supposedly building over the entire KWGA the last day of the model run on 12/19. East anomalies are to start weakening solidly over the Central Pacific on that last day too. 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: (12/13) A moderate Active MJO signal was indicated filling the KWGA today. The statistical model suggests the Active Phase is hold strength if not build steadily while moving very slowly east through day 15 of the model run and still over the dateline but starting to move more over the Central Pacific. The dynamic model projects the same as the statistical model but not quite as strong.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/14) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the West Pacific and is forecast tracking to the East 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 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): (12/13) A moderate Active MJO signal (wet air) was over the West Pacific/KWGA today. The forecast indicates it is to track east pushing to the Central Pacific on 12/21 and into Central America 1/12. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start developing over the West Pacific on 1/2 and very weak moving to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 1/22. A new Active Phase (wet air) is forecast starting to build over the far West Pacific on 1/17 moving east from there.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/13) This model depicts the Active Phase was solid over the Central KWGA today filling 875% of it with moderate to strong west anomalies. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal tracking through the KWGA and exiting east of it on on 1/5 positioned just west of the dateline. West anomalies at moderate to strong status are forecast filling the west KWGA through 12/15 then moderating through 12/18 then rebuilding over the dateline and pushing east through early Jan. East anomalies are to redevelop in the West KWGA on 12/25 with the Inactive Phase developing on 12/30 pushing east and building in coverage but not strength filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/10.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/14 - 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 1/5 with west anomalies filling the KWGA during that window other than a break 12/15-12/19. The Inactive Phase is to follow 12/21-2/16 but not particularly strong with modest east anomalies building over the KWGA peaking on the dateline on 2/8. A moderate Active Phase is to develop on 1/16 pushing east through the KWGA through 3/10 with solid west anomalies during that window. An Inactive Phase is to follow starting 3/1 through the end of the model run on 3/13. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines was centered over the dateline and is to hold till 1/9, then easing east. 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 1/15 filling 50% of the KWGA and building further east 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. That said, there is only one more Active MJO forecast for this winter, in the late-Jan to early March timeframe.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/14) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was back at 161E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 178E. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 125W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +2 deg C were steady at about 160W. All sensors are down at 140W. Cool anomalies were fading from -1 to -2 degs C down 150 meters at 150W and tracking east while rising to the surface near 95W. 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 12/9 indicates no warm water east of 170W at depth with a bubble of cold water at -3C 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: (12/9) Sea heights were negative over the East equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to 180W at -5 to -10 cms with only a small pocket of -15 cms anomalies at 95W and 145W. No -20 or -25 cms anomalies exist. -10 cms anomalies cover a broad area between 85W to 155W. 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 12/9 that coverage is collapsing centered at 100W with the coolest anomalies (-2.5 degs) gone and -1.5 deg anomalies shrinking fast from the west and east bordered between 109W and 90W. 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: (12/13) 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 (12/13): Temps were weakly warming along Chile and Peru and warming in pockets strung between the Galapagos to 150W. A few small pockets of cooling were interspersed. 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: (12/13) 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: (12/14) Today's temps were at a new low falling to -1.761 after rising to -1.432 on 11/29 and that after dropping 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:
(12/14) Today temps were falling some at -0.912 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.

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/14) - 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 the same with temps falling to -1.40 degs in mid-Jan 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):
Today (12/14) the daily index was positive at +16.40. 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 rising at +11.77 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 some at +9.99 today after peaking at 10.22 on 12/10, 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
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing:

Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel

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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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