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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2022 1:40 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
2.5 - 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 12/19 thru Sun 12/25

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   

More Swell for HI
Moderate Swell Possible for CA - Jetstream to Build Solid Beyond


Tuesday, December 20, 2022 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 14.2 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 9.7 ft @ 15.2 secs from 312 degrees. Water temp 77.9 degs (Barbers Pt), 77.5 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.9 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 19.4 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 11.6 ft @ 14.8 secs from 329 degrees. Water temp 78.3 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.8 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 12.7 secs from 296 degrees. Wind northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 58.8 degs, 57.9 (Topanga 103), 58.1 degs (Long Beach 215), 59.5 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 57.9 (Del Mar 153), 59.7 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.1 secs from 234 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.1 secs from 229 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.4 secs from 196 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.6 secs from 208 degrees. Water temperate was 58.6 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 16.1 secs from 239 degrees. Wind north-northeast at 6 kts. Water temp 54.5 (Bodega Bay 46013), 52.9 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.5 (San Francisco 46026), 51.6 (SF Bar 142), 53.8 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and NA (Monterey Bay 46042).

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 (12/20) North and Central CA had sets at thigh to waist high and clean with good form but weak. Protected breaks were flat to thigh high and clean and very soft. At Santa Cruz surf was flat to thigh high and clean and soft. In Southern California/Ventura waves were flat and clean. Central Orange County had sets at thigh high and clean but soft and inconsistent. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had some thigh high sets and clean and lined up when they came. North San Diego had sets at thigh high and clean and lined up but soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 10-15 ft and warbled and chopped with onshore wind and a sloppy mess. The South Shore had some chest high sets and fully chopped and not rideable. The East Shore was getting the same northwest swell at head high with hard offshore winds and clean.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (12/20) Hawaii was getting solid but raw swell from a gale that developed over the Dateline falling southeast Sun-Tues (12/20) producing up to 32 ft seas and pushing directly over Hawaii bringing weather there. California was flat and clean with no meaningful swell hitting. A gale developed just off the Kuril Islands easing east filling the area to the dateline Sun-Tues (12/20) with up to 41 ft seas initially. Swell is tracking east. Secondary energy from the gale over Hawaii is to push northeast producing seas at 18-20 ft aimed east Tues-Wed (12/21) resulting in small swell for the US West Coast. And residual energy from the Kuril Gale is to weakly redevelop in the Central Gulf tracking northeast Fri- Sun (12/25) producing up to 33 ft seas aimed east. And a secondary fetch is to produce 45 ft seas tracking northeast through the Central Gulf Sat-Sun (12/25). And more potentially to follow.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (12/20) the jetstream was consolidated pushing firmly east off Japan at 170 kts reaching over the dateline then falling southeast into a nearly pinched trough with it's apex just east of the Hawaiian Islands offering good support for gale development. East of there the jet ridged north before turning east and pushing inland over the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hours the Hawaiian trough is to lift northeast and fade some but not gone while winds build to 210 kts just west of the dateline on Wed (12/21) carving out a new trough north of Hawaii by Thurs (12/22) pushing east on Fri (12/23) offering good support for gale development over the Gulf. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (12/24) yet more winds energy is to be building in the yet carving out another trough well north of Hawaii being fed by 180 kts winds lifting northeast into the Eastern Gulf on Mon (12/26) supporting gael formation. By Mon (12/26) the jet is to be consolidated with winds 180 kts running east from Japan to the Pacific Northwest on mostly the 35N latitude line and if anything building into Tues (12/27). A most impressive jet is forecast.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (12/20) raw swell was hitting Hawaii from a local gale that developed northwest of the Islands falling south (see Local Hawaiian Gale below). And swell was propagating east produced by a gael previously just east of the Kuril Islands (see Kuril Island Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours residual fetch from the Local Hawaiian Gale (see below) is to push east and northeast Tues PM (12/20) producing southwest winds at 30-35 kts and seas 19-20 ft at 25-35N 150W aimed east. On Wed AM (12/21) southwest winds to be 30-35 kts with seas 18-20 ft at 30-40N 144W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be lifting north at 30-35 kts well off California with seas 18 ft at 40N 140W aimed northeast. Sideband swell to radiate east.

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival later on Thurs (12/22) building to 2.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell continues on Fri (12/23) building to 4.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0-5.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (12/24) from 3.8 ft @ 11 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 280 degrees


A better gale is to develop in the Central Gulf on Fri AM (12/23) producing 45-50 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas building aimed east. In the evening the gale is to lift gently northeast with 45 kts west winds and seas 27 ft over a tiny area at 39N 153.25W aimed east. On Sat AM (12/24) fetch is to be tracking northeast at 50+ kts off South Oregon with seas 33 ft at 42.5N 148.5W aimed east. in the evening the gael is to be off Washington with 40 kts west winds and seas 33 ft at 45.25N 141.25W aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possible small sideband windswell for HI and more direct swell for the US West Coast.

Oahu: Rough data suggest sideband windswell arrival late on Fri (12/23) and buried in Kuril Islands swell (see Kuril Island Gale below).

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival early Mon AM (12/26)


Local Hawaiian Gale
A gale started developing 800 nmiles northwest of Hawaii on Sat AM (12/17) producing 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas building from 19 ft at 39N 170EW aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds started building to 40 kts over the dateline falling southeast with seas 26 ft at 37.5N 179.75W aimed southeast directly at Hawaii. On Sun AM (12/18) a broad fetch of northwest winds at 35-40 kts was east of the dateline falling southeast with seas 28 ft at 32.75N 174.5W aimed southeast. The gale is to continue falling southeast in the evening 7500 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 35-45 kt north winds almost reaching the Islands and seas 30 ft at 35N 165W aimed south. On Mon AM (12/19) 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be 700 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 30 kt northwest winds reaching Kauai and 32 ft seas at 31.5N 165W aimed southeast with 20 ft seas poised to impact Kauai. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts northwest of Hawaii and 25 kt northwest winds over the Islands and seas 28 ft at 26.5N 163W aimed southeast and 18-19 ft seas impacting Oahu and Kauai. On Tues AM (12/20) 25-30 kt northwest winds are to be over the Islands with 24 ft seas at 25N 160W aimed southeast and 20-22 ft seas impacting Kauai. In the evening the gale is to be dissipating just 200 nmiles north of Hawaii with 22 ft seas now just northeast of the Islands and fading.

Oahu: Swell is to be fading Wed AM (12/21) from 8.9 ft @ 13 secs (10 ft). West winds fading to 5 kts later in the day. Residuals on Thurs (12/22) fading from 4.4 ft @ 11 secs early (4.5 ft). Southwest wind 5-10 kts all day. Swell Direction: 315-320 degrees


Kuril Island Gale
A gale developed just off the Kuril Islands on Sun PM (12/18) producing west winds at 50 kts with seas 37 ft over a tiny area at 46N 156.5E aimed east. On Mon AM (12/19) the gale was easing east with 45 kt west winds and seas 40 ft at 48.5N 163.5E aimed east. In the evening northwest winds started building in coverage streaming off the Kuril's to almost the dateline at 30-35 kts with seas 31 ft at 46.5N 165.5E aimed east. On Tues AM (12/20) northwest winds were fading from 30+ kts streaming east off the Kuril's with seas 24 ft at 44N 171E aimed east. The gale is to fade from there. Possibly long distance swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Oahu: Swell arriving on Fri (12/23) building to 4.3 ft @ 15 secs later (6.5 ft). Swell peaking on Sat (12/24) at 7.1 ft @ 13 secs early (9.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (12/25) from 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0 ft) and being overrun by new more local swell. Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (12/24) building to 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft) and mostly buried in more locally generated swell and shadowed. Swell fading on Sun (12/25) from 2.4 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 306 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored at this time.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Wed AM (12/21) northeast winds are forecast at 5 kts for North CA early and north 10-15 kts from Monterey Bay southward. In the afternoon northwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA and northwest 10-15 kts for Central CA mainly south of Pigeon Point. Light scatted showers for North CA north of Bodega Bay fading through the day. A weather wall is to set up about 600 nmiles off the US West Coast, with stormy wet conditions west of that point and light winds and mostly dry air east of that point.
  • Thurs AM (12/22) northwest winds are forecast at 5 kts early for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA mainly south of Pigeon Point. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 5 kts for North CA and northwest 10-15 kts from Big Sur southward. No precip forecast.
  • Fri AM (12/23) south winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for North CA early but south 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and northwest 10-15 kts south of Monterey Bay. In the afternoon south winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 5 kts down to the Golden Gate and northwest 10 kts for Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino through the day building in the evening.
  • Sat AM (12/24) south winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for Cape Mendocino and south 5 kts down to the Golden Gate and northwest 10-15 kts for Pt Conception. No change in the afternoon. Light rain for Cape Mendocino building some through the day.
  • Sun AM (12/25) south winds are forecast at 5-10 kts for Cape Mendocino and north to northwest 5-10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon front is to be just off Cape Mendocino with south winds 10 kts there and north 5 kts south of there. Light rain clearing for Cape Mendocino through the day.
  • Mon AM (12/26) the front is to ease over Cape Mendocino with south winds 10-15 kts there and light northwest 5 kts from the Golden Gate southward. In the afternoon south winds to be 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino with the front dissolving there and northwest winds 10 kts from Monterey Bay southward. rain developing for Cape Mendocino in the afternoon into the evening.
  • Tues AM (12/27) a new low is to be building off the coast early with a front developing over North CA with south winds 15-20 kts over Cape Mendocino and south winds 10 kts down to the Golden Gate but calm south of there. In the afternoon south winds are to be pushing south at 20-25 kts down to Bodega Bay with south winds 10-15 kts down to the Golden Gate. Light winds south of there. Rain for Cape Mendocino early building south to the Golden Gate early afternoon.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 45, 40, 30, and 30 inches forecast with most on Tues (12/27) and some more on Thurs (12/29).

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is 7,000 ft today rising to 10,000 ft late on Wed (12/21) and building to 12,000 ft on Sun (12/25) then falling steadily beyond down to 5,500 ft by Thurs (12/29) and holding.

- - -

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

Snow Models: (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).


South Pacific

Surface Analysis
No swell producing fetch has occurred with no swell in the water or radiating towards the coast.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch 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 starting Fri PM (12/23) another gale is to develop just east of the dateline and well south with 40 kt west winds and seas building. On Sat AM (12/24) the gale is to be building while lifting east-northeast with 50 kt west winds positioned 900 nmiles north of Hawaii and seas 24 ft at 33N 170E aimed east. In the evening the gael is to be lifting northeast in the Central Gulf with 45-50 kt west winds and seas 32 ft at 35N 157W aimed east. On Sun AM (12/25) it is to reach strong status positioned off South Oregon with 55 kt west winds and seas 39 ft at 39.75W 148.75W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to be racing northeast off British Columbia with 45 kt west winds and seas 42 ft at 45.5N 141.5W aimed east. On Mon AM (12/26) the gael is to be impacting North BC no longer offering meaningful fetch. Something to monitor.

On Tues AM (12/27) another gale is to be developing just off North CA with 40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 42N 137W aimed east.

And multiple spurious pockets of 30+ kt west winds are to be strung from just off Japan to off the the OR-CA border.


South Pacific

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


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Cool Pool Under Pressure
Steady West Wind Anomaly Pattern Getting Established Over the West KWGA
Cool subsurface water volume peaked under the equatorial Pacific on 10/15/21, faded in May and June 2022, but rebuilt in late July and hold till mid-Nov, then started to retreat east. La Nina conditions are in control at the oceans surface but appear to be weakening while the foundations of it subsurface collapse. And atmospherically anomalous Westerly Winds are getting steadily more established over the KWGA and are forecast to continue for the foreseeable future, with a total collapse of La Nina near Christmas and water temps steadily rising beyond. The last link in the chain is to see SSTs actually rising and the SOI falling (but that has not happened yet).The outlook is turning optimistic.

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. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed through the Winter of 2022 and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

Fall/Winter 2022 = 4.0 (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 made a strong return by the end of Sept much like what the CFS model suggested would happen and a full double dip pattern took hold through the Winter of 21/22. But a quick fade is forecast as we move into late December 2022 with the CFS predicting a return to a neutral wind anomaly pattern and the low pressure bias making headway in to the KWGA in early Jan. 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 2022. But by later in Jan or early Feb 2023 a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct 22-Jan 23, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by Feb 2023, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The net result is we're currently thinking a near normal number of swells with normal size and duration is to result, but all focused sometime after Jan 2023. The swell pattern will be below normal before Jan and above normal after Jan 23 with the average of the two being 'normal'. Of course this is all highly speculative at this early date.

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 (12/19) 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 light east over the East equatorial Pacific and modest east over the Central Pacific and light 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).
1-2 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (12/20) Strong east anomalies were building over the dateline today with modest west anomalies filling the West KWGA to 150E. The 7 day forecast calls for modest west anomalies building east filling half the KWGA on 12/21-12/22 then backtracking and nearly gone at the end of the model run on 12/27 with strong east anomalies building on the dateline and filling the KWGA and holding from 12/24 through the end of the model run. The 2 week GFS model is offline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/19) A neutral MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates no real change over the next 2 weeks with maybe only a weak indication of the Inactive Phase of the MJO mostly east of the dateline on Day 5-15. The dynamic model suggest some flavor of the same thing but with the Inactive Phase a bit stronger centered more over the dateline but with the Active Phase slowly pushing east over the KWGA on days 10-15 of the model run with the Inactive Phase gone by day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (12/20) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was very weak over the Indian Ocean moving to the Maritime Continent over the next 2 weeks and very weak. The dynamic model suggest the same thing but with the Active signal stronger at weak to modest status 7 days out then collapsing over the West Pacific 15 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/16) No Update - A weak Active MJO (wet air) was over the KWGA today.The forecast has it moving east and into Ecuador on 1/15. A weak Inactive MJO (dry air) is forecast developing over the KWGA on 1/5 tracking east and filling the equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 1/25.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/19)
no MJO signal was indicated today with west anomalies filling the KWGA from 150E and points west of there and strong east anomalies on the dateline filling the area east of 150E. East anomalies are to build to strong status on the dateline 12/22-12/25 then fading but still at moderate strength. The Active Phase of the MJO is to develop and push east into the West KWGA starting 12/27 making it to 140E and holding through 1/14 before fading. Moderate west anomalies are to hold filling the Western KWGA from 150E and points west of there from today forward. This is a positive change.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(12/20) - using the 5th ensemble member - the mean of the 4 individual members which are all from the 00Z run - 1 run per day):
Today a weak Inactive MJO was fading over the KWGA with west anomalies in control of the western half of the KWGA (from 150E west) and east anomalies over the eastern half. The Inactive MJO is to fade by 12/17 with the Active Phase of the MJO building east over the KWGA from 12/27 through 2/3. West anomalies are to hold solid at moderate strength over the western KWGA (from 150E and points west of there) with east anomalies holding over the eastern Half but slowly weakening through 1/21, then gone. A weak Inactive MJO is forecast moving over the KWGA 2/2 through the end of the model run on 3/19 but with neutral anomalies holding in control of the KWGA through the end of the model run. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines centered at 180W with its western perimeter at 150E today. The second contour is to collapse on 1/30 with the primary contour collapsing or east of the KWGA by 2/22. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 90E with it's leading edge at 125E today and is be slowly pushing east then forecast to push hard east starting 2/24 and nearly on the dateline at the end of the model run. This is all a big deal and is being repeated in some form consistently from one run of the model to the next but not a quickly as previously forecast. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is starting to fade with no return in sight, indicating the demise of La Nina is underway. but it's a slow transition.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/20) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was present barely at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line was stable at 180W. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 152W. The 24 deg isotherm backtracked from 118W to 128W and was at 132W today. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +4 deg C were in a broad pocket over the West, Central and now the East Pacific down 150m with it's leading edge easing east to 112W. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/14 indicates a Kelvin Wave pushing east to 120W and far warmer. A cool pocket was centered at 90W near the surface with residual weakly cool waters filling the area above the Kelvin Wave over the entire equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/14) Sea heights were negative but rising over the East Equatorial Pacific. A broad pocket of positive anomalies were over the equator in the far West Pacific reaching east to 130W. A pocket of negative anomalies were covering from Ecuador to 130W. A weak core of -10 cm anomalies were fading east of 110W. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies were in quick retreat positioned in the Central Equatorial Pacific between 130W to Ecuador. It appears the stubborn cool pool is quickly collapsing while a large warm pool builds in the West.

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: (12/19) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool water extending west from Ecuador to the dateline with far weaker but still cool waters filling the area well south of the equator in a line east to west down at 20S. The coldest stream was embedded in it running from Ecuador to 145W on the equator but far weaker than days past and not even along the direct coast anymore. And the broad area of cool water south of that stream previously reaching south to 25S was losing intensity steadily and now only fully positioned north of 20S ad barely that. And warmer than normal temps were present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Overall this indicates the late stages of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/19): A stream of weakly warming water extended west from Ecuador to 140W. A broad and solid are of warming water was locked along the coasts of Peru and Chile extending west to 100W. The balance was towards warming.
Hi-res Overview: (12/19) Persistent cool waters cover a large area from Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from South America down at 20S with the coolest waters between 85W to 125W directly over the equator. But the intensity and density of those cold waters are in steep decline over it's entire area. Warmer than normal waters were along the coasts of Chile and Peru and nearly Ecuador. La Nina remains in control over the East Equatorial Pacific for the moment but the density and intensity of the cooling appears to be fading and warming water seems to be building.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/20) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were falling some at -1.027 after rising to -0.750 on 12/18, and that after rising from -1.267 in early Dec and then modestly in the -1.5 degs range late Oct and all Nov. Previously temps were in the -1.0 range since 7/29. Temps were down on 7/20 to -1.6 degs. Previously temps were stable near -1.4 degrees 6/12 through 7/27. Peaks in that time frame were -1.189 (7/7), -1.534 (7/5). Previously temps were at -1.822 on 6/9 after being up to -1.506 (5/21) and that after hovering around -2.0 degs since 4/21/22. Prior to that temps were fading after peaking at +0.760 on 3/18. Temps had been moving upwards since 2/20, and beat a previous high of -0.650 degs on 1/9 and that after being down at -1.871 on 1/3/22 and -1.954 on 12/18/21, the lowest this year so far. Previously temps dropped on 11/24/21 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. That 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:
(12/20) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -1.171 after falling to -1.255 on 12/6 but otherwise have been holding around -1.0 degree since 11/3 and up to -0.900 on 10/18 beating a previous peak of -0.819 on 9/22. In general temps have been in the -1.0 range since 8/16. Temps had fallen since 7/15 reaching La Nina threshold on 7/27 after being more or less steady the previous 3 weeks peaking at -0.25 on 7/14 and -0.275 on 7/5. Previously temps had been on an upward trend since 5/15/22 rising to -0.414 degs (6/19) and -0.493 on 6/9, the first reading above La Nina threshold values since Sept 2021. Temps were down to -0.929 (5/2/22) and that after rising to a peak at -0.704 on 3/27 and had been on a gentle rising trend since falling to -1.012 on 3/8. Previously temps were rising slightly to -0.505 on 2/2 and that after reaching a peak low of -1.096 on 1/3/22 beating the previous low of -1.080 on 11/2/21, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept/21. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1/21 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March 2021. 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 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov.
Forecast (12/20) - Temps are to start a steady rise today hitting -0.85 degs mid January and reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in early Feb and up to +0.95 degs in August and in El Nino territory. This model suggests we are going to steadily transition towards ENSO neutral in Jan. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temps have bottomed out and are to start pushing up to -0.80 degs mid- Jan rising above La Nina threshold the last week of Jan and rising from there forward to +0.75 degs in July and holding in August. All this is a significant upgrade. According to this version of the model we will hold in weak La Nina conditions through Fall before starting a trend towards neutrality in Dec with momentum towards El Nino in Spring. The surface temp coverage model suggests a temps holding steady through Nov. then a steady erosion of the coldest waters south of Nino3.4 (down at 20S) is to begin. By Dec a clear discharge of La Nina is to begin with near neutral temps prevailing over the entire equatorial Pacific and turning fully neutral in Feb and beyond. The greater equatorial Pacific cool signature looks to hold through mid-Oct then quickly dissolving beyond.
IRI Consensus Plume: The December 19, 2022 Plume depicts temps are -0.661 degs today. Temps to rise steadily from here forward to -0.415 degs in Jan and above the La Nina Threshold and -0.170 in Feb rising to +0.604 in July and +0.648 in Aug. This is an upgrade from the previous run.This model suggests a continuation of minimal La Nina temps through early Dec then transitioning to ENSO neutral. This model is in line with the CFS model.
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 - all but the Daily Index was a lagging indicator):
Today (12/20) the Daily Index was steady at +20.19 today and has been in the +20 range the last 4 days, neutral 5 days before that, but above +10 the previous 13 days and then generally below +10.0 before that (from 11/5-11/27). It was negative for 5 days dropping to -31.05 on 11/7. This was the first negative run in months and suggests that the westerly anomaly wind activity in the West Pacific might be having an impact on the SOI. Previous peaks were +37.19 (10/5), +33.57 (5/24), +40.77 (5/10), +31.44 (4/27), +31.80 (4/6), +27.33 (1/31) and +46.71 (12/26). The trend has been solidly positive. Previous other notable peaks were +30.98 (11/26/21), +36.90 (9/28), +27.75 ( 9/13) and +37.86 (7/15).
The 30 day average was rising at +11.13 after falling to +4.18 on 11/27 and peaking at +21.57 (10/16) after supposedly peaking at +19.66 on 9/28. It was down to +6.89 on 7/29. It peaked at +20.34 (5/12) the highest in a year and beating last years high of +19.51 (1/14).
The 90 day average was stable at +12.89 previously peaking at +15.61 on 10/25 and previously peaking at +12.92 on 8/11 and that after peaking at +18.40 (7/2) beating it's previous peak of +16.86 (5/31), the highest in a year. It previously peaked at +9.80 (9/21) after falling to it's lowest point in a year at +1.06 (6/9). The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 (2/23/21 - 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 ever 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) and then fell to -3.16 in Oct 2021 (the lowest since July 1933) then settled at -2.72 in Nov and Dec 2021. Looking at the long term record, it seems likely we are still in the Cool Phase of the PDO (La Nina 'like') with no signs of moving to the positive/warm phase (El Nino 'like').

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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