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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2018 1:17 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
3.1 - California & 3.5 - 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 12/24 thru Sun 12/30

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 Storm Developing in WPac
Large & Broad Storm Pattern Suggested for WPac

Happy New Year!
Thanks to everyone for using and supporting Stormsurf over the past year. Please have a safe and happy holiday. Forecast will be updated sporadically through New Years as we take a little time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. We hope you have the opportunity to do the same.

On Thursday, December 27, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai): At Barbers Point (238) seas were 4.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 12.6 secs from 305 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.9 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.9 ft @ 13.3 secs from 329 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 7.8 secs from 247 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 61.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.4 ft @ 9.7 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.4 ft @ 7.8 secs from 270 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.3 ft @ 9.1 secs from 271 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 4.1 ft @ 9.3 secs from 279 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 7.5 ft @ 7.9 secs from 323 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 27-33 kts. Water temp 58.3 degs (042).

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

Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

Current Conditions
On Thursday (12/27) in North and Central CA surf was chest to shoulder high and mushed and gutless and nearly chopped. Pure windswell. Protected breaks were chest high and pretty jumbled and soft and nearly chopped and not good. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high and clean and weak and soft. In Southern California/Ventura surf was waist to chest high and weak and not real well organized and lumpy and warbled. In North Orange Co surf was waist high and chopped and weak. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were waist high and soft and a bit warbled but almost clean. In North San Diego surf was waist high and clean and lined up with light offshore winds. Hawaii's North Shore at top breaks were 2 ft overhead on the sets and lined up and beautifully clean and looking quite rideable. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves chest high and clean with no trades blowing.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (12/27) swell was hitting Hawaii and pushing towards California from a gale that developing just west of the dateline on Sun (12/23) with 26 ft seas aimed southeast, then faded but redeveloped further north on Tues (12/25) tracking east through the Northwestern Gulf with seas to 27 ft. And a stronger storm developed right behind mid-way between Japan and the dateline tracking east to the dateline Mon-Wed (12/26) with up to 45 ft seas aimed east, dissipating before reaching the Western Gulf. A bit of a break is forecast but then on Sat (12/29) a large but ill formed gale is to start developing in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean producing a broad but unfocused area of 28 ft seas targeting Hawaii well. Nothing else to follow though the Active Phase of the MJO is looking to have a significant positive impact on storm production as we move into the New Year.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (12/27) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan down on the 36N latitude line with winds to 190 kts reaching just a bit off the coast then weakening pushing to the dateline and forming a weak trough there offering weak support for gale development, then splitting with the northern branch tracking northeast impacting the Central Canadian Coast then pushing southeast down the coast into Southern CA while the southern branch tracked east and into Southern Baja. In all no real support for gale development was indicated. Over the next 72 hours wind energy is to slowly but steadily building in the jet to 210 kts pushing from Japan to the dateline and splitting into the Western Gulf on Sun (12/30) forming a broad but not deep trough north of it filling the Northwestern Pacific offering weak support for gale development. East of there the jet is to be split starting at 160W with the northern branch tracking northeast and pushing into North Canada. Beyond 72 hours starting Tues (1/1) the jet is to be at 170-180 kts running flat east from Japan to the Western Gulf splitting at 150W with weaker energy pushing northeast into British Columbia, and then falling south over the Gulf by Thurs (1/3) taking direct aim on Central CA with the split point just off the coast there and winds 170 kts the whole way from Japan to CA. No clear troughs were indicated offering no large scale support for gale development.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (12/27) swell from a gale that developed near the dateline was fading in Hawaii and moving towards the US West Coast (see Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours swell from a storm that tracked over the Dateline and into the Western Gulf was pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast (see West Pacific Storm below).


Dateline Gale
On Sat PM (12/22) and ill formed gale started developing just west of the dateline producing 35-40 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii decently with seas building from 25 ft at 40N 165E. On Sun AM (12/23) northwest winds to move over the dateline fading to 35 kts with seas fading from 24 ft at 37N 172E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the fetch lifted north and reorganize with west winds 30-35 kts over a modest area on the dateline with seas from the original fetch fading from 20 ft at 35N 177W aimed southeast mainly at Hawaii. On Mon AM (12/24) 35-40 kt west winds continue just east of the dateline with 24 ft seas at 43N 177W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the gale pushed east with winds 35 kts from the west and seas 27 ft at 43N 170W aimed east. On Tues AM (12/25) winds to hold at 35 kts from the west lifting northeast with seas 27 ft at 45N 162W. West winds were fading in the evening with fetch racing east at 30 kts targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest with seas fading from 21 ft at 47N 155W. The gale dissipated there. Possible swell to result pushing east.

Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs (12/27) from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell DIrection: 312 moving to 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival are on Fri (12/28) building to 4.5 ft @ 15 secs (6.5 ft) mid-AM but buried in local windswell. Swell fading on Sat (12/29) from 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.5 ft) with much local windswell intermixed. Swell Direction: 296 degrees


West Pacific Storm
Starting Mon AM (12/24) a new storm is to be building mid-way between Japan and the dateline with 55 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas building fast. In the evening the storm is to lifting east-northeast still with 55-60 kt west winds and seas building to 41 ft over a tiny area at 42N 166.5E aimed east. On Tues AM (12/25) northwest winds were 50 kts targeting Hawaii well with seas building to 45 ft at 43N 172E. In the evening the storm was fading to gale status with northwest winds 45 kts nearly on the dateline with seas 42 ft at 42.5N 178.5E. The gale is to be fading fast on Wed AM (12/26) on the dateline with northwest winds 35-40 kts and seas 35 ft at 42N 179.5W aimed east targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast well. In the evening the gale was fading with west winds 30 kts and seas 27 ft at 42N 173W. Swell has been generated.

Hawaii: Expect swell starting to show at sunset on Thurs (12/27) building to 4.2 ft @ 20 secs late (8.0 ft). Swell continues building overnight peaking Fri AM (12/28) at 7.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (12 ft) holding decently through the day. Swell fading Sat (12/29) from 5.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (8.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (12/30) fading from 4.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft) early. Swell Direction: 316 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (12/29) building slowly through the day to 4.2 ft @ 18 secs late (7.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (12/30) at 4.5 ft @ 16 secs (7.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (12/31) fading from 3.6 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (12/27) high pressure was locked 600 nmiles off the North Coast at 1032 mbs generating north winds at 20-25 kts over the entire North and Central Coast producing raw local north windswell. On Fri (12/27) north winds are to be 20+ kts early fading to 10-15 kts later and perhaps a tendency towards the northeast later with the high starting to ridge into Oregon later. On Sat (12/29) high pressure is to be fading while riding inland over Oregon with winds from the north-northeast at 10 kts. Sun (12/30) high pressure retreats back into the ocean with north winds 15 kts early building to 20-25 kts later over all of North and Central CA. Monday (12/31) north winds to continue at 25 kts mainly over North CA with north winds 10 kts or so starting just south of Pt Arena continuing over all of Central CA. Tuesday (1/1) the high weakens and starting ridging into Oregon again with light winds along the CA coast. More of the same is forecast Wed and Thurs (1/3) with a local storm lifting northeast a bit west of the California coast. High pressure reigns supreme for CA for a bit longer.

Total snow accumulation for for the week for North Lake Tahoe: 0 inches and 0 inches for Mammoth. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO is moving south of California.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water.

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a broad area of low pressure is to be building over and just east of Japan on Fri PM (12/28) with west winds 30-35 kts in pockets pushing well off Japan with seas 24-30 ft over a large area from Japan to the dateline aimed east with the leading edge 38N 172E. Fetch is to hold into Sat AM (12/29) with 35-40 kt west winds off Japan and seas 28 ft at 37N 160E. More of the same is expected in the evening with 29 ft seas at 36N 168E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading Sun AM (12/30) with 35 kt northwest winds mid-way between Japan and the Dateline with 27 ft seas at 35N 172E aimed southeast. On Mon AM (12/31) northwest winds to be fading from 35 kts over a modest area with 30 ft seas at 35N 169E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening west winds to be fading from 30 kts with seas fading from 27 ft at 33N 176E aimed east. Possible moderate swell to result for Hawaii eventually reaching the US West Coast but smaller and less consistent.

After that nothing else is forecast even though the jet is to be raging. Strange.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Falling Hard on Equator and Off Peru

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough yet to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.0 (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: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino does not develop as strong as previously forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes weakly established in the January timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +0.6 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 winter seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (12/23) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then pushing moderately from the east over the whole of the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific turning moderately easterly near the dateline and continuing into the core of the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (12/27) strong west anomalies were building in the Western KWGA pushing east to the dateline but weaker. The forecast is for west anomalies holding if not building in coverage filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/3 and pretty strong other than east anomalies limited to the immediate dateline region 12/29-1/1. Support for storm development appears to be building but limited to the West Pacific for the next week with the Active Phase developing there.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/26) The Inactive Phase of the MJO was just east of the dateline with a strong Active Phase over the Maritime Continent and pushing into the West Pacific. The statistical model indicates the Inactive Phase is to ease east and out of the dateline region at day 5 and then gone after that with the Active Phase moving fully into the KWGA at day 5 holding into day 15 when it becomes centered on the dateline. The dynamic model indicates the same thing. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/27) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was strong over the Eastern Maritime Continent. It is to track east steadily losing strength reaching the Central Pacific 2 weeks out and very weak. The GEFS model depicts the MJO building to very strong status in the West Pacific at 10 days out then weakening some but still very strong. There is an interesting divergence between the 2 models here.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/27) This model depicts a solid Active Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific today moving east and reaching Central America on 1/6. An equally solid Inactive signal is to set up over the far West Pacific 1/13 tracking east and is to move over the East Pacific and into Central America on 1/31. Another solid Active Phase of the MJO is to build in the West Pacific 1/31 tracking east to the dateline at the end of the model run on 2/5/19.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/26) This model depicts west anomalies were strong over the western KWGA with weak east anomalies on the dateline and those east anomalies are to fade 3 days out. At the same time the strong west anomalies are to push east associated with the Active Phase of the MJO building there reaching a point just west of the dateline 1/2 and holding through through 1/11, then fading but still moderate in the heart of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 1/23.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/27) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO building in the far West Pacific with modest west anomalies just about filling the KWGA. A strong Active MJO pattern is to build east over the KWGA today through 1/15 with west anomalies filling the KWGA, possibly to WWB status 1/3-1/10. A weak Inactive Phase to follow starting 1/15 holding and very weak through the end of the model run 3/26. But modest west anomalies are to continue through the end of the model run. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east over California and forecast holding through the end of the model run. A third contour line faded 12/17 and to remain suppressed now through 2/3, then reappearing thereafter. It appears from this model that El Nino is in control, but we know from other data this is not the case. The atmosphere and ocean are trying to become coupled towards El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, but there's no objective evidence of it occurring yet. If coupling did not happen by Dec 15, it's doubtful it will. And this model is not suggesting they will become coupled, with the MJO cycle becoming stronger, and not muted as it would be during a decent El Nino. Still this pattern is to slowly become more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, because the atmosphere is still turning from a La Nina pattern (that has been entrenched for the past 2 years) at a minimum towards a neutral one. Our assumption is a normal Winter pattern will result, or perhaps slightly enhanced, but nothing more.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/24) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs and steady (after previously reaching east to 175W on 12/11) reaching east today to 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W, but retrograded and is steady today back at 160W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 25 meters down. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific with temps rebuilding in the Central Pacific at +3 degs at 140W (Possible Kelvin Wave #3). Temps are stable at 3 degs east of there the whole way into Ecuador. It appears Kelvin Wave #2 is gone and fully erupted off Ecuador. We were thinking the peak of the Kelvin Wave cycle for this supposed El Nino has already occurred associated with Kelvin Wave #2, but upwelling over Ecuador looks poised to continue nonstop for the next 2-3 months with the development and merging of Kelvin Wave #3 with Kelvin Wave #2. So there's good surface oceanic warming potential to feed jetstream core energy through the entirety of the 2018/2019 winter cycle. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/19 paints the same picture with the Kelvin Wave #2 in the East Pacific and almost gone with 2 little pockets at +5 degs at 100W pushing into Ecuador and a separate area of modest warming building at +3 degs under the dateline associated with Kelvin Wave #3. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 90W to 165E solidly. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/19) Positive anomalies were solid from the interior Maritime Continent tracking east at 0 to +5 cms, then continuing east over the equator north of New Guinea over the dateline and extending steady into Ecuador at 0-+5 cms, but with +5 cm pockets embedded, suggesting a potentially fading Kelvin Wave pattern in the future.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (12/27) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were warm in a Kelvin Wave pattern straddling 5 degrees north and south of the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline, but fading significantly compared days and weeks past. Warm water that was previously steady along the coast of Chile and Peru up into Ecuador has vaporized. Generic warming was off Central America and Mexico and steady. There is no indications that El Nino is building. A concerning pocket of cool waters elongated east to west off Peru to 130W has gained ground. Overall the pattern looks more like El Nino than La Nina, but not strongly El Nino. In all this developing El Nino is weak and becoming more fragile.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/26): A broad area of warming water was developing on the equator from the Galapagos to 120W. And a broad area of warming was building along the coast of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (12/23) Weak warm water was along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. But more important, moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos building out to the dateline. We have turned the corner from a cool regime a year ago to a warm regime now. And one could kinda think we are moving towards a El Nino pattern just looking at the surface temps. But that would be a false conclusion because the warm signal on the surface should be much stronger at this time of the year if El Nino were truly developing. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern biased warm and likely only going to move to a minimal warm regime, likely not reaching full El Nino status this winter.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/27) Today's temps were stable after falling hard, at -0.286, after having risen to +1.265 on 12/20. Previously temps fell to +0.212 on 12/3, after having previously built to +1.534 on 11/27. That peak on 11/27 was the all time high for this event in this region.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(12/27) Today temps were steady at +0.517 after having previously risen to +1.050 degs on 12/6 and previously in the +0.5-+0.6 range since 11/12. The all time high for this event was +1.45 on 11/5, beating the previous peak temps of +0.795 on 10/9, and +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/27) The model indicates temps are to be +0.95 degs on Jan 1 (which wasn't even close to reality - they were actually about +0.6) then forecast rising some to +1.30 degs by Feb 1 holding to early May 2019, falling to +1.10 degs into July 2019 and down to +0.9 degs in Sept. If one is to believe the model then one would assume that El Nino is to build in the Winter of 18/19. But given all the data we've seen, we believe there no odds of El Nino developing. Most models are suggesting a turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall. It's not certain we're there yet.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps are to slowly rise from here, to +1.00 degs in November and +1.0-+1.1 degs through Feb 2019, then slowly fading to 0.71 in July. See chart here - link. There's a 90% chance of a weak El Nino developing through January.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (12/27): The daily index was falling some at +1.66. The 30 day average was falling some at +9.23 suggesting a Inactive MJO. The 90 day average was rising some at +3.48, rising the past 3 weeks and no longer negative and the highest its been in months. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. Unfortunately we have made no progress from there towards a negative El Nino pattern and if anything, have moved back to a positive regime.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (12/27) The index has risen slightly from +0.03 on 12/3 to +0.28 on 12/15 but is down today to +0.10, just barely positive and not as strong as it should be if El Nino were developing. Typically El Nino peaks in late December. If that is the case in this years event, then there's no way we're going to move into a legit El Nino this winter. It was down to -0.22 the week of 10/22, after having risen to +0.39 on 10/10, the highest so far this event. This suggests that precip and evaporation are normal, and not above normal as one would expect if El Nino were in play. We are in an ENSO neutral pattern. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.42, Sept -0.42. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool 


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

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

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Powerline Productions New Movie Preimer - Next Level - Friday (11/9) at 7 PM. Details here:

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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