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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, December 27, 2021 5:12 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
2.8 - California & 2.3 - 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 12/27 thru Sun 1/2

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   

Local Windswell for CA
Rain and Snow Too - Dateline Swell for HI - Longterm Swell Rating Downgraded

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Monday, December 27, 2021 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 202 degrees. Water temp 76.3 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 76.6 (Barbers Pt).
  • Buoy 202 (Hanalei): Seas were 11.5 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 8.7 ft @ 10.2 secs from 38 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 067 (San Nicholas): Seas were 8.4 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 5.7 ft @ 12.4 secs from 309 degrees. Water temperature 59.0 degs, 57.7 (Topanga 103), 59.0 degs (Long Beach 215), 58.8 (Del Mar 153), 59.4 (Imperial Beach 155). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.2 ft @ 13.3 secs from 317 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.4 ft @ 9.1 secs from 258 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.2 ft @ 11.9 secs from 238 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.0 secs from 270 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.3 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 7.6 ft @ 12.0 secs from 324 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 16-21 kts. Water temp 54.1 (Pt Reyes 029), 54.5 (46026), 52.9 degs (SF Bar 142), and 53.6 (Santa Cruz 254).

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

 
Swell Classification Guidelines

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

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Monday (12/27) North and Central CA had set waves at about 1-2 ft overhead and somewhat lined up but pretty warbled from northwest wind. Protected breaks were head high and lined up and closed out and warbled pretty heavily from northwest wind. At Santa Cruz surf was maybe waist high and mushed and weak but clean with clearing skies. In Southern California/Ventura waves were knee to thigh high and lined up and clean but weak. Central Orange County had sets at chest high and line dup and clean and with decent form. South Orange County's best summertime breaks were thigh high and warbled from northwest wind. North San Diego had sets at knee high and weak and soft but clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves 1-2 ft overhead at top breaks and lined up and clean with light wind though a little soft. The South Shore was knee to thigh high and textured from easterly wind. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at 2-3 ft overhead and chopped from brisk east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (12/27) North and Central California was getting modest northwest windswell from a local low pressure system that developed in the Northern Gulf falling south down the Pacific Northwest Coast Thurs-Sun (12/26) producing up to 21 ft seas aimed south and southeast. And Hawaii was getting swell from a small system that developed over the dateline Sat (12/25) producing 29 ft seas aimed east but not moving over the dateline. The Western Gulf is locked down by high pressure leaving only the edges available for gale production. Another gale is forecast locked on the dateline Wed-Thurs (12/30) producing 30 ft seas aimed east. And then another system is forecast for the Northern Gulf Sat (1/1) falling south off California on Mon (1/3) producing 29 ft seas aimed southeast. Beyond there's some sense the West Gulf high might start fading.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Monday (12/27) the jet was pushing east off Japan with winds to 190 kts but splitting heavily on the dateline as it has for the past several weeks with the northern branch ridging hard north up into the Central Bering Sea then tracking into North Canada before falling southwest out off Oregon forming a backdoor trough just over California being fed by 160 kts winds offering some support for low pressure development before turning hard east and pushing inland over Southern California. Over the next 72 hours starting Tues (12/28) the backdoor trough is to continue pushing down the British Columbia and US West Coast at 90-110 kts ushering in cold air and more precipitation but not doing much for producing swell other than local windswell. To the west the jet is to remain streaming off Japan pushing to the dateline then splitting heavily like before. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (12/31) more of the same is forecast until Sat (1/1) when a certified trough is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf falling south into later Sun (1/2) with it's apex off North CA and winds to 140 kts offering decent support for local gale development with the jet pushing inland over North CA and likely starting to sag south. Another Atmospheric River event seems possible for the Sierra with local weather in the mix for California.

Surface Analysis
On Monday (12/27) swell from a local low pressure system was producing raw mixed windswell pushing into North and Central CA. And swell was hitting Hawaii from a gale previously over the dateline (see Dateline Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing again stationary on the dateline Wed AM (12/29) producing 45 kt north winds with seas starting to building from 29 ft over a tiny area at 39.25N 172.75E aimed southeast. In the evening 50 kt northwest winds are forecast over a small area with seas near 30 ft at 42.75N 177E aimed southeast. On Thurs AM (12/30) the gale is to be lifting northeast producing northwest winds at 35+ kts and seas fading from 27 ft at 42.75N 174.75W aimed southeast. This system is to be tracking east just south of the Aleutians after that possibly redeveloping in the Northern Gulf and targeting California. Another small pulse of swell is possible for Hawaii.

Also over the next 72 hours a continued fetch of northwest winds at 25-30 kts is to be set up effectively stationary along the coast of the Pacific Northwest through later Wed (12/29) producing 14-17 ft seas resulting in some form of raw ill formed local north west windswell pushing into North and Central CA during that timeframe (see QuikCASTs for details).

 

Dateline Gale
Starting Fri AM (12/24) a gale started building on the dateline producing a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds and seas building. In the evening winds built to 40 kts from the northwest over a small area stationary just west of the dateline with seas building to 25 ft at 35.75N 175.5E aimed southeast. On Sat AM (12/25) northwest winds were building at 40-45 kts with seas building to 29 ft at 38.75N 174E aimed southeast. Fetch was fading while lifting north in the evening from 40 kts with seas fading from 23 ft over a broad area at 37N 178E aimed southeast. The gale dissipated from there. Some swell is radiating primarily towards Hawaii.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Mon (12/27) building to 2.7 ft @ 14-15 secs later (4.0 ft) with much local windswell intermixed. Swell peaking early Tues (12/28) at 3.1 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft) with more windswell in the mix. Dribbles on Wed (12/29) fading from 1.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 300-302 degrees

 

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

 

Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast

  • Tues (12/28) a weak local low pressure system is to be over Cape Mendocino early producing south winds at 20 kts along the coast there and west winds at 10-15 kts for the remainder of North and Central CA with northwest winds 20 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 10 kts for all of North and Central CA and 15 kts for Southern CA. Light scattered showers are expected for the entire state early with snow flurries for the Sierra . Rain building a bit more solid for all of North CA later but mostly dry south of there and light snow down to South Lake Tahoe
  • Wed (12/29) the low is to be fading over San Francisco with light winds for all of North and Central CA with southwest winds 5-10 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon north winds are forecast at 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino with east winds 15 kts for the remainder of North CA and light winds for Central CA but southwest winds 15 kts solid for all of Southern CA. Light to modest rain for all of CA early becoming focused on Central and South CA in the afternoon. Light snow mainly for the Tahoe area early building to solid snow for the whole Sierra in the afternoon and southern Sierra overnight.
  • Thurs (12/30) morning the low is to be just off Pt Conception with north to northeast winds 10 kts for North CA with northeast winds 10 kts for Central CA and south winds 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds are to be building at 15 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts for Central CA and light south winds for Southern CA. Rain for mainly Southern CA early and solid snow for the Southern Sierra becoming focused soley on Southern CA in the afternoon and snow for the mountains of Southern CA.
  • Fri (12/31) high pressure returns with northwest winds 15-20 kts for North and Central CA and light winds for Southern CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 25-30 kts for all of the California coast. Rain continues for mainly San Diego County early but otherwise dry elsewhere and drying out in the afternoon.
  • Sat (1/1) northwest winds to be 15-20 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15-20 kts just off the coast for North and Central CA. In the afternoon the high is to evaporate with a light winds regime in control of the CA coast. No precip forecast.
  • Sun (1/2) morning southwest winds to set up at 15 kts early for Cape Mendocino and 5-10 kts down to Pt Reyes with light winds south of there. In the afternoon la front is to be pushing south down the North CA coast to Bodega bay with south winds 30 kts and south winds 15 kts down to Morro Bay with light winds south of there. Rain developing for Cape Mendocino later afternoon building over most of North CA in the evening.
  • Mon (1/3) AM the front hold s with south winds 20-25 kts for all of North CA and south winds 15 kts down to Monterey Bay and south winds 10 kts south to Morro Bay. In the afternoon the front is to remain stationary with south winds 30-35 kts for Bodega Bay northward and south winds 15 ks from Pt Reyes sown to Big Sur. Rain for most of North CA early holding position all day. No snow for the Sierra yet.

Total snow accumulation for the next 7 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 24, 25, 24, and 23 inches.

Freezing level building to 3,500 ft today (12/27) generally holding through 12/31 then building to 7,000 ft on 1/1 only to fall back to 5,000 ft 1/2 then building to 6,500 ft on 1/3-1/5, then falling to 5.000 ft beyond.

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

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

 

South Pacific

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

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

 

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours starting Sat AM (1/1) remnants of a gale previously over the dateline are to track northeast just south of the Eastern Aleutians then start redeveloping in the northern Gulf generating northwest winds at 35-45 kts and seas building from 26 ft at 53N 154W aimed southeast. In the evening a building fetch of northwest winds is forecast at 35-40 kts sagging well south into the Gulf with seas 26-28 ft in the nOrthern Gulf at 53N 147W aimed southeast. More of the same is forecast Sun AM (1/2) with 26 ft seas at 52N 145W aimed southeast. In the afternoon a defined closed isobar low is to falling south off of British Columbia producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 28 ft at 49N 142W aimed southeast. On Mon AM (1/3) northwest fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts off Oregon with seas 26 ft at 43N 140W aimed southeast. In the evening northwest winds to be 35 kts well off Oregon with seas 24 ft at 42N 138W aimed southeast and positioned well off Cape Mendocino. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

La Nina Peaking as Primary SubSurface Cool Pool Discharges - Active MJO Still In Control
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. But a second cool pool is developing. A stronger than expected Active Phase of the MJO today is producing west anomalies forecast to hold over the KWGA into mid January filling 75% of the KWGA as the low pressure bias slowly builds in from the west. A return to a more normal cadence of Active and Inactive MJO phases is starting now. It appears surface and subsurface water temps have bottomed out. With that 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. But cold water returned in July 2021 and a second pulse of La Nina developed and is continuing today, though possibly weaker with its foundation appearing to be in decline.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall /Winter 2021-2022 = 1.5 (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. A full double dip La Nina pattern took hold as we moved 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 December 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 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. But by later in Feb 2022 perhaps a return to a more normal pattern might take hold. But it will be too little too late. As a result a significantly reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected Oct-Feb 2022, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by March 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 (12/26) 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 modest 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 (12/27) a mix of weak east and west anomalies were filling the KWGA. The forecast calls for more of the same.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/26) A moderate Active MJO signal was filling the KWGA today. The statistical model suggests the Active Phase is to slowly lose strength while moving east and almost east of the KWGA through day 15 of the model run focused just east of the dateline centered more over the Central Pacific. The dynamic model projects the Active MJO backtracking on day 10 of the model run then rebuilding to strong status filling the KWGA on day 15 of the model run. That would be great.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/27) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was moderate over the East Pacific and is forecast tracking over Africa at day 15 of the model run and very weak. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase moving to the East Pacific then retrograding while weakening to modest strength over the West Pacific then starting to track east on day 15 of the model run. It's been a long time since we've seen any Active Phase in the West Pacific.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (12/26) A modest Active MJO signal (wet air) was rebuilding over the far West Pacific today with dry air over the far East Pacific. The forecast indicates the Active Phase tracking east pushing into Central America 1/25. The Inactive Phase (dry air) is to start developing over the West Pacific on 1/15 and weak moving to the Central America at the end of the model run on 2/4. A new Active Phase (wet air) is forecast starting to build over the far West Pacific on 1/30 moving east from there.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/26) This model depicts the Active Phase was fading over the Central KWGA today with west anomalies weakening slightly but still mostly present over the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO signal holding over the KWGA through 1/5 positioned just west of the dateline with west anomalies rebuilding starting 12/29 and solid on the dateline 12/29-1/12 then fading but still holding control of the central KWGA through 1/16. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is forecast developing 1/20 with east anomalies creeping into the KWGA on 1/16 filling 50% of it at the end of the model run on 1/23.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (12/27 - 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 still filling the eastern 50% of the KWGA with weak west anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Active MJO is to continue moving over the KWGA through 1/18 with west anomalies filling the KWGA during that window and stronger 1/1-1/12. The Inactive Phase is to follow starting today in the west but not particularly strong or impactful till 1/19 with weak east anomalies building over the KWGA then peaking on the dateline on 1/22-2/15. A moderate Active Phase is to develop on 1/29 pushing east through the KWGA through 3/17 with modest west anomalies during that window. An Inactive Phase is to follow starting 3/9 through the end of the model run on 3/26. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias with 2 contour lines was centered over the dateline and is to hold till 1/20, then nudge east with its western perimiter on or near the dateline. The second contour is to fade out on 1/5 then redevelop 2/7-3/17. 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 1/28 filling 50% of the KWGA and building further east to nearly the dateline at the end of the model run. Today a solid east anomaly pattern that has been in control of KWGA since early July is being significantly challenged by west anomalies from the 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: (12/27) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was pushing east to 169E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 177W. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 125W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +4 deg C were building with their leading edge at about 165W. All sensors are down at 140W. Cool anomalies were rebuilding at -4 degs C 75 meters down at 120W and tracking east while rising near 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 with warm water building in the west. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/19 indicates no warm water east of 160W at depth with a bubble of cold water at -4C below normal east of there 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: (12/19) Sea heights were negative over the East equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to 175W at -5 to -10 cms now with a building pockets of -15 cms anomalies between 105W and 145W. -10 cms anomalies cover a broad area between 85W to 155W. All positive anomalies were limited from 178E 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 12/19 that coverage is gone but a second cold wave was developing between 152W to 117W. It appears a second cold water Kelvin Wave (upwelling Kelvin Wave) was developing in the under the Central Pacific while the primary one was 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: (12/26) The latest images depict a broad stream of cool water on the equator and extending south from Chile up to Peru then turning west and peaking 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. But the coolest part of that flow is warming compared to a week ago. A pocket of warming water depicted at 130W was fading some but a few pixels of warming along the coast of Chile were rebuilding again. 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 (12/26): Temps were warming along Chile and Peru and warming in a string between the Galapagos to 135W. 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: (12/26) No real change - 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: (12/27) Today's temps were rebounding some at -1.610 after falling hard to -1.954 on 12/18, the lowest this year so far. Previously temps rose 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:
(12/27) Today temps were steady at -0.938 after creeping up to -0.685 on 11/9, and that after bottoming out at -1.08 on 11/2, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

Click for Full Sized Image Click for Full Sized Image

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/27) - 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 steady from here to mid-Jan at -1.05 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 -1.05 degs now into mid-Jan then starting to rise slowly after mid-Jan 2022. This is an upgrade from 1 week ago when temps were predicted to fall to -1.30 degs and that an upgrade from lower temps months before. At this point it is safe to say peak La Nina has been reached.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Dec 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -1.032 degs today and have bottomed out. They are to warm to -0.47 degrees in March, then rising to -0.00 degs in July 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 (12/27) the daily index was positive at 27.66 after peaking at +46.71 on 12/26. The trend has been towards positive readings with previous notable peaks 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 some at +11.65 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 +10.80 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
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.

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

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

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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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