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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2022 2:38 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
4.0 - California & 4.2 - 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 12/26 thru Sun 1/1

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   

Smaller Swell for Now
Stronger Storm PAttern to Follow - Rain/Snow Continues for CA

 

BUOY ROUNDUP
Thursday, December 29, 2022 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 2.9 ft @ 13.8 secs from 288 degrees. Water temp 76.8 degs (Barbers Pt), 76.5 (Pearl Harbor 233), 77.7 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.1 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 12.7 secs from 311 degrees. Water temp 77.2 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.8 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 12.8 secs from 262 degrees. Wind southeast at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 59.2 degs, 58.6 (Topanga 103), 58.6 degs (Long Beach 215), 59.4 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 58.1 (Del Mar 153), 59.4 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 7.1 ft @ 12.5 secs from 290 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.4 ft @ 12.6 secs from 256 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 3.1 ft @ 12.8 secs from 262 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.8 ft @ 12.5 secs from 269 degrees. Water temperate was 60.1 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.0 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 8.3 ft @ 13.2 secs from 275 degrees. Wind south at 23-31 kts. Water temp 54.1 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.4 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 52.7 (San Francisco 46026), 52.7 (SF Bar 142), 54.1 (Pt Santa Cruz 254) and 55.9 (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).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (12/29) North and Central CA had sets at 10 ft or so on the face and pretty warbled and raw from southerly winds with mist of not fog and rain. Protected breaks were chest to head high and fairly clean and mostly closed out. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up but pretty warbled and soft and mushed. In Southern California/Ventura waves were 1 ft overhead and lined up with good form and real clean and looking good. Central Orange County had sets at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up with lined to the horizon and warbled at some spots due to south wind. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had waist to chest high sets and fairly clean and lined up but very soft. North San Diego had sets at up to 1 ft overhead and fairly clean and lined with good form but soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 3 ft overhead and very clean and lined up with good form. The South Shore had waist high sets and clean but with with some underlying lump. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell at waist high with light south winds and fairly clean.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (12/29) California was getting leftover swell from a local gale that developed off the North Coast tracking east Mon-Tues (12/27) with 33 ft seas then impacting the coast later Tuesday and dragging much weather with it. Hawaii was getting swell from a gale that developed just east of the dateline lifting east-northeast Tues-Wed (12/28) fading in the Gulf producing 26-27 ft seas aimed east. And another gale is forecast developing over the dateline tracking east into the Central Gulf with 29 ft seas aimed east Fri-Sun (1/1) likely resulting in swell for HI and CA. A strong local system is forecast Wed-Thurs (1/5) developing off Central CA lifting northeast producing up to 51 ft seas aimed east. Dangerous swell is possible.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday (12/29) the jetstream was fully consolidated tracking east from Japan on the 38N latitude line into North CA with winds 210 kts off Japan and 190 kts off California and 180 kts minimum over it's width. A trough was developing just east of dateline offering support for gale development and another trough was pushing over California producing weather. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to push east into early Fri (12/30) north of the Islands offering some more support for gale development then the jet is to start splitting over the Gulf on Sat (12/31) with most energy falling southeast and over Southern CA before consolidating producing another Atmospheric River event pushing over CA on Mon (1/2). Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (1/2) the jet is to still be fully consolidated tracking due east on the 35N latitude line with winds 190 kts over Japan and 160 kts east of the dateline but with no troughs indicated. But on Wed (1/4) a trough is to start digging out off California and getting quite pronounced on Thurs (1/5) offering great support for gale development and moving directly into Central CA making for weather there. And back to the west the jet is to be solid at 190 kts pushing due east over the dateline offering great potential for more gale development.


Surface Analysis
On Thursday (12/29) swell was fading in California from a gale that was previously off the coast (see Local CA Gale below). For Hawaii swell was fading from a gale previously moving from the dateline to a point north of the Islands Tues-Wed (12/28) (see Small Dateline Gale below). .

Over the next 72 hours a new broad gale is to be developing just west of the dateline Fri AM (12/30) pushing east (see Possible Dateline-Gulf Gale below).

And a small gale is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs PM (12/29) producing 35-40 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas 25 ft at 45.5N 169W aimed east. On Fri AM (12/30) the gale is to track east producing 30-35 kt west winds over a small area with seas 24 ft at 46.5N 161.5W aimed east. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 25 kts with seas 21 ft at 47N 154W aimed east. Maybe small background swell to result for CA.

 

Local CA Gale
On Mon PM (12/26) another gale was developing off North CA producing west winds at 35-45 kts and seas 28 ft at 40N 139W aimed east. On Tues AM (12/27) the gale was just off Southern Oregon with 40-45 kt west winds and seas 33 ft at 42.5N 130W aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be pushing into North Oregon with 35-40 kt west winds and residual seas 28 ft on the OR-WA border and of no interest.

North CA: Residuals on Thurs (12/29) fading from 5.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 282 degrees

Southern CA: Swell fading on Thurs (12/29) from 3.0 ft @ 13 secs early (4.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (12/30) fading from 2.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290 degrees

 

Small Dateline Gale
On Tues AM (12/27) a gale was developing west of the dateline with 30-35 kt west winds over a decent sized area with seas 25 ft at 35N 173E aimed east. In the evening 30-35 kts west winds pushed east with seas 25-26 ft over a broad area at 38N 176E aimed east. On Wed AM (12/28) the gale was fading some with 30-35 kts west winds and seas 25 ft at 42N 168W aimed east. Fetch is to be gone in the evening with seas fading from 22 ft at 37N 174W aimed east. Some swell to result for Hawaii and the mainland.

Oahu: Swell fading Thurs AM (12/29) from 4.1 ft @ 14 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (12/31) building to 8.1 ft @ 14 secs later (11.0 ft) with windswell intermixed. Local windswell to take over on Sun (1/1). Swell Direction: 285 degrees

 

Possible Dateline-Gulf Gale
On Fri AM (12/30) a stronger gale is to develop west of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft at 38.25N 169.50E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to consolidate with 40 kt west winds and seas building to 29 ft at 39.5N 179E aimed east. On Sat AM (12/31) the gale is to be pushing east of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 40N 175W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading over the Western Gulf from 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft over a large area at 43N 163W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/1) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts lifting northeast in the Gulf with seas 27 ft at 46.75N 154.25W aimed east. Fetch dissipating in the evening from 30 kts with seas 27 ft up at 47.5N 155.5W aimed east.

Oahu: Rough data suggest swell arrival on Mon (1/2) building to 7.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (11.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Tues (1/3) building to 8.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (12 ft). Swell Direction: 283 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

  • Fri AM (12/30) a weak local low is to be just off California early producing west to southwest winds to be 10 kts for North CA early and northwest 10 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon winds to be southwest 20 kts for North CA and south 5-10 kts for Central CA. Rain for all of CA early but focused mainly for North CA continuing through the day and evening mainly for North CA. The dividing line is to be Monterey Bay. A mix of rain and snow for the Sierra early turning to strong snow late afternoon into the evening focused on Tahoe.
  • Sat AM (12/31) a new local low is to be developing just off North CA with south to southwest winds 20 kts for North and Central CA focused on the area from Pt Arena south to Big Sur early. In the afternoon the low is to move onshore with northwest winds 25-35 kts for North and Central CA and south winds 15-20 kts sweeping down over Southern CA. Rain for North and Central CA early pushing south to San Diego later in the day. Snow for the Sierra early building to strong status late morning for Tahoe and building south for all the Sierra continuing through the evening.
  • Sun AM (1/1) northwest winds to be 25-30 kts for all of CA including Southern CA early. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 25 kts for North and Central CA and 30 kts for Southern CA. Rain fading mainly for Central and Southern CA clearing late morning. Snow fading for the Sierra through the day.
  • Mon AM (1/2) another weak front is to be approaching Cape Mendocino with south winds 10-15 kts there and calm winds for the SF Bay Area and northwest winds 15-20 kts for Big Sur southward down over all of Southern CA. The front is to sweep south over Central CA in the afternoon with northwest winds in the afternoon 10-15 kts for North CA and 15-20 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for North and Central CA mid-morning early pushing to San Diego in the late afternoon. Moderate snow for the Sierra late afternoon into the evening.
  • Tues AM (1/3) a new front is to be developing off the coast with south winds 5-10 kts for North CA and calm south of Monterey Bay and west 15 kts for Southern CA early. In the afternoon the front is to be impacting North CA with south winds 20+ kts and south winds 10 kts for Central CA. Rain developing for North CA in the afternoon. Light snow for Tahoe in the evening.
  • Wed AM (1/4) a new strong storm is to be building well off the coast with south winds 15 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 35 kts for North CA and 30 kts for Central CA and south winds 10-15 kts for most of Southern CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino early but fading fast. Rain developing for the entire state in the evening.
  • Thurs AM (1/5) the storm is to be lifting northeast off Cape Mendocino with south winds 30-35 kts for Cape Mendocino and south winds 15-30 kts for the reminder of North CA and south winds 20-25 kts for Central CA and south winds 15 kts for Southern CA. Rain for all of the state in the morning and very heavy for the SF Bay Area moderating some in the afternoon. Heavy snow for the Sierra.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 84, 86, 86, and 93 inches forecast with it split between Thurs (12/29) and Sat (12/31) a little Mon (1/2) and again on Thurs-Fri (1/6) with more on Sat (1/7) .

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is to be building to 9,000 ft 12/30-31 before falling again to 4,000 ft on 1/1 then rising to 6,000 ft on 1/4 then falling back to 4,500 ft on 1/6 and beyond.

- - -

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: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for Resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a tiny gale is to develop 1200 nmiles west of North CA on Mon PM (1/2) producing 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas 30 ft over a tiny area at 41.25N 147.75W aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast and fade on Tues AM (1/3) with 40-45 kts northwest winds and seas 34 ft at 44N 141.25W aimed east. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 46.75N 138W aimed east. Something to monitor.

Of more interest starting Wed AM (1/4) is development of a storm 850 nmiles west of Pt Conception producing 55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 26 ft at 34N 147W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to track northeast with 60 kt northwest winds and seas 37 ft at 37N 139.75W aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/5) the gael is to be just off Cape Mendocino with 50 kt west winds and seas 51 ft at 38.75N 133.25W aimed east. This could be a potential dangerous storm relative to life and property on the coast of North and Central CA up into Southern OR. Something to monitor.

 

South Pacific

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

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Cool Pool Poised to Collapse
West Wind Anomaly Pattern Building 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.

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
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 (12/28) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific and strong east over the Central Pacific and strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial Pacific and modest east over the Central Pacific and moderate to strong 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): (12/29) Moderate east anomalies were over the dateline today with moderate west anomalies filling the West KWGA to 150E. The 7 day forecast calls for east anomalies moderate over the dateline through 1/3 then rebuilding to strong status but isolated to the area east of 155E. West anomalies are to remain moderate from 150E and points west of there filling 50% of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 1/5. The 2 week GFS model is offline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/28) A moderate Active signal was indicated over the KWGA today. The statistical model indicates the Active signal slowly pushing east and mostly east of the KWGA 15 days out at the end of the model run with a weak Inactive MJO developing over the KWGA at that time. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal fading through day 5 of the model run but returning on day 15 with no Inactive signal forecast.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (12/29) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the extreme West Pacific and is to move through the West Pacific at weak status racing to Africa at the end of the model run. The dynamic model indicates a far slower progression with the Active Phase moving to the East Pacific at weak status 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): (12/28)
A weak Inactive MJO signal was fading and almost gone over the KWGA today with west anomalies filling the KWGA from 140E and points west of there and moderate east anomalies on the dateline filling the area east of 150E. East anomalies are to hold at moderate status on the dateline through 1/6 then fading but still present at modest to moderate strength though steadily weakening through the end of the model run on 1/25. The Active Phase of the MJO is to develop and push east into the West KWGA starting 12/29 making it to 150E and stalling there through 1/11 before fading. Moderate to strong west anomalies are to rebuild over the Western KWGA on 12/30 from 150E and points west of there to 1/13, then fading some but still in play moving forward from there. 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 the Active Phase of the MJO was building over the KWGA with west anomalies moderate plus strength filling the western half of the KWGA. The forecast has the Active Phase of the MJO tracking through the KWGA through 1/27 with west anomalies in control of the western half of the KWGA (from 150E west) and building to strong status 1/3-1/8 and easing to the dateline around 1/25. Looks like a Westerly Wind Burst is to develop (WWB). This is very good news. After that a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop starting 1/15 through 3/3 but with westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to the dateline. After that a neutral MJO is forecast with west anomalies holding filling the KWGA through the end of the model run on 3/28. 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 1/28 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 3/3. A broad double contour low pressure bias is established centered over the West Maritime Continent at 90E with it's leading edge at 130E today and is already slowly pushing east and that is to continue, with a hard push east starting 2/24 and 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 for 2 months now. It appears that the high pressure lockdown of the KWGA is fading with no return in sight, indicating the demise of La Nina is underway.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/29) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone again. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking to 177E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 158W. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing east into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +3 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 117W. No cool anomalies were indicated. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/24 indicates a Kelvin Wave pushing east to 110W and far warmer lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 95W near the surface with residual weakly cool waters filling the area above the Kelvin Wave over the entire equatorial Pacific. This indicates the cool upwelling event that has been in play since July was being undercut and is fading. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/24) Sea heights were barely negative and rising over the East Equatorial Pacific at -5 cms. A broad pocket of positive anomalies were over the equator in the far West Pacific reaching east to 90W just north of the Galapagos. A weak core of -10 cm anomalies were fading limited to the area over the Galapagos. Per the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Histogram cool anomalies were in quick retreat positioned in the East Equatorial Pacific between 109W 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: (12/28) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool water extending west from Ecuador to the dateline with far weaker with barely cool waters filling the area well south of the equator in a line east to west down at 20S. The coldest stream has collapsed from Ecuador to 140W. 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 collapse of La Nina was underway.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/28): A stream of weakly warming water extended west from Ecuador to 160W. 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: (12/28) 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 mainly from 140W to 160E over the equator. The east equatorial Pacific is finally warming. 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: (12/29) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were rising at -0.775 previous up to -0.695 on 12/22 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:
(12/29) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -0.920 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.

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 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 (12/29) - Temps are to hold steady at -0.95 degs into mid January then rising quickly reaching above the La Nina threshold (-0.5 degs) in mid-Feb and up to +0.85 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 to hold steady at -0.90 degs till mid-Jan then rising fast and above La Nina threshold the last week of Jan and rising from there forward to +0.60 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 (12/29) the Daily Index was rising at +29.06 after reaching +55.74 on 12/22 and have been in the +20 range the last 13 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 +18.20 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 rising at +13.91 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: 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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