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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Saturday, December 31, 2022 12:30 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
4.2 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/2 thru Sun 1/8

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   

Happy New Year!
All Hail Return of the North Pacific Jet!


Saturday, December 31, 2022 :

  • Buoy 238 (Barbers Pt)/Buoy 239 (Lani): Seas were 4.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 12.6 secs from 286 degrees. Water temp 76.6 degs (Barbers Pt), 76.6 (Pearl Harbor 233), 78.3 (Lani 239).
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 13.1 secs from 313 degrees. Water temp 77.5 degs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 10.5 secs from 252 degrees. Wind southwest at 8 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs, 59.2 (Topanga 103), 59.4 degs (Long Beach 215), 59.0 (Oceanside Offshore 045), 58.8 (Del Mar 153), 59.7 (Torrey Pines Outer 100). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 3.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 265 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 14.5 secs from 209 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.3 ft @ 14.5 secs from 198 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.6 ft @ 113.5 secs from 226 degrees. Water temperate was 60.3 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.8 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 5.4 ft @ 14.7 secs from 288 degrees. Wind south at 20-25 kts. Water temp 53.8 (Bodega Bay 46013), 53.6 degs (Pt Reyes 029), 54.3 (San Francisco 46026), 53.8 (SF Bar 142), 54.5 (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).
- 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 Saturday (12/31) North and Central CA had sets at 1-2 ft overhead and pretty warbled but reasonably clean with southeasterly winds with rain on top. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and a bit warbled. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high and trashed by south wind. In Southern California/Ventura waves were chest high and lined up with good form and real clean with no wind. Central Orange County had sets at waist to maybe chest high and lined up but warbled and mushed with mist. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets to head high on the peak and lined up with decent form but somewhat warbled and misty. North San Diego had sets at was to near chest high and lined up and and fairly clean but closed out and soft. Hawaii's North Shore had sets at 2-3 ft overhead and clean and lined up with good form. The South Shore had some waist high sets and clean but with with some underlying lump. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest swell at thigh to waist high with light southeast winds and fairly clean.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Saturday (12/31) California 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. Hawaii was getting leftovers from that swell too. Another gale is 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 moderate local system is forecast Wed-Thurs (1/5) off Central CA lifting northeast producing up to 33 ft seas aimed east. A small gael is to track east through the Gulf Wed-Thurs (1/5) producing 33 ft seas aimed east. And another local storm is forecast off North CA on Fri-Sat (1/7) producing 44 ft seas then pushing right into North CA. And perhaps another system is to develop northwest of Hawaii on Sat (1/7) with 25 ft seas aimed southeast. No lack of activity is forecast.

See all the details below...


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

North Pacific

On Saturday (12/31) the jetstream was fully consolidated tracking due east from Japan on the 35N latitude line straight into North CA with winds 190 kts over the dateline. A weak split in the jet was developing over the Gulf of Alaska. But most energy was pushing right through it and impacting Central CA. No troughs were indicated offering no solid support for gale development. But just the wind speeds alone were likely to support some degree of low pressure if not gale development. Over the next 72 hours the split point over the Gulf is to push east and into Central CA on Mon (1/2) while a weak gentle trough starts building over the dateline. Beyond 72 hours starting Tues (1/3) that trough is to deepen in the Eastern Gulf supporting gale formation and pushing inland on Thurs (1/5) likely creating much weather for CA. And back to the west the jet is to build in girth with winds 180 kts forming a gentle trough just west of the dateline offering some support for gale development. Another trough is to develop over Japan on Sat (1/7) supporting gale formation while yet another steeper trough develops off California. A most impressive pattern is digging in.

Surface Analysis
On Saturday (12/31) swell from a small gale previously in the Gulf was hitting Hawaii. And swell was poised to hit California from a gale previously moving from the dateline to a point north of the Islands Tues-Wed (12/28) (see Small Dateline Gale below). that swell is tracking towards California too.

Over the next 72 hours swell from a broader gale was developing just west of the dateline Fri AM (12/30) with the gale tracking east into the Gulf on Sat-Sun (1/1) and swell pushing southeast towards Hawaii and CA (see Dateline-Gulf Gale below).

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 was gone in the evening with seas fading from 22 ft at 37N 174W aimed east. Some swell to result for Hawaii and the mainland.

North CA: Expect swell arrival later on Sat (12/31) building to 7.2 ft @ 14 secs later (10.0 ft) with windswell intermixed. Local windswell to take over on Sun (1/1) with this swell fading from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft) underneath. Swell Direction: 285 degrees


Small Gulf Gale
A small gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf on Thurs PM (12/29) producing 35-40 kt west winds over a tiny area and seas 23 ft at 46.75N 169.5W aimed east. On Fri AM (12/30) the gale tracked east producing 30-35 kt west winds over a small area with seas 23 ft at 46.5N 163W aimed east. Fetch faded in the evening from 25 kts with seas 19 ft at 48N 154W aimed east. Maybe small background swell to result for CA.

Oahu: Expect swell arrival on Sat (12/31) at 4.5 ft @ 13 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell continues but fading on Sun (1/1) fading from 4.1 ft @ 12 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (1/2) building to 5.6 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft) then being overrun by stronger swell beyond. Swell Direction: 285 degrees


Dateline-Gulf Gale
On Fri AM (12/30) a stronger gale developed west of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 26 ft at 37.25N 165.25E aimed east. In the evening fetch consolidated at 40 kts from the west with seas building to 29 ft at 37N 174.5E aimed east. On Sat AM (12/31) the gale was pushing east of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds and seas 28 ft at 38N 175W aimed east. In the evening fetch is to be fading over the Western Gulf from 30-35 kts with seas 26-27 ft over a large area at 41N 158W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/1) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts lifting northeast in the Gulf with seas 25 ft at 44N 152W aimed east. Fetch dissipating in the evening with seas fading from 23 ft up at 46N 150W aimed east.

Oahu: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Mon (1/2) building to 7.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (11.0 ft). Swell fading on Tues (1/3) from 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs early (7.5 ft). Dribbles on Wed (1/4) fading from 3.9 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival and building quickly on Tues (1/3) to 8.4 ft @ 15 secs early (12.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (1.4) from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.5 ft),. Windswell takes over after that. 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

  • 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 20 kts for North and Central CA and 25-30 kts for Southern CA. Dry air for North and most of Central CA early with rain fading for Southern CA 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 15-20 kts there and calm winds for the SF Bay Area and northwest winds 15-20 kts for Big Sur southward down over 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 south winds 15-20+ kts for Central CA. Rain developing for North CA mid-morning pushing to San Diego in the evening. Moderate snow for the Sierra in 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 east for the SF Bay area and northwest 15 kts for Big Sur southward. In the afternoon the front is to be impacting North CA with south winds 20-30 kts and south winds 10 kts for Central CA. Rain fading for Central and South CA early. Snow fading from the Sierra early too. Showers for Cape Mendocino developing late afternoon.
  • Wed AM (1/4) a new strong storm is to be building well off the coast with south winds 30 kts for North CA early and 20+ kts for Central CA. In the afternoon south winds to be 35-45 kts for North and 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 North and Central CA late morning and very heavy late afternoon from the Golden Gate northward falling southward to LA overnight. Snow developing late afternoon for the Sierra and building to heavy status for Tahoe northward overnight.
  • Thurs AM (1/5) the storm is to be lifting northeast off Cape Mendocino with southwest winds 15 kts for Cape Mendocino and northwest winds 15-20 kts for Bodega Bay southward with the front over Pt Conception with 30 kts south winds there and south winds 15 kts for Southern CA. In the afternoon west winds are forecast at 10 kts for Cape Mendocino and northwest 15 kts for Bodega Bay southward to Pt Conception and northwest winds 10+ kts for Southern CA. Heavy rain for all of North and Central CA in the morning pushing south to Southern CA in the late morning. moderating in the afternoon north of Pt Conception. Heavy snow for the Sierra through the day.
  • Fri AM (1/6) a weak front is to be just off the coast with south winds 15-20 kts for North CA and northwest 5 kts early for Central CA. Another front is to be right behind in the afternoon with south winds 20-25 kts for North CA and southwest winds 10 kts for Central CA. Dry air early but light rain developing along the coast through the day and building stronger for North CA in the evening. No snow forecast.
  • Sat AM (1/7) the front is to be impacting the coast with south winds 30 kts early for all of North CA and 20-25 kts for Central CA. in the afternoon west to southwest winds are forecast at 20+ kts for all of North and Central CA with southwest winds 15-20 kts for Southern CA. Rain expected for North and Central CA early sweeping south into Southern CA late morning . Snow for the Sierra developing late morning.

Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth are projected at 96, 102, 104, and 90 inches forecast with it split between Sat (12/31) with more on Wed-Thurs (1/5) and again on Thurs-Fri (1/6) with more on Sat-Sun (1/8) .

Freezing level for Lake Tahoe is to be building to 8,500 ft 12/31 before falling to 4,000-5,000 ft on 1/1 and holding before rising to 7,000 ft on 1/4 then falling back to 4,500 ft on 1/5 and holding till 1/8 where it starts rising above the base after sunset reaching 11,000 ft on 1/9.

- - -

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

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


South Pacific

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

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


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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a gael is to develop just 850 nmiles west of Central CA Tues PM (1/3) producing 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 26 ft at 35.5N 141.75W. On Wed AM (1/4) the gael is to be lifting northeast off North CA producing 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 38.75N 136.75W aimed east. In the evening the storm is to track northeast positioned off South Oregon with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 33 ft at 41N 131W aimed east. On Thurs AM (1/5) the gale is to be fading just off Oregon with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 29 ft at 43N 130W aimed east. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.

Another small gale is forecast developing in the Northwestern Gulf on Wed PM (1/4) with 50 kt northwest winds and seas 33 ft at 46.75N 161.25W aimed east. The gale to track east on Thurs AM (1/5) with 40-45 kts west winds and seas 33 ft at 47.5N 154.25W aimed east. Fetch fading in the evening from 30 kts with seas fading from 27 ft at 46.75N 145.25W. Maybe some swell to result for the US West Coast.

And yet a stronger storm is forecast developing in the Central Gulf on Fri AM (1/6) producing 50 kt west winds and seas building from 29 ft at 41.25N 149W aimed east. In the evening 55 kt northwest winds to be approaching North CA with seas 44 ft at 40.25N 140.75W aimed east. The gael is poised for a direct impact on North CA Sat AM (1/7) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas 39 ft at 38N 133.5W just off San Francisco. Something to monitor.

And yet multiple gales are to be developing behind it strung across the entire North Pacific. The flood gates are opening.


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.

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 (12/30) 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 light east over the Central Pacific and moderate 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): (12/31) 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 1/2 then rebuilding to strong status isolated to the area east of 150E. 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 1/7. The 2 week GFS model is offline.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:  
OLR Models: (12/30) 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 on days 10 and 15 of the model run with a strong Inactive MJO developing over the KWGA at that time. The dynamic model indicates the Active signal fading to weak status on day 5 of the model run but holding in the East KWGA through the end of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (CA and GEFS): (12/31) The statistical model depicts the Active signal was modest over the West Pacific and is race east 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): (12/30)
A weak Inactive MJO signal was weak and fading over the dateline today but with the Active Phase of the MJO building over the far west KWGA today with west anomalies from 140E and points west of there filling 25% of the KWGA. East anomalies are fade some at moderate status on the dateline through 1/7 then fading from modest to weak strength and backfilling a good portion of the KWGA though the end of the model run on 1/27. West anomalies and the Active Phase of the MJO are to push east to 155E on 1/7 filling 55% of the KWGA then backtracking and gone by 1/13.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind):
(12/31) - 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 1/24 with west anomalies in control of the western half of the KWGA (from 150E west) and easing east to the dateline around 1/16. 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 2/23 but with westerly anomalies holding over the KWGA to the dateline. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is forecast to traverse the KWGA 2/18 through the end of the model run on 3/30 with west anomalies holding filling the KWGA. 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 1/24 with the primary contour moving east of the KWGA by 3/13. 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: (12/31) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was gone again. The 28 deg isotherm line was backtracking to 176E. The 26 degree isotherm was steady at 157W. 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 105W in pockets and far warmer lifting upwards towards the surface in the far East equatorial Pacific. A cool pocket was centered at 90W near the surface with residual weakly cool waters filling the area above the Kelvin Wave over the entire equatorial Pacific but steadily losing its coolest temps. 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 tiny core of -10 cm anomalies were fading limited to a small 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: (12/30) The latest images depict a broad generic pool of cool-ish water extending west from Ecuador to the dateline with far weaker and 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 a broad area of cool water south of that stream previously reaching south to 25S was now only 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 (12/30): 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: (12/30) Coolish waters cover a large area from Ecuador to 160E on and south of the equator from off South America down at 20S with the coolest waters between mainly from 140W to 160E over the equator. The east equatorial Pacific is finally and steadily warming. Warmer than normal waters were along the coasts of Chile and Peru and now 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 fast and warming water seems to be building.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/31) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs compared to official sources). Today's temps were falling at -0.824 degs after rising to -0.775 on 12/29, previously 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:
(12/31) (These temps are biased high by about 0.2 degs). Today's temps were steady at -0.949 after falling to -1.255 on 12/6 but otherwise have been holding around -1.0 degree since 11/3 and up to -0.900 on 10/18 beating a previous peak of -0.819 on 9/22. In general temps have been in the -1.0 range since 8/16. Temps had fallen since 7/15 reaching La Nina threshold on 7/27 after being more or less steady the previous 3 weeks peaking at -0.25 on 7/14 and -0.275 on 7/5. Previously temps had been on an upward trend since 5/15/22 rising to -0.414 degs (6/19) and -0.493 on 6/9, the first reading above La Nina threshold values since Sept 2021. Temps were down to -0.929 (5/2/22) and that after rising to a peak at -0.704 on 3/27 and had been on a gentle rising trend since falling to -1.012 on 3/8. Previously temps were rising slightly to -0.505 on 2/2 and that after reaching a peak low of -1.096 on 1/3/22 beating the previous low of -1.080 on 11/2/21, the lowest in a year. Prior to that temps had been in a freefall starting from the -0.175 range in early Sept/21. Before that temps peaked up at 7/1/21 +0.332, the highest in a year. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March 2021. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3/2020.

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

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Data
Previous - Temps rose in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, up to -0.01 degs in mid-June 2021 then fading to -1.05 degs in mid-Nov then rebuilding to -0.7 in mid Feb 2022 then fading to -1.1 degs in May before starting an upward climb peaking in mid-June at -0.65 degs and mid July at -0.55 degs. A steady decline set in after that falling to -1.00 degs in Aug and Sept rising to -0.8 degs mid Oct then falling to -1.0 in Nov.
Forecast (12/31) - 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 +0.75 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 (12/31) the Daily Index was rising at +29.48 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 +18.46 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 +14.25 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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