NPAC Storm El Nino Update

A storm force system in the North Pacific reminds us that Autumn is underway and glance to the latest El Nino forecast suggests that we could be in for an above average NPAC winter.

The chart below shows a developing 970mb low pressure system forecast to move NE through the Aleutians steered by a blocking high pressure system that’ll mean potential for light local winds when the resulting blast of long period swell arrives in the Pacific North West over the weekend.

Tues 4th September NPAC Storm

It’s a timely reminder that Autumn is upon us and things should start to move into gear for Northern Hemisphere oceans. With this in mind a glance at the latest CPC El Nino Forecast makes for interesting reading:  A move to El Nino conditions most likely through August/September a portent, perhaps, for an above average winter to come.

(c) Climate Prediction Center

El Nino is the name given to a climate pattern that occurs in the tropical Pacific every few years resulting from abnormally high sea temperatures and resulting high surface air pressure. The knock on climate effects can influence wave generation in many locations, but particularly in the North Pacific this tends to change the storm track from moving storms in a north easterly direction as the generate near Japan in El Nina seasons to moving more directly east in El Nino years. The chart above shows the developing warm seas in the Pacific around the Equator pointing to the start of an El Nino event.

The result of this easterly storm track are greater virtual fetch for westerly swell to develop for the US West Coast and storms in closer proximity to Hawaii as they move through the ocean. Swell generated from these storms decays less in transit arriving on the beach at a larger size.

It’s quite possibly no coincidence that nearly two years of La Nina conditions have seen the Quiksilver Eddie fail to run since the 2009/2010 season and perhaps a change to El Nino bodes well for this winter, although this seasonal trend leaves plenty room for exceptions.