Goodbye La Niña...for now
With the signal weakening in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, La Niña has officially come to an end.
That 'signal' being cooler water over the eastern Pacific and warmer water to the west. Currently, the sea surface temperatures are warming in the east, while below the surface, a pool of warm water is pushing from west to east, quelling the source of deeper cool water that was being upwelled through spring and summer.
We're now expecting a few months of neutral conditions, however, there's a 50% chance we'll see a double-dip La Niña developing through spring.
With the signal weakening in the Pacific this doesn't mean the swell potential for the East Coast (the biggest benefactor of La Niña) is done for.
In fact, the opposite is true. Over the coming months, warm water in the Coral Sea is due to feed south into the Tasman Sea owing to the East Australian Current. Meanwhile, over in the Indian Ocean we've got an even more pronounced pool of warm water that's flowing down the Western Australian coast via the Leeuwin Current.
This is where things get interesting. During the autumn and winter months, cold air (from southern latitudes) is projected further north, where it meets warm water, providing the catalyst for cyclogenesis. These mid-latitude systems are better suited to the East Coast, as in the southern states they bring close-range, windy swells which fade by the time conditions improve. Let's hope we see a good mix of proper Southern Ocean frontal activity mixed in with the expected mid-latitude lows. This is more likely into the winter months.
For the East Coast, cyclongenesis is much more ideal, with East Coast Lows, Tasman Lows and other variations providing plenty of quality surf, much like last year. That is if you fall north of the low's axis. Any location to the south will simply get battered by gale-force onshore winds, storm surf and heavy rain.
Over the next couple of weeks the main impact on our local weather and surf will be the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), that being the wave of increased tropical activity that impacts Australia during summer and autumn.
The MJO is currently strengthening and moving across our north, bringing an increase in tropical instability, and this will be the catalyst for the low forming in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast through Friday.
It looks like we'll see a pattern of supporting highs sliding through the Tasman Sea, supporting any troughs/lows that develop, thereby producing plenty of easterly swell for south-east Queensland and northern NSW. Depending on where the low tracks, southern NSW will pick up a bit of size though onshore winds will be an issue.
The southern states will see those funky mid-latitude lows messing with local winds and conditions while also bringing close-range swell energy, mixed with pulses of groundswell.
For a more up-to-date run down of the outlook for the coming months, tune in to the regional Forecaster Notes.
No, please no. No overseas travel, especially the old faithful Indo, and a double dip into La Nina is a shocker for us in some parts of the southern states. The weak swells and easterlies we're getting at the moment are bad enough but to have a possible repeat so soon, no. Hoping late Autumn and winter are kinder.
La Nina may be officially over but it's still Gods piss pot here.
Glad La Nina has filled up my water tanks, glad it's going so I can build a new deck.
The covid global reset has not only reset the global economies but mother nature as well :)
Craig, how does the tropical cyclone forming between NW Oz and Indo fit into the picture? They're fairly rare I think.
That's the combination of the MJO and warm water up there.
Cheers. It's interesting to follow its affect on the trades in Indo over the next week. They go from SE to NW fairly rapidly. So much to learn about the weather. So little time.
Also looks like with all the warm water up there into winter we'll be heading into a negative IOD mode, which should see lighter winds and not the normal strength trades, espcially across the Ments and Sumatra. Aghh, one can only dream,
Is there an opportunity to bring out other strange words like Fujiwhara?
I just get up each day and see what Huey's served up then act accordingly.
Life's too short to worry/speculate about things you can't control.
I like to go on a surf forecasting website, create an account, log in, and tell people life's too short to worry about surf forecasting.
Couldn't give a fuck about the forecasts on this site fella. Not a subscriber so don't have access to them anyway.
Like most older crew I learnt to interpret freely available weather data for my local area well before websites like this were around. I also live walking distance to where I surf most of the time so no need for advance planning.
I just come on here for the stories, surf clips, comments etc. but thanks sincerely for your concern.
Me too mate I just don't feel the need to point it out, not concerned.
Have a great Easter!
You too mate.
I just reckon a lot of crew over froth on forecasts but, hey, thats their trip so good on em'.
Glad we worked that out!
Absolutely, hype on mediocre swells these days is ridiculous. 3ft get the ski out!
Happy Easter to both you guys and everyone else!
I hear ya Ringmaster.. nothing like the morning surf check (that I’m just about to do) , but I’ve also found reading the swell forecast from a range of these sites is helpful to know what time of day it’s gonna happen & the period/strength.. could be small at 7am when you look, but by 9 it’s pumping!
Not to mention the correlation between the forecast swell and the forecast crowds.
Seriously warm water off the SW corner of WA at the moment. Multiple reports of tropical species being caught off cape Nat
23° inshore and warmer out to sea, balmy!
Yep and even a whale shark spotted a few weeks ago off Rockingham!
BOM Interactive Weather and Wave Forecast map showing a nice lil low dragging down the coast next Tuesdayish.
There's a good chance it will show something completely different tomorrow.
Tweed looking to get another 175 mills on Monday Tuesday , gods piss pot sounds about right freeride
Thats actually Joe Larkin's (RIP) term for Byron Bay.
they used to call it Gods piss pot because it rained so much.
Been dry at Belongil many a time watching it piss down over the point, odd place.
21/22 sounds like it’s going to be wet. Hope these storm banks fix themselves before winter on the central coast before the offshores become more consistent.... hey Craig what swell/wind is best to push the sand back? East?
Each location differs but it's more so smaller, persistent swells that fill the sand slowly back in.
It’s been a while since the banks were good up there, but at least with last winter’s storms it took all the build up off the beach. The potential is there.
Banks? What’s that? Over here (Mandurah region WA) we haven’t seen decent sandbanks at the beach breaks in many years... unlike the East coast points, we need a series of big winter swells to mess them up.
Scoffing rather than frothing from me lately. Love your articles Craig.
how's the rain forecast for sun/ mon on sunny coast....looks like that low is sitting right on top of us..
Depends on how quick the low moves, Sunday not so much until the evening but Monday for sure.
6 am Sunday raining, not heavy but non stop
You can't beat the forecasting when you can plan your weeks work ahead and know when it's time not to book jobs in and time to get work done
Great article Craig. So Craig RE: West Oz over the next few months. Wouldn’t these potential mid-latitude lows cause any good groundswells from Southern Ocean frontal swells to be ruined by onshores? (Especially up the coast at Mandurah & Perth).
Yep they will.
Have you noticed that cyclone forming near Exmouth next thursday? Exmouth might be in trouble...especially due to all the tourists there at the moment...but there might be waves off it im hoping
La Nina might be officially over but it won't stop raining.
pretty grim over Easter.
Hey Craig, RE the southern states, do these mid latitude lows you mention mean that you’re expecting a similar winter to last year?
Or was last year quite different from your POV? My experience was smaller swells, more easterly winds and warmer weather than usual?
Happy Easter mate!
Last year there were lots of westerly swells, I don't think this will be the case with a return to SW energy but the mid-latitude lows will bring varying winds from N/NE ahead of them and then S'ly behind them. We'll see how it plays out.
1400mm+ at Ballina airport since the beginning of December.
Had a surf today in SA was 31 degrees and warm... bit strange for autumn
Regarding the occurrence of double-dip La Niña's following the first year, here's an interesting chart released by NOAA..
What happened after the first year of La Niña
With the strength of the recent Niña, odds are weighted towards a double-dip.
Major pattern change now ahead.
Good-bye to this Nina for at least 3 months.
Yep, bring on the weekend's cold air.
I really wish La Nina (in Vic) wasn't timed with Corona-19 lockdowns, division, segregation and just a general defection of life from the anus. Fuck off ya wind cunt.