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Hawaii Weather: Peculiarities and Hazards Essay

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As a popular vacation destination, the Hawaiian islands are well known for their predictable and relatively mild weather year round. However, there are wide variations in the weather depending on the exact location in the island chain. Also, there are some unique hazards to aviation operations caused by Hawaii’s location and geography that one must become acquainted with before operating an aircraft in the 50th state. One can encounter trade winds and their associated weather, temperature inversions and their effects, volcanic eruptions, high winds, heavy rain, and tropical cyclones.
The Hawaiian archipelago lies within the band of 0º- 30ºN Latitude, which is the region of global circulation where the northeasterly trade winds are located (Lester 7-5). These prevailing northeasterly winds cause unique rainfall patterns throughout the islands. In the waters surrounding Hawaii, an average of 25-30 inches of rain falls per year. However, Hawaii’s orography and trade winds cause the islands to have up to 15 times greater rainfall than the surrounding ocean (Price 54-55). The warm, moist air from the Pacific is brought to the islands’ windward mountains, which then cause the air to rise, cool, and condense to form clouds and rain. This effect often causes extreme rainfall numbers of up to 9-11 m/yr in many northeast-facing, windward areas of the islands (Giambelluca and Nullet 209). Along windward facing ridges in the northern parts of the islands, lifting air is common whenever the prevailing trade winds are blowing across the ridge. For sailplane pilots, this produces beneficial ridge lift. For powered airplane operators, however, this can create turbulence across ridges, especially when the wind speed is high.
The so-called trad...


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...her %20Patterns%20on%20Oahu%20and%20Lania,%20Hawaii.pdf>.
Lester, Peter F. Aviation Weather. Englewood, CO: Jeppesen Sanderson, 2007. Print.
Macdonald, Gordon A. "Volcanism." Atlas of Hawaii. [S.l.]: Univ Pr of Hawaii, 1973. 36-38. Print.
"PHOG Max Wind Statistics (KAHULUI in USA MAUI ISL.) | Meteo·Mobile." Aviation Weather for Pilots | Meteo·Mobile. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. Wind/PHOG-4>.
Price, Saul. "Climate." Atlas of Hawaii. [S.l.]: Univ Pr of Hawaii, 1973. 53-59. Print.
"Subtropical High (meteorology) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. 571157/subtropical-high>.
"Vog: A Volcanic Hazard." USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). 29 May 1996. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. .


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