Air Temperatures – The following maximum temperatures were recorded across the state of Hawaii Thursday afternoon:
Lihue, Kauai – 84
Honolulu airport, Oahu - 87
Molokai airport - 86
Kahului airport, Maui – 88
Kona airport – 86
Hilo airport, Hawaii - 81
Air Temperatures ranged between these warmest and coolest spots near sea level – and on the highest mountain tops around the state…as of 810pm Thursday evening:
Kailua-kona – 79
Hilo, Hawaii - 72
Haleakala Summit - 50 (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea Summit – M (near 13,800 feet on the Big Island)
Hawaii’s Mountains – Here’s a link to the live web cam on the summit of near 13,800 foot Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. This web cam is available during the daylight hours here in the islands…and when there’s a big moon shining down during the night at times. Plus, during the nights you will be able to see stars, and the sunrise and sunset too…depending upon weather conditions. Here's the Haleakala Crater webcam on Maui…although this webcam is not always working correctly.
Tropical Cyclone activity in the eastern and central Pacific - Here’s the latest weather information coming out of the National Hurricane Center, covering the eastern north Pacific. You can find the latest tropical cyclone information for the central north Pacific (where Hawaii is located) by clicking on this link to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. A satellite image, which shows the entire ocean area between Hawaii and the Mexican coast…can be found here.
Trade winds, some windward showers tonight,
then drier Friday through the weekend…
into next week
Second full moon of the month Friday
night…called a blue moon!
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME – 1248Z 31 AUG 2012
COORDINATES – 10.9 NORTH 127.1 EAST
DEPTH – 33 KM
LOCATION – PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
MAGNITUDE - 7.6
NO TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS FOR OTHER COASTAL AREAS IN THE PACIFIC, ALTHOUGH SOME OTHER AREAS MAY EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA LEVEL CHANGES (beginning around noon today here in Hawaii).
As this weather map shows, we have a moderately strong high pressure system located to the north-northeast of the islands. Our local trade winds will be moderately strong and gusty through the next week.
The following numbers represent the most recent top wind gusts (mph), along with directions as of Thursday evening:
21 Port Allen, Kauai – E
31 Kahuku Trng, Oahu – NE
28 Molokai – ENE
35 Kahoolawe – NE
33 Kahului, Maui -NE
29 Lanai – NE
28 South Point, Big Island – NE
We can use the following links to see what’s going on in our area of the north central Pacific Ocean. Here's the latest NOAA satellite picture – the latest looping satellite image…and finally the latest looping radar image for the Hawaiian Islands.
Here are the latest 24-hour precipitation totals (inches) for each of the islands as of Thursday evening:
4.62 Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.51 Poamoho RG 1, Oahu
0.09 Puu Kukui, Maui
0.67 Mountain View, Big Island
~~ Hawaii Sunset Commentary ~~
Our trade winds will continue to be moderately strong, and last through the next week. These trade winds are forecast to nudge up a notch this weekend, likely requiring small craft wind advisories to be needed again over those windiest parts of Maui County and the Big Island. We find a moderately strong high pressure system (weather map) located to the north-northeast of the islands Thursday evening. Windward showers will fall at times tonight, and then returning to about normal, or a bit below that…as we get into the weekend and beyond.
Here in Kula, Maui at 515pm Thursday evening, it was partly cloudy with light breezes…and an air temperature of 70.3F degrees. The trades are forecast to continue across our islands, increasing a notch or so this weekend. These trade winds will blow generally in the moderately strong realms…although there will be stronger gusts at times locally well into next week. If we look at this satellite image, it shows low clouds upwind of the islands. These lower level clouds will bring passing showers to our windward sides at times…and a few along our leeward and upcountry sections locally too. At the same time, there are minor areas of high cirrus clouds over the Big Island, and to the northwest of Kauai at the time of this writing.
Through the rest of this month, all one day of it, will continue to have the trade winds blowing, along with showers falling at times too. The forecast goes on to suggest that we'll see somewhat drier weather arriving late Friday into the weekend. Rainfall really backed off today, in terms of intensities and frequencies, at least compared to the last several days. The satellite image above shows some fairly minor bands of showery clouds to the east and northeast of the windward sides. These will bring a modest increase in showers when they arrive tonight, and then it looks less showery by Friday, into the weekend time frame. I'll be back again early Friday morning with your next new weather narrative. I hope you have a great Thursday night wherever you happen to be spending it. Aloha for now…Glenn.
World-wide tropical cyclone activity:
Tropical depression Isaac is bringing heavy rainfall and the threat of flash flooding to the middle Mississippi River Valley. Isaac is located about 25 miles northeast of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Maximum sustained winds are 25 mph, moving in a north-northwest direction at 11 mph. Here's a satellite image of Isaac, along with a graphic showing forecast rainfall.
Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea: Hurricane Kirk (11L) remains active in the central Atlantic Ocean…located 1430 miles west-southwest of the Azores. Sustained winds were 105 mph, moving towards the north at 13 mph. Here's the NHC graphical track map, along with a satellite image of hurricane Kirk. Here's the hurricane model output for Kirk.
Tropical storm Leslie (12L) is active in the tropical Atlantic…located 845 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Sustained winds were 65 mph, moving westward at 17 mph. Here's the NHC graphical track map for Leslie, and a satellite image. Here's the hurricane models information for this strengthening storm. Look for Leslie to become a hurricane within 24 hours.
Here's a satellite image showing hurricane Kirk…and tropical storm Leslie.
Gulf of Mexico: There are no active tropical cyclones
Eastern Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Ileana (9E) remains active offshore from the Mexican west coast…located about 355 miles west of the southern tip of Baja California. Sustained winds were 75 mph, remaining a hurricane for a short time longer…then becoming a tropical storm later today. Here's the NHC graphical track map, along with a satellite image. Here's what the hurricane models are doing with Ileana. There is no threat to land from this hurricane.
Central Pacific Ocean: There are no active tropical cyclones
Western Pacific Ocean: There are no active tropical cyclones
South Pacific Ocean: There are no active tropical cyclones
North and South Indian Oceans: There are no active tropical cyclones
Interesting: India is a fast-developing nation with a population of 1.2 billion people, and by 2030 will likely be the most-populous in the world. India's disparities and inequalities are staggering, with 32.7 percent of the population living on $1.25 per day. As the country continues to grow, the impacts on its citizens and the environment become more severe.
Take energy, for example. Over 400 million Indians lack access to the modern electrical grid. Approximately 70 percent of India's power comes from coal and it has the world's fifth-largest coal reserves. India is the third-largest coal producer in the world, but also the third-largest importer.
Earlier this year, the IMF reported that coal causes about 70,000 premature deaths every year in India. The country has the worst air pollution in the entire world. Continued dependence on coal is only going to exacerbate health problems.
What happens when the electric grid fails and nearly 700 million Indians are left in the dark, as happened in early August when a massive power failure occurred? Hopefully an assessment of how best to address the power needs of the sub-continent.
This is a pivotal moment. India can take the initiative and invest more in efficiency and renewable energy/off-grid alternatives, beginning a transition off of coal, or it could continue to rely on the dirtiest of fossil fuels, harming communities and the environment alike. The Indian government does have an ambitious plan for increasing solar energy.
In 2008, the government launched the National Solar Mission, which calls for generating 12.5 percent of India’s total electricity, or 20 gigawatts (GW), from renewable resources by 2020. It was reported last month that the country crossed the 1 GW mark in solar photovoltaic power.
India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change of 2008 states that “Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as a future energy source. It also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level.”
Recently the sunny state of Gujarat announced a “rooftop solar power plant policy to enable the people to produce their own electricity and earn money by selling surplus power to the grid.” Over in Uttar Pradesh, the government has also initiated a solar policy, noting that “The State of Uttar Pradesh is endowed with vast potential of solar power and the Government is keen to tap this resource to improve the availability of power in the State by promoting the establishment of solar energy based power projects, both grid connected and off-grid type.”
There are also many entrepreneurs creating clean energy models targeted at the poor. Selco Solar, founded by social entrepreneur Harish Hande, wants to dispel the myth that poor people cannot afford sustainable technologies. The company is focused on bringing affordable electricity from renewable energy to the rural poor and at the same time raise income levels.
Others, such as Husk Power Systems, are converting rice husk waste into affordable off-grid energy for rural villages. Ironically, during India’s big blackout, rural villagers ended up being better off, due to many homes already having solar panels in place.
The lesson that should be learned is that reliance on fossil fuels and an old and ailing grid that cannot accommodate growing demand, is to jump-start a clean energy future beneficial to all. As energy becomes more costly and scarce, inequality becomes a major issue – something that India must overcome.
Decentralized, off-grid renewable energy offers the poor access to more affordable energy. Even the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, just launched a program targeted at “providing safe, clean and affordable off-grid lighting to two million people living in rural India.”
The IFC estimates that beyond the 400 million people in India who have no access to energy, another 420 million people have minimal grid supply, driving them to expensive, inefficient and hazardous fuel-based lighting. India spends an estimated $2.2 billion annually on kerosene for lighting, showing the large market potential for off-grid lighting.
Despite the positive initiatives concerning renewable energy, the old guard is still pushing coal and investing in new coal plants even as it becomes more expensive. Coal mining is also a threat to the endangered Bengal tiger and other species, and rural communities.
A recent report by Greenpeace said that 1.1 million hectares of forests in central India are under threat from coal mining; these places are home to 35 percent of India’s tiger population. There are only about 1,700 wild tigers left in India, and estimates of how long India’s supply of coal is likely to last range from 30 to 200 years.
Of course, as long as the population of India continues to increase by 1.4 percent annually and the economy continues to modernize, there will be strong economic and political forces demanding utilization of all available power sources.
India and the world can continue to mine for coal, knowing that it will destroy land, species, and communities. Or global society can determine to take bold action and seriously invest in clean energy and put the needs of current and future generations first.
Reliance on coal and fossil fuels will continue for the foreseeable future, but supporting diversified and alternative energy sources today is the direction in which society should head.