Air Temperatures The following maximum temperatures were recorded across the state of Hawaii Wednesday:   

Lihue, Kauai –                     79  
Honolulu airport, Oahu –       80  
Kaneohe, Oahu –                 80
Molokai airport –                  81

Kahului airport, Maui –          85  (record high for the date – 88 – 1952, 1981)
Kona airport –                     81 
Hilo airport, Hawaii –            81 

Air Temperatures ranged between these warmest and coolest spots near sea level – and on the highest mountain tops…as of 5pm Wednesday evening:

Kahului, Maui – 80
Princeville, Kauai – 73

Haleakala Crater –  45 (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea –         30
(near 13,800 feet on the Big Island)

Hawaii’s MountainsHere’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.

 Aloha Paragraphs
Larger waves on our north and west shores Thursday –
Strengthening trades Thursday into Friday –
   localized showers, increasing Friday into the weekend,
  especially on the windward sides of the islands –
high cirrus clouds…should be a nice sunrise this morning
light volcanic haze (vog) locally

As this weather map shows, we have a storm low pressure system far to the north and northwest of the islands, with an associated cold front not far to the north of the islands.   At the same time, we have high pressure systems to the northeast and west-northwest of the islands…with an associated ridge running by not far to the north of Hawaii. Our winds will be strengthening Thursday into Friday from the trade wind direction.

The following numbers represent the strongest wind gusts (mph), along with directions Wednesday evening:

12                 Princeville, Kauai – ENE 
18                 Bellows, Oahu – NE
08                 Molokai – SE    
38                    Kahoolawe – E  
27                 Kapalua, Maui – ENE  
10                 Lanai – WNW  
27                 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
Wednesday evening.  Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we see lots of high cirrus clouds over the entire state. We can use this looping satellite image to see those high clouds masking lower level clouds, and covering most islands. Checking out this looping radar image we see just a few showers being carried into the islands locally.

Here are the 24-hour precipitation totals (inches) for each of the islands as of
Wednesday evening:

0.55               N Wailua ditch, Kauai
0.36               Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.00               Molokai
0.00               Kahoolawe

0.05               Kula, Maui
0.12               Kealakekua, Big Island

Sunset Commentary:
  Our winds have already started to turn more to a trade wind direction, which will strengthen Thursday into Friday. This lighter brand of southeast breezes will strengthen Thursday, and become more classic trade winds through the rest of the week. There is still a bit of leftover volcanic haze, carried over parts of the islands on the recent southeast breezes…although it will be gone soon. The rebounding trade winds will strengthen rather significantly over the next few days, and remain robust into the weekend. The current models are hinting that these trade winds will ease up, and may even veer back to the southeast by early next week…potentially bringing back more volcanic haze then.

A cold front, which has been pushing in our direction, is stalling over the offshore waters to the northwest of Kauai now. It's presence is what has caused our trade winds to give way to lighter breezes. As we move into Thursday, the high pressure ridge close by to our north, will shift northwards…with strengthening trade winds the result. These strong and gusty trades will bring an increase in windward biased showers…especially over the eastern islands in the chain both Saturday and Sunday. These blustery trade winds will back off after the weekend, and shift back to the southeast…as the next cold front approaches.

Here in Kula, Maui at 530pm HST, we had calm winds, with partly cloudy skies, and a bit of volcanic haze…and an air temperature of 65.5F degrees. As noted above, the general flow of air over the state has been from the southeast the last day or two.  This will changing now, as they become stronger, strong enough in fact that we'll see small craft wind advisories going up across all of our marine environment soon. We still have that good chance of finding more than the normal amount of incoming windward biased showers arriving Friday into the weekend, as an upper level low pressure system develops nearby, enhancing showers moving under it. The bulk of these showers will likely occur over the Big Island and Maui, with somewhat less shower activity over the windward sides of the other islands. Meanwhile, the surf will continue to break along our north and west facing beaches, becoming significantly larger Thursday into Friday. This surf will trigger high surf advisory level waves, which could even reach high surf warning levels locally. The south shores will be sheltered from these breakers however, where the best beaching opportunities will exist. ~~~ I'll be back again early Thursday morning with your next new weather narrative. I hope you have a great Wednesday night until then! Aloha for now…Glenn.

Interesting: There are few things on Earth that have undergone a more dramatic weight loss than the world's ice caps and glaciers. According to a recent study, they have lost about 150 billion tons per year from 2003 to 2010. Such a large quantity of ice has translated to a 0.4 millimeter rise in sea levels each year. At this rate, it will take 2,500 years for sea levels to rise one meter.

However, indications point towards accelerated ice loss in the future. Plus, if including ice lost from the major land-based ice sheets, sea level rise is much worse. Loss of ice from the fringes of Greenland and Antarctica contributed an additional 80 billion tons.

Altogether, the researchers estimate that sea level rise, caused by loss of all ice on Earth between 2003 and 2010, is equivalent to adding 8 times the volume of Lake Erie into the oceans. The research was conducted by a team at the University of Colorado-Bouler.

They used data from the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, a joint project between NASA and scientists in Germany. These satellites circle the globe in tandem 16 times per day, sensing even the slightest variation in the planet's mass and gravitational pull.

"This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth's glaciers and ice caps with GRACE," said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr. "The Earth is losing an incredible amount of ice to the oceans annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet's cold regions are responding to global change."

Total ice lox on Earth from 2003 to 2010 was calculated at about 1,000 cubic miles. To put that in context, Wahr explains that this amount "would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water." Data from the GRACE satellites show that sea level rose 12 millimeters (1.5 inches) from 2003 to 2010.

This rise is partly caused by ice loss. The other major factor is expansion due to rising water temperatures. The water expansion component is believed to be roughly equal to the ice melt component. "One big question is how sea level rise is going to change in this century," said co-author, Professor Tad Pfeffer.

"If we could understand the physics more completely and perfect numerical models to simulate all of the processes controlling sea level — especially glacier and ice sheet changes — we would have a much better means to make predictions. But we are not quite there yet."