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

Lihue, Kauai –                     80  
Honolulu airport, Oahu –      83   (record high for the date – 85 – 1977)
Kaneohe, Oahu –                 79
Molokai airport –                  81

Kahului airport, Maui –          83 (record high for the date – 86 – 1952)
Kona airport –                     80
Hilo airport, Hawaii –            75 

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

Barking Sands, Kauai
– 79
Princeville, Kauai – 73

Haleakala Crater –  39 (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea –         27
(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
Gusty winds gradually easing up from the southeast –
showers on the east and southeast sides…elsewhere
at times –
best weather along the leeward beaches 

As this weather map shows, we have a large near 1038 millibar high pressure system to the northeast of the islands. At the same time we have a trough of low pressure to the south of the islands. Our winds will remain locally quite gusty, although gradually relaxing in strength as a cold front approaches from the northwest.

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

15                 Lihue, Kauai – NE 
25                 Honolulu, Oahu – NE
21                 Molokai – NE    
45                    Kahoolawe – ENE  
33                 Kahului, Maui – ESE  
00                 Lanai – SW 

35                 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 a large area of high and middle level clouds over the Big Island and to the south and east from there. We can use this looping satellite image to see those brighter white clouds to the east, southeast and south, associated with an upper level low pressure system…with some embedded thunderstorms, and another large area of clouds to the northwest…associated with an approaching cold front. Checking out this looping radar image we see light to moderate showers being carried into the islands in places…especially the windward sides.

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

2.31               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.30               Nuuanu Upper, Oahu
0.00               Molokai
0.00               Kahoolawe

0.92               Kaupo Gap, Maui
2.96                 Saddle Quarry, Big Island

Sunset Commentary:
  Our trade winds will remain blustery, at least locally tonight. The forecast continues to suggest that these trade winds will begin to ease up some, shifting to the southeast Thursday and Friday…in response to an approaching cold front. The computer models have been all over the map the last several days, suggesting kona winds with a cold front for the weekend…and then pointing towards trade winds with lots of windward biased showers as well. Meanwhile, the latest iteration now shows light southeast winds remaining in place through Saturday and Sunday, with returning trade winds early next week.

The gusty trades, which are now somewhat south of east, are bringing windward biased showers our way at times. We continue to find a cold pool of air aloft, associated with an upper level low pressure system near the islands. Its presence is helping to keep our atmosphere destabilized and more shower prone than usual…at least at times here and there. If the winds actually remain generally quite light through the rest of this week, we could see incoming showers along our east through southeast coasts and slopes. At the same time, daytime sea breezes could also prompt afternoon showers to fall along our leeward upslope areas too.

Here in Kula, Maui at 540pm HST, we had light winds, with an air temperature of 67.3F degrees. As noted above, the trade winds will remain active…with still those rather strong and gusty conditions here and there. As the southeast winds take over soon, there will be enough blocking of these winds by the Big Island, that there should be lighter winds on the smaller islands Thursday and Friday. We'll see periodic showers, as we have an upper level low pressure system near the state now, with light to moderately heavy showers locally at times. 

This satellite image shows that there are still lots of clouds to our south and east, with some embedded locally heavy showers to the south of the Big Island. Meanwhile, this radar image shows where our showery weather is occurring, most of which continues to be brought our way on the still breezy winds. The air aloft over the state is colder than normal, which will likely cause more snow to fall atop the summits on the Big Island at times tonight, here's the webcam for the Mauna Kea summit…which won't be viewable until early Thursday morning. The air temperature at 5pm this evening atop Mauna Kea was a chilly 27 degrees! ~~~  I'll be back with your next new weather narrative early Thursday morning. I hope you have a great Wednesday night wherever you're spending it! Aloha for now…Glenn.

Interesting:  Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new class of planet: a waterworld with a thick, steamy atmosphere. The exoplanet GJ 1214b is a so-called "Super Earth" – bigger than our planet, but smaller than gas giants such as Jupiter. Observations using the Hubble telescope now seem to confirm that a large fraction of its mass is water. The planet's high temperatures suggest exotic materials might exist there.

"GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," said lead author Zachory Berta, from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The planet was discovered in 2009 by ground-based telescopes. It is about 2.7 times the Earth's diameter, but weighs almost seven times as much.

It orbits its red-dwarf star at a distance of just two million km, meaning temperatures on GJ 1214b probably reach above 200C. In 2010, astronomers released measurements of its atmosphere. These suggested that GJ 1214b's atmosphere was probably made up of water, but there was another possibility – that the planet was covered in a haze, of the type that envelopes Saturn's moon Titan.

Hot ice Mr Berta and his colleagues used the Hubble Space Telescope's wide-field camera to study the planet as it crossed in front of its star – a transit. During these transits, the star's light is filtered through the planet's atmosphere, giving clues to the mixture of gases present.

The researchers said their results are more consistent with a dense atmosphere of water vapour, than one with a haze. Calculations of the planet's density also suggest that GJ 1214b has more water than Earth. This means the internal structure of this world would be very different to that of our own.

"The high temperatures and pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," said Dr Berta. The planet's short distance from Earth makes it a likely candidate for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope, which may launch by the end of this decade.

Interesting2: Sharks have a reputation for being ruthless, solitary predators, but evidence is mounting that certain species enjoy complex social lives that include longstanding relationships and teamwork. A new study, published in the latest Animal Behaviour, documents how one population of blacktip reef sharks is actually organized into four communities and two subcommunities.

The research shows for the first time that adults of a reef-associated shark species form stable, long-term social bonds. The image contrasts with usual reports on this species, which mistakenly sinks its sharp teeth into surfers and swimmers from time to time.

Lead author Johann Mourier told Discovery News that "other species, such as grey reef sharks and scalloped hammerheads form polarized groups where individuals have a specific place, and such species may also have complex social organization."

Mourier, a scientist at the Center for Island Research and Environmental Study (CNRS-EPHE), and colleagues Julie Vercelloni and Serge Planes conducted the study at Moorea Island in the Society archipelago, French Polynesia. A total of seven sites were surveyed on a regular basis along just over 6 miles of the north shore of Moorea.

The surveys included nearly hour-long dives at a depth close to 50 feet, with the diver photographing nearby sharks. Analysis of the gathered data determined that the sharks were not within non-random collections, but rather had organized themselves into meaningful social groups.