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

Lihue, Kauai –                     79  
Honolulu airport, Oahu –      82   
Kaneohe, Oahu –                 M
Molokai airport –                 82

Kahului airport, Maui –      84   (Record high temperature for this date – 88 / 1952)
Kona airport –                    82
Hilo airport, Hawaii –           80

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

Kahului, Maui – 82
Princeville, Kauai – 73

Haleakala Crater –  50 (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea –         36
(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…although this webcam is often not working correctly.

 Aloha Paragraphs   
Fewer showers…lighter winds from
the southeast through Tuesday

Windy trades with showers Thursday-
Friday on into the first part of the weekend

First full day of Spring is Tuesday


As this weather map shows, we have a near 1025 millibar high pressure system to the northeast, with an associated ridge extending far east of the islands.  At the same time, we have a deep storm low pressure system far northeast, with its associated cold front extending far southwest from its center…to the northwest of Kauai. Our winds will be light or a little stronger from the southeast through Tuesday, and then rebounding trade winds later Wednesday onwards.

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

14                 Princeville, Kauai – ESE
18                 Wheeler AFB, Oahu – ENE
07                 Molokai – N
35                 Kahoolawe – ESE
23                 Lipoa, Maui – ENE
14                 Lanai – NE

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 
Monday evening.  Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we see scattered low clouds over the ocean coming…although at a minimum at the time of this writing. We can use this looping satellite image to see low clouds coming into the state, carried by the winds, which are turning more southeast now. We also see a dynamic cold front/trough approaching to our west. Checking out this looping radar image we see just a few showers being carried towards the islands by the southeast winds, mostly over the southeast coasts and slopes, although elsewhere in some places too. There were a few showers near Kauai that were more moderately heavy at the time of this writing.

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

6.38               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
2.24               Moanalua RG, Oahu
0.16               Molokai
0.00               Kahoolawe

0.41               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.88               Hilo airport, Big Island

Sunset Commentary:
  As expected, the winds have veered to the east-southeast and southeast as we push through the first couple of days of this new work week. This is happening as a result of high pressure to our northeast, with its air flow moving into a trough of low pressure, and its associated cold front to our west and northwest. The air will split around the the Big Island, leaving most of the state in a lighter wind regime through the next day or two. As we move into later Wednesday, the trade winds will rebound, becoming quite gusty through the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, the precipitation associated with the trough/cold front to our west, won't make it into our area, as it stalls before arriving. The southeast winds will carry only limited moisture to our windward sides, and those southeast coasts and slopes as well. This air flow, carrying the clouds around the islands, can be seem by glancing at this looping satellite image…while this looping radar image shows the showers moving through the islands in a very limited fashion. 

Here in Kula, Maui at 530pm Monday evening, our skies were partly cloudy overhead, with just a slight bit of volcanic haze…and an air temperature of 71.6F degrees. As noted above, our trade winds have veered to the southeast now. When they do return by later Wednesday into Thursday, they will be carrying showers our way, which will keep the windward sides locally wet for a few days.  The leeward sides will be on the receiving end of some of these showers as well. As we get into the second half of the upcoming weekend, our weather will turn generally drier. ~~~ I'll be back early in the morning with your next new weather narrative. I hope you have a great Monday night until then! Aloha for now…Glenn.

Interesting: According to a senior Russian state official, the Russian government will guide the Express-AM4, a large telecommunications satellite that was launched into an inadequate orbit in August, into a direct, descending orbit starting March 20. The Russian government said that any pieces that fall from space will land in the Pacific Ocean. Russia's state-owned telecommunications company, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC), has said that the 5,800 kilogram satellite has been stuck in an orbit that is too low to the ground because the Breeze M upper stage of the Russian Proton rocket failed to launch the rocket to a higher altitude.

The Chief Financial Officer of the RSCC, Dennis Pivnyuk, said that the company planned to use the telecommunications satellite for 15 years as a part of its expansive development plan. Pivnyuk also said that Russian authorities had considered and discarded multiple alternatives to save the media-influenced spacecraft. Pivnyuk said during the Satellite 2012 Conference that the satellite will come down between March 20th and March 26th.

"While the satellite was not damaged, it has spent seven months in an orbit that exposes it to radiation that has left it in not good shape. There is not much lifetime left. We've reviewed different proposals from different entities, but none was really feasible," said Pivnyuk.

Pivnyuk said that the Astrium Satellites-made Express-AM4 is being replaced by the RSCC and is being paid by the company's $270 million insurance payment. Astrium Satellites has promised that the replacement, the Express-AM4R, will be ready in time to be launched in late 2013.

Isle of Man-based company Polar Broadband Systems is attempting to gain the services of the Express-AM4 with the goal of repositioning the satellite to give scientists studying in Antarctica 14-16 hours of daily broadcast communications.

Polar Broadband Systems Co-Founder William Readdy said that the company is still attempting to convince RSCC to reposition the satellite through a series of orbit-raising burns between the end of March and the beginning of June.

Interesting2: The mountain pine beetle epidemic is considered to be the largest forest insect blight in North American history. In the past, the pine beetles played a humble role, attacking old or weakened trees, making room for new healthy trees. The changing climate has turned their seemingly benign role into something much more insidious.

An explosion in pine beetle size and numbers has forced them to turn their attention to healthy trees. Furthermore, they are reproducing twice as much as normal. Once thought to only produce one generation of tree-killing offspring per year, new research now shows that some populations are producing two generations per year, potentially increasing overall population by 60 times.

The mountain pine beetle affect the trees by laying their eggs under the bark. Their trees of choice include the ponderosa and lodgepole pine. A fungus is secreted by the beetle to protect the eggs from a counterattack by the tree through the use of tree pitch flow.

The fungus also prevents water and nutrient transport within the tree. The combination of fungal infection and the beetle larvae feeding from within can kill the tree in a few weeks. The tree may appear healthy at first, but eventually the pine needles turn red and bark turns gray. By the time the tree is fully deceased, the beetles have moved on to infest their next tree.

New research from a duo of scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder has discovered the pine beetle's unique reproduction trait as key to the current epidemic. The extra annual generation could produce up to 60 times more beetles. Warmer temperatures have also expanded the beetle's range, helping it come into contact with trees that have not adapted proper defenses.

The earlier arrival of spring also gives them a head start in reproduction. The dramatic increase in pine beetle population helps explain the extent of the epidemic, ranging from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico to the Yukon Territory in Canada.

"This thing is immense," said Jeffry Mitton, CU-Boulder professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. Mitton explained that the pine beetles have expanded their range 240 miles farther north in Canada and 2,000 feet higher in elevation within the last 25 years.

The research was conducted by Mitton along with graduate student, Scott Ferrenberg. It has been published in the journal, The American Naturalist.