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November-December 2013

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The Weather and Climate of Hawaii

The weather and climate of Hawaii can be summed up in two apparently mismatched words: consistent and extremely variable.

Anyone who has ever visited Hawaii (the Aloha State, located some 2,500 miles from the California coast) knows that some places are very wet and other places are very dry. A drive around any island in the volcanic chain will take one past lush rainforests and desert-like scrub. Drive up any one of the volcanic craters that extend above the tropical trade wind inversion, and one will find the same variability. This isn't surprising, since places on the northeast facing mountain slopes receive more than 300 inches of annual rainfall, while some locations on the southwest (lee side of the islands) are lucky to get into double digits.  

H. MICHAEL MOGIL is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and weather educator who lives in Naples, Florida.           

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