Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What is vog?

Have you heard of vog? Vog is air pollution caused by volcanic activity. As you may know, the Hawaiian islands were created by long periods of volcanic activity. Our volcano on Maui (Haleakala) has been dormant, or should we say not currently active, since the 1400s (most recent eruption was at La Perousse Bay - very cool to go see!) However, on Hawaii's Big Island (the Island of Hawaii) Mount Kilauea is very active. In fact, it has been active since January 3, 1983 (yes, that's almost 20 years now). Here is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website for more information.

hazy conditions in upcountry Maui, courtesy of the Maui News
How does this affect Maui? For the most part, the trade winds blow the vog to the south-west of Big Island, away from Maui. But every now and then the trade winds disappear and we get Kona (named after the town of Kona on Big Island) winds blowing from the south, south-easterly (opposite direction of the trade winds) which bring the vog to Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands. Kona winds can also bring storms. We are currently in the midst of this weather pattern, The storm hasn't materialized in Kihei (just clouds and muggy weather), but it's hazy from the vog. According to KHON's weather forecast, a high pressure system and our trade winds should return tomorrow and things will start to clear up.

What to do when it's voggy? Drink lots of water and avoid exertion. If you have asthma or breathing problems, you should consider staying indoors.

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