Geography Department launches websites providing data on Hawai'i's climate

July 2, 2014, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Geography Department launches websites providing data on Hawai'i's climate
Interactive maps allow users to see spatial patterns for variables and zoom in on areas of interest.

The Geography Department in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) has launched a new, interactive water resource management website on evapotranspiration that, when added to the existing Rainfall Atlas of Hawai'i website, will form a family of products providing critical information on the state's average climate and water processes.

Evapotranspiration, the process by which is returned to the atmosphere through evaporation of moisture from leaves and soil and through transpiration from plants during photosynthesis, is a critical component of the hydrologic cycle as it provides approximately 14 percent of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere.

"Understanding and quantifying this movement of moisture within the atmosphere is critical to the management of Hawai'i's and the protection of its natural environment. It is a key component in the analysis of how , land development and species invasion will affect the islands' natural ecosystems, agriculture and domestic water availability," said Dr. Thomas Giambelluca, a climatologist and hydrologist in the UH Mānoa Geography Department.

"The research conducted by Dr. Giambelluca and his students will prove invaluable as we work to address the growing challenges Hawai'i faces due to climate change. The practical applications of this data, beyond climate modeling and resource management, are far reaching. For example, evapotranspiration rate predictions may help the agriculture sector estimate potential water demands for crops and determine the optimum time for irrigation. Similarly, the solar industry may find the data useful in developing projections for photo voltaic needs," said Hong Jiang, chair of the Geography Department.

Giambelluca and his students collected, analyzed and mapped a range of data variables including evapotranspiration, wet canopy evaporation, transpiration, soil evaporation, potential , solar radiation, clear sky solar radiation, cloud frequency, albedo, net radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, vapor pressure deficit, wind speed and soil moisture. More than 12,000 data maps were created, covering each hour of the average 24-hour cycle for each month and each hour of the average 24-hour cycle for the year. Average values for each month and the annual average were also mapped.

The websites include interactive maps that allow users to see the spatial patterns for each variable. Individuals may also zoom in on areas of particular interest, navigate to specific locations using different base maps, and click on a location to obtain the mean value of the selected variable, graphs of the mean monthly and hourly values, and obtain tables with mean hourly, monthly and annual values of all variables for a selected location.

Explore further: US Southwest water availability reductions ahead according to research that reveals spring drying trends

More information: The evapotranspiration websites may be found at

Related Stories

New technique measures evaporation globally

April 11, 2013

Researchers at Columbia Engineering and Boston University have developed the first method to map evaporation globally using weather stations, which will help scientists evaluate water resource management, assess recent trends ...

ESA's water mission keeps tabs on dry spring soils

May 13, 2011

Western Europe's exceptionally dry spring is clear to see in maps generated using data from SMOS. While these maps offer an interesting view of the stark difference in soil moisture compared to a year ago, the data are also ...

Recommended for you

Pacific plastic dump far larger than feared: study

March 22, 2018

The vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific ocean is now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined—far larger than previously feared—and is growing rapidly, a study published Thursday warned.

The tradeoffs inherent in earthquake early warning systems

March 22, 2018

A team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology has found that modern earthquake early warning (EEW) systems require those interpreting their messages to take into consideration ...

Seismologists introduce new measure of earthquake ruptures

March 21, 2018

A team of seismologists has developed a new measurement of seismic energy release that can be applied to large earthquakes. Called the Radiated Energy Enhancement Factor (REEF), it provides a measure of earthquake rupture ...

Conservation costs can be higher than bargained for

March 21, 2018

Sweeping policies that reward people in environmentally sensitive areas for returning their farmlands to nature have been lauded as ecological triumphs. But a new Michigan State University study shows that over time some ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.