School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

SOEST in the News: 2015

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Photo of Dave Karl

Apr 16: Karl honored with DuPont Award for outstanding accomplishment in microbiology

David Karl, the Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel professor of Oceanography and director of the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) has been honored with the 2015 DuPont Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest professional life sciences society in the world. With this award, the ASM recognizes “outstanding accomplishment” in research and development in environmental microbiology. Read more about it in the UH System News. Congratulations, Dave!

Photo of scuba diver and coral

Apr 15: How to train your coral

One of the very real and immediate impacts of climate change is widespread death of the living corals that make up the building blocks of reefs. Warming oceans are the main cause in a threat to corals known as coral bleaching. When water temperatures are too high, symbiotic plants that live inside the tissues of healthy corals suddenly leave, causing a once colorful animal to turn stark white. If the warm temperatures persist, and the coral remains without its partner plants long enough, the coral will die. HIMB researcher Ruth Gates is working to find a solution: her lab focuses on understanding the processes that happen inside living corals in hopes of understanding how we might be able to help these animals survive the conditions of the future.

Read more about at Huffington Post, and watch the video on our video page. Image courtesy of HD Under H2O; click on it to see the full version.

training cloud image

Apr 08: Creating tools for science communicators

Elisha Wood-Charlson, communications project manager for C-MORE, worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Outreach Associate Melissa Varga to create a communication-training guide that will help researchers transform their work into a communications plan that is more accessible for local audiences.

Read more about it in the UH System News. The training guide PDF and example portfolio PDF are available for download on our Outreach page, as well as at the UCS Tips and Tools for Science Communicators. You can also follow this conversation at #scicommfolio.

Drone image

Apr 07: That’s not a drone, that’s a researcher

For the average consumer, drones might just be toys, but for businesses, researchers, and government agencies, especially in Hawai‘i, they’re the latest tool helping them work more quickly, safely, and economically. Craig Glenn, a professor of Geology and Geophysics (G&G), and his graduate student Joseph Kennedy are using them in their research on fresh groundwater entering the ocean. Using advanced thermal infrared imaging collected by drone-mounted sensors, they’re looking at tiny differences in coastal water temperatures, which they can then use to pinpoint where groundwater enters the ocean, how long it took to get there, and how it — and anything in it like waste, chemicals, or fertilizer — impacts marine ecosystems and reefs.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Civil Beat and the Government Executive. Image courtesy of J. Rushin / Civil Beat; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of diver and bigeye trevallys

Apr 05: Broad view of human influence on Pacific ecosystems

A sobering report, part of NOAA’s Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program and published in PLOS ONE by SOEST researchers and their colleagues, draws on data from nearly 40 islands and atolls across the central and western Pacific — including 25 unpopulated islands — to investigate the relative influence of environmental variation and human presence on reef fish assemblages. After accounting for environmental variation among the reefs, the team of scientists estimates that human presence is associated with large reductions in reef fish biomass compared to projections for an uninhabited state, but the affect is variable. Kate Hanson, an Oceanography postdoctoral fellow, is a co-author of the paper.

Read more about it in the UH System News, PhysOrg, and EurekAlert!. NOAA photo by B. Ruttenburg of NMFS SEFSC; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of 3d printed spectrometer

Apr 01: 3D printing an open source spectrometer

Ben Hickman of the Dept of Oceanography wanted to develop an affordable spectrometer. Normally extremely expensive, spectrometers provide a way to map and monitor water chemistry. With price tags ranging from the high $1000s to the $100,000s, this type of very basic science instrument is far out of the reach of most high schools and colleges for entry-level lab classes. This is where 3D printing and Brian Chee, an IT Specialist for SOEST, came to the rescue. After overcoming a steep learning curve in both optics and 3D printing, a working spectrometer was developed; with a goal of producing a device for about $100, it can be accessible to a wider range of schools and institutions worldwide… and even individual students.

Read more about in Image courtesy of B. Hickman; click on it to see the full image.

Beach erosion image

Mar 24: Coastal erosion predicted to double by 2050s in Hawai‘i

A report in the journal Natural Hazards by scientists at SOEST and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) brings into clearer focus just how dramatically Hawai‘i beaches might change as sea level rises in the future. Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai‘i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. “When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise (SLR) projected under the IPCC’s ‘business as usual’ scenario, we found that increased SLR contributes to an average 36–40 ft of shoreline retreat by 2050, and an average of nearly 100 ft of retreat by 2100, except at Kailua, O‘ahu, which is projected to begin retreating by mid-century,” said Tiffany Anderson, lead author and post-doctoral researcher.

Read more about it and watch the videos, including interviews with Tiffany Anderson and co-author Chip Fletcher, coastal geologist and SOEST’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at KITV (autoplays) and Hawaii News Now; read about it in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required), KHON2 here and here, SFGate, UH System News, Huffington Post, and EurekAlert!. Image courtesy of C. Fletcher; click on it to see the full version.

PRPDC image

Mar 20: “Volatiles at the Poles of the Moon: The Remote Sensing View of the Puzzle”

Myriam Lemelin

Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP)

Tuesday 24 March • 7:30 pm
NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (PRPDC), POST 544, UH Mānoa

This FREE lecture is open to the public. Click here for more information or see the flyer PDF.

Photo of Halemaumau

Mar 19: Vog returns, survey nears completion

When it comes to impacts from the volcanic gases and particles emanating from the active eruption at Kīlauea volcano, the windward side of the island usually gets off easy. The regular trade winds from the northeast typically blow the sulfur dioxide and other particulates from the vent at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō out to sea or toward Kona. But when those winds die down, the vog can accumulate, creating a thick haze that creates bothersome conditions for many people, and that’s what is happening this week in East Hawai‘i. The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) uses a computer model, paired with weather forecast models, to attempt to predict where vog will go.

Read more about it in the West Hawaii Today. Image courtesy of M. Zinkova.

Graphic of magma reservoirs

Mar 18: Congratulations, Terry!

Terry Kerby, Director of Submersible Operations at the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), was the 1st Place recipient of the RCUH 2014 Employee of the Year award (for Outstanding Researcher / Project Manager / Professional Staff). The presentation was made at a luncheon on 13 March 2015.

(left to right) Michael Hamnett, Executive Director of RCUH, John Wiltshire, Director of HURL, Terry Kerby with award plaque, and Brian Taylor, Dean of SOEST. Click on the image to see the larger version.

Graphic of magma reservoirs

Mar 17: Kīlauea lava supplied by two sources

Aaron Pietruszka, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geochemist in Denver who earned his PhD from the Department of Geology & Geophysics (G&G), has confirmed that the ongoing eruption at Kīlauea Volcano on Hawai‘i Island gets its supply of lava from two small sources beneath the earth's crust, not one large one. Based on his estimates, the capacity of the magma chambers means there would be a limited supply if magma stops flowing from below. “It’s encouraging that the amount of magma down there is relatively small,” Pietruszka said. “If the supply ceased today, without new replenishment, the most an eruption could last would be five years.”

Read more about in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required). Image courtesy of K. Aoki, Honolulu Star-Advertiser; click on it to see the full version.

Kim Binstead and HI-SEAS dome

Mar 17: HI-SEAS: Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation

Kim Binsted

HI-SEAS Principal Investigator

Thu 19 Mar • 11:30 am
UH Manoa Campus, Hamilton Library, Room 301

HI-SEAS is a habitat on an isolated Mars-like site on the Mauna Loa side of the saddle area on Hawai‘i Island at approximately 8200' above sea level. Here, crews of six people live and work through long-duration simulations of Mars exploration missions (four, eight and twelve month long).

This FREE lecture is open to the public. For more information, please see the flyer PDF.

Image of free-drifting ESP system

Mar 15: Marine microbes behave in synchrony across ocean basins

Researchers from the Center for Marine Oceanography: Research and Educations (C-MORE) report in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that microbial communities in different regions of the Pacific Ocean displayed strikingly similar daily rhythms in their metabolism despite inhabiting extremely different habitats —  the nutrient-rich waters off California and the nutrient-poor waters north of Hawai‘i. “Our work suggests that these microbial communities broadly behave in a similar manner across entire ocean basins and that specific biological interactions between these groups are widespread in nature,” said Frank Aylward, post-doctoral scholar and lead author.

Read more about it in the UH System News, Hawaii 24/7, and ScienceDaily. Listen to the interview with C-MORE’s Co-Director and Co-PI Ed DeLong on HPR2. Image © 2013 MBARI; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Lake Tahoe

Mar 13: Tracking nitrogen sources in Lake Tahoe ecosystem

A team of researchers, including lead author C-MORE post-doctoral scholar Stuart Goldberg, published a study in Nature Communications tracking how natural and man-made sources of nitrogen are recycled through the Lake Tahoe ecosystem, providing new information on how global change may affect the iconic lake and similar environments. Nitrogen can affect both the productivity of lake foodwebs and the communities of microbes that support nutrition for those webs. “What we’ve learned about how aquatic foodwebs recycle nitrogen in Lake Tahoe may be applicable to the clear waters near Hawai‘i,” said Goldberg.

Read more about it in the UH System News. Image courtesy of B. Allen, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Photo of sandbags on Waikiki Beach

Mar 11: Saving Waikīkī Beach — at least for now

A crumbling, century-old stone wall that juts out from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is in imminent danger of collapsing, say scientists. Without it, the man-made beach in front of the landmark hotel would likely disappear in a matter of days, said Dolan Eversole, a scientist with the UH Sea Grant program. It would take several months to a year for the rest of the stretch of sand to erode. Beach replenishment is an enormous ongoing, but necessary, task. “Waikīkī is arguably as important as a slice of the H-1 and if a part of the H-1 needed maintenance there would be no question that we would go and maintain it, repave it, fill potholes,” said Chip Fletcher, a professor of geology and SOEST’s Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Read more about in the Hawaii Civil Beat and the Huffington Post; also see the related article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Image courtesy of the Waikīkī Improvement Association; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of wave buoy

Mar 10: Ocean users: please stay clear of Hilo Bay wave buoy

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) recently performed routine maintenance of the Hilo Bay wave buoy and retrieved harmful gear that was wrapped around the mooring line. In order to keep the buoy operational, ocean users are asked to please carefully navigate around the wave buoy, refrain from tying to the equipment, and avoid fishing within 600 yards to minimize entanglement in the mooring line. The buoy, located more than seven miles northeast of Hilo harbor at 19° 46.89' N, 154° 58.08' W, is part of the existing PacIOOS network of 13 real-time wave buoys across the Pacific; they provide data on wave height, direction, and period, and sea surface temperature.

Read more about in the the UH System News and see a diagram of the setup in the UH Mānoa News. Image courtesy of PacIOOS.

HGGRC logo

Mar 03: HI groundwater, geothermal data compiled for first time

At the beginning of the new year, the Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) launched a website — Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC) — which consolidates existing information and introduces an abundance of new data related to these natural resources. HIGP researchers Nicole Lautze and Donald Thomas led the creation of this resource center to organize and publicly disseminate data on Hawai‘i’s groundwater and geothermal resources from private and public agencies and organizations. “Our goal is to educate individuals and facilitate responsible management of these resources into the future,” said Lautze.

Read more about it and watch the related video in the UH System News; read about it in West Hawaii Today. Image courtesy of HGGRC.

UH Sea Grant logo

Mar 01: Rainwater catchment workshops slated on O‘ahu in March

The UH Sea Grant College Program will hold nine free community workshops during the month of March 2015 across O‘ahu to give residents access to information about rainwater catchment systems, safety, monitoring, and proper maintenance. Water quality testing kits and instructions will be provided to workshop attendees free of charge.

See the Hawaii 24/7 news article for details on times and locations.

Underwater view of shark tagging

Feb 24: HIMB scientists study threatened shark species

Fishing, climate change and pollution threaten many shark species. Now, scientists are getting a close look at the shark environment. They want to better understand the threats this important animal faces. The researchers recently attached a camera to a sandbar shark to record its everyday activities. “And when we recovered the camera, we saw that the shark had spent the day in a large aggregation of sharks, not just sandbar sharks but also blacktip sharks and many, many scalloped hammerhead sharks.” said Carl Meyer, HIMB assistant researcher. He also said sharks are important top-level hunters. They help keep a balance in ocean ecosystems. Pollution, climate change and fishing threaten those systems.

Read more about and watch the video at Voice of America “Learning English.” Image courtesy of HIMB; click on it to see the full version.

Micrograph of opihi teeth

Feb 21: Opihi teeth strongest natural material on Earth

A new study by British scientists claims that the strongest natural material on Earth is the tiny teeth of opihi. The University of Portsmouth study found that the amount of weight opihi teeth can withstand is comparable to a strand of spaghetti holding up a hippopotamus, about five times the strength of most spider silks. Chris Bird, researcher at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). “When you eat a lot of opihi, you have a lot of the radula [ribbon-like structures containing the animals’ teeth] that are going to be tearing at the linings of your stomach and intestine as your body processes the opihi.” However, Bird assures that people would have to eat a lot of it for it to become a health problem.

Read more about and watch the video at Hawaii News Now. Image courtesy of University of Portsmouth; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Parcheta at Kilauea

Feb 18: NASA’s latest robot is exploring Earth’s volcanoes

For many geologists, the real intrigue about volcanoes lies just below the surface. It’s why researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are developing small machines, called VolcanoBots, to climb the walls deep inside volcanic vents. Carolyn Parcheta, the lead geologist on the project and former G&G PhD student, said that VolcanoBots have been in production for a year. “In order to eventually understand how to predict eruptions and conduct hazard assessments, we need to understand how the magma is coming out of the ground”, she said. Bruce Houghton, G&G professor and Hawai‘i state volcanologist, noted, “We have a good picture of what happens once we see an eruption start at the surface, but all our problems are subsurface.”

Read more about in the Huffington Post and at JPL News, and see the related story in Ka Leo. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of diseased rice coral

Feb 13: Kāne‘ohe Bay coral affected by disease

Just weeks after scientists announced that many coral colonies in Kāne‘ohe Bay were showing signs of recovery from a Fall 2014 bleaching event, reefs there are now facing a new threat: Acute Montipora White Syndrome (aMWS) was detected on patch reefs in the bay according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). “We don’t know precisely what causes this disease, which causes corals to lose their tissue and ultimately kills them,” said Greta Aeby, assistant researcher at HIMB. “aMWS only impacts one species of Montipora or rice coral; one of the most predominate species in the bay. We’re working on a number of hypotheses as to the cause, including the influx of organic carbon.”

Read more about and watch the videos at KHON2 and the DLNR; read more about it at KITV4 and Hawaii News Now. Image courtesy of DLNR; click on it to see the full version.

Graphic of tsunami model

Feb 08: Hawai‘i, vulnerable to tsunamis, prepares for the worst

Hawai‘i is vulnerable to tsunamis and is in the forefront of preparations and research, but the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan led Hawai‘i officials to re-evaluate their plans. Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) director Rhett Butler and Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) researcher Kwok Fai Cheung discuss the history and future of tsunamis in Hawai‘i, including the updated evacuation zone maps based on Cheung’s models. It is impossible to predict when the next great quake and resulting tsunami will occur, Butler said, “But it’s just the nature of the tectonic forces on our planet. They just keep marching along, and once you relieve all these stresses with these truly great earthquakes, the water responds.”

Read more about it and watch the video at Voice of America (the video can also be viewed from our video page) and related VOA blog post. Image courtesy of K.F. Cheung / SOEST.

Photo of Mauna Kea summit.

Feb 06: Hawai‘i heavy rainfall events becoming more frequent

A recent study by SOEST researchers determined that heavy rainfall events have become more frequent over the last 50 years on Hawai‘i Island. For instance, a rare storm with daily precipitation of nearly 12 inches, occurring once every 20 years by 1960, has become a rather common storm event on the Big Island of Hawai‘i — returning every 3–5 years by 2009. In a paper published in the International Journal of Climatology, Ying Chen, a graduate student at the time of the study, and Pao-Shin Chu, professor of Atmospheric Sciences and head of the Hawai‘i State Climate Office, also reported that extreme precipitation events occurred less frequently on O‘ahu and Maui.

Read more about it and watch the video at KITV4 (video autoplays; link added 02-23-15); read about it in EurekAlert!, RedOrbit, West Hawaii Today, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required), the Huffington Post, and the UH Mānoa News. Image courtesy of UMH.

Photo of two Blainsville's whales

Feb 05: Blainville’s beaked whales videoed off Hawai‘i Island

Hundreds of humpback whales were spotted during the early January 2015 Sanctuary Ocean Count, but a couple of smaller and lesser-known whales are now making waves after they were videoed by Hawai‘i Island photographer Lisa Denning: two juvenile Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris). The dolphin-like animals can be as long as 20 feet and weigh as much as 2,300 pounds. They live in tropical waters worldwide, but often spend most of their time at deep depths, where they hunt for squid and small fish “These guys are very stealthy,” Whitlow Au, chief scientist at HIMB’s Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP). “You’ve got to look hard to find them.” He said Denning’s rare video is “amazing!”

Read more about it and watch the video at West Hawaii Today, KITV4 (autoplays), and the Huffington Post. Image courtesy of L. Denning, Ocean Eyes Photography/Special to West Hawaii Today; click on it to see the full version.

Image of GeoMicro sampling package

Feb 03: New microbes discovered beneath ocean crust

Two miles below the surface of the ocean, researchers from SOEST and their colleagues discovered new microbes that “breathe” sulfate — that is, gain energy by reacting sulfate with organic (carbon-containing) compounds. The microbes, which have yet to be classified and named, exist in massive undersea aquifers (networks of channels in porous rock beneath the ocean where water continually churns). About one-third of the Earth’s biomass is thought to exist in this largely uncharted environment. Authors of the paper published in Frontiers in Microbiology include Oceanography postdoctoral scholar Sean Jungbuth, HIMB Associate research professor Mike Rappé, and the late Oceanography professor Jim Cowen.

Read more about it in West Hawaii Today, Raising Islands, and the UH Mānoa News, Image courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI); click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Pahoa lava flow.

Feb 02: Creeping lava has Pahoa residents on edge

Kīlauea, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, has been erupting for more than 30 years. But lava from a vent near Pahoa that started bubbling up last June has been edging toward the town, outside the city of Hilo. G&G professor Bruce Houghton is analyzing the eruption using high-speed photography. He said that our understanding of volcanoes is improving with input from many scientific disciplines. “Bits from chemistry, bits from physics, and always with an overlay of social science, because when all is said and done, it doesn’t matter how well we predict the behavior of the volcano,” he said. “If the behavior of the community is inappropriate for what’s happening, then you still get a disaster.”

Read more about and watch the video at Voice of America. Image courtesy of M. O‘Sullivan, VOA; click on it to see the full image.

HURL logo

Jan 31: HURL on Bytemarks Cafe

On a recent edition of the HPR radio news program Bytemarks Cafe, Ryan Ozawa & Burt Lum talked to the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL)’s Steve Price, chief of submersible maintenance, and Terry Kerby, director of facilities & submersible operations and chief submersible pilot, about the history of the program and the importance of manned submersible exploration of the ocean.

Listen to the Bytemarks Cafe podcast; interview starts at about 20:25. Image courtesy of HURL/SOEST.

Photo of B. Ray Hawke

Jan 29: B. Ray Hawke (1946–2015)

We are very sad to report the death of B. Ray Hawke on the evening of 24 January 2015. A tireless advocate for lunar activity, researcher, teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, Dr. Hawke will be truly missed. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. A memorial gathering will be held in the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (POST 544) on 15 Feb at 3 pm.

Please see the PRPDC page and the UH System News item for more information. A remembrance written by Paul Spudis (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston) recounts many scientific endeavors.

Humu'ula drill site image

Jan 25: Large fresh water supply discovered on Hawai‘i Island

In March 2013, researchers from UH Mānoa and UH Hilo began drilling at an elevation of 6400 feet in the saddle region between the mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Hawai‘i Island. Donald Thomas, HIGP faculty member and director of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), is leading the effort. What they discovered seven months later may radically change conventional wisdom regarding the state’s most valuable resource: fresh water. “The conventional model that we worked with for years and years is that we have a relatively thin basal fresh water lens,” he said. “We found something just completely different. The stable water table in the saddle is not 500 feet above sea level. It’s more like 4500 feet above sea level.”

Read more about it and watch the video in the UH System News, Hawaii 24/7, and on our video page, and at Hawaii News Now; also read about in the report in EOS. Image courtesy of UH Mānoa.

Photo of C-MORE Hale

Jan 22: UH Mānoa energy efficiency saves millions

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa reported that it saved $3.4 million on energy costs last year. “When they come to Mānoa, students should know that they are coming to a university that exemplifies solutions to the problems that face us in the 21st century — problems like sustainability and climate change,” said Robert Bley-Vroman, UH Mānoa Chancellor. Over the last eight years, the campus has saved more than nine percent on its projected energy costs by implementing strategic air conditioning, lighting, and building control retrofits. Additionally, UH Mānoa has the state’s first LEED Platinum laboratory facility in the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education‘s C-MORE Hale.

Read more about and watch the video at UH System News; read more about it in Pacific Business News, Honolulu Star-Bulletin (subscription required), Hawaii News Now, and Ka Leo O Hawai‘i. Image courtesy of M. Hakoda; click on it to learn more about the facility.

PRPDC image

Jan 21: “Deconvolving the Complex History of the Lunar Crust”

Sarah Crites

Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP)

Tuesday 27 January at 7:30p
NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (PRPDC)
POST 544, UH Mānoa

This FREE lecture is open to the public. Please see the flyer PDF for more information.

Photo of Bin Wang

Jan 20: Bin Wang awarded 2015 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal

Bin Wang, researcher at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) and professor in Atmospheric Sciences, was awarded the 2015 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) “for creative insights leading to important advances in the understanding of tropical and monsoonal processes and their predictability.”

This is the most prestigious medal awarded by the AMS. Read more about it in the UH Mānoa News. Congratulations, Bin!

Lava flow image

Jan 20: Honolulu Science Café: “After the 2011 Tohoku event — rethinking the Tsunami threat to Hawai‘i”

Rhett Butler

Director, Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP)

Tuesday 20 January 2015
Social/dinner hour 6pm; Talk starts 7pm

JJ’s Bistro
3447 Waialae Ave in Kaimuki

Everybody welcome: no admission charge. Read more about it here. Note that JJ’s is BYOB, but Tamura’s liquor store is right across the street.

Lava flow image

Jan 14: The world’s hottest volcanoes

New analysis of satellite observations of 95 of Earth’s most active volcanoes was used to determine which volcanoes on Earth have been the hottest since the turn of the 21st century. The answer depends on how you define hottest, but, in terms of total energy radiated, the prize goes to Kīlauea on Hawai‘i Island. Kīlauea has been in eruption for more than 30 years and spilled lava continuously throughout the study period of 2000–14; flows now threaten the town of Pahoa. Iceland’s ongoing Holuhraun eruption has radiated the most heat for an event. The long-term comparative study was led by Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) assistant researcher Robert Wright and was accepted in Geophysical Research Letters.

Read more about it in NASA Earth Observatory, EarthSky, and Iceland Review. Image courtesy of USGS; click on it to see the full version.

image of vog damage to spinich

Jan 12: Trade wind study bolstered by four more years of data

“We have actually 41 years of records by now, and we still see a decreasing trend in northeast trade wind frequency,” said Pao-Shin Chu, professor of Atmospheric Sciences and state climatologist, commenting on a follow-up to his 2011 study. The original study published by Chu, a graduate student, and other colleagues gathered wind data from weather stations at four Hawai‘i airports from 1973 to 2009. Four more years of data shows the state’s climate, at least when it comes to prevailing winds, has changed: Honolulu International Airport used to average 200 or more trade days per year, but that has dropped to 150 days or less. Trade winds have shifted more to the east, which may correlate to less rainfall, and increased vog can have negative impacts on tourism, agriculture, and even public health.

Read more about it and watch the video at KITV4 (autoplays) Image courtesy of KITV4.

image of hurricanes approaching Hawaiian Islands

Jan 09: Finding the signal amid all the noise

In a controversial paper published in the journal Nature in 2013, Camilo Mora (Geography assistant professor), tries to calculate the date of what he calls “climate departure”: the point at which our climate changes irrevocably from something we’ve known to something we’ve never seen before. A review article in Hawaii Business discusses the oceanographic research of the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) at Station ALOHA, and interviews Ruth Gates (HIMB researcher) about coral bleaching, Chip Fletcher (G&G professor and SOEST Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) about sea-level rise and beach erosion, and Axel Timmermann (OCE professor and IPRC researcher) about dealing with variability in climate models.

Read more about it in Hawaii Business. Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC, Rapid Response; click on it to see the full version.

Satellite dish image

Jan 06: New research could vastly improve weather forecasting

Groundbreaking new research at SOEST could change weather forecasting here in Hawai‘i in just a few short years by tapping into new weather satellites to provide weather info never before available. The vast ocean surrounding Hawai‘i causes a big void when it comes to land- based weather data. Scientists like Steven Businger, professor of Atmospheric Sciences, think they have an answer for that: tapping into new advanced polar orbiting satellites. Traditional geostationary weather satellites orbit about 36,000 km above the earth’s surface while polar orbiting satellites are at about 400 km, providing a much clearer weather picture and, it is expected, better forecasts.

Read more about it and watch the video at KITV4 (autoplays). Image courtesy of KITV4.

2015 Summer Course graphic

Jan 06: 2015 Summer Course in Microbial Oceanography accepting applications

May 26 to June 26, 2015
Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Offered to graduate students and post-docs, the 2015 summer course explores the dynamic and fundamental role marine microbes play in shaping ocean ecology and global biogeochemistry. Deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. For more information, download the flyer PDF and visit the 2014 course web site.

HOT video image

Jan 05: Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) video Ocean 180 finalist

The Hawaii Ocean Time-series program has been making repeat measurements at Station ALOHA since 1988. Such time series observations are necessary for helping to build an understanding of how changes in Earth’s climate are influencing marine life. This video was submitted into the Ocean180 Film Challenge, sponsored by the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence. The video is based on work published in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology. UPDATE: The video is one of ten finalists! Over 50,000 6–8th grade students will be viewing each video and voting on their favorite. Read more about it in the UH System News.

HGGRC logo

Jan 01: Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC)

The Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC) provides historical and newly developed information relating to groundwater and geothermal resources in Hawai‘i.

HGGRC strives to increase access to data regarding these resources, encourage research and innovation in water management and geothermal energy, provide an informational platform for the public, and supply policymakers with the necessary information to optimally utilize the state’s natural resources.

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