HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Thursday, NOAA announced that we now have El Niño conditions in the Pacific, which is earlier than expected. We also have Kilauea erupting with vog being the biggest concern.

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

Dr. Steven Businger joined Wake Up 2Day to discuss these topics. Dr Steven Businger, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences Department at University of Hawaii at Manoa, is an Atmospheric Scientist, as well as an expert in vog emissions, specifically, where that vog goes.

About the NOAA announcement that El Niño is here, Dr Businger indicated that the outlook that the Central Pacific Hurricane Center put out last month is still the outlook that is most likely because they took this El Niño formation into consideration.

The 2023 hurricane season outlook from NOAA is, “There is a 50% chance of above-normal tropical cyclone activity during the central Pacific hurricane season this year, according to the outlook from NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, divisions of the National Weather Service. The outlook also indicates a 35% chance for near-normal activity, and only a 15% chance of a below-normal hurricane season. 

For the 2023 season, four to seven tropical cyclones are predicted for the central Pacific hurricane region, which is located north of the equator between 140°W and the International Date Line. A near-normal season has 4 or 5 tropical cyclones.

Tropical cyclones include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Switching to the vog situation on the Big Island, when asked why emissions from Kilauea are more impactful than from the emissions from the Mauna Loa eruption, altitude was the primary reason. Dr Businger said that since Kilauea is at a much lower altitude, approximately 2,500ft-3,000ft, it is much easier for that vog to get to ground level and affect populations.

When asked which part of the island is to be most impacted with the vog, Dr Businger said with the current persistent wind direction, which is east-northeast trade winds, the Kona coast is to be the most impacted, especially with the potential for sea breezes.

Dr Businger was also asked where residents should go to get the best vog related emission information, as far as type, concentrations, and locations. He said they should take a look at their vog model.

The graphical model will show you where the vog will be over the next few days.