UH researchers confirm vog decreases rainfall; Kilauea continues to erupt

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Vog from the Kilauea eruption has already begun to reach certain areas on the Big Island, like South Point, Ocean View and the Kona Districts.

Vog — or volcanic smog — is the result of a volcanic eruption. It is created when sulfur dioxide from these eruptions mix with sunlight, particles and other gases within the atmosphere. Vog can also cause several health issues for those who are exposed.

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According to researchers from the University of Hawaii (UH), vog also has many other impacts — like reducing rain.

“We found that when volcanic emissions are high that rainfall is on average, lower, especially in the region downwind of tilapia near Pahala. We found approximately eight millimeters per day less rainfall on days with high emissions as compared to days with low emissions,” explained Dr. Alison Nugent, UH Manoa Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences.

UH researchers confirmed indigenous knowledge from Native Hawaiians that vog can reduce rainfall.

“This wasn’t surprising, because when you have aerosols that are making it up into clouds, they have an impact on the cloud and precipitation processes, and just make it harder to form rain it just takes longer to form rain,” Dr. Nugent added.

Additionally, UH released a ‘Vog Measurement and Prediction Project’ to show in real-time where the vog from the Kilauea eruption is going to go. For more information and to view the project, click here.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) confirmed that the Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea has erupted. As of Sunday, Oct. 3, the volcano is still erupting, but the lava activity is contained within Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu crater has risen to approximately over a meter since Saturday, Oct. 2. Lava has continued to erupt from multiple vents. According to the HVO, the lava lake has risen about 27 meters or 89 feet so far.

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Gas emissions and hazard warnings for vog and Pele’s hair are still in effect, officials said.

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