HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii is home to some of the best rainbows and an atmospheric scientist with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UHM) is trying to prove just that through the “RainbowChase” app.
Steven Businger, a professor at UHM’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, says rainbows’ cultural significance in Hawaii is reflected in the Hawaiian language.
“The cultural importance of rainbows is reflected in the Hawaiian language, which has many words and phrases to describe the variety of manifestations in Hawaii. There are words for Earth-clinging rainbows (uakoko), standing rainbow shafts (kāhili), barely visible rainbows (punakea), and moonbows (ānuenue kau pō), among others. In Hawaiian mythology the rainbow is a symbol of transformation and a pathway between Earth and Heaven, as it is in many cultures around the world.”Steven Businger, University of Hawaii Mānoa professor
Hawaii’s location means an abundance of trade winds, rain showers and clear skies — the perfect conditions to produce a rainbow, according to Businger.
Another factor is Hawaii’s mountains, which help contribute to the rainfall. Daytime heating — which results in prolific rainbows during sunsets — is an additional ingredient that makes Hawaii a prime spot for the beautiful and natural occurrences.
Businger helped to develop the “RainbowChase” app, which shows the areas of Oahu that are experiencing perfect conditions to produce a rainbow.