Forecasters predict less rain for Hawaii in the future

Published On: Apr 24 2013 06:55:24 AM HST

Hawaii could be weathering some subtle but significant change in the future.

The latest Hawaii rainfall study shows that our island's annual rainfall totals have dropped between 5-to-8 percent per decade over the past 30 years.

"We're in long term drying," says Thomas Giambelluca, a Professor of Geography at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

Experts say our islands are used to seeing an average of about 10 heavy rain days per year but we can expect less in the coming years.

"You might expect in the future that there's only eight or seven on average," says Oliver Elison Timm, an Assistant Researcher at the International Pacific Research Center at UH Manoa.

The study says wetter areas like Windward Oahu would not be affected as much as drier areas of the state.  Experts tell us around a third of the state will have a higher frequency of dry months.

"It may seem well its not too important because it's already dry, but this is where almost all of us live, where tourism is, where most of our irrigation needs are," says Giambelluca.

"In the dry regions like the Leeward Waianae coast of Oahu for example, you need these storms, these Kona lows to bring the rainfall," says Timm.

According to the study, the Waianae Coast gets most of its annual rainfall from just a handful of rain days.

"When you miss just a few of those you will have much less water for the entire year," says Timm.

Experts we spoke at UH Manoa will continue with their research.  Another concern they're currently looking into is our islands rate of water evaporation.  They say climate change is increasing its speed.

"I think its important that we prepare for a future that we get less rainfall than were used to," says Giambelluca.


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