Get Ready For More Hot Days

Feeling the heat? This weekend’s Makahiki Celebration is a great way to cool off. Jo Evans photo

If it has seemed unbearably hot to you recently, it’s not your imagination: It appears the trend really has been hotter weather, more vog and less rain. Pao-Shin Chu, professor of meteorology at UHManoa, says there has been a decrease in the frequency of northeast trade winds and an increase in eastern trade winds over the past nearly four decades. The findings are in a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Northeast trade wind days, which occurred 291 days per year 37 years ago at Honolulu International Airport, now only occur 210 days per year, according to a UH-Manoa release. Chu, Jessica Garza, a meteorology graduate assistant at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at Manoa, Chase Norton and Thomas Schroeder analyzed 37 years of wind-speed and direction, and sea-level pressure data from land-based weather stations, buoys and reanalysis data.

According to Chu, besides these findings explaining why we’ve had more uncomfortable weather, the sad part is it means the change is permanent. Persistent northeast trade winds affect wave height, cloud formation, and precipitation, which affect climate. “We have seen more frequent drought in the Hawaiian Islands over the past 30 years,” Chu says …

A great way to beat the heat is the Makahiki Celebration‘s seventh annual Canoe Surfing Challenge Nov. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kalapaki Beach Park. The free event promises to be plenty of fun in the sun – and water. But tricks and catching waves in canoes aren’t only what it’s all about. Organizer Chris Kauwe says he and others are aiming to grow the ancient Hawaiian sport of pakaka nalu (canoe surfing). For more information, call him at 652-8897, or go to Hana hou! …

Nov. 8 marks the third anniversary of the final tonnage of sugar that left Nawiliwili Harbor on Kaua’i aboard the Moku Pahu, headed for California, where the sugar would be refined. The end of that era is captured in a film that premieres next week, Ta Hali Toa Hope Loa – The Final Harvest, a 30-minute documentary of the closing of the Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation on Kaua’i.

It will be screened for free Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Historic Waimea Theater. The film is an inside look at sugar production on the Westside, featuring the G&R crew as they light a predawn cane fire, and sugar being processed in Olokele Mill. The movie started out as a social studies project for high school students, but “ended up as a fascinating historical documentary that also gives chicken skin to many of the former G&R employees,” says producer Hokulani Cleeland, also lead secondary teacher at Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha. Though retiring G&R process supervisor Andres Emayo said it was sad that people lost jobs, he added a “thank you to the Robinson family, who sacrificed a lot.” A video trailer is available at v=CjYXv8TYbjo …

Traffic delays can be expected to continue until next month (which is thankfully right around the corner) as Kuhio Highway road work continues on the north end of Wailua Beach near the intersection of Papaloa Road and the highway.

Lei and Keala Wann, Joy and Arthur Chow at last year’s Makahiki Celebration. Jo Evans photo

The roadway improvement project is part of Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multiuse path spanning Wailua Bridge to Kaua’i Sands Hotel. Roadside work for another segment of the multiuse path is being done along Kawaihau Road in Kapa’a, and is expected to continue until the end of November. Motorists are advised to use caution while driving through the area, obey all traffic control devices and police officers, as well as allow for extra travel time. Anyone with questions can call Mike McCormick of Kaikor Construction Co. Inc. at 841-3110, or Galen Gokan of SSFM International at 245-3075. The good news is once it’s all pau, alternative forms of travel will hopefully mean less traffic on the road …

How awesome that six rescued ‘a’o were recently given a helping hand by several Island School students earlier this month when they were released back into the wild as part of the annual E Ho’opomaika’i ‘ia na Manu ‘a’o (cultural release of the Native Newell’s Shearwater) at Lydgate Park. On hand was Kupuna Sabra Kauka, among others, who helped with the pule before the birds headed out to sea. The release is performed annually by Kaua’i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project and Save Our Shearwaters to increase awareness about Kaua’i’s ‘a’o. During the fledging season (which peaks this month) is when young birds make their first flight from their nest burrows to the ocean. Kaua’i has 90 percent of the world population of this endangered seabird. To learn more, go to dofaw/fbrp/sos.htm …

Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative has announced that it will build a $40 million solar facility that will generate 12 megawatts of power, about 6 percent of Kaua’i’s daily energy needs. The solar photovoltaic project will be built on 67 acres KIUC is leasing from Lihu’e-based Grove Farm Co. Inc. near Koloa.

KIUC has hired SolarCity, a national leader in clean energy services with local operations in Mililani, Oahu, to build the system.

The project will be the third utility-scale solar facility under construction or in development on Kaua’i and one of the largest in Hawaii.

Once complete, these three solar projects will generate 30 megawatts during the day, enough power to meet about 50 percent of Kaua’i’s daytime electrical demand, according to Jim Kelly, the utility’s new communication manager. Kelly says it means KIUC will carry the highest percentage of solar PV on its system of any utility in the U.S. Construction is expected to begin by July 2013, with the project operational by the end of 2014.

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