The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Tracking Vog’s Movements Across the Islands

HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor “Paradise of the Pacific,” which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at June 2011.


Hn2106 Calabash Fof June 2011



The new Vog Measurement and Prediction Map created by UH Mānoa meteorologists is “bent on taking the mystery out of the movements of Kīlauea volcano’s massive plume of caustic gasses, a.k.a, vog,” HONOLULU writes, by using “animated models to show where the plume is expected to travel as it wanders and swirls around the Hawaiian Islands, irritating bronchial tubes from Ka‘u to Kaua‘i.”


And it’s been pretty accurate, though it’s hard to track how thick the vog will be. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback, mostly from people troubled with asthma,” says Steven Businger, the principal VMAP investigator who is currently an atmospheric sciences professor in UH’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. The map tracks both sulfur dioxide gas and sulfate aerosols and was particularly handy in 2018 when Kīlauea’s summit collapsed from its largest eruption in centuries, sending vog across the state.


SEE ALSO: The New Reality of Vog and What We Can Do About It


Halema‘uma‘u Crater filled with lava again in December 2020 after two years of inactivity. Earlier that year, Businger and atmospheric sciences researcher Lacey Holland received additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve the vog forecasts.


Businger also recently published a paper called “The Secrets of the Best Rainbows on Earth” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, delving into the cultural significance of rainbows, the meaning of more than 20 Hawaiian terms to describe them, and what makes Hawai‘i the best place to see them. This led to developing the RainbowChase app, which includes current weather, forecasts and maps that show the most likely location for rainbows on O‘ahu in real time. Download it for free at


Hn2106 Calabash Fof Covers



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