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Ocean & Earth Sciences

La Niña is not helping Hawaiʻi’s rainfall and groundwater

La Niña events no longer bring excess rainfall to Hawaiʻi (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Historically when El Niño events occur, Hawaiʻi has experienced nearly six months of drought, from November to April. Conversely, during La Niña events rainfall has been greater than normal, building up Hawaiʻi’s groundwater supply. New research published this month in the Journal of Climate by scientists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology ...

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Lessons from Katrina and implications for Hawaiʻi focus of upcoming event

Katrina satellite imagery. Credit: NOAA

Ten years after one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history tore through New Orleans, a group of experts and specialists will convene to revisit the impact of Hurricane Katrina and discuss important lessons learned from the disaster and their implications for the future of Hawaiʻi. In conjunction with World Town Planning Day, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in ...

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New research predicts bedrock weathering based on surface topography

Rock fractures in Yosemite National Park. (credit: University of Hawaiʻi/School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology)

Just below Earth’s surface, beneath the roots and soil, is a hard, dense layer of bedrock that is the foundation for all life on land. Cracks and fissures within bedrock provide pathways for air and water, which chemically react to break up rock, ultimately creating soil—an essential ingredient for all terrestrial organisms. This weathering of bedrock is fundamental to life ...

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Modeling vog for Hawaiʻi

A gas and particle rich plume emanates from molten lava beneath Halemaʻumaʻu Crater on the Island of Hawaiʻi. The plume reacts and converts in the atmosphere, forming the acidic volcanic pollution locally known as “vog.” (photo credit: Michael Poland, USGS)

A paper published this month by University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory researchers in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society details the development and utility of a computer model for the dispersion of volcanic smog or “vog,” which forms when volcanic sulfur dioxide gas interacts with water and coverts it to acid sulfate aerosol particles in the atmosphere. ...

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Coral reef resiliency research draws high-profile investments

A healthy reef with associated high ecological, cultural and economic value. (photo credit: Robert Richmond)

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology researcher and coral expert Ruth Gates and her team are racing against time and climate change to breed corals that can withstand future ocean conditions and that can be used to restore and build resilience in our reefs. Part of that work involves figuring out why healthy brown corals thrive while ...

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Rapidly acidifying waters pose major threat for Southern Ocean ecosystem


As a result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the chemistry of the Southern Ocean is expected to change so fast over the next few decades that tiny creatures at the base of the food web may soon struggle to form their shells. New research by scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks ...

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Coordinated national and global effort needed to understand Earth’s microbiome

Woody mussels (shown), like all organisms, rely on microbes for health. Credit: MARUM, Bremen

Microbes dominate Earth. They have been discovered wherever anyone has looked for them. Every animal and plant relies on interactions with the microbial world for health. Given that nearly every habitat and organism hosts a diverse constellation of microorganisms—its “microbiome”—understanding that complex system could transform ideas about the natural world and launch innovations in agriculture, energy, health, the environment and ...

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Volcanoes, marine life, planetary exploration and more at SOEST open house


Learn about the science behind exploding volcanoes, marine ecosystems, planetary exploration and more at the 13th School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) open house on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. This year’s attendees will have a chance to go on laboratory tours and explore an array of fascinating ...

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Marine biologist Carl Meyer shares insights on recent tiger shark bites

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers Carl Meyer, left, and Kim Holland tagging a tiger shark.

With the recent shark bites occurring around Hawaiʻi, Carl Meyer, assistant researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, shared some interesting shark facts. Meyer is part of a research team using tracking devices to gain new insights into tiger shark movements in coastal waters around Maui and Oʻahu. The ongoing study provides insights into ...

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UH Mānoa undergraduate students make discoveries in Hawaiʻi

Camilla Tognacchini’s field work captured the effects of human activities and tropical storms on the ecosystem of Heʻeia fishpond. Credit: Conor Jerolmon, UH Mānoa

Original scientific research by two recent graduates from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Global Environmental Science (GES) undergraduate program has shed new light on Hawaiʻi’s past and current natural environment. Present day stressors on a traditional Hawaiian fishpond Camilla Tognacchini’s senior research project began with the goal to assess how the removal of invasive mangroves affects the health of ...

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