To anticipate how weather is likely to change as a result of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, geophysical and meteorological scientists examined the results of climate models on the fine scale climate patterns of Hawai’i to understand what future climate will look like. Researchers analyzed the relationship of past rainfall with global processes in order to predict future rainfall patterns. They found that the decades-long decrease in rainfall seen in arid and semiarid regions of Hawai‘i during the rainy season (November-April) is likely to continue. The model results show that all of the Hawaiian Islands get drier overall in the 21st century. Of all the islands, Kaua‘i shows the strongest reductions in rainfall in these models, losing approximately 30% of its wet season rain by mid-century. Funded by the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative, this project includes a series of interactive dynamic maps, as well as access to the datasets behind the maps. These results imply that managing water will become more important with time, and that drying could be an important stress factor for terrestrial ecosystems and agriculture in leeward regions.
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