Monday, 25 January 2010

Volcanic sky

Conditions here on the windward side of the Big Island of Hawai`i have been interesting to say the least. The Kilauea volcano is extremely active in two spots and the amount of volcanic gases released into the atmosphere and subsequent vog is much greater than at any time since I first moved here over thirteen years ago. Couple this with the effects of the current El Nino conditions: light and variable winds rather than the usual trades and a rather severe drought we're facing a couple of problems - a critical lack of water and a sometimes rather nasty atmosphere. It has not rained at my place, at least not more than a few drops, since the storm I wrote about over a month ago. If this is anything like the last strong El Nino event, we may not have decent rainfall for another month or two, although we may get a little later this week. Let's hope so!

Many people here do not have access to county water, instead they use a catchment system to collect rainfall which is then used as their domestic water supply. This includes me but fortunately I don't use much water so I'm not in trouble for now, but many families are running out of water and many are reporting a two-week waiting list to have water delivered. I think some water hauling companies are delivering faster than that, but it's clearly a difficult situation for many.

The vog does make for the occasional very interesting sunset. You might be excused for thinking that the picture above is not of the sun but from some alien taking a picture of Jupiter from one of its moons. This picture was taken shortly before sunset this evening so is looking to the west. Kilauea is out of shot and just to the left and the vog it's producing is being blown to the north across the setting sun. A few minutes later it looked like this:

Below is the view half an hour later after the sun had set. The sky is a very strange colour due to the vog, a sort of cross between a pink, orange and red. Many of the clouds in the picture are not true clouds but vog from Kilauea. This is certainly one of the more interesting places to live on our planet.


Zuzana said...

Oh wow, these pictures are magnificent, Your vog makes for some incredible sights.
So you collect rainwater for your own use, even for drinking?

Tom said...

I don't use catchment water for drinking but it is used for everything else. As long as catchment water is treated properly and the right filters are used, it can also be used for drinking water. I just don't have the energy for that these days! I have a water cooler for drinking water with the added bonus that it'll chill the water!