THAR SHE DOESN’T BLOW!
The National Weather Service in Honolulu announced a wind advisory for the Haleakala Summit late last week. Those sorts of bulletins are hardly shocking news, but a recent study from four University of Hawaii scientists seems to show that the all-important Trade Winds–which literally breathe life and rain into the Hawaiian Islands–just aren’t blowing like they used to.
“The number of days of northeast trade winds is decreasing, according to new research from the University of Hawaii,” reported Hawaii News Now on Oct. 11. “And while it means more days with muggy weather and volcanic haze, it also is resulting in longer-term effects for the state.”
The state’s climate, rain forests and generally delightful nature all come from the trades. If they stop blowing, the islands will dry up and life here just won’t be the same.
The study was actually published back in June in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It has four authors: Jessica A. Garza, Pao-Shin Chu, Chase W. Norton and Thomas A. Schroeder, all from UH’s Department of Meteorology. I seem to have let my subscription lapse, which means I won’t be paying the $25 the journal wants for a copy of the actual article. But here’s the article’s abstract, in all of its technical meteorological glory:
“Changes in the frequency and intensity of the prevailing northeast and east trade winds from 1973-2009 are analyzed from four land stations in the Hawaiian Islands. A nonparametric robust trend analysis indicates a downward trend in northeast trade wind frequency since 1973. At the Honolulu International Airport, northeast trade wind days usually occurred 291 days per year 37 years ago are observed to occur only 210 days per year in 2009. In contrast, the frequency of the east trade winds has increased over the past 37 years. Comparison of observations from four ocean buoys with land stations for the last 26 years (1984–2009) is presented. The northeast trade frequency is found to decrease for all eight stations while the east trade winds are found to increase in frequency. These results are similar to the longer (1973–2009) data set. Most buoys revealed an increase in trade wind speeds since 1984. The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis II data are used to analyze surface winds and sea level pressure (SLP) over the north Pacific. A northeast to east shifting of winds and an increase in SLP is found to occur from the 1980s to the 2000s epoch. Linear trends in reanalysis II from 1980 to 2009 indicated a strengthening of northeast trade winds over the Hawaiian Islands and in the subtropical eastern North Pacific with an extension of increased northerlies off the California coast. Meanwhile, southeast trades in the eastern North Pacific reduced their strength. Changes in trades in the western Pacific are relatively small.”
What’s causing this decrease in winds is still unknown, according to the Hawaii News Now story, though climate change–that mischievous bugbear that continues to haunt faithful Republicans–is a prime suspect. The kinds of wind changes discussed in the study are still pretty small, but if I were the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which prospers because of Hawaii’s pleasing, gentle climate, stuff like this would worry me considerably.
DEPUTY AG SLAPS COURT DATE ON EMBATTLED WMSA BOARD CHAIRMAN
There’s an old journalism saying that bad news always gets announced on Fridays. For Tom Cannon, Chairman of the Board of what’s left of the once-powerful but now disgraced Wailuku Main Street Association (WMSA), Friday was a bad day.
That’s the day state Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones, who spends his days investigating nonprofits and charities that run afoul of state law, slapped a Dec. 5 court date on Cannon for failure to comply with an order to give the AG’s office all the financial and organization records it’s been repeatedly asking for. Jones has already uncovered serious evidence that WMSA has failed to do things like adhere to its own bylaws, do anything of note for Maui’s community in the last few years and generally just waste the $2.2 million in county taxpayer money they’ve consumed over the last decade. Now Jones wants to see the organization’s bank statements, check ledgers, emails, letters and meeting minutes for 2012.
Then there was this note that The Maui News found when it reported on the AG’s filing in its Oct. 13 issue: “A footnote in the filing said the state believes the disposal of the office furniture and equipment to the Salvation Army violates the terms of the organization’s grant agreement with the county that requires property purchased with county funds to be transferred to the county at the end of the term of the grant agreement.”
Cannon, who is basically running the show now (he said the loss of the county’s $243,000 grant money earlier this year meant the WMSA board had to lay off long-time–and extremely controversial–executive director Jocelyn Perreira), has not only refused Jones’ earlier requests, but has publicly lumped him in with former boardmembers and journalists like yours truly as part of a vast conspiracy hell-bent on destroying the WMSA.
Look, Cannon’s not a bad guy. He’s an architect, and they’re not bad guys (well, except for that Albert Speer guy…). A few years ago Cannon was going around trying to sell the island on a high-speed monorail that would connect West Maui with Central Maui, and we’ve got to say that’s a pretty kick-ass idea.
But clearly, he’s adopted a rather controversial tactic when dealing with critics, journalists and even a state deputy attorney general. Some board chairman, when faced with such a serious, relentless, credible onslaught of allegations, would sigh with heavy resignation, shake hands with his cronies and say they’d had a “good run” or some other cliche and start cooperating with the authorities.
Not Tom Cannon! He plays hardball, even when he’s been tossed off the court and had to lay off all his team members who didn’t already quietly walk away when a member of law enforcement walked in and took away the ball.
“We have been working on our detailed point-by-point response to Deputy AG Jones’ report and look forward to an honest, evenhanded judicial review,” Cannon wrote in an email to The Maui News, which reported on the latest AG filing on Oct. 13.
If Cannon thinks his aggressive response is some kind of negotiating tactic, then he’s deluding himself. But hey, if he wants to continue insisting that he’s at the center of a vast conspiracy that stretches all the way to Honolulu, I’m not telling him to stop. Ramblings like that make my job easier.