A breakthrough climate data portal essential for future planning

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Knowledge of climate patterns is critically important for a variety of resource management issues, including ground and surface water development and protection, invasive species control and eradication, protection and restoration native ecosystems and planning for the effects of global warming. Resource managers, climate researchers, educators and students have a powerful new tool with the launch of the Hawaii Climate Data Portal (HCDP).

Climatic station located in Lyon Artoretum, Honolulu, Hawaii

In order to fill data gaps and provide easy public access to climate data and information for the state, the University of Hawaiiit’s Hawaii Program established to stimulate competitive research (Hawaii ESPCoR) `Ike Wai Project and the Hawaii Data Science Institute has partnered with uh Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and East-West Center on this online open source platform that hosts a wide range of climate data products, tools and resources.

“The Hawaii The Climate Data Portal provides simplified access to reliable, high-quality data and information that can be used by a range of stakeholders and fed into near real-time planning activities and management decisions,” said East-West Center Fellow and ʻIke Wai Researcher Ryan Longmanwho worked on the development of the portal with a team of around 20 people uh and the community.

Demonstrate the power of the portal

After almost a decade of development, the HCDP launched on March 3, 2022, during a Hawaii EPSCoR and Hawaii Data Science Institute Virtual Event. Longman, WRRC director and co-investigator of the ʻIke Wai project Thomas Giambellica, Sean Clevelandsenior software engineer uh Information Technology Services, and a team of climate and data specialists who helped develop the HCDP, demonstrated the data, tools and information available through the portal. These included the data visualization and download tool, Indigenous Climate Knowledge perspectives, and a variety of meshed climate products.

Graph with precipitation maps
Mapping of precipitation on the Hawaii Climate Data Portal

The climate data available on the portal includes over 100 years of monthly precipitation maps, 30 years of daily temperature maps and a range of other variables and products, most of which are updated in near real time. Other features of the HCDP include tools for viewing and downloading climate maps, a library of related journal publications and reports, highlights of climate research, information on indigenous knowledge and climate perspectives, and links to decision support tools and resources.

Risk of fire, prediction of drought in the future

In the near future, the HCDP will host the data of the Hawaii Mesonet Project which will deploy more than 90 climate stations across the state. Other features under development include near real-time fire risk and early warning, drought forecasting and an avian malaria risk alert tool.

Rain gauge on the side of a mountain
Rain gauge located at high elevation on East Maui.

“Improving weather and climate monitoring in Hawaii through the Hawaii Mesonet and providing easy access to data and data products through the HCDP will revolutionize Hawaii-research based on a wide range of disciplines and provide much-needed information to resource managers, emergency response organizations, policy makers and Hawaii residents,” Giambellica said.

Future features are supported by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More information on the HCDP and related uh research can be found on the EPSCoR Hawaii website.

—By Tori Miranda

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