Changes in Hawaiian Island Precipitation Extremes, 1950-2007
Chu, P.-S., Chen,Y. R. and Schroeder, T. A. 2010. Changes in precipitation extremes in the Hawaiian Islands in a warming climate. Journal of Climate 23: 4881-4900.
Results indicated, according to the authors, that "there has been a change in the type of precipitation intensity since 1980, resulting in more frequent light precipitation and less frequent moderate and heavy precipitation intensity." The study further showed that the Hawaiian Islands in recent years have experienced shorter annual number of days with intense precipitation, smaller consecutive five-day precipitation amounts and a lengthening of annual maximum number of consecutive dry days. The study also found that ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) dominates Hawaiian Islands precipitation patterns, with the La Niña (cold) phase providing more extreme precipitation events.
It is of interest to compare the findings of this study with model projections that suggest a warmer climate provides more moisture in the atmosphere and will result in more frequent and intense precipitation events. Yet, as the results of this study show, the availability of more moisture in the atmosphere does not necessarily produce more extreme (heavy) rainfall, which suggests that the models still have a long way to go before they get it right.