Analysis of Hawaiian diurnal rainfall patterns

Shouraseni Sen Roy, Robert Balling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We analyzed hourly precipitation data over the period 1965-1998 for 133 stations located throughout the Hawaiian Islands and found distinctive diurnal cycles in the amount and frequency of the rainfall. The diurnal signals were generally strongest on the island of Hawaii and more pronounced in the summer than in the winter. Windward sides of the islands generally showed the time of maximum for frequency or amount to be before sunrise while the leeward sides generally revealed the primary maximum in the afternoon. We conducted the analyses for El Niño years and La Niña years and found the diurnal patterns in rainfall to be unaffected by this Pacific-area oscillation. The results are consistent with others who have argued, based on work on the island of Hawaii, that anabatic and katabatic wind flows are responsible for the observed diurnal rainfall patterns. A semi-diurnal cycle with two maxima and two minima appears to be important in the summer season in the leeward locations. Our results show that processes and patterns described for the island of Hawaii are found throughout the larger islands of the Hawaii chain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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