Voice of Tim Bryan
Can VOG be accurately forecast?
That’s a question researchers hope to answer through this public website, hosted by School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
The website is a product of the Vog Measurement and Prediction, or “V-MAP” project, and can be visited at weather.hawaii.edu/vmap.
Vog is primarily a mixture of sulfur dioxide gas and sulfate aerosol. Sulfur dioxide, an invisible gas, reacts with oxygen and moisture in the atmosphere to produce sulfate aerosol, which is visible as a haze in the air.
Vog has been a concern since Pu’u O’o began erupting in 1983, and the situation worsened in 2008 when a new vent blew open on the summit of Kiluaea volcano.
Vog can pose environmental and health risks to communities throughout the state, especially to those towns downwind of the active vents on Hawaii Island.
The website was spearheaded by two members UH Manoa’s Department of Meteorology, in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Since VMAP is in its initial phase, the website will only provide limited service and reliability. Thus, users of the VMAP website should have no expectation of accuracy or timeliness, and vog model forecasts should not be used for health-related decision-making purposes at this time.