Spatial patterns of near surface air temperatures and implied changes in atmospheric moisture across the Hawaiian Islands, 1905–2017
Kagawa-Viviani, A.K., and T.W. Giambelluca
Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 125(2):1–17, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JD031571 (2020)
While the Hawaiian Islands are experiencing long‐term warming, spatial and temporal patterns are poorly characterized. Drawing on daily temperature records from 309 stations (1905–2017), we explored relationships of surface air temperatures (Tmax, Tmin, Tavg, and diurnal temperature range) to atmospheric, oceanic, and land surface variables. Statistical modeling of spatial patterns (2006–2017) highlighted the strong negative influence of elevation and moisture on air temperature and the effects of distance inland, cloud frequency, wind speed, and the local trade wind inversion on the elevation dependence of surface air temperature. We developed time series of sea level air temperature and surface lapse rate by modeling surface air temperature as a simple function of elevation and found a strong long‐term (1905–2017) warming trend in sea level Tmin, twice that of Tmax (+0.17 vs +0.07°C/decade), suggesting regional warming, possibly enhanced by urbanization and cloud cover effects. Removing this trend, sea level Tmax and Tmin tracked SST and rainfall at decadal time scales, while Tmax increased with periods of weakened trade winds. Sea level air temperatures correlated with North Pacific climate indices, reflecting the influence of regional circulation via SST, rain, clouds, and trade winds that modulate environmental warming across the Hawaiian Islands. Increasing (steeper) Tmax surface lapse rates for the 0‐ to 1,600‐m elevation range (into the cloud zone) over 1978–2017 coincide with observations of marine boundary layer drying and rising cloud base heights, suggesting a need to better understand elevation‐dependent warming in this tropical/subtropical maritime environment and associated changes to cloud formation and persistence.