The University of Hawaii on Friday launched a new website designed to help predict vog haze moving over the state.
The brain behind the website is UH meteorology professor Steven Businger.
"It's pretty user-friendly. You have a number of icons on the homepage, which is shown here," Businger said.
The area on the site labeled "Vog Forecast Discussion" is a text explanation of what to expect. "Current Conditions" on the site shows actual air quality measurements from across the state. The "Vog Model" maps a vog forecast up to 60 hours ahead.
"There are two different model outputs: One is for the Big Island, which is fairly closely cropped, and the other one is for the Hawaiian Islands as a whole," Businger said.
There are also two different measurements: one for sulfur dioxide, or SO2, another for sulfate aerosols, which is a combination of volcanic emissions, moisture and small particles -- or what most of us call "vog."
"The green in this model output is very, very, very low concentrations of vog, so you could maybe see it in the air, but it wouldn't give any health effect," Businger said.
The colors on the map correspond to the air quality index and SO2 advisory levels.
"So let's say you live in Pahala or live in Mountain View, then you can come to this table and see specifically for a particular time what the model is forecasting,"
Research for a vog prediction model began in the 1990s, but funding ran out. After a vent opened at Halemaumau Crater in 2008, Businger said he felt a need to restart the project.
The stimulus package sent funding his way through the U.S. Geological Survey.
"I hope that the public finds this useful, and we're always open to comments for improvement. This is a work in progress and hopefully it will become better in time," Businger said.
Businger plans to add more variables into the model that should make it much more accurate.
Although Businger leads the project, he credits Roy Huff for programming most of the website.