VOG or volcanic emissions has an impact on our air quality, but new research reveals it can also spark more thunderstorms in tropical systems near the state.
When Tropical Storm Flossie arrived last year, spectacular thunderstorms formed over Maui.
Researchers tracked the volcanic emissions as the VOG was pulled up into the tropical storm. They found when that happened, more thunderstorms suddenly formed.
"We have a lightning detection network. We found when the VOG plume was entrained in the deep clouds associated with Flossie, there was a great enhancement of lightning," said Dr Steven Businger with the University of Hawaii Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
Dr. Businger believes VOG can change the composition of the clouds. The tiny particles are able to be carried higher above the freezing level of a developing storm, which in turn can trigger more lightning.
In addition to looking at this one-time event, researchers are also monitoring VOG levels on a daily basis.
There’s even a website so people can track where the VOG is headed and just how bad it will be.