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Hydrology of the Hawaiian Islands

Hydrology of the Hawaiian Islands

Copyright Date: 2006
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    Hydrology of the Hawaiian Islands
    Book Description:

    Why is groundwater the predominant drinking water source in Hawaii? Why are groundwater sources susceptible to pesticide contamination? How long does it take for water in the mountains to journey by land and underground passages to reach the coast? Answers to questions such as these are essential to understanding the principles of hydrology—the science of the movement, distribution, and quality of water—in Hawaii. Due to the humid tropical climate, surrounding ocean, volcanic earth, and high mountains, many hydrologic processes in the Islands are profoundly different from those of large continents and other climatic zones. Management of water, land, and environment must be informed by appropriate analyses, or communities and ecosystems face great uncertainty and may be at risk. The protection of groundwater, coastal waters, and streams from pollution and the management of flood hazards are also significant. This volume presents applications of hydrology to these critical issues. The authors begin by outlining fundamental hydrologic theories and the current general knowledge then expand into a formal discussion specific to Hawaii and the distinctive elements and their interrelations under natural and human-influenced conditions. They include chapters on rainfall and climate, evaporation, groundwater, and surface runoff. Details on the quantification of hydrologic processes are available to those with more technical knowledge, but general readers with an interest in the topic—one of singular importance for the Hawaiian Islands—will find much in the volume that is timely and accessible.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6289-3
    Subjects: Aquatic Sciences, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Geological Environment
    (pp. 1-18)

    Lying in the North Pacific Ocean approximately between 19° and 28° north latitude and between 154° and 178° west longitude, the Hawaiian Archipelago is the most remote chain of islands on the planet. The arc of the Aleutian Islands is 3,700 km (2,300 mi) away; the coast of California is 3,860 km (2,400 mi) to the east; and the nearest specks of land to the west are Johnston Island (a reconstructed atoll) and Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands, 1,319 km (820 mi) and 3,931 km (2,443 mi) distant, respectively. Distances to the nearest land south of the archipelago are...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Hydrologic Cycle
    (pp. 19-30)

    Water exists in three different phases or states: liquid as water, gas as water vapor, and solid as snow and ice. A change in phase is accompanied with transfer of heat, as is manifested in evaporation and condensation. Water and water vapor are of most interest in the Hawaiian Islands, where the lowland climate is classified as that of the humid tropics and where snowfall occurs only occasionally during winter storms above 2,000 m (6,562 ft) elevation on Hawai‘i’s three highest mountains (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Haleakala), but there is no perennial snow cover.

    Freshwater in Hawai‘i occurs as...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Precipitation
    (pp. 31-69)

    The ultimate source of the freshwater in an oceanic island is precipitation of meteoric origin. This statement is so well accepted today that it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the long history and arduous evolution of hydrological sciences. Aristotle (385–322 B.C.), who wrote the first book on meteorology, was only partially correct in explaining the process of precipitation. He recognized condensation and evaporation but did not clearly distinguish water vapor from air (Meinzer 1942; Biswas 1972). Today’s knowledge about precipitation is still far from adequate to explain fully climate and weather, but great strides are being made with the...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Evaporation
    (pp. 70-90)

    Evaporation is an invisible, slow, but virtually continuous process by which liquid water is transformed to water vapor from surfaces containing water, including open water, soil, and vegetation. Mean annual evaporation from an evaporation pan on O‘ahu varies from 508 mm (20 in.) in the cloud-shrouded rain forest to 2,286 mm (90 in.) along the sun-parched leeward shores. These values are equivalent to 1.39 to 6.25 mm/d (0.05 to 0.25 in./d). For the island of O‘ahu as a whole, approximately 2.7 million m³ (720 million gal) of the mean daily rainfall evaporates into the air. This is about twice as...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Wetting the Surfaces
    (pp. 91-127)

    Upon contact with land surfaces, rainwater is partitioned in many ways. Consider the observations made after turning on a preset lawn sprinkler. Initially, much of the simulated rain is intercepted by vegetation, and some disappears by infiltration beneath the surface. As the event continues, depressions may become puddles. Water ponded on the surface spreads over land and flows toward lowland and rills. Not visible is the soil water that is redistributed, some of which percolates or evaporates long after the rain ceases. These phenomena of wetting the surfaces are simulated in many deterministic, physically based digital models, one of the...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Groundwater
    (pp. 128-178)

    The mystique of groundwater arose when humans first encountered water gushing from springs and primitive artesian wells. This water must have seemed inexhaustible and to have originated from mysterious sources. Eventually humankind discovered and appreciated the enormous subsurface reservoirs that are available naturally at no cost and that contain water usually suitable for drinking without treatment. Groundwater has subsequently become the universal premier drinking water supply source. However, because most groundwater is invisible and the subsurface is not easily accessible, accurate assessment of groundwater behavior remains a continuing challenge.

    Aquifers are geologic formations from which substantial amounts of water can...

  13. Plates
    (pp. None)
  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Surface Water
    (pp. 179-224)

    Surface water, like rainfall, is always welcome except when excess creates flooding. Human settlements are inevitably attracted to places of abundant surface waters. Historically, waterworks with open channels are believed to date back to 3200 B.C., when King Scorpion ceremonially cut the first sod for an irrigation canal in Egypt (Biswas 1972). Humans have traditionally valued surface waters for swimming and fishing. Yet, only in the last few decades have humans begun to protect the aquatic ecosystems from overdevelopment and contamination and judiciously strike a balance between development and conservation.

    Atmospheric precipitation is the ultimate source of surface water. The...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT Coastal Waters
    (pp. 225-244)

    This chapter is a discussion of the effects of freshwater discharges on the quality of coastal waters in Hawai‘i. To what extent do freshwater intrusions affect the quality parameters of water and sediment, and how influential are they in creating and altering the biota composed of microorganisms, fish, and coral and benthic communities? Added to the natural phenomena are the effects of human influences. The composite of natural processes and human activities results in a wide variety of coastal conditions, some immutably natural, others candidates for reclamation.

    In Hawai‘i the dynamics of ocean-atmosphere-earth interactions is powerful and pervasive in creating,...

    (pp. 245-246)
    (pp. 247-268)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 269-274)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 275-276)