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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Saturday, April 30, 2022

It's not a volcanic plume, it's a range fire years ago at Kalae. USGS Volcano Watch this week explains ongoing studies
 to bridge scientific knowledge on hazardous air caused by volcanoes and fires. See more below. Photo by Isaac Davis

A NEW NURSERY IN KAʻŪ has set its grand opening for Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Founder Ted Bennett invites the public to "Hele On Down" to Bennett Nursery on Kamaoa Rd., south of Nāʻālehu. Bennett, a former Ka'ū High English teacher-turned farmer, will publicly unveil his nursery of grafted fruit trees, windbreak trees and sweet white pineapple plants, which he has been cultivating for some years. Local biz, Honua's Coffee House, will be also on site serving up coffee creations and smoothies.
    Living in Kaʻū for over 20 years, Bennett jokes that his 6.5 acre farm is "a garden that got out of control." After leaving teaching, he said he found a "new love in farming" and has been working at growing his farm naturally - no RoundUp- for several years. Of huge help is Miguel Rosario, of Naalehu, who is the master grafter for the nursery. Bennett's mission is to help "make Hawaiʻi more self-sustaining in its food supply." Setting up the nursery so that locals can easily buy plants and trees and grow their own food, he sees as helping to fulfill that mission.
    The star of Bennett's farm is the sweet white pineapple, which is one of his favorite fruits. He sells small pineapple starters for $4, medium-sized for $6 and large-sized plants for $8. In comparison, Bennett says one medium-sized plant in a pot at Home Depot goes for $28.
Ted Bennett says his nursery is "a garden that got out of control." He opens it to the public, with pineapple plants, fruit trees and much more on Saturday, May 14 on Kamaoa Road. Photo from Bennett Nursery

    Also available are grafted fruit trees such as red grapefruit, navel orange, tangelo, Meyer lemon, Tahitian lime and kaffir lime.
    Bennett grows and sells avocado trees such as the Kahalu'u, which he says is the most delicious, as well as the Yamagata and Linda variety. Customers will also find kūkui nut trees and windbreak trees like the Cook Island pine and Ironwood trees. While not available at the moment, he looks forward to showcasing a variety of grafted mango, kumquat and pink lemon in 2023. Also on sale will be Bennett Nursery T-shirts with the colorful pineapple logo, drawn by Bennett's young niece, Grace, and hand-colored by the late Brigette Cooper.
   Bennett encourages others to start growing the fruits they love to eat and looks forward to talking story with others about farming. He said he couldn't have made the progress he has without help. Along with Rosario, he credits Felipe Mejia and Ben Pimentel, both who have passed on, as well as Eric DePeralta for their crucial assistance and expertise.
    "I am grateful to be living in Ka'ū. The district has a real legacy, I am grateful to be some kind of part that," shared Bennett.
    After the opening, the nursery hours will be Saturdays, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., or by appointment. Bennett Nursery is located at 94-6299 Kamaoa Rd, south of Nāʻālehu. For more info, call (808) 333-4573 or visit bennettfarmandnursery.com

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.

Wildfire burned Pa'a'au Gulch in Pāhala years ago, wrecking air
quality, much like the volcanic eruption in 2018. Photo by John Cross
VOLCANO ERUPTIONS AND WILDFIRES ARE KEY DRIVERS of extreme air quality hazard. How can we bridge scientific knowledge about these phenomena to improve local volcanic air pollution (vog) forecasts in Hawaiʻi? That is the question put forth in this week's Volcano Watch, the weekly column by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates. This week’s article was written by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Nadya Moisseeva.
    Since 2010, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers at the Vog Measurement and Prediction Program have been studying the dispersion of vog in Hawaiʻi. The central goal of the effort has been to provide the public and emergency responders with accurate and timely forecasts that would help limit vog exposure for those in affected areas and communities.
    Working closely with the HVO, VMAP scientists developed a custom air quality model that combines numerical weather prediction, volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates, chemistry, and a dynamic dispersion model to track vog plume transport.
    Although VMAP's model was unique in its effort to provide operational forecasts for volcanic pollution, it paralleled another emerging global air quality concern: wildfire smoke.
The movement of a smoke plume, like this one in Kalae,
 is controlled by similar mechanisms as movement of vog.
Photo by Isaac Davis
  While there are drastic differences between the chemistry of smoke and vog, the movement of both types of plumes is controlled by similar physical mechanisms. Intense heating at the surface generates vertical updrafts. As the hot air rises, it moves pollutants, such as volcanic gases, ash, or wildfire smoke from their source to the upper levels of the atmosphere. Turbulence causes the plume to widen and cool as it mixes with clean ambient air through a process called entrainment. In addition, the plume cools through expansion.
    Eventually, the plume reaches its level of neutral buoyancy, or ‘injection height,’ from where its movement in the atmosphere is largely controlled by the ambient horizontal winds.
    During extreme wildfires and volcanic eruptions, the plume cooling process can also lead to the formation of flammagenitus clouds. Commonly known as ‘pyrocumulus,’ these clouds originate above a strong, localized heat source—such as the Ahuʻailāʻau (fissure 8) lava fountain in Kīlauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption—and can produce intense turbulence, surface wind gusts, lightning and rain. The formation of pyrocumulus can generate further lift, pulling pollutants higher into the atmosphere.
    As a result of all these complex dynamic mechanisms, determining the plume injection height has been a shared challenge for vog and smoke air-quality modelers. It requires detailed knowledge of many aspects of both the heat source and the ambient atmosphere. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to obtain such observations under natural disaster conditions.
    Meanwhile, small errors in estimating the plume injection height can lead to large errors in downwind predictions of pollutant concentrations. This is because horizontal winds at various elevations in the atmosphere often do not blow in the same direction. Due to this wind shear, miscalculating plume injection height can cause an air quality model to transport the plume in the wrong direction, leading to a poor forecast.
VMAP Vog Dashboard: public forecast for October 11, 2021. Colors denote probability of exceeding ‘Moderate’ sulfur
 dioxide air quality threshold. Source: http://weather.hawaii.edu/vmap/new/
    Hence, a key question for both vog and smoke modelers is: how high up will a given plume rise?
    Powerful eruptions—like those of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai earlier in 2022—can send plumes of volcanic gases and ash deep into the stratosphere, resulting in long-range pollution transport and even generating climate-cooling effects. Until recently, few wildfires were powerful enough to do this. Yet due to human-driven climate change, there has been a dramatic increase in high-intensity ‘mega-fires’ around the world over the last decade. The power and scale of impact of these events are comparable to that of volcanic eruptions. In fact, photos of vog and smoke plumes can sometimes be hard to distinguish.
    There is a silver lining to this growing overlap between volcanic eruptions and wildfires. It allows scientists to transfer knowledge about the physics and dynamics of plumes across the two research domains.
Eruptions and wildfires are subject to the same air flows that
carries bad air to communities. USGS photo
    Owing to the recent rapid development of new algorithms for wildfire smoke models, VMAP scientists have been able to incorporate a new dynamic plume-rise approach in their vog forecasts. This resulted in more accurate air quality predictions for the State of Hawaii. Through knowledge sharing, these improvements will in turn benefit the broader air quality modeling community and the public.

USGS Volcano Activity Updates: Kīlauea volcano is erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is at WATCH (https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels). Kīlauea updates are issued daily.
    Over the past week, lava has continued to erupt from the western vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater. All lava is confined within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain elevated and were last measured at approximately 4,300 tonnes per day (t/d) on April 27, 2022. Seismicity is elevated but stable, with few earthquakes and ongoing volcanic tremor. Summit tiltmeters show one minor deflation and inflation trend over the past week. For more information on the current eruption of Kīlauea, see https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/recent-eruption.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting and remains at Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY. This alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to an eruption from the current level of unrest is certain. Mauna Loa updates are issued weekly.
1984 eruption of Mauna Loa, which is now quiet and on a
Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY. NPS photo
    This past week, about 55 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded below the summit and upper elevation flanks of Mauna Loa—the majority of these occurred at shallow depths less than 15 kilometers (9 miles) below sea level. Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements show low rates of ground deformation over the past week. Gas concentrations and fumarole temperatures at both the summit and at Sulphur Cone on the Southwest Rift Zone have remained stable over the past week. Webcams show no changes to the landscape. For more information on current monitoring of Mauna Loa, see: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/monitoring.
    No felt earthquakes were reported in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week.
    HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea’s ongoing eruption and Mauna Loa for any signs of increased activity.
    Visit HVO’s website for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake info, and more. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.


See The Ka'ū Calendar April edition at
                                             www.kaucalendar.com, on newsstands and in the mail.