The Climate of Hawaii

By | August 27, 2022

According to Abbreviation Finder, the state of Hawaii (Hawaii, HI) is located in the Pacific Ocean, west of the mainland United States. If you want to visit Hawaii from the Netherlands, you should prepare for a long trip. After a trip of at least twelve hours to the west coast of America, you still have about five to six hours to fly to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. The state of Hawaii consists entirely of volcanic islands, with the western islands being the oldest and the eastern islands the youngest. At the moment, the Loihi volcano is forming a new island underwater, which will probably surface in about ten thousand years. Hawaii quickly evokes associations with the hula dance, flower wreaths and the specific ukulele. Whoever goes on vacation to Hawaii will still come into contact with these local matters, you will find less and less the typical Hawaiian language. It has had to make way for English in many places.

Hawaii has a tropical climate, with temperatures between 24 and 31 degrees Celsius during the daytime almost all year round. An exception are the high mountain peaks, where it can be cooler. On the highest peaks (Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Haleakalā) it can even snow in the winter months. Due to the continuous presence of trade winds, the temperature is somewhat tempered, so that the maximum temperature rarely exceeds the 32 degrees limit. Only at the end of the summer, in the period from July to October, does it sometimes become 33 or 34 degrees. The trade winds, in combination with the humidity and the mountains, cause so-called orographic precipitation. This is precipitation that occurs when moist air is pushed upwards against a mountain, as it were. The moist air cools down further as it rises, which converts the moisture into rain (clouds). Due to this effect, a lot of precipitation can fall on the windward side of a mountain. This effect makes Mount Waiʻaleʻale the wettest place on Earth. In total, there is an average of 12,000 millimeters of precipitation per year, which is almost twenty times as much as in the Netherlands. On the leeward side of the mountains, on the other hand, it is quite dry again. When it rains, it is mainly short showers that can sometimes be quite intense. On average, half of the days in Hawaii are partly cloudy, a quarter of the days (mainly) cloudy and a quarter of the days there is an almost clear blue sky.  These numbers can differ per exact location, so you will see more clouds on the north and northeast sides of the islands than in the south.

Climate figures

The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).

maximum temperature minimum temperature hours of sunshine per day days of rainfall per month water temperature
January 27℃ 19℃ 7 10 25℃
February 27℃ 18℃ 7 9 25℃
March 28℃ 19℃ 8 9 25℃
April 28℃ 20℃ 8 9 25℃
May 29℃ 21℃ 9 7 26℃
June 30℃ 22℃ 9 6 26℃
July 30℃ 23℃ 10 7 26℃
August 31℃ 24℃ 9 6 27℃
September 31℃ 23℃ 9 7 27℃
October 30℃ 23℃ 8 9 27℃
November 29℃ 22℃ 7 9 26℃
December 28℃ 20℃ 6 10 26℃

The climate of Hawaii

Hawaii (Hawaiʻi) is also called the “Big Island” to avoid confusion with the state. The island is still growing. It consists of 5 separate volcanoes, which formed the island through a joint eruption. However, a number of these volcanoes are still active and regularly erupted lava, which flows back into the ocean and continues to “grow” the island.

Hawaii has many different climates due to its special surface and location. The tops of the highest volcanoes have snow, there are very dry parts with a desert climate, the south of the island has a lot of rainfall and has a very tropical flora. Due to the altitude, the temperature is very pleasant all year round. The trade winds that blow over the island provide a tempering in temperature, so that it never gets too hot.

The climate of Honolulu

According to Countryaah, Honolulu is the capital of the US state of Hawaii. The city is located in the southeast of the island of Oahu, one of the main tourist islands within Hawaii. Honolulu is best known for the Waikiki neighborhood. Along the narrow beach of Waikiki Beach you will find many high hotel towers, where mainly American tourists can be found. In total, nearly half of all tourists who visit Hawaii stay in one of the hotels in the only four square kilometer area of ​​hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and bars. If you want to taste the authentic atmosphere of Hawaii, you really shouldn’t be in Honolulu, because with just under four hundred thousand inhabitants, high apartment buildings and busy six-lane roads, little of the paradise atmosphere is left. About seven miles west of Honolulu, you’ll find the US naval base at Pearl Harbor,

The geographical location on the island of Oahu means that Honolulu, which has a tropical savanna climate, registers relatively little precipitation. On an annual basis, there is more than five hundred millimeters of precipitation, which is spread over 98 days a year. The winter months are on average slightly wetter than the summer months, but there is absolutely no question of a real rainy season. The daytime temperature in Honolulu ranges from 27 to 31 degrees Celsius, at night the mercury drops to 18 to 24 degrees. Thanks to the trade winds, the relative humidity is not too bad compared to other tropical destinations. The month of January has an average relative humidity of 82%, in the summer months this percentage has dropped to 75 percent.

The climate of Kahoʻolawe

Kahoʻolawe is very dry and has been uninhabited for most of its history due to the lack of fresh drinking water. The island served several purposes in the past. It served as a prison island, livestock farms and a military training base. Today the island serves as a nature reserve.

Kahoʻolawe has a tropical climate, but is still a very dry island. It lies in the rain shadow of the Haleakalā. Only in the coastal areas does some rain sometimes fall. Humid air is brought in here from the sea, which can cause local showers on the coast.

The climate of Kauai

Kauai (Kauaʻi) is geologically the oldest island of the Hawaiian Islands. Kauai is very popular with tourists. This is not surprising given the lush tropical nature. The island has beautiful flora and fauna and impressive waterfalls. One of the common animal species on the island is the wild chicken. This was taken by the Polynesian islanders as a food source. The lack of natural enemies allowed these animals to reproduce without hindrance.

Kauai has a tropical climate. The temperature is very pleasant all year round and is approximately between 24 °C and 32 °C. the constant wind ensures that it never gets too hot. Kauai has a number of higher elevations. For the mountains, of course, as you go higher, the temperature also drops. In the winter months it can even snow on the peaks. The mountains on Kauai provide rising rains. Because the warm air is forced to rise, it cools quickly and it can rain more on that side of the mountain than on the other side. We call the rainy side the so-called windward side. Mount Waiʻaleʻale on Kauai is one of the most humid places on Earth in this way.

The climate of Lanai

Lanai (Lānaʻi) is a dry, rocky island. For years, the island was not open to visitors. Today you will find one of the largest pineapple plantations in the world here. Most tourists come here to see this plantation. The island has only one city, Lanai City. This is a small settlement with only a single hotel.

Lanai has a tropical climate. Being in the rain shadow of Maui, the island receives relatively little rainfall. The temperature is pleasantly tropical all year round and fairly constant. The difference between the night and day temperature can be as much as 10 degrees Celsius. The sea breeze prevents it from getting too hot.

The climate of Maui

Maui is the second largest island. The island was created by several volcanic eruptions and has therefore acquired a very special shape. Maui is very popular with nature lovers. From the island you can spot humpback whales during the season and snorkelling and diving are also a very popular activity here. The underwater world is beautiful here. In addition to the beautiful nature, there are also some nice old towns. The historic city of Lahaina (Lāhainā) is definitely worth a visit.

Maui, like the rest of Hawaii, has a tropical climate. However, due to its volcanic mountains, rainfall is very different in many places on the island. The leewards on the western side of Maui are generally quite dry. On the eastern side of the mountains on Maui, it is considerably wetter and more rain. Due to the erratic shape of the mountains, there is a special phenomenon to be found on Maui called the Mauivortex. This forces the winds along the northern slope of Haleakalā to eventually blast against the west side of Mount Maui and deflect south. Because the wind is pushed through the valley, the wind speed increases enormously. Rainfall is rare because of the speed with which the air is forced through the valley.

Snowfall is rare on Maui. In February 2019, snow was seen in the Polipoli Park at an altitude of about 1800 meters. The supervisors reported that they have never seen snow here before. The white layer was the result of severe weather that had plagued Hawaii for several days.

The climate of Molokai

Molokai (Molokaʻi) is one of the quietest islands. Due to its erratic shape and high cliffs on the coast, the island is less suitable for a luxurious beach holiday. But that makes it one of the most authentic and unspoilt islands of the archipelago. Those looking for peace and real Hawaiian life can still find it here.

Molokai has a tropical climate. The wind here always blows straight on both sides of the mountains, so rising rains are less common here. The rainfall is therefore more evenly distributed over the island. Most rain falls in the winter months, in the summer months it can even be particularly dry.

The climate of Niihau

Niihau (Niʻihau) is also known as the forbidden island. The island is owned by the Robinson family and in order to preserve the original culture, visitors – unless explicitly invited by the family – are not welcome. The family tries to live according to the old traditions and customs of the early Hawaiians as much as possible. Due to the lack of contact with the population, much less is known about the weather on this island. It obviously has a tropical climate and is located in the rain shadow of Mount Kauai. Because the island is very low, there is very no temperature difference at different altitudes. The rainfall is on the high side throughout the year and fairly evenly distributed. In the slightly colder winter months, Niihau can get a lot of rain.

The climate of Oahu

Oahu (Oʻahu) is Hawaii’s third largest island. Most people in the state of Hawaii live on this island. Important cities on the island are Waikiki and Honolulu. The nearby harbor, which used to be used as a pearl harbor, better known as Pearl Harbor, was heavily bombed by the Japanese air force on December 7, 1941. Almost the entire American fleet anchored here was destroyed. The site of the accident can still be visited and a memorial center has been set up. Besides Pearl Harbor, the island has many more historic sites. It is one of the longest populated islands in Hawaii. On the north coast you will find high waves, which are very popular with surfers. The surf here is a real challenge for the true surf fan. The interior of Oahu is very lovely and rural.

Oahu has a tropical climate. The rainfall is very different on the island. Because the island consists of two old volcanoes, the rain falls here unevenly. The Koʻolau Range (ridge) forms a wall to the west that stops the rain. The towns and cities located on this ridge therefore have more to do with rainfall than the other areas on Oahu. Most rain falls in the evening and early morning hours. The difference in precipitation can be clearly seen from a higher point because of the amount of clouds that can be found above both ridges.

Oahu Hawaii