Regions based on seasonal precipitation variability for Hawaii are determined using a principal components analysis applied to 124 stations for the period 1971-2000. Nine regions are delineated and are consistent with known precipitation patterns; leeward and windward stations are in separate regions on all islands. Within each region, the relationship between precipitation and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is examined using a correlation analysis with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), and the Niño 3.4 and Niño 1+2 indices. Precipitation is most frequently correlated with ENSO in the different regions using SOI and Niño 3.4. Using several nonparametric statistical tests, it is determined that while average precipitation received in Hawaii during El Niño events is significantly different from average precipitation (1971-2000) and from precipitation received during La Niña events, the relationship between precipitation and individual ENSO events within regions is rarely significant. Finally, during El Niño or La Nña events, average precipitation receipt across the regions co-varies during winter and summer under concurrent conditions and a one-season lag. Synoptic patterns are examined and indicate a deviation from average conditions during ENSO events that affects subsidence and precipitation patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-96
Number of pages21
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation
  • Hawaii
  • Precipitation
  • Principal components analysis
  • Regionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Regionalization and variability of precipitation in Hawaii'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this