Kilauea's eruption enhances the interest and excitment for visitors and residents alike on the Big Island of Hawaii. However, the volcanic activity also has risks such as the presence of volcanic air pollution (vog). Vog is best described as volcanic smog. It's a haze of sulfur compounds created when sulfur dioxide and other chemical substances which are toxic interact with oxygen, water, and sunlight. Vog has always been present as long as Kilauea has been erupting. Vog is concentrated in specific areas mainly in the south-west end of the island including Captain Cook and Kailua-Kona. There, residents's complaints range from daily atmospheric greyness, compromised ocean views from their properties, lack of visible sunsets, eye irritation, respiratory problems (over long term exposure) and other sensations depending on how sensitive one is to vog. Depending on the absence of trade winds, vog also affects Hilo and the Puna district (east side of the island) when it collects and stagnates.
Is our vacation rental location affected by the vog?
Aloha Vacation Cottages are located in the north west end of the island in the District of South Kohala which is on the opposite end of the island away from the Kileaua eruption. No lava flows or vog plague us in this location. Kilauea - the erupting volcano is in the south-east end. Aloha Vacation Cottages are in the north west end. On the map, below, South Kohala is within the thumb at the top of the island.
Aloha Vacation Cottages are located in the South Kohala District (see map) on the
Big Island's north west coast better known as the "gold coast".
The above image is taken from August 2008 and shows the Big Island with the plume from Kilauea. The image is from NASA’s Terra satellite. From the red indicator on the map, the satellite image shows Kilauea's volcanic plume of steam coming from the Halema'uma'u vent, trailing into the atmosphere and moving in a southwest direction around the south end of the island and out to sea. It is the trade winds that send the plume on its way southwest towards the islands of Maui, Oahu and even Kauai which experience the Big Island's vog regularly...in fact more so than we do here in our area.
If any member of your group is very young, elderly or in any way sensitive or has a pre-existing breathing condition, you may want to avoid accommodations in locations where volcanic emissions are heavily present in the atmosphere. For your information, emission status and eruption activity can be viewed at the following websites:
Hawai'i Island Air Quality: Current sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels due to the Kilauea Volcano.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park: Current sulfur dioxide and particulate conditions in the park.