Geography and Climate
Nation of Hawaii Fact Book
A. GEOGRAPHY – (Fixed Territory)
The Hawaiian Archipelago comprises 132 islands, reefs and shoals, stretching 1,523 miles (2,451 kilometers) southeast to northwest across the Tropic of Cancer between 154 40′ to 178 25′ W longitude and 18 54′ to 28 15′ N latitude, consisting approximately of a total land area of 6,425 square miles (16,642 square kilometers), including 1 percent of less than six square miles of land area made up of islands off the shores of the main islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, from Kure Atoll in the North to Nihoa in the South, also Palmyra, Midway and Wake Islands. The Hawaiian Islands form an Archipelago, which extends over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, possessing a 12 mile Territorial Sea, and the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
2. Area and population – density figures and principal centers of population.
The total land area of 8 of the inhabited major Islands is 4,112,388 acres with almost two thirds of the area located on the Island of Hawai’i (2,573,400 acres on Hawai’i; 465,800 acres on Maui; 386,188 acres on O’ahu; 353,900 acres on Kaua’i; 165,800 acres on Moloka’i; 90,500 acres on Lana’i; 45,700 acres on Ni’ihau; 28,800 acres on Kaho’olawe; and 2,300 acres on other islands).
The Hawaiian Archipelago is of volcanic origin, with the oldest islands in the chain stretching out to the northwest, and the youngest island, Hawai`i, still volcanically active in the southeast (Kilauea Volcano is the most active in the world). Loihi Seamount, growing off the southeast coast of Hawai’i Island, is predicted to emerge as the archipelago’s newest island more than a millennium in the future. The effects of long term erosion are progressively evident with age: Hawai`i Island contains massive lava fields which are just being pioneered by plant species, while much older Kaua`i houses deep and broad canyons and strong rivers. Mountainous regions reach the highest on the younger islands, with Mauna Kea on Hawai`i Island reaching 13,796 feet above sea level.
When measured from the ocean floor, this peak is the highest in the World.
The outstanding features of Hawai`i’s climate include mild and equable temperatures the year round, moderate humidity’s, persistence of northeasterly trade winds, remarkable differences in rainfall within short distances, and infrequency of severe storms.
In most of Hawai`i there are only two seasons: “summer” between about May and October, when the sun is more nearly overhead, the weather warmer and drier, and the trade winds most persistent; and “winter,” between about October and April, when the sun is in the south, the weather cooler, and the trade winds more often interrupted by other winds and by intervals of widespread cloud and rain.
With variations in altitude, wind and moisture, all of the earth’s major climatic zones and seasons exist on the single island of Hawai`i. Rainfall varies greatly depending on location, with almost no rainfall in certain leeward areas (southwest), and more in the windward areas (northeast) increasing to over 400 inches per year in certain mountain regions on Kaua`i and Maui.
Nation of Hawaii’s mission is to restore, maintain and preserve the sophisticated religion, language and culture of the Native Hawaiian people, who prior to the overthrow, lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on Communal Land Tenure. (pre-mahele)