Posted by: Jack Henry | June 5, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Vog

You know me, I like to share things I learn on my vacations, along with a photo or two. Today’s term is something I learned about the weather when I was in Hawaii. My husband seemed to be coming down with a cold and missed snorkeling day. When I talked to the front desk and told them his symptoms, they said, “Well, there is a cold going around, but it might also be the vog. It really hits some people hard.”

“The what?” I asked.

“The vog. It’s volcanic smog. We’re having the highest and lowest tides on record, and there’s also volcanic smog in the air. It’s horrible for people with allergies.”

Here’s a little bit more on vog, from Wikipedia:

Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words "volcanic", "smog", and "fog". The term is in common use in the Hawaiian islands, where the Kīlauea volcano, on the Island of Hawaiʻi (aka "The Big Island"), has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983. Based on June 2008 measurements, Kīlauea emits 2,000–4,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) every day.

Vog is created when volcanic gases (primarily oxides of sulfur) react with sunlight, oxygen and moisture. The result includes sulfuric acid and other sulfates. Vog is made up of a mixture of gases and aerosols, which makes it hard to study and potentially more dangerous than either on their own.

Vog above the mountains (Windward side of O’ahu)

No vog (Southern O’ahu, from atop Diamondhead)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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