Visit Kaʻala Cloud Forest, a fog swept slope in the mountains, via this 360 Virtual Reality (VR) Time-lapse video at https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=RyVDl8ZSXIE.kaala_cloud_forest.jpg

John DeLay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Geography at Honolulu CC explains that the video allows viewers to, “observe cloud formation on a day when a process called convection is occurring on the leeward side of the mountain. As the warm air rises along the mountain slopes it expands and cools as the air pressure decreases with altitude. This is called adiabatic cooling.”

DeLay explained that a similar process regularly takes place on the windward side as the prevailing trade winds encounter the mountain and the air is forced to rise in a process called orographic lifting. As the air cools, relative humidity increases and eventually water vapor condenses into liquid water, forming a cloud. When the cloud encounters vegetation or the ground it is referred to as fog. Fog drip helps contribute moisture to the water budget of a cloud forest.

“In a cooperative effort with researchers at UH Mānoa, HonCC is trying to determine how much fog drip is occurring,” shared DeLay.

Each year DeLay brings a few students to the site each semester. The VR video, however, provides an opportunity to bring the mountain to the classroom.

Take the virtual tour of the Kaʻala Cloud Forest at https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=RyVDl8ZSXIE. Choose a high resolution for the settings wheel (ie. 1080s HD) in the right corner. If you are viewing on your smartphone without a VR headset, click and drag on the screen or tap the direction arrows at upper left or wave your phone around.

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