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Hawaiian Cloud Chart

Kūkulu ka ʻike i ka ʻōpua: Knowledge is set up in the clouds. 

Wayfinders observe their natural surroundings and read environmental cues – such as the sun, stars, and wind – to help them navigate across vast stretches of ocean. According to David Seidman, “Clouds are the harbingers of weather.  Their shape, height, color and sequence foretell coming events.”  Therefore, an understanding of cloud formation is another way that navigators anticipate the weather and learn how to pull up an island from the sea. This downloadable poster is a helpful reference for learning about the different types of tropical clouds by their Hawaiian names as well as traditional scientific terms.   

Similar to other indigenous peoples, Native Hawaiians passed down generations of knowledge through song, dance, and storytelling. ʻŌleo noʻeau are proverbs or wise sayings that capture the wisdom of the Hawaiian worldview. A complementary list of ‘ōlelo noʻeau referring to clouds is also available for download.  

Click here to view and download the poster.  

Click here for a list of ʻōlelo noʻeau related to clouds.

Provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS), University of Hawaiʻi School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology, and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UH Mānoa