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Hawaii gets more muggy as trade winds drop, but scientists don't know what's causing change

The gentle breezes that make living in Hawaii so pleasant are declining and this is slowly changing life across the islands. It's not clear what's behind the shift.

But University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers found a decades-long decline in the trade winds that keep Hawaii cool.

Their findings published last fall in the Journal of Geophysical Research included a 28 percent drop in northeast trade wind days at Honolulu's airport since the early 1970s.

Some affects are relatively minor, such as residents unaccustomed to the humidity complaining about the weather and having to use their fans and air conditioning more often.

Others are more consequential, including less rainfall and winds being too weak to blow away volcanic smog.