Geoscience in Hawaii

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By the numbers: Hawaii

  • 1,700 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1
  • 359 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • $105 million value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • 45 total disaster declarations, including 15 fire, 9 flood, and 7 severe storm disasters (1953-2017)⁶
  • $15.6 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201713

What is Geoscience?

Geoscience is the study of the Earth and the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Understanding the Earth’s surface and subsurface, its resources, history, and hazards allows us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
1151 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Workforce in Hawaii

  • 1,700 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed) in 20171
  • $73,355: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 4 academic geoscience departments2

Water Use in Hawaii

  • 359 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • 700 million gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal3
  • 267 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal3
  • 385 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation3
  • 240,000 gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal3
  • 96% of the population is served by public water supplies3

Energy and Minerals in Hawaii

  • $105 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • Stone (crushed), sand and gravel (construction), gemstones: top three nonfuel minerals in order of value produced in 20174
  • 643,000 megawatt hours: wind produced in 20175
  • 194,000 megawatt hours: solar produced in 20175
  • 252,000 megawatt hours: geothermal produced in 20175
  • 243,000 megawatt hours: other biomass produced in 20175

Natural Hazards in Hawaii

  • 45 total disaster declarations, including 15 fire, 9 flood, and 7 severe storm disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $14 million: individual assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • $15 million: mitigation grants (2005-2017)6
  • $198 million: preparedness grants (2005-2017)6
  • $73 million: public assistance grants (2005-2017)⁶
  • 1 weather and/or climate event with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) (1980-2017)7

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 

  • $1.15 billion: total USGS budget in FY 2018 (5.8% increase from FY 2017)8
  • The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program funds geologic mapping projects with federal (FEDMAP), state (STATEMAP), and university (EDMAP) partners
  • USGS streamgages collect real-time or recent streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality data throughout Hawaii

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $20.7 billion: total NASA budget in FY 2018 (5.5% increase from FY 2017)9
  • $1.9 billion: total NASA Earth Science budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)9
  • Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites measure groundwater changes in Hawaii
  • Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture in Hawaii

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  •  $5.9 billion: total NOAA budget in FY 2018 (4.1% increase from FY 2017)10
  • Next-generation geostationary (GOES) and polar orbiting (JPSS) satellites provide weather forecasting over Hawaii
  • Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Hawaii
  • 10 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Hawaii11
  • 267 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Hawaii11

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.8 billion: total NSF budget in FY 2018 (4% increase from FY 2017)12
  • $1.4 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards in FY 2017 (7.2% increase from FY 2016)13
  • 37 NSF GEO awards in Hawaii totaling $15.6 million in 201713
  • $15.3 million: NSF GEO grants awarded to University of Hawaii in 201713

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.1 billion: total EPA budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)14
  • 3 active Superfund sites in Hawaii in 201815
  • $8.24 million: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants in Hawaii in 201716

Federal Facilities in Hawaii

  • USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park
  • USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center, Honolulu
  • NOAA International Tsunami Information Center, Honolulu
  • NSF Gemini Observatory, Hilo


1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017
2. American Geosciences Institute, Directory of Geoscience Departments, 53rd Edition (2018)
3. U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015
4. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018
5. U.S. Energy Information Administration
6. FEMA Data Visualization: Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants (accessed May 2, 2018)
7. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters from 1980 to 2018 (accessed April 6, 2018)
8. U.S. Department of the Interior, FY 2019 Budet in Brief
9. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, FY 2019 Budget Estimates
10. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, FY 2019 Bluebook
11. NOAA In Your State and Territory
12. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division B) – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
13. National Science Foundation, Budget Information System
14. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division G) – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
15. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Sites
16. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports

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