Kevin Hamilton




Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Retired Director, International Pacific Research Center (IPRC)

University of Hawai`i at Manoa

see also my IPRC web page

(for my cv and publications)



Some Recent Media Stories Featuring My Research

Times of London, October 21, 2021

The Atlantic, August 16, 2020

The Guardian, November 14, 2017



The January 15, 2022 underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga produced an air pressure wave that propagated away from the eruption at about 300 m/s and likely circled the globe several times. This phenomenon was observed in satellite imagery as well as in instrumental atmospheric observations. A similar pressure wave was observed in barograph records in the hours and days after the famous August 1883 eruption of Mt. Krakatau (or "Krakatoa") in Indonesia. The propagation of the atmospheric wave front as estimated using the barometric data at about 50 stations worldwide was plotted on maps by the researchers involved in the Royal Society Krakatoa Committee. The maps were published in a Royal Society report in 1888. I made this simple animation of the propagation of the Krakatau pressure wave front by adapting the map images from the Royal Society report. The pressure pulse is shown propagating away from Krakatoa and then, about 17 hours later, converging at the antipodal point.



Click here for a 48 second version of the animation of the propagation of the atmospheric pressure pulse from the 1883 eruption of Mt. Krakatau including explanatory material



On July 6, 2021 I gave the opening address in the World Climate Research Programme's SPARC project's online celebration of the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO). This is the recorded lecture from July 6:

"The Discovery of the QBO and Related Developments: 1883-1961"

This is a longer version of this lecture adapted for a somewhat wider audience:

"The Discovery of the QBO and Related Developments: 1883-1961 - Extended Version"



Hawai`i From Space



Interesting weather in Hawai`i - an animation of IR images during a frontal passage December 4-6, 2007

This resulted in widespread damage and disruption in Hawai`i as seen in this front page newspaper story



Interesting weather on Mars! - a NASA animation of Mars Spirit Rover images showing several dust devils racing across the surface. Images were taken on July 13, 2005. Real elapsed time in seconds is shown in the lower left corner



QBO Vizualization - Monthly-mean zonal-mean zonal wind observations from UKMO analyses November 1991-June 1998



Research Interests

Observations and modelling of the global-scale circulation of the atmosphere

Climate modelling and climate change

Meteorology and chemistry of the stratosphere and mesosphere

Atmospheric and oceanic waves and tides

Dynamics of planetary atmospheres

History of atmospheric science



Vortex Visualization

Here is an attempt to visualize the polar vortex as simulated in the GFDL SKYHI General Circulation Model. What is shown is an instantaneous picture of a surface that surrounds the air with low nitrous oxide concentration (in this case low relative to the mean value at each horizontal level). What you see is a Northern Hemisphere projection with the vertical scale marked in potential temperature. The vertical extent shown is from about 10 km to 45 km. The main vase-like sheath outlines the polar vortex, while the ribbons wrapping around the vortex represent air that has recently eroded from the vortex. (for more details)


Typhoon Simulation

click here to see the strongest Pacific typhoon simulated in what back in 1997 was an extremely fine resolution global climate model.

For more details see Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 78, 2874 (1997).


My History of the Early Days of Upper Atmospheric Meteorology

(for complete text)


Draft White Paper for the Proposed Effects of Tropical Convection Experiment (ETCE)

(for complete text)



"Summer" School on the Physics of the Equatorial Atmosphere, Trieste, Italy, held in September and October 2001.

(for more information)

(for a formal group photo of lecturers and students)



Here is my colleague Wataru Ohfuchi during a visit he made to IPRC back in 2005.

In 2006 Wataru and I edited a book on high resolution numerical simulation (for more information)



Here is a view of near-instantaneous precipitation from a high-resolution global model run at the ESC. This is a photo taken while an animation produced in collaboration with the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is projected onto a large sphere in their "Science on the Sphere" exhibit hall.



In 2006 & 2007 I participated in Hawai`i Public Radio shows featuring discussions of environmental issues and research efforts relevant to Hawai`i.

October 2006 MP3 audio file

August 2007 MP3 audio file





From 2014 through 2017 I participated in three episodes of the ThinkTech Hawai`i web TV show "Research in Manoa":

"Bringing Climate Change Home"

"Big Data at Manoa"

"A Letter from the Sky - Weather Influenced by the Upper Atmosphere"



Some Links

SPARC Information - Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate

International Commission on the Middle Atmosphere OLD HOME PAGE

SPARC Radiosonde Climatology Project

International Centre for Theoretical Physics

ETCE - Effects of Tropical Convection Experiment White Paper

The Journal of High School Science