About the Department of Meteorology

At the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Thank you for your interest in our department. We are always seeking to recruit excellent students for both our undergraduate and graduate programs. Meteorology has been an academic discipline at University of Hawai‘i at Manoa for over 50 years. The department has built an enviable national and international reputation for research and education, offering both undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) degree programs. Since 1965 the University has been a member of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.


Image placeholder for slideshow. The department is part of one of the world’s most active schools in the geosciences: the University of Hawai‘i School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). SOEST has about 200 faculty members who study a wide variety of phenomena related to the physics, chemistry and biology of the solid earth, the ocean, and the atmosphere. Meteorology faculty and student offices are located in the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics (HIG) building and the adjacent Pacific Ocean Sciences and Technology (POST) building.

Research: In the Laboratory…

Research has been central to the department’s activities since its inception. Despite the department’s modest size, an impressive array of research projects are being pursued. Projects involving experimental work as well as computer modeling and theoretical calculations are being undertaken by our faculty and students. Our students now have thesis topics that involve study of a variety of atmospheric phenomena on a wide range of space and time scales. However, our unique situation as the only world-class university located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has kept our main focus on issues relating to the weather and climate of the tropical Pacific and the Asian-Pacific regions.

…and in the Field

Department faculty have participated in a series of field experiments on the island of Hawai‘i and elsewhere. These experiments have generally emphasized investigations of cloud physics, and more recently, of convective and mesoscale phenomena. We helped organize and conduct the Hawaiian Rainband Project (HaRP) in 1990. Faculty and students also have participated in the Experiment on Rapidly Intensifying Cyclones in the Atlantic (ERICA) in 1989, the Convection and Precipitation/Electrification Experiment (CaPE) in 1991, the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) in 1993, the Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE) in 1995, and Atmospheric Investigation, Regional Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (AIR–MAP) in 2004. Many graduate students find thesis topics in the analysis of results of such specialized field campaigns, or in related modeling activities.

Photo of undergrads at NWS office.

Undergraduate meteorology students visiting the National Weather Service (NWS) Honolulu Forecast Office at UH looked over the shoulder of lead forecaster Pete Donaldson as he studied the monitor. The NWS Honolulu Forecast Office moved to the UH-Manoa campus from the airport in 1995. The Honolulu office is one of only 13 nationally that is located on a university campus and in our case it actually shares the HIG building with the Meteorology Department.

Forecasting and Practical Applications

We are fortunate that the National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office is located in the HIG building, providing access to real time weather data and allowing interactions with the operational forecasters. Several of our students have actually worked part-time at the forecast office. Some of the department’s research activities are directly related to improving short-term weather forecasts for the Hawaiian Islands, including specialized forecasts for the use of astronomers operating the world renowned observatories on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai‘i.

Support for practical application of weather and climate information in Hawai‘i is provided by the Hawai‘i State Climate Office, which is directed by Prof. Pao-Shin Chu in our department. We also provide important practical support for the local office of the U.S. Forest Service.

Longer Timescales and Climate Studies

Studies of the basic physics of tropical atmospheric circulations on seasonal and longer timescales, notably the El Niño phenomenon and the Asian monsoon circulations, have a long and distinguished history in the department and in our sister Oceanography department. In 1997, our endeavors in climate studies were significantly enhanced by the advent of the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC), now located in the POST building. The IPRC is a joint Japan-US research center for the study of climate variations and long-term climate change in the Asian-Pacific region. Several Meteorology department faculty members also have appointments in the IPRC.


Modeling and data analysis in the department is facilitated by a network of desktop workstations and personal computers. Individual faculty have access to powerful computing resources through their own facilities or collaborations with other institutions.

With funds from the Unidata Equipment Award Program and a generous cost match from SOEST, the department has recently undertaken an upgrade of its VisionLab instructional computer facility. The workstations in the VisionLab are also used for research.

For field work the department has recently acquired a new InterMet 3000 portable radiosonde system. This provides balloon-borne measurements of temperature, pressure, water vapor, and GPS-determined position (from which winds can be derived).

More information for students

You can download our brochures (as PDFs) presenting details of our undergraduate and graduate programs here, or follow the links to lists of our faculty and courses, descriptions of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and information on how to apply for graduate studies.

The Weather Server

The Department also maintains a Weather Server page displaying real time weather observations and forecasts for Hawai‘i, the central Pacific region and the US Mainland.


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