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Hurricane satellite imagePhoto by NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images


Morgan E O'Neill

Morgan O'NeillI will join Stanford's Earth System Science faculty as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2018. I am an atmospheric scientist interested in the feedbacks between severe weather events and climate. The connections between multiscale severe events (including tornadoes, hurricanes, midlatitude snow storms) and the climate in which they occur is of importance to meteorologists, climate scientists and planetary scientists. In a changing climate, it is critical to accurately predict how the extremes to which we are accustomed will change in the future. The past and present climates of Earth, as well as those of other planets in our solar system, serve as physical laboratories in which we can observe a range of extreme phenomena. My work focuses on separating the physics that are fundamental to extreme events from the conditions imposed by a variety of climates.

The tools I use to address these questions are varied, from simple theory to complex General Circulation Models that simulate geophysical fluid dynamics. Because of the impossibility of recreating all the complexities of the atmosphere in a laboratory, my laboratory is a hierarchy of numerical models that approximate the equations of motion. Ultimately these models are tested against observations from current and past climates on Earth and other planets.

Much of my research currently focuses on hurricane dynamics that can lead to better forecasts on weather- and climate-relevant timescales. How do hurricanes modify the far environment? Can a hurricane beget another hurricane in time and space? Why are there ~90 hurricanes (tropical cyclones) globally, and not 1000? What does this tell us about hurricane packing on Earth? How will this number change in a warming world? Students interested in related questions may have the possibility of participating in a field campaign.


oneillm  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



  • BS, Physics, University of New Hampshire, 2009
  • PhD, Atmospheric Sciences, MIT, 2015
    • Advisor: Kerry Emanuel

Research Appointments:

  • Koshland Prize Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science 2015-2017
  • T. C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Dept. of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago 2017-2018




8 March 2018

I am a coauthor on a new Nature paper: "Clusters of cyclones encircling Jupiter's poles." This reveals the first look at the bizarre vortex packing of Jupiter's poles. See coverage in National Geographic.

14 November 2017

Recorded seminar on our new paper about diurnally-forced waves in hurricanes, presented at NOAA/AOML's Hurricane Research Division in Miami, FL.


11 September 2017

I spoke on Fox 32's Good Day Chicago about Hurricane Irma's strength and size.