Powell Research Lab

Brian Powell

Professional Qualifications

2005 Ph.D., Aerospace Eng. (Physical Oceanography), Univ. of Colorado
2000 M.S., Computer Science, Univ. of Colorado
1993 B.S., Aerospace Eng., Univ. of Colorado

Academic Appointments

2018–current Professor of Oceanography, Univ. of Hawaii
2016–current Senior Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
2013–2018 Assoc. Professor of Oceanography, Univ. of Hawaii
2008–2013 Asst. Professor of Oceanography, Univ. of Hawaii
2006–2008 Postdoctoral Associate, Institute for Marine Science, UC–Santa Cruz
2005–2006 Postdoctoral Researcher, CIRES, CU–Boulder


OCN 105/SUST 115* 3 cr Sustainability in a Changing World
OCN/ERTH 312* 3 cr Advanced Mathematics 1
OCN 481/681* 3 cr Introduction to Ecosystem Modeling
OCN 760* 3 cr Data Analysis with Python
OCN 310 3 cr Global Environmental Change
OCN 418 2 cr Advanced Environmental Monitoring Systems and Measurements

Thesis Mentor/Sponsor

Margaret Bradley Ph.D., 2022–current Impact of Submesoscale on Predictability
Kathryn Feloy Ph.D., 2021–current Near-Coastal Processes in Hawai‘i
Øyvind Lundesgaard Ph.D., 2015–2018 Physical Processes in a Western Antarctic Fjord
Emma Nuss M.S., 2013–2016 Predicting pathogenic bacteria concentrations
    with a coupled microbial-physical model
Colette Kerry Ph.D., 2010–2014 Predictability in a region of strong internal
    tides and dynamic mesoscale circulation: the
    Philippine Sea
Abby Johnson M.S., 2009–2012 Characterizing the effluence near Waikiki,
    Hawaii with a coupled biophysical model.
Rebecca Baltes M.S., 2009–2011 Observing System Simulation Experiments on the
    Oahu Regional Ocean Model

Thesis Committees

Jasen Jacobsen (UCSC) Ph.D., 2021–current Mika Siegelman Ph.D., 2017–current    
Sherry Chou Ph.D., 2016–2020 Jakkob Wagenvoord GES thesis, 2018–2020    
Carleigh Volbrect M.S., 2017–2019 Alma Castillo M.S./Ph.D., 2013–2019    
Seth Travis Ph.D., 2016–2020 Amanda Ziegler Ph.D., 2015–2019    
Victoria Futch Ph.D., 2013–2019 Assaf Azouri Ph.D., 2013–2016    
Conor Jerolmon M.S., 2014–2016 Katharine Smith Ph.D., 2013–2016    
Emily Norton M.S., 2011–2013 Ana Vaz Ph.D., 2008–2012    
Chantel Chang M.S., 2014–2016 Ted Conroy GES thesis, 2018–2020    
Johanna Wren Ph.D., 2013–2016 Christina Comfort M.S., 2011–2012    
Jake Cass M.S., 2009–2010        

Researcher Sponsor/Supervisor

2022–current Dr. Lucia Hosekova 2021–current Dr. Guangpeng Liu
2018–current Dr. Tobias Friedrich 2018–2020 Dr. Lindsay Veazey
2016–2019 Dr. Lisa Hahn-Woernle 2016–2018 Dr. Sarah Zedler
2015–2018 Dr. Dale Partridge 2015–2017 Sarah Williamson, M.S.
2013–2015 Dr. Samantha Stevenson 2012–2014 Dr. Joao de Souza
2009-2011 Dr. Ivica Janekovic 2009–2011 Marcia Hsu, M.S.
2009–2011 Dr. Dax Matthews 2008–2010 Dr. Andrei Natarov


Refereed Journal Articles

[2022] Yanagihara, A. A., M. A. McManus, J. C. Sevadjian, G. O. Walker, C. L. Wilcox, K. Hurwitz, A. Lee, R. Kadler, B. S. Powell, and K. Thompson. Alatina alata (box jellyfish) monthly migration triggers in Hawai`i: Lunar and physical oceanographic triggers. Reg. Studies in Mar. Sci. 53 (102380). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2022.102380.
[2022] Kerry, C., and B. S. Powell. Including Tides Improves Subtidal Prediction in a Region of Strong Surface and Internal Tides and Energetic Mesoscale Circulation. J. Geophys. Res. 127 (6). https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JC018314.
[2021] Friedrich, T., B. S. Powell, C. A. Stock, L. Hahn-Woernle, R. Dussin, and E. N. Curchitser. Drivers of Phytoplankton Blooms in Hawaii: A Regional Model Study. J. Geophys. Res. 126 (5): e2020JC017069. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JC017069.
[2021] Counsell, C. W. W., R. R. Coleman, S. S. Lal, B. W. Bowen, E. C. Franklin, A. B. Neuheimer, B. S. Powell, et al. Opening the black box: interdisciplinary analysis of larval dispersal of a coral reef fish. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 684: 117–32.
[2020] Ziegler, A. F., L. Hahn-Woernle, B. S. Powell, and C. R. Smith. Larval dispersal modeling suggests limited ecological connectivity between fjords on the West Antarctic Peninsula. Int. And Comp. Biology 60 (6): 1,369–61,385.
[2020] Ribbat, N., M. Roughan, B. S. Powell, S. Rao, and C. G. Kerry. Transport variability over the Hawkesbury Shelf (31.5-34.5 S) driven by the East Australian Current. Plos One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241622.
[2020] Lundesgaard, Ø., P. Winsor, M. Truffer, M. Merrifield, B. S. Powell, H. Statscewich, E. Eidam, and C. Smith. Hydrography and energetics of a cold subpolar fjord: Andvord Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. Prog. Oceanog. 181 (102224).
[2020] Leitner, A. B, T. Friedrich, C. D. Kelley, V. M. Moriwake, D. Partridge, B. S. Powell, and J. C. Drazen. Biogeophysical Influence of Large-scale Habitat Types on Deep-water Bottomfish Communities: a Hawaiian Case Study. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 659: 219–36.
[2020] Kerry, C., M. Roughan, and B. S. Powell. Predicting the Submesoscale Circulation Inshore of the East Australian Current by. J. Marine Syst. 204: 103286.
[2020] Hahn-Woernle, L., B. S. Powell, Ø Lundesgaard, and J. Melchior van Wessem. Sensitivity of the summer upper ocean heat content in a Western Antarctic Peninsula fjord. Prog. Oceanog. 183 (102287).
[2019] Zedler, S., B. S. Powell, B. Qiu, and D. Rudnick. Energy transfer in the western tropical Pacific. Oceanography 32 (4): 136–45. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2019.419.
[2019] Simmons, H., B. S. Powell, S. Merrifield, S. Zedler, and P. Colin. Dynamical downscaling of equatorial flow response to Palau. Oceanography 32 (4): 84–91. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2019.414.
[2019] Qiu, B., S. Chen, B. S. Powell, P. L. Colin, D. L. Rudnick, and M. C. Schonau. Nonlinear short-term upper ocean circulation variability in the tropical western Pacific. Oceanography 32 (4): 22–31. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2019.408.
[2019] Partridge, D., T. Friedrich, and B. S. Powell. Reanalysis of the PacIOOS Hawaiian Island Ocean Forecast System, an implementation of the Regional Ocean Modeling System v3.6. Geosci. Model Devel. 12 (1): 195–213. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-12-195-2019.
[2019] Lundesgaard, Ø, B. S. Powell, M. Merrifield, L. Hahn-Woernle, and P. Winsor. Response of an Antarctic Peninsula Fjord to Summer Katabatic Wind Events. Journal of Physical Oceanography 49 (6): 1485–1502. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-18-0119.1.
[2019] Castillo–Trujillo A., D. Partridge, B. S. Powell, and P. J. Flament. Vorticity balance south shore of Oahu Hawaii, derived by high-frequency radio Doppler current observations. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 49 (1): 211–25. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-17-0270.1.
[2018] Stevenson, S., B. S. Powell, K. Cobb, J. Nusbaumer, M. Merrifield, and D. Noone. 20th Century Seawater δ18O Dynamics and Implications for Coral-Based Climate Reconstruction. Paleoceanography 33. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017PA003304.
[2018] Kerry, C., M. Roughan, and B. S. Powell. Observation Impact in a Regional Reanalysis of the East Australian Current System. J. Geophys. Res. 123 (10). https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JC013685.
[2018] A.T.K. Wong-Ala, J., C. M. Comfort, J. M. Gove, M. A. Hixon, M. A. McManus, B. S. Powell, J. L. Whitney, and A. B. Neuheimer. How life history characteristics and environmental forcing shape settlement success of coral reef fishes. Front. Mar. Science 5 (65). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00065.
[2017] Souza, J., and B. S. Powell. Different approaches to model the nearshore circulation in the south shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Ocean Science 13: 31–46. https://doi.org/10.5194/os-13-31-2017.
[2017] Powell, B. S.. Quantifying How Observations Inform a Numerical Reanalysis of Hawaii. J. Geophys. Res. 122 (11): 8,427–28,444. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC012854.
[2016] Kerry, C., B. S. Powell, and G. Carter. Quantifying the Incoherent M2 Internal Tide in the Philippine Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 46: 2,483–82,491.
[2016] Kerry, C., B. S. Powell, M. Roughan, and P. Oke. Development and evaluation of a high-resolution reanalysis of the East Australian Current region using the Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS 3.4) and Incremental Strong-Constraint 4-Dimensional Variational (IS4D-Var) data assimilation. Geosci. Model Devel., 3,779–73,801. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-9-3779-2016.
[2015] Stevenson, S., B. S. Powell, M. Merrifield, K. Cobb, J. Nusbaumer, and D. Noone. Characterizing Seawater Oxygen Isotopic Variability in a Regional Ocean Modeling Framework: Implications for Coral Proxy Records. Paleoceanography 30: 1,573–71,593.
[2014] Souza, J., B. S. Powell, A. C. Castillo-Trujillo, and P. Flament. The Vorticity Balance of the Ocean Surface in Hawaii from a Regional Reanalysis. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 45: 424–40.
[2014] Kerry, C. G., B. S. Powell, and G. S. Carter. The Impact of Subtidal Circulation on Internal Tide Generation and Propagation in the Philippine Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 44: 1,386–81,405.
[2014] Kerry, C. G., B. S. Powell, and G. S. Carter. The Impact of Sub-Tidal Circulation on Internal Tide Induced Mixing in the Philippine Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 44: 3,209–3,224.
[2014] Chen, K., R. He, B. S. Powell, A. M. Moore, and H. G. Arango. Data Assimilative Modeling Investigation of Gulf Stream Warm Core Ring Interaction with Continental Shelf and Slope Circulation, Part 1: Method. J. Geophys. Res. 119 (9): 5,968–65,991.
[2013] Powell, B. S.. Treating Nonlinearities in Data-Space Variational Assimilation. In Data Assimilation for Atmospheric, Oceanic and Hydrologic Applications, edited by S. Park and L. Xu, 2:233–50. Springer-Verlag.
[2013] Powell, B. S., B. D. Cornuelle, and C. Kerry. Using a numerical model to understand the connection between the ocean and acoustic travel-time measurements. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134 (4): 3,211–13,222.
[2013] Kerry, C. G., B. S. Powell, and G. S. Carter. Effects of remote generation sites on model estimates of M2 internal tides in the Philippine Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 43: 187–204. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-12-081.1.
[2013] Johnson, A. E., B. S. Powell, and G. F. Steward. Characterizing the effluence near Waikiki, Hawaii with a coupled biophysical model. Cont. Shelf. Res. 54: 1–13.
[2013] Janekovic, I., B. S. Powell, D. Matthews, M. A. McManus, and J. Sevadjian. 4D-Var Data Assimilation in a Nested, Coastal Ocean Model: A Hawaiian Case Study. J. Geophys. Res. 118: 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrc.20389.
[2012] Powell, B. S., I. Janekovic, G. S. Carter, and M. A. Merrifield. Sensitivity of Internal Tide Generation in Hawaii. Geophys. Res. Let. 39 (L10606): 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051724.
[2012] Matthews, D., B. S. Powell, and I. Janekovic. Analysis of Four-dimensional Variational State Estimation of the Hawaiian Waters. J. Geophys. Res. 117 (C03013). https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007575.
[2012] Janekovic, I., and B. S. Powell. Analysis of imposing tidal dynamics to nested numerical models. Cont. Shelf. Res. 34: 30–40.
[2011] Moore, A. M., H. G. Arango, G. Broquet, C. Edwards, M. Veneziani, B. S. Powell, D. Foley, J. Doyle, D. Costa, and P. Robinson. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 4-dimensional variational data assimilation systems: Part III – Observation impact and observation sensitivity in the California Current System. Prog. Oceanog. 91: 74–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2011.05.005.
[2011] Moore, A. M., H. G. Arango, G. Broquet, C. Edwards, M. Veneziani, B. S. Powell, D. Foley, J. Doyle, D. Costa, and P. Robinson. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 4-dimensional variational data assimilation systems: Part II – Performance and application to the California Current System. Prog. Oceanog. 91: 50–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2011.05.003.
[2011] Moore, A. M., H. G. Arango, G. Broquet, B. S. Powell, J. Zavala-Garay, and A. T. Weaver. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 4-dimensional variational data assimilation systems: Part I – System overview and formulation. Prog. Oceanog. 91: 34–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2011.05.004.
[2011] Matthews, D., B. S. Powell, and R. F. Milliff. Dominant Spatial Variability Scales from Observations around the Hawaiian Islands. Deep-Sea Res., Part I 58: 979–87.
[2009] Powell, B. S., and A. M. Moore. Estimating the 4DVAR Analysis Error from GODAE Products. Ocean Dynamics 59: 121–38.
[2009] Powell, B. S., A. M. Moore, H. G. Arango, R. F. Milliff, and R. R. Leben. Near real-time ocean circulation assimilation and prediction in the Intra-Americas Sea with ROMS. Dyn. Atmos. Oceans 48: 46–68.
[2009] Broquet, G., C. A. Edwards, A. Moore, B. S. Powell, M. Veneziani, and J. D. Doyle. Application of 4D-Variational data assimilation to the California Current System. Dynam. Atmos. Oceans 48: 69–92.
[2009] Broquet, G., A. M. Moore, C. A. Edwards, and B. S. Powell. Ocean state and surface forcing correction using the ROMS-IS4DVAR data assimilation system. Mercator Ocean Quart. Newsl. 34: 5–13.
[2008] Powell, B. S., H. G. Arango, A. M. Moore, E. Di Lorenzo, R. F. Milliff, and D. Foley. 4DVAR Data Assimilation in the Intra-Americas Sea with the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). Ocean Modelling 25: 173–88.
[2007] Lorenzo, E. Di, A. M. Moore, H. G. Arango, B. D. Cornuelle, A. J. Miller, B. S. Powell, B. S. Chua, and A. F. Bennett. Weak and Strong Constraint Data Assimilation in the inverse Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS): development and application for a baroclinic coastal upwelling system. Ocean Modelling 16: 160–87.
[2006] Powell, B. S., R. R. Leben, and N. L. Guinasso Jr. Comparison of Buoy and Altimeter-derived Shelf Currents using an Optimal Operator. Remote Sens. Let. 3: 192–96.
[2004] Powell, B. S., and R. R. Leben. An Optimal Filter for Geostrophic Mesoscale Currents from along-Track Satellite Altimetry. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech. 21: 1633–42.
[2003] Leben, R. R., and B. S. Powell. Accuracy Assessment of Jason-1 and TOPEX/Poseidon along-Track Sea Surface Slope. Marine Geodesy 26: 355–66.


2009–2014 ONR Young Investigator Award

Recent Service (past 5 years)

Dept. of Oceanography

2017–current Member, GES Steering Committee
2014–current Student Advisor for GES Undergraduate Program
2009–current Graduate Math Entrance Exam
2020–2021 Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Oceanography
2018–2021 Head, Physical Oceanography Division
2019–2020 Member, Dept. Personnel Committee
2017 Chair, Dept. Faculty Search Committee


2022–current Member, UH Conflict of Interest Committee
2021–current Member, Hamilton Library Steering Committee
2015–current Member, CIMAR Senior Fellow Council
2018–current Member, UH Computing Infrastructure Faculty Advising
2008–current Member, PacIOOS Steering Committee
2020, 2021 Member, UH Presidential Investigative Committees
2019–2021 Member, SOEST Research Council
2018–2019 Chair, Manoa Faculty Senate
2013–2018 Member, UH High Performance Supercomputing Committee
2016–2019 Senator, Manoa Faculty Senate