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Jenni L. Evans

Jenni L. Evans

  • Professor of Meteorology
509 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-3240


  1. PhD -- Monash University (Applied Mathematics)
  2. B.Sc. (Honors) -- Monash University (Applied Mathematics)

Research Specialties:

Tropical Meteorology:

The field trips are generally hot and sticky, but understanding the workings of the atmosphere affecting 50% of the Earth's populations is worth a little sweat.  Come and join me and my team of graduate and undergraduate students in their studies of the tropics: tropical cyclones (hurricanes), monsoon variability and sensitivity to base climate, convective weather systems and their role in the hydrologic cycle and extratropical transition of tropical cyclones.  We use a combination of data analysis, analytical and various numerical models to attack these and other questions in the tropics. 

Weather Risk:


Professional Affiliations

Administrative Positions    

  • Advisory Committee, Earth and Environment Systems Institute (EESI)
  • Advisory Committee, Center for Energy and Environmental Risk (CEER)
  • Steering Committee, Earth System Science Center (ESSC)

Selected Prior Service

  • Board on Oceans and Atmosphere Executive Committee, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
  • US Science Steering Committee, THORPEX (USTSSC)
  • US Science Steering Committee, THORPEX Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T‑PARC)
  • Internal Advisory Board, Penn State Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Institute
  • Councilor, American Meteorological Society
  • Workshop Organizer and Keynote Speaker, National workshop on subtropical cyclones and extratropical transitions, Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, Madrid
  • Editor, Monthly Weather Review
  • National Science Board Panel Towards a national agenda for hurricane science and engineering
  • Workshop co-convenor, The Hurricane-Climate Change Connection: Bringing Cutting Edge Research into the Classroom
  • Chair, AMS Nominations Committee for President and Councilors

Research Interests

Climate variability with particular emphasis on the tropics, tropical meteorology, numerical modeling and tropical cyclones.

The overarching question that drives my research is “What is the role of organized convection in the global climate system?” In addressing this question much of my research has been focused on the complete lifecycle of tropical cyclones, from genesis through “extratropical transition" [ET]. Extratropically transitioning tropical cyclones move into higher latitudes, rapidly evolving into larger, damaging storm systems. ET storms differ from typical warm season midlatitude storms since their tropical source air greatly enhances the local temperature gradients resulting in very intense winds and large-scale flooding rains. Our studies of subtropical storms have identified their role in the genesis of North Atlantic tropical cyclones.

Characterizing the structural evolution of tropical cyclones throughout their lifecycle and quantifying numerical model skill at simulating this storm structure has been, and remains, an active research focus over the last few years.

Other aspects of my research include tropical climate variability and climatological modulation of tropical cyclones. This work extends to exploring future climate scenarios for tropical convection and monsoons. Societal vulnerability to tropical cyclones and weather risk are more recent active areas of research.

Our approaches to this work include analysis of observations and numerical simulations using a variety of statistical and diagnostic tools, as well as regional numerical modeling. We are also beginning to think about problems from a more economics-based perspective.

Teaching interests

Atmospheric dynamics, fluid dynamics, numerical modeling, tropical meteorology, climate.

My background in applied mathematics – particularly, geophysical fluid dynamics – led to my interest in teaching dynamics classes at all levels. Interpretation and manipulation of the equations provides a sound basis from which to understand and forecast the atmosphere.

My love of tropical meteorology was the impetus for teaching both that class and climate modeling. Tropical storms (from thunderheads to hurricanes) have fascinated me since Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974. We can draw upon some basic concepts for understanding of the role of the tropics in the global climate system. Variations in the tropics (whether individual storms, seasonal or longer) can impact higher latitude weather, thus having implications for forecasting all around the globe. I regularly offer graduate seminar courses.