Jenni Evans


Professor of Meteorology,
Director for the Institute for CyberScience


  • Earth Science

Focus Areas:

In The Media:


  • Developed a framework for mapping the structural evolution of cyclonic storms, the Cyclone Phase Space (CPS)
  • Developed a new understanding of extra-tropically transitioning tropical cyclones, such as Hurricane Sandy of 2012
  • Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
  • 2018 American Meteorological Society President-Elect

Jenni Evans’ research encompasses tropical cyclones from genesis to decay, extra-tropical transition (ET) or landfall, the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones (TCs) and other organized tropical convective systems. She has appeared on the NBC Learn series on Natural Hazards.

Evans was one of a small group of scientists who developed a new understanding of extra-tropically transitioning tropical cyclones, such as Hurricane Sandy of 2012. These systems can have potentially devastating societal impacts far from their tropical genesis – even in Scandinavia and Japan. Inspired by the need to characterize the structural evolution of ET events, she collaborated on developing a framework for mapping the structural evolution of cyclonic storms, the Cyclone Phase Space (CPS). The CPS is used in operations, including at the United States National Hurricane Center.

Evans has employed a variety of novel statistical methodologies for physically based partitioning of ensemble forecasts of tropical cyclones and developing a metric for tropical cyclogenesis activity in climate change simulations. She has explored the relationships between organized convection and TC intensity with sea surface temperature (SST) and the implications of these relationships in a warming climate. The impact of realistic TC boundary layer structures and treatment of sea spray on TC potential intensity and the impacts of convection and topography on the development of African Easterly Waves (AEWs) are also current areas of investigation. The tools of her research include observational diagnostics; statistical analyses and modeling of observations, simulations and reanalyses; and dynamical modeling.

She is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and served on its council from 2005 to 2008. She co-chaired the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 8th Intergovernmental Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (Seoul, Republic of Korea; December 2014) and had served for over a decade as the lead meteorologist for the professional team assisting the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology. Other current and former professional service include the United States Weather Research Program Science Steering Committee, Science Steering Committee for the United States THORPEX Pacific Asian Regional Campaign, Advisory Board for the NOAA/NSF Developmental Testbed Center, editor of Monthly Weather Review and associate editor of Weather and Forecasting.

In The Media

"Evans and her team research select hurricanes, measuring each one every six hours according to four specific characteristics: air pressure, latitude, longitude and asymmetry. From there, an audio file is created, with Ballora synthesizing the data through a computer program that scales and transposes the audio of a hurricane. That allows a storm that lasts for several days to become a ‘song’ that runs for only a few minutes. For people who haven’t experienced the brutality of hurricanes, the audio is a startling wake-up call."

When Nature Strikes: Hurricanes

from NBC Learn September 24, 2015

"We might have a whole fan of forecasts of where the storm might go. But the path clustering says well really there are three or four possible ways the atmosphere is going to evolve." - Jenni Evans

"'The first thing you have to understand is hurricanes are powerful and volatile,' said Jenni Evans, a meteorology professor at Penn State. Hurricanes are influenced by the ocean and every weather front they contact. At the same time, hurricanes influence the ocean and every weather system they contact."

"Not only is it hard to track how contaminants would be redistributed by a hurricane, but it's also hard to predict how the slick would affect the storm."

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