Janel Hanrahan

Associate Professor


B.A. – Mathematics, Alverno College (2005)
M.S. – Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2008)
Ph.D. – Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2010)

Courses Taught

  • Survey of Climate and Statistics I & II (ATM 2061 & 2062)
  • Geophysical and Human Interactions (ATM 2210)
  • Atmospheric Thermodynamics (ATM 3030)
  • Atmospheric Dynamics I & II (ATM 3321 & 3322)
  • Climate Change Dynamics (ATM 4140)
  • Physical Climatology (ATM 4030)
  • Capstone in Atmospheric Sciences I & II (ATM 4712 & 4713)


Before joining the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in 2012, Janel Hanrahan earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics with a strong focus in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her doctoral work included the investigation of Lake Michigan-Huron water levels and their connection to natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change. Following graduate school, Dr. Hanrahan worked as a researcher at the University of Alberta where she studied changes in rainfall in the Canadian Plains region and examined procedures for model optimization. Through dynamical and statistical downscaling, she is currently interested in identifying connections between large-scale climate variability and trends and local weather, particularly extreme precipitation.

At Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, Dr. Hanrahan has enjoyed interacting with students on a personal level both in and out of the classroom. She earned her own B.A. from a small student-centered institution and was excited to return to this type of learning environment. Because of her own interest in applied mathematics, she enjoys helping students understand how math and physics are used to study the atmosphere. In addition, Dr. Hanrahan is interested in improving climate change literacy among both atmospheric scientists and the general public. As the director of The Climate Consensus, she works with students, faculty, and staff to improve climate change communication among these groups through the creation of shareable digital content, participation in community outreach events, K-12 school visits, and conference presentations.

Originally from the Midwest, Dr. Hanrahan has been enjoying the Northeast Kingdom’s natural beauty. She and her husband keep busy with ongoing home renovations (with energy efficiency in mind!), gardening, cooking, food preservation, and exploring the surrounding area. Most importantly, she is busy being a mom, a role that has opened her eyes to the very real consequences of unmitigated climate change. Therefore, she spends much of her time educating family and friends about the science and encouraging other scientists to do the same.

Selected Publications

Hanrahan, J., and J. Shafer, 2019: Improving climate change literacy and promoting outreach in an undergraduate atmospheric sciences programBull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. https://doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0332.1, in press.

Hanrahan, J., A. Maynard, S.Y. Murphy, C. Zercher, and A. Fitzpatrick, 2017: Examining the Climatology of Shortwave Radiation in the Northeastern United States. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 56, 2869–2881, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0420.1.

Hanrahan, J. , Kuo, C. and Gan, T. Y., 2015: Configuration and validation of a mesoscale atmospheric model for simulating summertime rainfall in Central AlbertaInt. J. Climatol35, 660–675, https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4011.

Hanrahan, J., P. Roebber, and S. Kravtsov, 2014: Attribution of Decadal-Scale Lake-Level Trends in the Michigan-Huron SystemWater6, 2278–2299, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w6082278

Kuo, C.C., Gan, T.Y., and Hanrahan, J.L., 2014, Precipitation frequency analysis based on regional climate simulations in Central AlbertaJournal of Hydrology510, 436–446, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.12.051

Hanrahan, J.L., S.V. Kravtsov, and P.J. Roebber, 2010, Connecting past and present climate variability to the water levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Geophysical Research Letters37, L01701, https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL041707

Hanrahan, J.L., S.V. Kravtsov, and P.J. Roebber, 2009, Quasi-periodic decadal cycles in levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research35, 30–35, https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL041707

Current Projects