Andrew W. Ellis

Associate Professor

Specialties: climatology and meteorology

I am a physical geographer with expertise and interests in the subfields of meteorology and climatology. A native of Delaware, I earned Bachelor of Arts (Geography, 1991), Master of Science (Geography, 1994), and Doctor of Philosophy (Climatology, 1997) degrees from the Geography program at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.  I joined the geography faculty at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona in 1997, where I remained until leaving for Virginia Tech in July 2011. While at Arizona State, I served as Director of the university’s Office of Climatology and, through appointment by the governor, as the State Climatologist for Arizona. I was an affiliate faculty member of the Environmental Fluid Dynamics program within the College of Engineering at Arizona State, and I was awarded the title Senior Sustainability Scientist by the university’s School of Sustainability.

Trained as a hydroclimatologist, my early research work focused on snowfall variability, large-scale snow cover-atmosphere interactions, and snowmelt modeling. However, I spent several years working on lower atmospheric pollution problems before returning in recent years to a research agenda focused on water-related issues. Two research areas have been the focus of my most recent work. One area centers on understanding the occurrence of drought and its improved representation for monitoring and study. The second research area focuses on assessing the sustainability of fresh water resources for growing populations located in arid and semi-arid climates that face uncertain hydrological impacts from climate change. My work has received funding from agencies that include National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, and Environmental Protection Agency.  I publish my work in journals such as the International Journal of Climatology, Climate Research, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Journal of Hydrometeorology, Weather and Forecasting, The Professional Geographer, and the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. I currently serve as Editor for the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

I have taught an array of meteorology and climatology courses focused on hydroclimatology, physical climatology/meteorology, meteorological instrumentation and measurement, synoptic climatology, climate change, atmospheric thermal and fluid dynamics, physical geography, and computer programming. I received the top teaching award bestowed upon faculty by the student body at Arizona State, the Centennial Professorship, as well as the Outstanding Faculty Mentor award. Within Geography at Virginia Tech, my principal role is to teach and advise students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology.

I can be reached by email at, by phone at 540-231-8049, or by visit at 111 Major Williams Hall.

Research Interests:

  • Hydroclimatology
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Drought
  • Water Resources

Classes Recently Taught:

  • Dynamic Meteorology I and II

Recent Publications:

  • Cerveny, R.S., K. DeBiasse, M.B. Pace, A.W. Ellis, R.C. Balling Jr. 2011. Revitalization of  Namias’ Climatological Isentropic Analysis: Detection and Evaluation of Monsoonal, Severe Storm, Drought, and Flood Events. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, In Press (November 2011 Issue).
  • Gober, P.A., C.W. Kirkwood, R.B. Balling Jr., A.W. Ellis, S. Deitrick. 2010. Water Planning Under Climatic Uncertainty in Phoenix: Why We Need a New Paradigm. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 100, 356-372. DOI: 10.1080/00045601003595420.
  • Svoma, B.M., R.C. Balling Jr., A.W. Ellis. 2010. Analysis of Soil Moisture Trends in the Salt River Watershed of Central Arizona. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 102, 159-169. DOI: 10.1007/s00704-010-0255-1.
  • Ellis, A.W., G.B. Goodrich, G.M. Garfin. 2010. A Hydroclimatic Index for Examining Patterns of Drought in the Colorado River Basin. International Journal of Climatology, 30, 236-255.
  • Hawkins, T.W., A.W. Ellis. 2009. The Dependency of Streamflow on Antecedent Subsurface Moisture in an Arid Climate. Journal of Arid Environments, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2009.07.003.
  • Barton, N.P., A.W. Ellis. 2008. Variability in the Wintertime Position and Strength of the North Pacific Jet Stream as Represented by Re-analysis Data. International Journal of Climatology, DOI:10.1002/joc.1750, 12 pp.
  • Ellis, A.W., T.W. Hawkins, R.C. Balling Jr., P.A. Gober. 2008. Estimating Future Runoff Levels for a Semi-Arid Fluvial System in Central Arizona, USA. Climate Research, 35, 227-239.
  • Goodrich, G.B., A.W. Ellis. 2008. Climatic Controls and Hydrologic Impacts of a Recent Extreme Seasonal Precipitation Reversal in Arizona, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 47, 498-508.
Andrew W. Ellis