Bio, Dr. Jana Houser

Dr. Houser’s CV (OSU Department of Geography)

Dr. Jana Houser.

I am trained meteorologist who specializes in radar analysis of tornadoes and the supercell thunderstorms that commonly produce them by using state of the art mobile radar observations. I am specifically interested in studying the evolution of rotation in thunderstorms just prior to and during the process of forming a tornado, and in the storm-scale processes that influence tornado production and behavior.  Furthermore, I investigate the role that variations in terrain and land cover, which is a proxy for friction, play in tornado evolution, path, structure and intensity and I am currently funded by the National Science Foundation to study the interactions of tornadoes with the ground beneath.

Dr. Jana Houser standing next to a radar truck.Fundamental questions I seek to answer include: Does the rotation that becomes a tornado begin close to the ground or higher in the storm? What differentiates storms that produce tornadoes from those that do not? Do tornadoes intensify or weaken when they encounter changes in elevation or land cover? Are there localized areas where terrain may impact the likelihood of tornado formation? I have authored or co-authored a number of peer-reviewed journal articles related to tornadoes and supercells, most of which have been published by the American Meteorological Society (see CV).

A tornado.Like many meteorologists, I was bitten by the weather bug early in life. At age 6, I pretended to be a broadcast meteorologist while my cousin filmed me with a toy camera. By age 9, I told my fourth grade class I was going to be a storm chaser and study tornadoes when I grew up. I continued through my pre-collegiate education with a focus on working in the field as a severe storms expert, and have never looked back!

I received a B.S. degree in Meteorology from Penn State University in 2004, and earned both a M.S. degree in meteorology (2008), and a PhD in meteorology (2013) from the University of Oklahoma under the mentorship of renowned severe storms and tornado scientist Dr. Howard Bluestein. I began my professional academic career at Ohio University in 2013, and transitioned to The Ohio State University in fall 2022.

Radar images of hurricanesI have served in various leadership capacities within the American Meteorological Society including being a member of the AMS Scientific and Technological Advancement Committee for Severe Local Storms from 2016-2020 and then chairing the committee from 2021-2022. I was also the co-chair for the 28th Conference on Severe Local Storms. I currently serve as an assistant editor for the Monthly Weather Review publication, and on various review panels for the National Science Foundation, and NASA. I am also currently the faculty advisor for the OSU meteorology club, and the Director for Undergraduate Studies for the OSU Department of Geography.

Outside of my work life, my other full time job is raising my three daughters and maintaining my house and yard. I am an active participant in my church, and I enjoy many extracurricular activities, including running and weight lifting, hiking, cooking, gardening, and music. I am also an animal lover! I have 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, three barn cats, and a healthy number of chickens.