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Dr. Kelsey Ellis (Scheitlin)

Specialties: climatology and meteorology
See Also:  Curriculum Vitae


I am a physical geographer specializing in applied meteorology and climatology. In my research I use a variety of statistical and spatial analysis methods in order to further our understanding in the general areas of:

1. Tropical Cyclones – Because the climatic variables that dictate tropical cyclone movement undulate in a somewhat regular manner, tropical cyclone tracks create patterns across space. I view these patterns in two ways: a given location is likely to be struck by a specific track type, or a given climate scenario is likely to generate a specific track. My research investigates questions such as “Must extreme hurricanes take particular pathways before making landfall?” and “What information can current tracks provide about historical tropical cyclone tracks?”

2. Tornadoes – I started storm chasing while earning my M.S. at Mississippi State University, and since then I have made an annual trip to the Great Plains each May to witness supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes firsthand. While some people collect data in the Plains, my research happens after the event. I have worked with researchers at other institutions to analyze the spatial and temporal bias in tornado reports and tornado fatalities.

Contact Information

Dr. Kelsey N. Ellis
Ph.D., Florida State
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
419 Burchfiel Geography Bldg.
Knoxville, TN 37996-0925

3. Human-environment interactions – I am interested in how humans impact their local climate, and how they are impacted by atmospheric hazards and climatic conditions. For example, I have analyzed how land use alters the microclimate of an area, and the relationship between climate and suicide rates. Additionally, this interaction allows for interesting data issues that require quantification, such as a bias in tornado and tropical cyclone report locations and a change in these biases over time.

I teach students the basics of weather and climate in the first segment of the department’s introductory physical geography course (Geography 131). These students can move on to take one of the advanced meteorology or climatology courses that I offer for undergraduate and graduate students.

I am also the advisor for Gamma Theta Upsilon at the University of Tennessee, which is an international geographic honor society. If you think GTU is for you please check out or contact me for more information.

You can reach me at or visit me in Burchfiel 419.