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Dorian J. Burnette

Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Memphis

I am a broadly trained atmospheric scientist, who started out as an operational meteorologist for a TV station and a private weather company both in Wichita, KS. While I have since moved on to academia, I continue to keep a modest hand in broadcasting during storm chasing and go by the handle "Jay" when I report from the field. During graduate school, I significantly expanded into historical climatology, dendroclimatology (study of past climate from tree rings), and climate change. I now use a wide array of datasets and tools to investigate extreme weather and climate events at a variety of time scales. Some of these tools I have developed myself in various computer programming languages.

I have worked on projects funded internally at the University of Memphis and externally by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and state agencies (e.g., the Tennessee Department of Transportation). Some of my work stays within a single discipline, where I have been involved in the development of homogeneous historical climate records and the reconstructions of droughts and pluvials (prolonged wet periods) from tree rings. This research has included the development of computer tools that allow multiple disciplines and the general public to more easily use the results (e.g., the Tree-Ring Drought Atlas Portal). I also find myself collaborating within interdisciplinary teams. In recent years, I have collaborated with meteorologists, climatologists, paleoclimatologists, city planners, civil engineers, hydrologists, biogeographers, ecologists, archaeologists, and hazards scientists on a variety of research projects, including M.S. and Ph.D. student projects.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Memphis