jan uu zoom
Assistant Professor
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Office address: SEEC N257, 4001 Discovery Dr., Boulder, CO 80309
Mail address: 311 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0311


Starting September 2022, Jan will terminate his position as Assistant Professor at CU Boulder, and take up a new role as Manager of Research Science of the Climate Analytics team at McKinsey and Company.  


PhD Polar Meteorology, Utrecht University (2013, cum laude)
Master of Science Meteorology & Air Quality, Wageningen University (2008)
Bachelor of Science Soil, Water and Atmosphere, Wageningen University (2006)

Jan is principal investigator and leader of the Ice Sheets and Climate lab, and has started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in August 2017. He is an ice sheet and climate scientist with a specific interest in polar climate, snow-atmosphere and ice-ocean interactions on meso- to global scale. Jan's main tools are climate and snow models, evaluated with remote sensing and in-situ climate observations. He received his PhD cum laude in Polar Meteorology at Utrecht University, The Netherlands in 2013. He acts as co-chair of the Land Ice Working Group of CESM, is editorial board member of Nature Communications Earth & Environment, and member of the NASA Sea Level Change Team and ICESat-2 Science team. 

In his free time, Jan loves road and mountain bike riding, running, hiking, camping and snowboarding.

Find a full CV here.


The following classes are taught regularly by Jan Lenaerts:

ATOC-5050: Atmospheric Thermodynamics & Dynamics (Fall 2017, Fall 2019)

Covers atmospheric motion and its underlying mathematical and physical principles. Explores the dynamics of the atmosphere and the mathematical laws governing atmospheric motion. Topics include atmospheric composition and thermodynamics, conservation laws, geostrophic balance, vorticity dynamics, boundary layers, and baroclinic instability. Department enforced prereq., one year of college chemistry and calculus-based physics and math up through differential equations. ATOC graduate core course.  Typically offered in fall.

ATOC-1050: Weather and the Atmosphere (Spring 2019, Fall 2020)

Introduces principles of modern meteorology for nonscience majors, with emphasis on scientific and human issues associated with severe weather events. Includes description, methods of prediction, and impacts of blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, floods, and firestorms.

ATOC 4780/5780: Ice Sheets and Climate (Spring 2020, Spring 2022)

The main topics discussed in this course (“What will we cover?”) are: 

  • The role of ice sheets in the climate system over a range of temporal and spatial scales
  • The formation and evolution of ice sheets in the geological era.
  • The interactions between ice sheets, oceans, and the atmosphere.
  • Ice sheet climate and related concepts (mass balance, conservation of mass, ice flow, accumulation/ablation, etc.)
  • Ice sheet meteorology and climatology: katabatic winds, surface fluxes, radiation, clouds, seasonal variations.
  • Ice sheet surface processes: snow, firn, albedo, hydrology.
  • Ice sheet mass balance in present and future climate, and methods for observing and modeling ice sheets

ATOC 3600: Principles of Climate (Fall 2022)

Describes the basic components of the climate system: the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and lithosphere. Investigates the basic physical processes that determine climate and link the components of the climate system. Covers the hydrological cycle and its role in climate, climate stability and global change.

For all courses offered by ATOC, and much more information, visit the ATOC courses page: http://www.colorado.edu/atoc/academics/courses

Jan at TEDx (Nov. 2016)