Jaya Khanna

I am trained in and currently working on processes affecting regional climate. Although, I showed several other skills while growing up, visual arts being my better talent at that time, peer pressure made me drift towards academia particularly high energy physics. Chance encounters with some drought-stricken village folk in India motivated me  to switch fields to Atmospheric Sciences.
I had a strong inclination towards environmental protection throughout my childhood, mostly induced by the natural and rustic surroundings I grew up in. I have volunteered for a few years for the National Service Scheme of Gov of India which is where I got first-hand experience of social impacts of environmental degradation. This was the reason why I started my studies in Atmospheric Sciences with research on tropical rain forests to understand the role that vegetation plays in our climate system. In recent years I am also moving towards the interactions of larger scale climate drivers with regional scale climate, particularly heat waves under climate change.
My tools of investigation so far have been coupled numerical models of the atmosphere and observational data. Recently however, I am also getting into field measurements of regional hydro-climatic drivers in the Himalayas through an MHRD funded project.

Academic Background

September 2011 – September 2016

PhD, Programme in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, USA
Thesis title: Regional hydro-climatic impacts of contemporary Amazonian deforestation.
Advisor: Prof David Medvigy

September 2009 – August 2011

M.S. in Physics and Environment and Sustainability, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Thesis title: Atmospheric Temperature Retrievals from lidar Data.
Advisor: Prof Robert Sica

August 2006 – May 2008

M.Sc. in Physics, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India

August 2003 – May 2006

B. Sc. in Physics (with Hons.), Department of Physics, Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, Banaras Hindu University, India

Employment History

August 2019 onwards

Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, National Institute of Science Education and Research, India.

November 2018 to July 2019

Assistant Professor (on contract), Department of Hydrology, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India.

November 2017 to July 2019

Coadjutant Research Scientist and Visiting Scientist, Department of Environmental Science, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA.
(Host: Prof Benjamin Lintner)

October 2016 to October 2017

Post Doctoral Fellow,Jackson School of Geosciences, Univ. Texas, Austin, USA.
(Host: Prof Kerry Cook)

Teaching Experience

January 2020

School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, NISER, India
Guide to 3rd year undergraduate student for a semester project on Radiative transfer in the Earth’s atmosphere and impacts on regional extreme heat events.

January 2019

Department of Hydrology, IIT Roorkee, India
Instructor for graduate course HY-513 – Hydrometeorology and Climate Change.


The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, Princeton University, USA Certificate from the Teaching Transcript Program.

September 2014 to January 2015

Princeton University, USA
Assistant in teaching for GEO415 – Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences.

September 2009 to August 2011

University of Western Ontario, Canada
Instructor for Physics 1301A/1302B – Introductory Physics 1/2 (undergraduate laboratory course).

August 2008 to May 2009

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Teaching Assistant for Undergraduate Introductory Physics lecture course and physics laboratory training course.

June 2009

Lectureship in Physical Sciences, CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test, India.

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