Dr. John Hanesiak

Associate Professor

468 Wallace



The common theme within my work focuses on how the atmosphere interacts with the Earth's surface in a physical sense so we can better understand weather and climate processes. The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the interface between the surface and free atmosphere, thus, PBL processes are critical when coupling the surface and atmosphere. Processes that involve heat (energy) and mass transfer (in the vertical and horizontal) in the PBL are directly responsible for low level cloud and precipitation development. The interaction between the PBL and free atmosphere can also dictate the extent to which cloud and precipitation forms, including various types of severe weather.

A variety of numerical models are used in-house and in collaboration with other researchers including GEM-LAM (Canadian mesoscale atmospheric model), WRF (an American mesoscale atmospheric model), and one-dimensional column models.

A combination of field measurements, remote sensing and numerical modeling are used to:

(1) understand the coupled nature of weather and climate processes;

(2) ensure the models simulate the environment properly (model validation);

(3) improve the physical processes within the models (process parameterizations).

The research above is applied to two different Canadian environments, the High Arctic and the Prairie Provinces. A short description of each is given below.


The polar regions are expected to experience the earliest and largest physical response to global warming scenarios. We are seeing evidence even today that significant change is occurring in the Canadian Arctic. The atmosphere plays a major role in these climate forcings but we still do not completely understand the coupled nature of many processes. A major short-term objective is to better understand the processes that couple the polar PBL and its surface(s) by relating PBL (and mesoscale atmospheric features) and surface variations with the larger scale atmospheric circulation, including severe and adverse weather.


A major drawback in numerical models of the atmosphere and climate models is their representation of PBL and surface-atmosphere interaction processes; for example, boundary layer and convective cloud/precipitation development. Research in this part of Canada primarily focuses on warm season processes, including: (1) boundary layer and convective cloud development, (2) severe thunderstorm development, and (3) surface controls on (1) and (2) via evapotranspiration and mesoscale circulations.

Research in both geographic locations will improve our understanding of weather and climate processes and short-range weather forecasting (and severe weather) in two very different environments. 

Publications (2004-present)

Hanesiak, J., A. Tat and R.L. Raddatz, 2008: Initial Soil Moisture as a Predictor of Subsequent Summer Severe Weather in the Cropped Grassland of the Canadian Prairie Provinces, Intl J. Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.1743

Raddatz, R.L. and J.M. Hanesiak, 2008: Significant Summer Rainfall in the Canadian Prairie Provinces: Modes and Mechanisms 2000 – 2004, Intl J. Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.1670

Huang, Q., J.M. Hanesiak, S. Savelyev, P. Taylor and T. Papakyriakou, 2008: Visibilities during blowing snow events over Arctic sea ice, Weather and Forecasting, 23, 741–751.

Jin, X., J.M. Hanesiak and D.G. Barber, 2007: Time Series of Daily Averaged Cloud Fractions over Landfast First-Year Sea Ice from Multiple Data Sources, J. Appl. Meteorol. and Climat., 46, 1818-1827.

Jin, X., J.M. Hanesiak and D.G. Barber, 2006: Detecting cloud vertical structures from radiosondes and MODIS over Arctic first-year sea ice, Atmospheric Research, 83, 64-76.

Savelyev S., M. Gordon, J. Hanesiak, T. Papakyriakou and P.A. Taylor, 2006: Blowing Snow Studies in CASES (Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study) 03-04, Hydrological Processes, 20, 817 - 827.

Hanesiak, J.M. and X. Wang, 2005: Adverse Weather Trends in the Canadian Arctic, J. Climate, 18, 3140-3156

Baggaley, D.G. and J.M. Hanesiak, 2005: An empirical blowing snow forecast technique for the Canadian Arctic and Prairie Provinces, Weather & Forecasting, 20, 51-62.

Hanesiak, J.M., R.L. Raddatz and S. Lobban, 2004: Local initiation of deep convection on the Canadian Prairie Provinces. Boundary Layer Meteorol., 110, 455–470

Barber, D.G. and J.M. Hanesiak, 2004: Meteorological forcing of sea ice concentrations in the Southern Beaufort Sea over the period 1978-2001. J. Geophys. Res., 109, C06014, pp 16

Technical Publications

Taylor, N., D. Sills, J. Hanesiak, J. Milbrandt, P. McCarthy, C. Smith, G. Strong, 2007: The Understanding Severe Thunderstorms and Alberta Boundary Layers Experiment (UNSTABLE), CMOS Bulletin, vol. 35, 20-28

Hanesiak, J. and J.C. Brimelow, 2006: Validation and Comparison of an AERI and Microwave Radiometer Thermodynamic Profiles During the 2006 Convective Season in Southern Manitoba, CEOS-tech-2006-1, Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2

Nawri N., R.E. Stewart, E. Roberts, K. Moore and J. Hanesiak, 2006: Climatology and forcing of strong boundary-layer winds in mountainous regions of the eastern Canadian Arctic, Canadian Alternative Energy Symposium, Aurora ON, April 10-12.

McCarthy, P., M. Russo and J. Hanesiak, 2006: A Winnipeg F4 Tornado – A Virtual Damage Assessment, CMOS Bulletin, vol. 34, 88-98.

Barber, D.G. and L. Fortier (editors) and many co-authors, 2004: The Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES), CMOS Bulletin, vol. 32, 131-142.