Christopher Godfrey

Christopher Godfrey, Ph.D.

Department Chair & Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

About Me

I arrived at UNC Asheville in 2007 after receiving a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, specializing in land surface modeling. My participation in several field projects studying topics from severe weather to precipitation measurements enhanced my educational experience. I met my wife, Dr. Elaine Godfrey, in graduate school and we have three beautiful daughters.


  • Ph.D., Meteorology, 2006, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • M.S., Meteorology, 2002, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • B.S., Atmospheric Science, 2000, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Research Interests

  • Near-surface tornadic wind fields
  • Land surface modeling
  • Meteorological observations
  • Transportation weather
  • Societal impacts and weather communication


I love to teach people about the wonders of our atmosphere, and I care deeply about my students’ academic and personal successes. I teach many courses at UNC Asheville on topics related to severe weather, programming, computing techniques, atmospheric physics, thermodynamics, statistics, instrumentation, and societal impacts of weather. If you have questions about your course, academic advising, or the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, please do not hesitate to contact me.


My research interests include tornadoes—especially debris and damage propagation and the interaction of tornadoes with terrain—transportation weather, societal impacts and weather communication, meteorological observations, and land-surface modeling. Extensive experience with interdisciplinary projects has led to long-term collaborations with transportation engineers, structural engineers, forest ecologists, and social scientists. My most recent research projects have used a combination of ground damage assessments, aerial analyses, and numerical modeling to evaluate near-surface tornadic wind fields following tornadoes. Major research sponsors have included agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAA, NASA, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Currently, I serve as an associate member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Structural Engineering Institute Tornado Wind Speed Estimation Committee and as a member of the Treefall Pattern Analysis, Remote Sensing, and EF-Scale subcommittees charged with creating a standard for wind speed estimation under a revised enhanced Fujita scale.