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Robert Trapp

Director of the School of Earth, Society & Environment


Dr. Trapp is the Director of the School of Earth, Society and Environment, and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Before joining Illinois in 2014, he was a Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University from 2003-2014, and a research scientist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (through the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies) in Norman, Oklahoma from 1996-2003. Four years of his tenure with NSSL were spent as a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Dr. Trapp conducts research on severe convective storms, including their dynamics and attendant hazards, and their connection with climate change and variability. He is also the author of the textbook “Mesoscale-Convective Processes in the Atmosphere,” published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Trapp received his B.S. degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, M.S. degree from Texas A&M University, and Ph.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma. He was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow.


  • Ph.D. in Meteorology, The University of Oklahoma, 1994
  • M.S. in Meteorology, Texas A&M University, 1989
  • B.S. in Agriculture/Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1985

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Climate, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Director, School of Earth, Society, and Environment

Recent Publications

Berman, M. T., Trapp, R. J., Nesbitt, S. W., & Di Girolamo, L. (2024). The Observed Impact of the Lower Stratospheric Thermodynamic Environment on Overshooting Top Characteristics During the RELAMPAGO-CACTI Field Campaign. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 129(10), Article e2023JD040348.

Graber, M., Trapp, R. J., & Wang, Z. (2024). The regionality and seasonality of tornado trends in the United States. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 7(1), Article 144.

Hong, Y., Nesbitt, S. W., Trapp, R. J., & Di Girolamo, L. (2023). Near-global distributions of overshooting tops derived from Terra and Aqua MODIS observations. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 16(5), 1391-1406.

Lasher-Trapp, S., Orendorf, S. A., & Trapp, R. J. (2023). Investigating a Derecho in a Future Warmer Climate. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 104(10), E1831-E1852.

Sessa, M. F., & Trapp, R. J. (2023). Environmental and Radar-Derived Predictors of Tornado Intensity within Ongoing Convective Storms. Journal of Operational Meteorology, 11, 49-71.

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