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Robert Trapp

Director of the School of Earth, Society & Environment


Dr. Trapp is a Professor and Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at 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's research interests include the dynamics and observations of mesoscale convective systems, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes; mesoscale modeling and predictability.

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

Hong, Y., Nesbitt, S., Trapp, R., & 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.

Woods, M. J., Trapp, R. J., & Mallinson, H. M. (2023). The Impact of Human-Induced Climate Change on Future Tornado Intensity as Revealed Through Multi-Scale Modeling. Geophysical Research Letters, 50(15), Article e2023GL104796.

Goodnight, J. S., Chehak, D. A., & Trapp, R. J. (2022). Quantification of QLCS Tornadogenesis, Associated Characteristics, and Environments across a Large Sample. Weather and Forecasting, 37(11), 2087-2105.

View all publications on Illinois Experts