Brian Mapes

Brian Mapes

Professor Department of Atmospheric Sciences

University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149

MSC 366

Tel: 305.421.4275

Lab Website

Google Scholar Profile

My work began in atmospheric convection, in the larger context of tropical weather and climate. That larger picture requires understanding other processes like radiation and surface fluxes as well. Working with postdocs, students, and collaborators, I maintain a 3-pronged effort that builds from local scales (very definite and tangible, but always dependent on what lies beyond), via quantitative analysis and abstraction, up toward global scales (vast and pervasive yet evasive: everywhere and nowhere).

  1. We study convective clouds and storms and local atmospheric structure (especially in the vertical) , using observations (radars, aircraft, soundings, satellites) and cloud-resolving models.

  2. We study the large-scale net thermodynamic and dynamic effects of convection and related processes in the atmosphere, guided by observations; and then try to encapsulate the essence in simple models (the parameterization problem).

  3. We study several large-scale weather and climate phenomena using regional and global observations and models, to lend more context and meaning to the activities described above.

  • Brian Matilla

  • I-Kuan Hu

  1. MSC102 - Weather and Climate

  2. MSC405 - Atmospheric Dynamics I

  3. MPO663 - Convective and Mesoscale Meteorology

Position and Research Expertise

Brian  Mapes  is  a  Professor  in  the  Department  of  Atmospheric  Sciences  at  the University  of  Miami’s  Rosenstiel  School  of  Marine  and  Atmospheric  Science. Mapes is  an  expert  on  atmospheric  dynamics  and  thermodynamics, especially interactions between cloudy convection and larger-scale weather patterns.


Teaching and Mentoring

Mapes teaches an undergraduate course in Weather Analysis, and graduate courses in Convective & Mesoscale Meteorology and Applied Data Analysis. He advises graduate students in both the Meteorology & Physical Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences graduate programs.


Career Summary

Mapes earned his Ph.D. in 1992 in Atmospheric Sciences, from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has been at the Rosenstiel School since 2004. He is known for his research on the role of convection (cumulus and  cumulonimbus clouds) as a process within the flow of the atmosphere as a whole. His early work was observational, learning to consider evenhandedly the complicated and intimately intertwined flows of opaque cloudyair and invisible clear air, mainly in the Tropics. Since then, his interestshave grownto include monsoons and other seasonal and climatic phenomena, as well as weather systemsand severe local storms, and the never-ending challenge of improving better and better models.


Scientific Research

Mapes does research aimed at understanding atmospheric cloudy convection and its role in the larger-scale flow. Since weather and climate impacts often come in the form of convective weather events, understanding the linkage is important – sometimes for better predictions, but sometimes just to better appreciate the limits of predictability. Tropical weather especially depends on convection, so some of his research projects focus on seasonal monsoons as well as traveling weather ‘waves’. Other projects are aimed at improving weather and climate models, which must represent convection and clouds in mathematics and in software codes. Since the data age presents growing opportunities to address information-dense 3-dimensional problems like this, Mapes also works to advance information technologies relevant to convection science.


Service at UM and for the Wider Scientific Community

Mapes is working to advance education as well as research. He is co-writing a textbook’s computer lab manual, as part of a larger effort to improve the software-mediated visual experiences that underpin knowledge gains by both students and researchers.

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