Ana P. Barros

Ana P. Barros

James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Professor Ana Barros was born in Africa, grew up in Angola and Portugal, and has lived almost all of her adult life in the United States. She attended the Faculty of Engineering of the University of O’Porto where she obtained a summa cum laude Diploma in Civil Engineering with majors in Structures and Hydraulics in 1985, and a M.Sc. degree in Ocean Engineering in 1988 with a thesis focusing on numerical modeling of sediment transport in estuaries and coastal regions. In 1990, Dr. Barros completed and M.Sc. degree in Environmental Science Engineering at the OHSU/OGI School of Science and Engineering. She earned a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1993. Her graduate studies were supported in part by fellowships from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT/JNICT), and NASA’s Graduate Fellowship program.  She is registered with the Portuguese Order of Professional Engineers since 1986. 

 Dr. Barros was in the engineering faculty at the University of Porto, Penn State University, and Harvard University before joining Duke University in 2004. Her primary research interests are in Hydrology, Hydrometeorology and Environmental Physics with a focus on water-cycle processes in the coupled land-atmosphere-biosphere system particularly in regions of complex terrain, the study of multi-scale interface phenomena in complex environments across the Earth Sciences, remote sensing of the environment (precipitation, clouds, soil moisture, and vegetation), climate predictability, extreme events and risk assessment of natural hazards. Prof. Barros is especially proud of having involved dozens of students in undergraduate research, a great majority of which continued their studies to earn graduate degrees in science and engineering.  Over recent years her work has focused on precipitation processes including microphysics and dynamics or orographic precipitation, and land-atmosphere interactions in mountainous regions from the Himalayas to the Andes and the Southern Appalachians including Land-Use Land-Cover Change impacts on regional climate. Her research relies on intensive field and laboratory experiments, large–scale computational modeling, nonlinear data analysis and environmental informatics.

Prof. Barros served in the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council, and in several committees of the Water Science and Technology Board and the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate including the Climate Research Committee, and she was a member of the US National Committee for the International Hydrology Program (IHP) of the UNESCO.  She served as an elected member of the Council of the American Meteorological Society, and serves and served in several committees within the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. Prof. Barros was a member of the NOAA’s Climate and Global Change Program and serves or has served in several working groups at NASA, NSF and DOE-ARM. She has been an active member of several professional organizations including the IEEE, ASCE, AGU, AMS, AAAS, EGS, ASEE, and AWRA, and she currently serves in the ASCE committee on Climate Change and Adaptation. Prof. Barros was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Hydrometeorology for five years, and she was an AE of the Journal of Hydrology until 2015 among other editor posts. She has been a Senior Fellow who the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) since 2011. 

Prof. Barros received Early Career Investigator awards from NSF and NASA in 1995 and 1996. She was a George W. Merck Faculty Fellow at Harvard University 1999-2003, and Packard Fellow nominee from Penn State University. She received the Prize Foundation A. Almeida in Engineering in 1985, and the Lorenz G. Straub Award for her Ph.D. thesis in 1993, and the NASA GSFC Robert H. Goddard Award (GPM GV Team), Category of Exceptional Achievement in Science in 2014 for contributions in support of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission.  Dr. Barros is a Member of the ASCE, Senior Member of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.  She was the AMS Sigma-Xi Distinguished Lecturer 2014-2015.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 2453 CIEMAS, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5539
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. University of Washington, 1993
  • M.S. Oregon Institute of Technology, 1990

Research Interests

Physics of water cycle processes in mountainous regions with a focus on cloud formation and precipitation; remote sensing of the environment using microwave and infrared sensors; long– range predictability and risk analysis of natural hazards; computational environmental fluid mechanics and nonlinear dynamics; and the development and application of information technology as a research tool and in the operation of complex engineering systems.


Atmospheric Science
Climate Modeling
Nonlinear Dynamics
Water, Resources and Treatment
Environmental Engineering
Environmental Impacts

Courses Taught

  • CEE 301L: Fluid Mechanics
  • CEE 394: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • CEE 463L: Water Resources Engineering
  • CEE 675: Introduction to the Physical Principles of Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • CEE 684: Physical Hydrology and Hydrometeorology
  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Tao, J; Barros, AP, Multi-year atmospheric forcing datasets for hydrologic modeling in regions of complex terrain – Methodology and evaluation over the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment 2014 domain, Journal of Hydrology (2017) [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.12.058] [abs].
  • Kang, D-H; Barros, AP; Kim, EJ, Evaluating Multispectral Snowpack Reflectivity With Changing Snow Correlation Lengths, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol 54 no. 12 (2016), pp. 7378-7384 [10.1109/TGRS.2016.2600958] [abs].
  • Tao, J; Wu, D; Gourley, J; Zhang, SQ; Crow, W; Peters-Lidard, C; Barros, AP, Operational hydrological forecasting during the IPHEx-IOP campaign – Meet the challenge, Journal of Hydrology, vol 541 (2016), pp. 434-456 [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.02.019] [abs].
  • Lowman, LEL; Barros, AP, Interplay of drought and tropical cyclone activity in SE U.S. gross primary productivity, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, vol 121 no. 6 (2016), pp. 1540-1567 [10.1002/2015JG003279] [abs].
  • Wilson, AM; Barros, AP, Landform controls on low level moisture convergence and the diurnal cycle of warm season orographic rainfall in the Southern Appalachians, Journal of Hydrology, vol 531 (2015), pp. 475-493 [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.10.068] [abs].

Additional Information

Honors and Awards
    AMS Fellow
  • George W. Merck Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University, 1999
  • NASA New Investigator Award- MTPE, 1996
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 1995
  • Lorenz G. Straub Award, 1993
  • EOS Global Climate Change Fellowship, NASA, 1990/1993
  • Science Program Scholarship, JNICT, 1990/1993
  • Prize Foundation A. Almeida, 1985
Professional and Service Activities
  • NRC, Committee to Assess Flash Flodd Forecasting Capabilities at Sulphur Mountain, CA, 2004-Present
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering Panel, 2004-Present
  • Ad-Hoc NRC-NOAA Committee on Public and Private Partnerships, 2003-Present
  • AMS, Annual Meeting Program Committee, Symposium on Water Scarcity, 2004-2005
  • AGU, GRL Editor Search Committee, 2003-2004
  • NRC, Space Studies Board, 2002-2005
  • European Union Research Commission, Science Selection Panel - FP6, 2003-Present
  • NASA - Precipitation Measurement Mission, Science Panel, 2003
  • Elected Council Member, American Meteorological Society, 2002-2005
  • Cambridge Public Schools - Science Advisory Committee, 2002-Present
  • Scientific Editor, Meteorology and Hydrology, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2000-Present
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Hydrology , 2000-Present
  • NOAA-OGP Reanalysis Advisory Panel, 2000-Present
  • NASA - Earth System Satellite Program, Science Selection Panel, 2001-2002
  • Executive Committee, CUASHI, 2001
  • Chair, 7th International Precipitation Conference, 1998-2001
  • Earth Interactions, Editorial Advisory Panel, 1997-Present
  • NOAA, Global and Climate Change Advisory Panel , 1997-Present
  • NRC, USGS Committee on Water Resources, 1996-2001
  • Precipitation Committee, AGU, 1993-Present
  • Hydrology Committee, AMS, 1995-1998, 2000-Present
  • Program Committee - 13th Conference on Hydrology, 77th Annual Meeting AMS, February 1997
  • NASA Global Water and Energy Cycle Initiative Science Plan Working Group, 2001-Present
  • NASA Soil Moisture Working Group, 1999-Present
  • NSF CMS-CAREER Assessment Committee, 1997-1998
  • AWRA Board Pennsylvania, 1994-1996; President, 1995
Professional Society Memberships
  • Portuguese Order of Engineers, 1986 - (Professional Civil Engineer Registration No 20807)
  • American Geophysical Union, 1987
  • Chi Epsilon, 1991
  • American Meteorological Society, 1991
  • European Geophysical Union, 1992
  • American Society for Engineering Education, 1993
  • American Water Resources Association, 1994
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, 1994; Professional Grade Member, 2000
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1997