Gabriel G. Katul

George Pearsall Distinguished Professor

Gabriel G. Katul received his B.E. degree in 1988 at the American University of Beirut (Beirut, Lebanon), his M.S. degree in 1990 at Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) and his Ph.D degree in 1993 at the University of California in Davis (Davis, CA).  He currently holds a distinguished Professorship in Hydrology and Micrometeorology at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University (Durham, NC).   He was a visiting fellow at University of Virginia (USA) in 1997, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (Australia) in 2002, the University of Helsinki (Finland) in 2009,  the FulBright-Italy Distinguished Fellow at Politecnico di Torino (Italy) in 2010, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2013,  Nagoya University (Japan) in 2014, University of Helsinki (Finland) in 2017, the Karlsruher Institute for Technology (Germany) in 2017, Princeton University (USA) in 2020, and CzechGlobe (Brno - Czech Republic) in 2023. He received several honorary awards, including the inspirational teaching award by the students of the School of the Environment at Duke University (in 1994 and 1996), an honorary certificate by La Seccion de Agrofisica de la Sociedad Cubana de Fisica in Habana (in 1998), the Macelwane medal and became thereafter a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (in 2002), the editor’s citation for excellence in refereeing from the American Geophysical Union (in 2008), the Hydrologic Science Award from the American Geophysical Union (in 2012), the John Dalton medal from the European Geosciences Union (in 2018), and the Outstanding Achievements in Biometeorology Award from the American Meteorological Society (in 2021) and later became an elected fellow of the American Meteorological Society (in 2024).  Katul was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (in 2023) for his contributions in eco-hydrology and environmental fluid mechanics.  He served as the Secretary General for the Hydrologic Science Section at the American Geophysical Union (2006-2008).  His research focuses on micro-meteorology and near-surface hydrology with emphasis on heat, momentum, carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, particulate matter (including aerosols, pollen, and seeds) and water transport in the soil-plant-atmosphere system as well as their implications to a plethora of hydrological, ecological, atmospheric and climate change related problems.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • George Pearsall Distinguished Professor
  • Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences
  • Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 121 Hudson Hall, Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708-0287
  • Office Phone: +1 919 613 8033
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. University of California, Davis, 1993

Research Interests

Describing the reciprocal influences between the biosphere and the atmosphere are becoming a scientific imperative as human-induced changes in land surface characteristics are impacting the composition of the atmosphere, which in turn is threatening to excite changes in weather and climate systems. The concentration of efforts to quantify these influences and to develop a predictive framework for them has given rise to a new research field labelled "land-atmosphere exchange".  This field is now populated by a community of scientists and engineers originally trained in a cross-section of disciplines.  My particular research interests in this domain cover mass, momentum, and energy transfer within the soil-plant-atmosphere system.  This domain intersects micro-meteorology, surface hydrology, ecology and carbon/water cycling, and fluid dynamics that spans low and high Reynolds numbers.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. American Meteorological Society. 2024
  • Membership (NAE). National Academy of Engineering. 2023
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biometeorology. American Meteorological Society. 2021
  • John Dalton Medal. European Geosciences Union. 2018
  • Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award. World Meteorological Organization. 2012
  • Hydrologic Sciences Award. American Geophysical Union. 2012
  • Scientific and Technological Achievement Award. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2012
  • Fulbright Distinguished Chair (Torino, Italy). Council for International Exchange of Scholars. 2010
  • James B. Macelwane Medalists. American Geophysical Union. 2002
  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. American Geophysical Union. 2002
  • Inspirational Teaching. The Students of the Nicholas School of the Environment. 1994

Courses Taught

  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 391: Independent Study
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • CEE 780: Internship
  • CEE 692: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 691: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 490: Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 463L: Water Resources Engineering
  • CEE 394: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 393: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Katul, Gabriel G., Costantino Manes, Amilcare Porporato, Elie Bou-Zeid, and Marcelo Chamecki. “Bottlenecks in turbulent kinetic energy spectra predicted from structure function inflections using the Von Kármán-Howarth equation.” Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 92, no. 3 (September 2015): 033009.
  • Katul, Gabriel G., Amilcare Porporato, Stimit Shah, and Elie Bou-Zeid. “Two phenomenological constants explain similarity laws in stably stratified turbulence.” Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 89, no. 2 (February 2014): 023007.
  • Manzoni, S., G. Vico, S. Palmroth, A. Porporato, and G. Katul. “Optimization of stomatal conductance for maximum carbon gain under dynamic soil moisture.” Advances in Water Resources 62, no. PA (December 1, 2013): 90–105.
  • Katul, G. G., A. Porporato, C. Manes, and C. Meneveau. “Co-spectrum and mean velocity in turbulent boundary layers.” Physics of Fluids 25, no. 9 (September 18, 2013).
  • Manzoni, Stefano, Giulia Vico, Gabriel Katul, Sari Palmroth, Robert B. Jackson, and Amilcare Porporato. “Hydraulic limits on maximum plant transpiration and the emergence of the safety-efficiency trade-off.” New Phytol 198, no. 1 (April 2013): 169–78.
  • Katul, Gabriel G., Alexandra G. Konings, and Amilcare Porporato. “Mean velocity profile in a sheared and thermally stratified atmospheric boundary layer.” Phys Rev Lett 107, no. 26 (December 23, 2011): 268502.