Francisco Beron-Vera

Francisco Beron-Vera

Research Associate Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149
OPS 25

Tel: 305.421.4873

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar Profile

My research activities along my career have been varied, ranging from the study of geophysical flow stability, to the use of geometric methods in constructing geophysical flow models, to the study of different aspects of ocean dynamics and thermodynamics, to the investigation of sound propagation of in deep ocean environments using Hamiltonian mechanics methods, to the study of transport and mixing processes in geophysical flows using tools from dynamical systems theory.

My current primary research activity concerns the study of transport and mixing processes in geophysical flows. The study of transport and mixing in the ocean is critically important for the understanding of distributions of temperature and salinity, plankton, toxic material, pollutants, nearshore sediments, fish larvae, as well as for search and rescue operations at sea. Understanding the distribution of atmospheric tracer gases (such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, or ozone) is the main motivation for the study of transport and mixing processes in the atmosphere.

My approach is to tackle the transport and mixing problem from theoretical, numerical, and observational viewpoints. The fluid particle trajectory equations constitute what is known in mathematics as a dynamical system. Because of this it arises as quite natural to approach the transport and mixing problem by making use of ideas from dynamical systems theory, which constitute the theoretical foundation of my work. More specifically, I put emphasis on revealing, as well as investigating the stability of, transport barriers, i.e., material lines (surfaces in three-space dimensions) which play a key role in shaping global mixing patterns. Numerical analysis in my research activities ranges from the investigation of simple, analytically prescribed kinematic advection fields, to dynamically selfconsistent, numerically generated advection fields, to realistic velocity fields produced by global circulation models, both oceanic and atmospheric. The observational component of my research tasks concerns appropriate analysis of remote sensing data, particularly satellite altimetry sea surface height measurements, and reanalyzed stratospheric winds.

Beron-Vera, F. J., M. J. Olascoaga, G. Haller, M. Farazmand, J. Trinanes and Y. Wang (2015). Dissipative inertial transport patterns near coherent Lagrangian eddies in the ocean. Chaos 25, 087412.

Haller, G., and Beron-Vera, F. J. (2013). Coherent Lagrangian vortices: The black holes of turbulence. J. Fluid Mech. 731, R4.

Haller, G., and F. J. Beron-Vera (2012). Geodesic theory of transport barriers in two-dimensional flows. Physica D 241, 1680–1702.

Beron-Vera, F. J., Y. Wang, M. J. Olascoaga, G. J. Goni and G. Haller (2013). Objective identification of oceanic eddies and the Agulhas leakage. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 43, 1426–1438.

Beron-Vera, F. J., M. J. Olascoaga, M. G. Brown and H. Ko ̧cak (2012). Zonal jets as meridional transport barriers in the subtropical and polar lower stratosphere. J. Atmos. Sci. 69, 753–767.

Beron-Vera, F. J., M. G. Brown, M. J. Olascoaga, I. I. Rypina, H. Ko ̧cak ad I. A. Udovydchenkov (2008). Zonal jets as transport barriers in planetary atmospheres. J. Atmos. Sci. 65, 3316–3326.

Beron-Vera, F. J., M. J. Olascoaga and G. J. Goni (2008). Oceanic mesoscale eddies as revealed by Lagrangian coherent structures. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L12603.

Beron-Vera, F. J., M. G. Brown, J. Colosi, S. Tomsovic, A. L. Virovlyansky, M. A. Wolfson and G. M. Zaslavsky (2003). Ray dynamics in a long-range acoustic propagation experiment. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 14, 1226–1242.

Beron-Vera, F. J. and P. Ripa (2000). Three-dimensional aspects of the seasonal heat balance in the Gulf of California. J. Geophys. Res. 105, 11441–11457.

Beron-Vera, F. J. and P. Ripa (1997). Free boundary effects on baroclinic instability. J. Fluid Mech. 352, 245–264.

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Position and Research Expertise

Francisco Javier Beron-Vera is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at RSMAS. He uses concepts from the theory of nonlinear dynamical systems to study transport and mixing processes in geophysical flows.

Career Summary

Beron-Vera was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he obtained a Licentiate in oceanography from Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) in 1994. He then moved to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico to pursue graduate education. He obtained MSc (1996) and ScD (2001) degrees in physical oceanography from Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) under the advise of the late Professor Pedro Ripa. He subsequently moved to Miami to pursue postdoctoral training at RSMAS. He joined the RSMAS faculty in 2010.


Beron-Vera has acquired international recognition for his contribution to the theory of Lagrangian Coherent Structures (or LCS), the concealed backbone around which transport and mixing organize. He has published over twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications dealing with development and geophysical applications of LCS theory. His work has been highlighted by Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, and featured on the BBC and the U.S. National Public Radio. Beron- Vera is regularly invited to make presentations at scientific meetings and workshops. He has also has been organizer of several conference sessions and a Lorentz center workshop on LCS theory, the first of its kind.

Scientific Research

Beron-Vera has recently developed the notion of coherent Lagrangian vortex, the fluidic analogous of black hole in cosmology. This LCS notion enables observer-independent and directly invariant (material) framing of geophysical vortex structures such as Agulhas rings in the ocean, polar vortices in the Earth’s stratosphere, and the Great Red Spot in Jupiter’s weather layer. Beron-Vera also uses other LCS forms and concepts from turbulence theory to understand the transport and mixing of hydrocarbons in the ocean.

Service to the Wider Scientific Community and International Collaborations

Beron-Vera has imparted tutorials on LCS theory at meetings and workshops in the US and Canada as well as at various institutions in Latinamerica. He is currently engaged in a collaborative research effort with Mexican oceanographers and meteorologists to study pollutant dispersion in the Gulf of Mexico.

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