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Who we are, what we do

WWA conducts innovative research in partnership with decision makers in the Rocky Mountain West, helping them make the best use of science to manage for climate impacts. WWA is a program of the University of Colorado Boulder and is part of the NOAA RISA (Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments) network.

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WWA Events and Speakers

2016 WWA Stakeholder Meeting

Monday, October 24
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Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

35 climate and water information graphics for our region - 19 are updated daily

Most recent Briefing:
January 9

WWA Webinar Series

In 2012, WWA began a series of webinars describing recent and ongoing research by WWA team members. The Webinar Series page offers links to presentations and audio/video from past webinars.

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Recent WWA Publications

Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation

March 2016


Climate in Context describes what it takes to help scientists and stakeholders work together to “co-produce” climate science knowledge, policy, and action. This state-of-the art synthesis reflects on lessons learned by RISA programs, and provides a sober assessment of the challenges ahead. Through case studies from various US regions, this book provides lessons and guidance for organizations and individuals who want to work at the science-society interface on a range of climate challenges. The following chapters have been written by WWA authors:

Chapter 1 Assessing needs and decision contexts: RISA approaches to engagement research

Chapter 11 Navigating scales of knowledge and decision-making in the Intermountain West: Implications for science policy

Managing carbon on federal public lands: Opportunities and challenges in southwestern Colorado

June 2016


Federal lands in the United States have been identified as important areas where forests could be managed to enhance carbon storage and help mitigate climate change. However, there has been little work examining the context for decision making for carbon in a multiple-use public land environment, and how science can support decision making. This case study of the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office in southwestern Colorado examines whether land managers in these offices have adequate tools, information, and management flexibility to practice effective carbon stewardship. Read the article in Environmental Management.

Dilling, L., K. C. Kelsey, D. P. Fernandez, Y. D. Huang, J. B. Milford, and J. C. Neff (2016). Environmental Management.

The role of U.S. states in facilitating effective water governance under stress and change

April 2016


Worldwide water governance failures undermine effective water management under uncertainty and change. Overcoming these failures requires employing more adaptive, resilient water management approaches; yet, while scholars have advance theory of what adaptive, resilient approaches should be, there is little empirical evidence to support those normative propositions. To fill this gap, Kirchhoff and Dilling reviewed the literature to derive theorized characteristics of adaptive, resilient water governance including knowledge generation and use, participation, clear rules for water use, and incorporating nonstationarity. Read the paper here.

Kirchhoff, C. and L. Dilling, 2016. Water Resources Research, Published April 17.

High-resolution climate modeling for regional adaptation

March 2016


Workshop attendees discussed how improved projections of rainfall extremes as climate changes could help officials mitigate erosion of archaeologically and culturally important locations such as this one at North Dakota’s Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The river has already eroded part of this 19th century Hidatsa village—only 31 visible earth lodge depressions remain. Read the article here.

Rangwala, I., C. Dewes, and J. Barsugli (2016). EOS, Vol. 97, March 25.

WWA Spotlight

NOAA western region: Climate service providers database development and preliminary analysis

The purpose of the Climate Service Providers Database is to identify all climate-service providers in the NOAA Western Region. Climate-service organizations help to improve adaptation to climate change by creating, translating or disseminating potentially useful climate information by public engagement and responding to users' information needs. By putting all of this information into one usable format, we hope to improve our understanding of the provision of usable climate-science information and also begin to promote better connections between people and organizations who need useful climate information and those who produce it. (August 26, 2016)

2nd Wyoming drought summary issued

Another 2-page Wyoming drought summary was released by the Wyoming State Climate Office, NIDIS, and several other partners, including WWA. Drought has intensified in the northwestern and southeastern quarters of the state but has improved somewhat in the northeastin the past month. (August 19, 2016)

Wyoming drought worsening; summary released

To convey the intensifying and expanding drought conditions in Wyoming, a 2-page drought summary was released today by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and several partners, including WWA. Dry and hot conditions in June and July have led to 55% of Wyoming now being classified as "abnormally dry" or worse, up from 43% just one week ago. (July 29, 2016)

Report released on WWA snowpack workshops

In August and September 2015, WWA convened three all-day workshops, supported the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), to improve the usability of snowpack monitoring information in the Rocky Mountain West. The workshops brought together 180 participants, mainly representing a core user community of local, state, and federal water managers, along with other stakeholders, researchers, and information providers. The newly released report on the workshop summarizes the current state of snowpack monitoring and application to runoff forecasting, describes new spatial snow products, and conveys the user needs expressed in the workshops. (July 15, 2016)