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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.

Learn more about WWA

WWA Events and Speakers

2016 WWA Stakeholder Meeting

Monday, October 24
More Information

Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

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

Most recent Briefing:
March 13

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

Drought Risk Assessment Under Climate Change is Sensitive to Methodological Choices for the Estimation of Evaporative Demand

February 2017

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Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM, and standardization of time series influence the estimation of E0.

Read the article in PLoS ONE.

Dewes C.F., I. Rangwala, J. J. Barsugli, M.T. Hobbins, and S. Kumar (2017).

Simulated Climate Adaptation in Stormwater Systems: Evaluating the Efficiency of Adaptation Strategies

March 2017

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Adaptations in infrastructure may be necessitated by changes in temperature and precipitation patterns to avoid losses and maintain expected levels of service. A roster of adaptation strategies has emerged in the climate change literature, especially with regard to timing: anticipatory, concurrent, or reactive. Significant progress has been made in studying climate change adaptation decision making that incorporates uncertainty, but less work has examined how strategies interact with existing infrastructure characteristics to influence adaptability.

Read the article in Environment Systems and Decisions.

McCurdy, A.D. and W.R. Travis (2017).

Drivers of Adaptation: Responses to Weather- and Climate-Related Hazards in 60 Local Governments in the Intermountain Western U.S.

January 2017

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Cities are key sites of action for adaptation to climate change. However, there are a wide variety of responses to hazards at the municipal level. Why do communities take adaptive action in the face of weather- and climate-related risk? We studied what cities are doing in response to existing natural hazards, such as floods, droughts, and blizzards as an analog for understanding the drivers of adaptive behavior toward climate change risks. We conducted a survey of 60 U.S. municipalities followed by six in-depth case studies in the intermountain west states of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah that regularly experience weather and climate extreme events.

Read the article in Environment and Planning A.

Dilling, L., E. Pizzi, J. Berggren, A. Ravikumar, and K. Andersson (2017).

Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation

March 2016

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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

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)