snowmelt conservation forecasts adaptation treeflow climate_summary

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 & Speakers

Decision Making in the Face of Drought by Western Range Livestock Producers

May 31, 2017 | More Info

Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

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

Most recent Briefing: Oct. 11

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.

Join our mailing list!

Send an email with your first and last name, email address, and

Recent WWA Publications

Vulnerability of Grazing and Confined Livestock in the Northern Great Plains to Projected Mid- and Late-21st Century Climate

July 2017


The Northern Great Plains (NGP) region of the USA—which comprises Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska—is a largely rural area that provides numerous ecosystem services, including livestock products, cultural services, and conservation of biological diversity. The region contains 25% of the Nation’s beef cattle and approximately one-third of the confined beef cattle, as well as the largest remaining native prairie in the US—the Northern Mixedgrass Prairie. With rising atmospheric CO2, the NGP is projected to experience warmer and longer growing seasons, greater climatic variability, and more extreme events.

Read the Climatic Change.

Derner, J., Briske, D., Reeves, M. et al. (2017).

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

February 2017


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


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


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).

WWA Spotlight

WWA 2016-2017 Annual Report available

Each spring, WWA reports to NOAA on the program's accomplishments over the previous calendar year. Download the WWA 2016-2017 Annual Report. (July 3, 2017)


Climate Services Database now available for the Western States

More than 130 public sector and nonprofit organizations provide climate services to the eleven western states, yet until now there has been no centralized resource to connect climate information users with the wide array of information and services available. The NOAA Western Region Climate Service Providers Database is a searchable directory of climate service providers in the west that makes climate services easier to find. Its powerful search function allows users to customize their search based on the type of service, the geographic area, stakeholders served, and several additional parameters. It’s a match-making app for the climate world. For more information about this project and initial findings from a landscape assessment of climate providers in the west, please refer to the preliminary analysis report. (May 9, 2017)

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)