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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 & 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.

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Recent WWA Publications

Participatory Framework for Assessment and Improvement of Tools (ParFAIT)

July 2017


This paper proposes the Participatory Framework for Assessment and Improvement of Tools (ParFAIT) as a way to address low uptake of Water Resources Systems Optimization (WRSO) tools. ParFAIT is a transdisciplinary process conducted in five stages, two of which are participatory modeling (PM) exercises. Herein we describe the framework, introduce our candidate tool- Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA)-assisted optimization, and present the results of our first PM workshop. The PM workshop, designed to solicit input on a tool testbed, was held in February 2015 with representatives from six Front Range, Colorado, water utilities. Our results include an expanded characterization of the decision making landscape, feedback on water utility decisions and performance goals commonly employed in WRSO studies, and new questions that warrant future investigation by researchers.

Read the  Environmental Modelling & Software.

Smith, R., J. Kasprzyk, and L. Dilling (2017). Environmental Modelling & Software 95.

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).

WWA Spotlight

New resources make the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) more accessible

The Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) shows the unusualness in evaporative demand--the "thirst" of the atmosphere--over a user-specified time window. The EDDI team has recently posted new resources and tools on the updated EDDI homepage to make EDDI maps and data more accessible and usable, complementing the current EDDI maps for the United States (the "Current Conditions" tab on the EDDI homepage):

- EDDI User Manual
- Archive of past EDDI maps back to 1980 ("EDDI Map Archive" tab)
- EDDI time-series tool ("Time Series" tab)

Current EDDI maps for the Intermountain West region are also available via the WWA Intermountain West Climate Dashboard and the NIDIS Drought Summary from the Colorado Climate Summary. A webinar on EDDI given on May 11, 2017 is available here. The EDDI Team includes researchers from NOAA ESRL Physical Sciences Division/CIRES, the Desert Research Institute, and Western Water Assessment. (October 24, 2017)

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)