Ben Livneh

  • Ben Livneh
    University of Colorado Boulder

    Ben Livneh

    Director and Principal Investigator

    Ben Livneh grew up in Ontario Canada. He earned his first two Civil Engineering degrees at the University of Western Ontario. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Washington under the guidance of Dennis P. Lettenmaier, where he worked on a wide range of problems related to large-scale computational hydrology. His dissertation focused on the development of the Unified Land Model (ULM)--a merger of two operational models: the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting Model and the Noah Land Surface Model. During his time in Seattle, Ben also taught several courses at Seattle University. He now leads a research group in the department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and he is also a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) fellow. Professor Livneh's research group addresses physical hydrology problems across multiple scales. Major research themes include physically-based hydrologic model development, land-cover/land-use change, snow hydrology, and hydroclimatology. The group is focused on applying models in innovative ways that integrate remote sensing and in situ observations to understand how changes in climate and land cover will affect water availability at the land surface. Professor Livneh frequently interacts with scientists at the Western Water Assessment, with the departments of Geography, INSTAAR, and ATOC.


  • Culler, Elsa S., Ben Livneh, Balaji Rajagopalan, and Kristy F. Tiampo (2021). A Data-Driven Evaluation of Post-Fire Landslide Susceptibility. Preprint. Landslides and Debris Flows Hazards.

  • Abolafia-Rosenzweig, R., M. Pan, J.L. Zeng, and B. Livneh (2021). A remotely sensed ensemble to observe the terrestrial water budget over major global river basins, Remote Sensing of Environment, 252, 112191.

  • Barsugli, J.J., A.J. Ray, B. Livneh, C.F. Dewes, A. Heldmyer, I. Rangwala, J.M. Guinotte, and S. Torbit (2020). Projections of Mountain Snowpack Loss for Wolverine Denning Elevations in the Rocky Mountains. Earth's Future.   doi: 10.1029/2020EF001537

  • Livneh, Ben, and A.M. Badger (2020). Drought less predictable under declining future snowpack. Nature Climate Change, 10, 452–458.   doi: 10.1038/s41558-020-0754-8

  • Steinberg, D., B.K. Mignone, J. Macknick, Y. Sun, K. Eurek, Badger, A.M., B. Livneh, and K.B. Averyt, (2020). Decomposing supply-side and demand-side impacts of climate change on the U.S. electricity system through 2050. Climatic Change.   doi: 10.1007/s10584-019-02506-6

  • Williams, A.P., E.R. Cook, J.E. Smerdon, B.I. Cook, R. Seager, J.T. Abatzoglou, K. Bolles, S.H. Baek, A. Badger, and B. Livneh (2020). Large contribution from anthropogenic warming to an emerging North American megadrought. Science, 368(6488), 314-318.   doi: 10.1126/science.aaz9600

  • Hoerling, M., J. Barsugli, B. Livneh, J. Eischeid, X. Quan, and A. Badger (2019). Causes for the Century-Long Decline in Colorado River Flow. Journal of Climate, 32 (23): 8181–8203.   doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0207.1

  • Kumar, S., M.N. Newman, Y. Wang Y., and B. Livneh (2019). Potential Reemergence of Seasonal Soil Moisture Anomalies in North America, Journal of Climate, 32(8).   doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0540.1

  • Hein C.J., S. Gopalakrishnan, J.E. Ten Hoeve, B. Livneh, H.D. Adams, E.L. Marino, and S.C. Weiler (2018). Overcoming Early Career Barriers to Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change, 9(5) e530.   doi: 10.1002/wcc.530

  • Jennings, K.S., T. Winchell, B. Livneh, and N.P. Molotch (2018). Spatial variation of the rain-snow temperature threshold across the Northern Hemisphere. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1148.   doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03629-7

  • Small, E.E., A.M. Badger., R. Abolafia-Rosenzweig, and B. Livneh (2018). Estimating soil evaporation using drying rates determined from satellite-based soil moisture records. Remote Sensing, 10(12), 1945.   doi: 10.3390/rs10121945

  • Badger, A.M., B. Livneh, Hoerling, M.P., and J.K. Eischeid (2018). Understanding the 2011 Upper Missouri River Basin floods in the context of a changing climate. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 19, 110-123.   doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2018.08.004

  • Friedrich, K., R. Grossman, J. Huntington, P. Blanken, J. Lenters, K. Holman, D. Gochis, B. Livneh, J. Prairie, E. Skeie, N. Healey, K. Dahm, C. Pearson, T. Finnessey, S. Hook, and T. Kowalski (2018). Reservoir Evaporation in the Western United States: Current Science, Challenges, and Future Needs. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 99(1), 167-187.   doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00224.1

  • Buma, B. and B. Livneh (2017). Key landscape and biotic indicators of watersheds sensitivity to forest disturbance identified using remote sensing and historical hydrography data. Environmental Research Letters, 12(7), 074028,   doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7091

  • Hallar, A.G., N.P. Molotch, J. Hand, B. Livneh, I.B. McCubbin, R. Petersen, J. Michalsky, and D. Lowenthal (2017). Impacts of Increasing Aridity and Wildfires on Aerosol Loading in the Intermountain Western U.S., Environmental Research Letters, 12(1), 014006,   doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa510a

  • Houle, E.S., B. Livneh, and J.R. Kasprzyk (2017). Exploring Snow Model Parameter Sensitivity Using Sobol' Variance Decomposition. Environmental Model and Software, 89, 144–158,   doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.11.024
  • Raseman, W.J., J.R. Kasprzyk, F.L. Rosario-Ortiz, J.R. Stewart, and B. Livneh (2017). Emerging Investigators Series: A Critical Review of Decision Support Systems for Water Treatment: Making the Case for Incorporating Climate Change and Climate Extremes. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 3 (1): 18–36,   doi: 10.1039/C6EW00121A

  • Marlier, M.E., M. Xiao, R. Engel, B. Livneh, J.T. Abatsoglou, and D.P. Lettenmaier (2017). The 2015 drought in Washington State: A harbinger of things to come?, Environmental Research Letters, 12 114008,   doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa8fde

  • Stewart, J.S., B. Livneh, J.R. Kasprzyk, J.T. Minear, B. Rajagopalan, and W.J. Raseman (2017). A multi-algorithm approach to land surface modeling of suspended sediment in the Colorado Front Range. Journal of Advances in Models Earth Systems, 9(7), 2526-2544,   doi: 10.1002/2017MS001120

  • Raleigh, M.S., B. Livneh, K. Lapo, and J.D. Lundquist (2016). How does availability of meteorological forcing data impact physically-based snowpack simulations? Journal of Hydrometeorology, 17, 99-120   doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-14-0235.1
  • Cheng L., M.P. Hoerling, A. AghaKouchak, B. Livneh, and X-W. Qian (2016). How Has Human-Induced Climate Change Affected California Drought Risk?, Journal of Climate, 29, 111–120   doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0260.1

  • Barnhart, T., N. P. Molotch, B. Livneh, A. Harpold, J. Knowles, and D. Schneider (2016). Snowmelt rate dictates streamflow. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(15): 8006-8016   doi: 10.1002/2016GL069690

  • Livneh B. and M.P. Hoerling (2016). The Physics of Drought in the U.S. Central Great Plains. Journal of Climate, Volume 29, Issue 18, Pages 6783-6804   doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0697.1

  • Buma B. and B. Livneh (2015). Potential effects of forest disturbances and management on water resources in a warmer climate. Forest Science, Volume 61, Issue 5, Pages 895–903   doi: 10.5849/forsci.14-164.

  • Livneh B., T.J. Bohn, D.S. Pierce, F. Munoz-Ariola, B. Nijssen, R. Vose, D. Cayan, and L.D. Brekke (2015). A spatially comprehensive, hydrometeorological data set for Mexico, the U.S., and southern Canada 1950-2013, Nature Scientific Data, 2, 150042   doi: 10.1038/sdata.2015.42

  • Livneh, B., J.S. Deems, B. Buma, J.J. Barsugli, D. Schneider, N.P. Molotch, K. Wolter, and C.A. Wessman (2015). Catchment response to bark beetle outbreak and dust-on-snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Journal of Hydrology, 523, 196-210   doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.039

  • Livneh B., R. Kumar, and L. Samaniego (2015). Influence of Soil Textural Properties on Hydrologic Fluxes in the Mississippi River Basin. Hydrological Processes, Volume 29, Issue 21, 4638–4655   doi: 10.1002/hyp.10601

  • Pal, I., E. Towler, and B. Livneh (2015). Advancing the Science of Low Flows in a Changing Climate. EOS   doi:10.1029/2015EO033875

  • Chen, F., M. Barlage, M. Tewari, R. Rasmussen, J. M. Jin, D. Lettenmaier, B. Livneh, C. Y. Lin, G. Miguez-Macho, G. Y. Niu, L. J. Wen, and Z. L. Yang (2014). Modeling seasonal snowpack evolution in the complex terrain and forested Colorado Headwaters region: A model intercomparison study. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 119 (24) 13795-13819

  • Gordon, E., Pugh, E., and B. Livneh (2014). Bark Beetles: Cause for Concern in Snowy Western Watersheds? Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure   

  • Kumar, S. V., C. D. Peters-Lidard, D. Mocko, R. Reichle, Y. Q. Liu, K. R. Arsenault, Y. L. Xia, M. Ek, G. Riggs, B. Livneh, and M. Cosh (2014). Assimilation of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture and Snow Depth Retrievals for Drought Estimation. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 15 (6) 2446-2469   doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-13-0132.1

  • Livneh, B., J. S. Deems, D. Schneider, J. J. Barsugli, and N. P. Molotch (2014). Filling in the gaps: Inferring spatially distributed precipitation from gauge observations over complex terrain. Water Resources Research, 50 (11) 8589-8610   doi: 10.1002/2014WR015442

  • Livneh, B., E. Marino and J. E. Ten Hoeve (2014). Emerging Ideas and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change. Eos Trans DISCCRS VIII Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research Symposium, 95 (7)   doi: 10.1002/2014EO070006

  • Lundquist J., M. Hughes, B. Henn, E. D. Gutmann, B. Livneh, J. Dozier, and P. Neiman (2014). High-elevation precipitation patterns: using snow measurements to diagnose when and why gridded datasets succeed or fail across the Sierra Nevada. California Journal of Hydrometeorology, January.

  • Lukas, J., Wolter, K., Mahoney, K., Barsugli, J., Doesken, N., Ryan, W., Rangwala, I., Livneh, B., Gordon, E., Hoerling, M., and G. Kiladis (2013). Severe Flooding on the Colorado Front Range, September 2013: A Preliminary Assessment. Western Water Assessment. Severe Flooding on the Colorado Front Range.pdf  

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