Lisa Dilling

  • Lisa Dilling
    Associate Professor, Environmental Studies
    University of Colorado Boulder
    Fellow of CIRES

    Lisa Dilling

    Principal Investigator

    Lisa Dilling is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and a member of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is PI and Director of the Western Water Assessment, a NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment project that studies and facilitates the use of climate information in decision making in the Intermountain West. Her scholarship focuses on decision making, the use of information and science policy. Her research topics include drought and urban water management, climate adaptation in cities and on public lands, carbon management, and geoengineering governance.  She is the author of over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, co-editor of the book, Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change, Facilitating Social Change and was Co-leader and co-author of the State of the Carbon Cycle Synthesis and Assessment Product 2.2for the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She was the recipient of a 2016 Leverhulme Visiting Professorship hosted by Oxford University, UK. She holds a PhD in biology from the University of California Santa Barbara and a BA in biology from Harvard University.


  • Henderson, Jen, Lisa Dilling, Rebecca Morss, Olga Wilhelmi, and Ursula Rick. 2021. “‘We Got in the Pilot Program to Learn from It:’ Features of Social Learning in Drought Contexts Along the Arkansas River in Colorado.” Weather, Climate, and Society, June.

  • Page, R. and L. Dilling (2020). How experiences of climate extremes motivate adaptation among water managers. Climatic Change.   doi: 10.1007/s10584-020-02712-7

  • Dilling, L., A. Prakash, Z. Zommers, F. Ahmad, N. Singh, S. de Wit, J. Nalau, M. Daly, and K. Bowman (2019). Is Adaptation Success a Flawed Concept? Nature Climate Change, 9 (8): 572–74.   doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0539-0

  • Page, R. and L. Dilling (2019). The Critical Role of Communities of Practice and Peer Learning in Scaling Hydroclimatic Information Adoption. Weather, Climate, and Society, 11, 851-862, September 24.   doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-18-0130.1

  • Smith, R., J. Kasprzyk, and L. Dilling (2019). Testing the potential of Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs) with Colorado water managers. Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 117, 149-163.   doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.03.011

  • Dilling, L., M.E. Daly, D.A. Kenney, R. Klein, K. Miller, A.J. Ray, W.R. Travis, and O. Wilhelmi (2018). Drought in urban water systems: Learning lessons for climate adaptive capacity. Climate Risk Management.   doi: 10.1016/j.crm.2018.11.001

  • Dilling, L., R. Morss, and O. Wilhelmi (2018). Learning to Expect Surprise: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Beyond. Journal of Extreme Events, Vol. 4, No. 3.   doi: 10.1142/S2345737617710014

  • Averyt, K., J.D. Derner, L. Dilling, R. Guerrero, L. Joyce, S. McNeeley, E. McNie, J. Morisette, D. Ojima, R. O'Malley, D. Peck, A.J. Ray, M. Reeves, and W. Travis (2018). Regional Climate Response Collaboratives: Multi-Institutional Support for Climate Resilience. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 891-898.

  • Smith, R., J. Kasprzyk, and L. Dilling (2017). Participatory Framework for Assessment and Improvement of Tools (ParFAIT): Increasing the impact and relevance of water management decision support research.Environmental Modelling & Software, 95, 432-446,   doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2017.05.004

  • Kirchhoff, C. and L. Dilling (2016). The role of U.S. states in facilitating effective water governance under stress and change. Water Resources Research, Volume 52, Issue 4, Pages 2951-2964   doi: 10.1002/2015WR018431

  • Simpson, C., L. Dilling, K. Dow, K. Lackstrom, M.C. Lemos, and R. Riley (2016). Assessing needs and decision contexts: RISA approaches to engagement research, in: Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation, Ed. A. Parris and G. Garfin3-26, Wiley and Sons. ISBN: 9781118474792
  • Gordon, E., L. Dilling, E. McNie, and A. Ray (2016). Navigating scales of knowledge and decision-making in the Intermountain West: Implications for science policy. Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation, Ed. A. Parris and G. Garfin, 235-254, Wiley and Sons.

  • Dilling, L., K. C. Kelsey, D. P. Fernandez, Y. D. Huang, J. B. Milford, and J. C. Neff (2016). Managing Carbon on Federal Public Lands: Opportunities and Challenges in Southwestern Colorado. Environmental Management, Volume 58, Pages 283-296   doi: 10.1007/s00267-016-0714-2

  • Dilling, L. (2015). Adaptation. Research Handbook on Climate Governance, Ed. K. Bäckstrand and E. Lövbrand, 470-479, Edward Elgar Publishing.   doi: 10.4337/9781783470600

  • Dilling, L. (2015). Community involvement critical to adaptation, managing climate change risks. Daily Camera, May 3   Daily Camera

  • Dilling, L., M. E. Daly, W. R. Travis, O. V. Wilhelmi, and R. A. Klein (2015). The dynamics of vulnerability: Why adapting to climate variability will not always prepare us for climate change. WIREs Climate Change, Volume 6, Issue 4, Pages 413-425   doi: 10.1002/wcc.341

  • Dilling, L., K. Lackstrom, B. Haywood, K. Dow, M. C. Lemos, J. Berggren, and S. Kalafatis (2015). What stakeholder needs tell us about enabling adaptive capacity: The intersection of context and information provision across regions in the United States. Weather, Climate, and Society, 7:(1) 5-17

  • Archie, K. M., L. Dilling, J. B. Milford, and F. C. Pampel (2014). Unpacking the “information barrier”: Comparing perspectives on information as a barrier to climate change adaptation in the interior mountain West. Journal of Environmental Management, 133:397-410

  • Dilling, L., and J. Berggren (2014). What do stakeholders need to manage for climate change and vulnerability? A document-based analysis from the Intermountain West region of the U.S. Regional Environmental Change, 15 (4): 657–67   doi: 10.1007/s10113-014-0668-y

  • Dilling, L. and R. Romsdahl (2013). Promoting Adaptation Success in Natural Resource Management Through Decision Support: Lessons from the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain Regions. In: S. Moser and M. Boykoff (eds.), Successful Adaptation to Climate Change, Routledge, pp. 180-185.
  • Liverman, D., S. C. Moser, P. S. Weiland, L. Dilling, M. T. Boykoff, H. E. Brown, E. S. Gordon, C. Greene, E. Holthaus, D. A. Niemeier, S. Pincetl, W. J. Steenburgh, and V. C. Tidwell (2013). Climate Choices for a Sustainable Southwest. In Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States: A Report Prepared for the National Climate Assessment, edited by G. Garfin, A. Jardine, R. Merideth, M. Black, and S. LeRoy, 405–435. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.

  • Gordon, E. and L. Dilling (2010). An Empirical Approach to Defining Success in Adaptation. Paper presented at Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding Through the Social Sciences (ICARUS) Workshop on Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation: Theory and Cases, Champaign, IL.   

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