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Who we are, what we do

The Western Water Assessment (WWA) is an applied research program that addresses societal vulnerabilities related to climate, particularly in the area of water resources. We work across the Intermountain West—Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—and beyond.

Learn more about WWA

Upcoming Events

April 1, 2015
Water in the West - Coursera Online Course (start date)
Eric Gordon and other WWA presenters

Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

29 climate and water information graphics for our region—12 are updated daily

Most recent Briefing: April 10

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

Elevation-Dependent Warming in Mountain Regions of the World

April 2015

Elevation-Dependent Warming in Mountain Regions of the World

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature than environments at lower elevations. Elevation-dependent warming (EDW) can accelerate the rate of change in mountain ecosystems, cryospheric systems, hydrological regimes and biodiversity. Read the full article at Nature Climate Change.

Pepin, N., et al., 2015. Nature Climate Change, Vol. 5, 424-430, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2563.

A Typology for Assessing the Role of Users in Scientific Research

February 2015

Missed opportunity matrix

Decision makers call upon and fund science to help clarify and resolve many types of problems. They expect research to create useful information to help inform solutions to intractable problems, catalyze innovation, and provide information that not only educates stakeholders, but also expand alternatives, clarify choices, and aid in formulating and implementing policy decisions. Read the full article at Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes.

McNie, E., A. Parris, and D. Sarewitz, 2015. User Engagement and Scientific Research, CSPO.

What Stakeholder Needs Tell Us about Enabling Adaptive Capacity: The Intersection of Context and Information Provision across Regions in the United States

January 2015

What Stakeholder Needs Tell Us about Enabling Adaptive Capacity

In recent years increasing attention has been focused on understanding the different resources that can support decision makers at all levels in responding to climate variability and change. This article focuses on the role that access to information and other potential constraints may play in the context of water decision making across three U.S. regions. The authors report on the degree to which climate-related needs or constraints pertinent to water resources are regionally specific. Read the full article at Weather, Climate, and Society.

Dilling, L., K. Lackstrom, B. Haywood, K. Dow, M. C. Lemos, J. Berggren, and S. Kalafatis, 2015. Weather, Climate, and Society, Vol. 7 (1) 5-17.

What do stakeholders need to manage for climate change and variability?

August 2014

Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure

A document - based analysis from three mountain states in the Western USA. Read the full article at Regional Environmental Change.

Dilling, L., and J. Berggren, 2014. Regional Environmental Change, DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0668-y, August.

WWA Spotlight

WWA and CSU release Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study

WWA, in collaboration with Colorado State University, conducted a broad study of climate vulnerability for the state of Colorado. Drawing from existing data and peer-reviewed research, the study summarizes the key challenges facing seven sectors: ecosystems, water, agriculture, energy, transportation, outdoor recreation and tourism, and public health. Read the CIRES press release and download the report.

Also, interviews with WWA's Eric Gordon about the study were broadcasted on KGNU radio's Morning Magazine and Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters. (February 4, 2015)

WWA/CIRES Free Online Course on "Water in the Western United States"

WWA's Eric Gordon and Anne Gold from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) are co-teaching an free online course entitled "Water in the Western United States."

More information and registration for the course can be found here. This college-level course provides a broad overview of the history of water development in the region and relevant hydrology and climatology. The course will run in April, but registration is available now, and there are no requirements other than an Internet connection. We look forward to having you join our course! (December 4, 2014)

Introducing the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

The first phase of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit website was released on November 17. The Toolkit was developed by the NOAA and other Federal agencies to enable decision-makers to take action to boost their climate resilience using data-driven tools, information, and subject-matter expertise to make smarter decisions. The Toolkit offers information from across the federal government in one easy-to-use location. On the 'Find Experts' tab, WWA is listed as one of several entities within Colorado that are ready to assist Toolkit users with interpreting and applying the climate information accessed through the Toolkit. (November 18, 2014)

WWA and CWCB release Climate Change in Colorado report

Climate Change Impacts in the United StatesWWA and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) today released the report “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands on the 2008 WWA-CWCB report of the same name. The report, authored by WWA team members Jeff Lukas, Joe Barsugli, Imtiaz Rangwala, and Klaus Wolter, and WWA affiliate Nolan Doesken of the CSU Colorado Climate Center, presents findings on observed climate trends in the state, linkages with global changes, and projections of future climate and hydrology, as well as guidance on incorporating climate change into planning. Download the report here. (August 5, 2014)