Kristen Averyt

Kristen Averyt

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
UCB 216
Boulder, CO 80309-0216
Phone: 303-492-1227


Kristen Averyt is the Associate Director for Science at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to joining the Administration at CIRES, she served as Director of the Western Water Assessment— a NOAA RISA Program. Dr. Averyt holds a Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University. She was a lead author on the US National Climate Assessment released in spring 2014, and is currently a Senior Policy Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to New Zealand (1998) and a NOAA Congressional Fellowship (2005), during which she worked in the US Senate for Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). As the staff scientist for Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2005­–08), she was one of the many scientists who contributed to the work which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Her current research revolves around climate variability and change, with a particular focus on the interplay between climate mitigation and adaptation, including the energy-water nexus.


2004      Ph.D. Geological and Environmental Science, Stanford University, California
Dissertation: Strontium in Marine Barite: Implications for Marine Barite Formation and Seawater Chemistry

1999      M.S. Chemistry, with distinction, University of Otago, New Zealand
Thesis: Copper Speciation of Lake Waters

1998      B.S. Chemistry, Marine Science, magna cum laude, University of Miami, Florida
Honors Thesis: Dissolution of Colloidal Iron by Trichodesmium

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Cohen, S., J. Meldrum, J. Macknick, K. Averyt, I. Rangwala (Under Review) Climate-Water-Electricity: Evaluating how climate change affects water availability and the future of the U.S. electricity sector.Environmental Science and Technology.

Averyt, K. (2016) Energy-Water Nexus: Head-on Collision or Near-Miss?. American Scientist, May/June, 158–165. (link)

Averyt, K., T. Bradley (2014) Energy Sector. Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study, 89-101, CU Boulder, Gordon, E.S., D. Ojima (Ed.) (link)

Hibbard, K., T. Wilson, K. Averyt, R. Harriss, R. Newmark, S. Rose, E. Shevliakova, and V. Tidwell (2014) Ch. 10: Energy, Water, and Land Use. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 257-281. doi:10.7930/J0JW8BSF. (link)

Yates, D., J. Meldrum and K. Averyt  (2013) The influence of future electricity mix alternatives on southwestern US water resources, Environ. Res. Lett. 8 045005 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/045005.

Yates, D., K. Averyt, F. Flores-Lopez, J. Meldrum, S. Sattler, J. Sieber, and C. Young (2013) A water resources model to explore the implications of energy alternatives in the southwestern US, Environ. Res. Lett. 8 045004 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/045004.

Averyt, K., J. Meldrum, P. Caldwell, G. Sun, S. McNulty, A. Huber-Lee and N. Madden (2013) Sectoral Contributions to Surface Water Stress in the Coterminous U.S., Environmental Research Letters. 8 035046. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035046.

Werner, K, K. Averyt, G. Owen (2013) River Forecast Application for Water Management: Oil and Water?Wea. Climate Soc., 5, 244–253. doi:

Averyt, K. J. Macknick, J. Rogers, N. Madden, J. Fisher, J. Meldrum and R. Newmark (2013) Water use for electricity in the United States: an analysis of reported and calculated water use information for 2008, Environmental Research Letters, 8, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015001.

Averyt, K., L. D. Brekke, D. E. Busch, L. Kaatz, L. Welling, and E. H. Hartge (2013). “Moving Forward with Imperfect Information.” 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, 436–461. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Tidwell, V. C., L. Dale, G. Franco, K. Averyt, M. Wei, D. M. Kammen, and J. H. Nelson (2013). “Energy: Supply, Demand, and Impacts.” 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, 240–266. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Busch, D. E., L. D. Brekke, K. Averyt, A. Jardine, and L. Welling (2013). “Research Strategies for Addressing Uncertainties.” 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, 462–482. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Rogers, J., K. Averyt, S. Clemmer, M. Davis, F. Flores-Lopez, P. Frumhoff, D. Kenney, J. Macknick, N. Madden, J. Meldrum, J. Overpeck, S. Sattler, E. Spanger-Siegfried, and D. Yates (2013). Water-smart power: Strengthening the U.S. electricity system in a warming world. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Macknick, J., S. Sattler, K. Averyt, S. Clemmer and J. Rogers (2012) The water implications of generating electricity: water use across the United States based on different electricity pathways through 2050, Environmental Research Letters, 7, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045803.

Skaggs R, KA Hibbard, P Frumhoff, T Lowry, R Middleton, R Pate, VC Tidwell, JG Arnold, K Averyt, AC Janetos, RC Izaurralde, JS Rice, and SK Rose (2012). Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions, Technical Report to the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate Assessment.  PNNL-21185, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Averyt, K., A. Huber-Lee, J. Macknick, N. Madden, J. Rogers, and S. Tellinghuisen (2011) Freshwater use by U.S. power plants. A report of the Energy and Water in a Warming World Initiative. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Averyt, K. (2010) Are we Successfully Adapting science to climate change? Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 723–726. doi:

E. Griffith, M. Calhoun, E. Thomas, K. Averyt, A. Erhardt, T. Bralower, M. Lyle, A Olivarez-Lyle, and A. Paytan (2010) Export productivity and carbonate accumulation in the Pacific Basin at the transition from a greenhouse to icehouse climate (late Eocene to early Oligocene), Paleoceanography, 25, 10.1029/2010PA001932.

Udall, B. and K. Averyt (2009) A Critical Need: A National Interagency Water Plan, Southwest Hydrology, 8(1), 18­–19.

Leary N, K Averyt, B Hewitson, J Marengo (2009) Crossing thresholds in regional climate research: synthesis of the IPCC expert meeting on regional impacts, adaptation, vulnerability, and mitigation introduction. Clim Res 40:121–131.

Ray, A.J., J.J. Barsugli and K.B. Averyt (2008) Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

Paytan, A, K.B. Averyt, K. Faul, E. Gray and E. Thomas (2007) Barite accumulation, gas hydrates and the carbon cycle: a view from the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum, Geology, 35(12), 10.1130/G24162A.1.

IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, M.C. Marquis, Z. Chen, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Averyt, K.B. and A. Paytan (2007) Reply to Comment on “Empirical partition coefficients for Sr and Ca in marine barite: Implications for reconstructing seawater Sr and Ca concentrations”. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 8: Q01009, doi:10.1029/2006GC001494.

Averyt, K.B., and A. Paytan (2004) A Comparison of multiple proxies for export production in the equatorial Pacific, Paleoceanography, 19, 10.10292004PA10291005.

Averyt, K.B., J.P. Kim, and K.A. Hunter (2004) Effect of pH on measurement of strong copper binding ligands in lakes, Limnology and Oceanography, 49(1), 20-27.

Averyt, K. B., A. Paytan, and G. Li (2003) A precise, high-throughput method for determining Sr/Ca, Sr/Ba, and Ca/Ba ratios in marine barite, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 4(4), 1039, doi:10.1029/2002GC000467.

Averyt, K. B., and A. Paytan (2003) Empirical partition coefficients for Sr and Ca in marine barite: Implications for reconstructing seawater Sr and Ca concentrations, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 4(5), 1043, doi:10.1029/2002GC000426.

Bralower, T.J., Premoli Silva, I., Malone, M.J., and Scientific Participants of Leg 198 (2002). New evidence for abrupt climate change in the Cretaceous and Paleogene: an Ocean Drilling Program expedition to Shatsky Rise, northwest Pacific. GSA Today, 12:4-10.