Lisa Dilling

Western Water Assessment
CIRES/University of Colorado Boulder
216 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 303-735-3678
Curriculum Vitae


Lisa's research focuses on decision making, the use of information and science policies related to climate change, adaptation, geoengineering and carbon management. Her current projects examine drought in urban water systems, water governance and climate change, municipal adaptation to hazards, decision making in public lands management, and knowledge for adaptation in Tanzania.  Dilling has authored numerous articles and is a co-editor of the book Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating climate change and facilitating social change from Cambridge University Press. Dilling is also a CIRES Fellow and a member of CIRES’ Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at CU-Boulder.

Before joining the faculty at CU Boulder in 2008, Lisa worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Reseach (NCAR) and led programs at the national level in Climate and Global Change Research for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


1997, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, Biological Sciences

1989, B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Biology, magna cum laude

Recent Publications

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.

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.

Dilling, L., K. Clifford, E. McNie, J. Lukas, and U. Rick (2018). Making Research More Usable at CU Boulder. Western Water Assessment Report, February, 26 pp.

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.

Dilling, L., E. Pizzi, J. Berggren, A. Ravikumar, and K. Andersson (2017). Drivers of adaptation: Responses to weather- and climate-related hazards in 60 local governments in the Intermountain Western U.S., Environment and Planning A, 1-21, doi: 10.1177/0308518X16688686.

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.

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. Garfin235-254, Wiley and Sons.

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. Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation, Ed. A. Parris and G. Garfin3-26, 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, doi: 10.1007/s00267-016-0714-2.

Kirchhoff, C. and L. Dilling (2016). The role of U.S. states in facilitating effective water governance under stress and change. Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1002/2015WR018431, April 17.

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

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

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, 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.