Lisa Dilling

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


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.


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

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

Recent Publications

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, Published April 27.

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, doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-18-0130.1, Published September 24.

Dilling, L; Prakash, A; Zommers, Z; Ahmad, F; Singh, N; de Wit, S; Nalau, J; Daly, M; Bowman, K (2019). Is adaptation success a flawed concept?. Nature Climate Change, 9 (8) 572-574, issn: 1758-678X, doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0539-0.

Dilling, L., J. Berggren, J. Henderson, and D. Kenney (2019). Savior of rural landscapes or Solomon's choice? Colorado's experiment with alternative transfer methods for water (ATMs). Water Security 6 , doi: 10.1016/j.wasec.2019.100027.

Smith, R., J. Kasprzyk, and L. Dilling (2019). Testing the potential of Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs) with Colorado water managers. Environmental Modelling & Software 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.

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.