Joseph Barsugli

  • Joe Barsugli
    University of Colorado Boulder

    Joseph Barsugli

    Principal Investigator (through August 2022)

    Joe Barsugli is a research scientist at CIRES -- the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences -- at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and at the Western Water Assessment, a joint effort between NOAA and CU. Trained in climate theory and modeling, his current research focuses on improving the methods used for attribution of historical trends and events, and on understanding the causes of drought in the Western United States and the decline in Colorado River flows. He is passionate about connecting climate science with practitioners and technical staff who are informing planning for water and land management in the Colorado region, and connecting researchers to the problems faced by managers.


  • Hoerling, Martin, Lesley Smith, Xiao-Wei Quan, Jon Eischeid, Joseph Barsugli, and Henry F. Diaz (2021). Explaining the Spatial Pattern of U.S. Extreme Daily Precipitation Change. J. Climate, 34(7), 2759–2775.

  • Barsugli, J.J., A.J. Ray, B. Livneh, C.F. Dewes, A. Heldmyer, I. Rangwala, J.M. Guinotte, and S. Torbit (2020). Projections of Mountain Snowpack Loss for Wolverine Denning Elevations in the Rocky Mountains. Earth's Future.   doi: 10.1029/2020EF001537

  • Hobbins, M. and J. Barsugli (2020). Threatening the Vigor of the Colorado River. Science, 367 (6483): 1192–93.   doi: 10.1126/science.abb3624

  • Lukas, J., and E. Payton, eds. (2020). Colorado River Basin Climate and Hydrology: State of the Science. Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado Boulder.   doi: 10.25810/3hcv-w477

  • Switanek, M.B., J. Barsugli, M. Scheuerer, T. Hamill (2020). Present and past sea surface temperatures: A recipe for better seasonal climate forecasts. Weather Forecast, 35 (4): 1221–1234.   doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-19-0241.1

  • Kirchhoff, C.J., J.J. Barsugli, G.L. Galford, A.V. Karmalkar, K. Lombardo, S.R. Stephenson, M. Barlow, A. Seth, G. Wang, and A. Frank (2019). Climate Assessments for Local Action. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 100 (11): 2147–52.   doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0138.1

  • Hoerling, M., J. Barsugli, B. Livneh, J. Eischeid, X. Quan, and A. Badger (2019). Causes for the Century-Long Decline in Colorado River Flow. Journal of Climate, 32 (23): 8181–8203.   doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0207.1

  • Dewes C.F., I. Rangwala, J. J. Barsugli, M.T. Hobbins, and S. Kumar (2017). Drought risk assessment under climate change is sensitive to methodological choices for the estimation of evaporative demand. PLoS ONE 12(3),   doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174045

  • Sofaer, H.R., J.J. Barsugli, C.S. Jarnevich, J.T. Abatzoglou, M.K. Talbert, B.W. Miller, and J.T. Morisette (2017). Designing Ecological Climate Change Impact Assessments to Reflect Key Climatic Drivers. Global Change Biology, 23 (7): 2537–53,   doi: 10.1111/gcb.13653

  • Rangwala, I., C. Dewes, and J. Barsugli (2016). High Resolution Climate Modeling for Regional Adaptation. EOS, Vol. 97   doi: 10.1029/2016EO048615

  • Livneh, B., J.S. Deems, B. Buma, J.J. Barsugli, D. Schneider, N.P. Molotch, K. Wolter, and C.A. Wessman (2015). Catchment response to bark beetle outbreak and dust-on-snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Journal of Hydrology, 523, 196-210   doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.039

  • Livneh, B., J. S. Deems, D. Schneider, J. J. Barsugli, and N. P. Molotch (2014). Filling in the gaps: Inferring spatially distributed precipitation from gauge observations over complex terrain. Water Resources Research, 50 (11) 8589-8610   doi: 10.1002/2014WR015442

  • Lukas, J., Barsugli, J., Doesken, N., Rangwala, I., and K. Wolter, (2014). Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation. A Report for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Western Water Assessment, 114 pp. Climate_Change_CO_Report_2014_FINAL.pdf  

  • Cayan, D., M. Tyree, K. E. Kunkel, C. Castro, A. Gershunov, J. Barsugli, A. J. Ray, J. Overpeck, M. Anderson, J. Russell, B. Rajagopalan, I. Rangwala, and P. Duffy (2013). Future Climate: Projected Averages. 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, 101–125. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • Deems, J.S., T. H. Painter, J. J. Barsugli, J. Belnap, and B. Udall (2013). Combined impacts of current and future dust deposition and regional warming on Colorado River Basin snow dynamics and hydrology. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4401-4413,
  • Gershunov, A., B. Rajagopalan, J. Overpeck, K. Guirguis, D. Cayan, M. Hughes, M. Dettinger, C. Castro, R. E. Schwartz, M. Anderson, A. J. Ray, J. Barsugli, T. Cavazos, and M. Alexander (2013). Future Climate: Projected Extremes. 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, 126–147. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • Lukas, J., Wolter, K., Mahoney, K., Barsugli, J., Doesken, N., Ryan, W., Rangwala, I., Livneh, B., Gordon, E., Hoerling, M., and G. Kiladis (2013). Severe Flooding on the Colorado Front Range, September 2013: A Preliminary Assessment. Western Water Assessment. Severe Flooding on the Colorado Front Range.pdf  

  • Rangwala, I., J. J. Barsugli, K. Cozzetto, J. Neff, and J. Prairie (2012). Mid-21st century projections in temperature extremes in the southern Colorado Rocky Mountains from regional climate models. Climate Dynamics, doi 10.1007/s00382-011-1282-z.

  • Vogel J., E. Gordon, J. Brislawn, J. Barsugli, E. LeDolce, D. Mills, J. Smith, G. Aggett, and B. Harding (2012). Boulder County Climate Change Preparedness Report. Prepared by Stratus Consulting, Inc. for Boulder County Commissioner's Sustainability Office.   

  • Neely, B., R. Rondeau, J. Sanderson, C. Pague, B. Kuhn, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, J. Robertson, P. McCarthy, J. Barsugli, T. Schulz, and C. Knapp, Eds. (2011). Gunnison Basin: Vulnerability Assessment for the Gunnison Climate Working Group. Report by The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Western Water Assessment, and University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Project of the Southwest Climate Change Initiative. Gunnison Basin Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.pdf  

  • Guentchev, G., J. J. Barsugli, and J. Eischeid (2010). Homogeneity of Gridded Precipitation Datasets for the Colorado River Basin. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 49: 2404–2415.   

  • Barsugli, J., K. Nowak, B. Rajagopalan, J. Prairie, and B. Harding (2009). Comment on “When Will Lake Mead go Dry?” by T. P. Barnett and D. W. Pierce. Water Resources Research, 45, W09601.   
  • Barsugli, J., C. Anderson, J. Smith, and J. M. Vogel (2009). Options for Improving Climate Modeling to Assist Water Utility Planning for Climate Change. Water Utility Climate Alliance, San Francisco, CA, 146 pp.   
  • Averyt, K., J. Lukas, C. Alvord, J. Barsugli, and N. Doesken (2009). The “Dealing with Drought: Adapting to a Changing Climate” Workshops: Report to the Colorado Water Conservation Board.   
  • Barsugli, J., C. Anderson, J. Smith, and J. Vogel (2009). What's Needed from Climate Modeling to Advance Actionable Science for Water Utilities? American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Abstract, H331-08.   

  • Rajagopalan, B., K. Nowak, J. Prairie, M. Hoerling, B. Harding, J. Barsugli, A. Ray, and B. Udall (2009). Water Supply Risk on the Colorado River: Can Management Mitigate? Water Resources Research, 45, W08201,   doi:10.1029/2008WR007652

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