Katie Clifford

  • Katie Clifford


    Social Sciences Lead

    Katie is a social scientist who studies human-environment relationships in the context of environmental change. Her research blends a mix of methods, approaches, and theoretical expertise from risk and hazards, adaptation social science, political ecology, science and technology studies, co-production, and decision making. Katie’s commitment to community-engaged scholarship comes from a long history of working with stakeholders to co-produce research and conduct usable science. In addition to nearly a decade of work with Western Water Assessment, she has worked with a number of other boundary organizations including the North Central and National Climate Adaptation Science Centers, CU Engage, and others. Katie received her B.A. at Macalester College and her master's and doctorate degrees in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    During her postdoc at the USGS Social and Economic Analysis (SEA) branch, she worked with environmental managers to create actionable science to support adaptation in transforming ecosystems.  Specifically, she served as a leading social scientist on an interagency task force to develop the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) Framework for managing ecological transformation and co-produced research with managers to understand RAD decision-making on public lands.


  • Ardon-Dryer, K., K. R. Clifford, and J. L. Hand. 2023. “Dust Under the Radar: Rethinking How to Evaluate the Impacts of Dust Events on Air Quality in the United States.” GeoHealth 7 (12): 1-7.   https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GH000953

  • Clifford, K. R., J. Henderson, Z. McAlear, L. Dilling, B. Duncan, S. Ehert, S. Arens, R. Page, and U. Rick. 2023. “The ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Doing Coproduction: Exploring Implementation Decisions in Climate Adaptation Research with Stakeholders.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 104 (4): E872–83.   https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-21-0292.1

  • Barnhart, Katherine  R., Veronica Y. Romero, and Katherine R. Clifford. 2023. “User Needs Assessment for Postfire Debris-Flow Inundation Hazard Products.” Report 2023–1025. Open-File Report. Reston, VA. USGS Publications Warehouse.   https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20231025

  • Rader, Alana M., Christine Biermann, Stephen M. Chignell, Katherine R. Clifford, Lisa C. Kelley, and Rebecca Lave. 2023. “Practicing Critical Physical Geography: New Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise in an Expanding Field.” The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe Canadien 67 (1): 10–16.   https://doi.org/10.1111/cag.12828

  • Kroepsch, Adrianne C., and Katherine R. Clifford. 2022. “On Environments of Not Knowing: How Some Environmental Spaces and Circulations Are Made Inscrutable.” Geoforum 132 (June): 171–81.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.05.009

  • Clifford, K.R., Goolsby, J.B., Cravens, A.E., and Cooper, A.E., 2022, Rapidly assessing social characteristics of drought preparedness and decision making: A guide for practitioners: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 17-A1, 41 p.   https://doi.org/10.3133/tm17A1

  • Dunham, Jason, Joseph R. Benjamin, David J. Lawrence, and Katherine Clifford. 2022. “Resist, Accept, and Direct Responses to Biological Invasions: A Social–Ecological Perspective.” Fisheries Management and Ecology, June, fme.12574.   https://doi.org/10.1111/fme.12574

  • Clifford, Katherine R. 2022. “Natural Exceptions or Exceptional Natures? Regulatory Science and the Production of Rarity.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, June, 1–18.   https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2022.2054768

  • Clifford K.R., and W.R. Travis (2020). The New (Ab)Normal: Outliers, Everyday Exceptionality, and the Politics of Data Management in the Anthropocene. Annals of the American Association of Geographers.   doi: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1785836.

  • Clifford, K.R., L. Yung, W.R. Travis, R. Rondeau, B. Neely, I. Rangwala, N. Burkardt, and C. Wyborn (2020). Navigating Climate Adaptation on Public Lands: How Views on Ecosystem Change and Scale Interact with Management Approaches. Environmental Management.   doi: 10.1007/s00267-020-01336-y

  • Clifford, K.R., W.R. Travis, and L.T. Nordgren (2020). A climate knowledges approach to climate services. Climate Services, Vol. 18, April.   doi: 10.1016/j.cliser.2020.100155

  • Clifford, K.R. and W.R. Travis (2018). Knowing climate as a social-ecological-atmospheric construct. Global Environmental Change, Volume 49, pp. 1–9.   doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.12.007

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