I am an Associate Professor in the Environmental Studies program. My research focuses on understanding how society chooses to respond to environmental risks such as climate change. I use interdisciplinary, empirical methods to study questions such as how different views about the nature of risk affect the outcomes of decision processes. I am also interested in the tradeoffs involved in implementing new policies at the local scale and understanding how science can best support robust decision making in deeply uncertain contexts. My work has recently focused on drought and urban water management, climate change and public lands, geoengineering, and municipal policies regarding natural hazards.
Recurring droughts, flood events, and concerns over extreme events in the future have created a strong interest in how to plan in the face of these extremes among water managers in the Front Range of Colorado. Traditional methods of identifying alternatives for water supply management may not fully capture the range of existing preferred alternatives, meaning that utilities may miss some of the solutions that appropriately balance among tradeoffs. One of my current collaborative projects seeks to co-produce and test a newly developed multi-objective decision tool as a testbed to aid this process, balancing conflicting management objectives for water planning under climate extremes and determining how policy alternatives perform under severe climate uncertainty.
A second interdisciplinary, collaborative project is focused on identifying opportunities to improve drought risk management and build climate resilience. We conduct in-depth interviews, participant observation, document analysis, and focus groups of Western Slope water entities to characterize decision processes related to drought risk and describe the current use of information among water providers in the Western Slope. In addition, the team is assessing whether snowpack indicators will remain good predictors of seasonal water supplies under a warming climate using modeled data. Climate change projections indicate that a regional warming trend will continue, causing the snowpack to melt earlier and produce less runoff for the same precipitation input, and potentially reducing its utility as a drought indicator.
A third example, a multi-institution collaborative project, seeks to enhance understanding of how drought management strategies may position urban water providers to respond to the long-term impacts of climate change. Municipalities have responded in various ways to past droughts, enacting a variety of policies to cope with temporary reductions in water supply. The fundamental question that arises, however, is whether the policies put in place to reduce short-term vulnerability to drought might in fact have unintended consequences on adaptive capacity in the longer term. The project is using a case study and interview approach to understand drought decision-making in several cities across the U.S.
- 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.. Environ. Plann. A Version: 11-21, doi: 10.1177/0308518X16688686
- 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. Environ. Manage. Version: 1 58 (2) 283-296, issn: 0364-152X, ids: DQ4FK, doi: 10.1007/s00267-016-0714-2, PubMed ID: 27272016
- Kirchhoff, CJ and L Dilling (2016), The role of US states in facilitating effective water governance under stress and change. Water Resour. Res. Version: 1 52 (4) 2951-2964, issn: 0043-1397, ids: DN9XA, doi: 10.1002/2015WR018431
- Dilling, L, ME Daly, WR Travis, OV Wilhelmi and RA Klein (2015), The dynamics of vulnerability: why adapting to climate variability will not always prepare us for climate change. Wiley Interdiscip. Rev.: Clim. Change Version: 1 6 (4) 413-425, issn: 1757-7780, ids: CK1SK, doi: 10.1002/wcc.341
- Dilling, L, K Lackstrom, B Haywood, K Dow, MC 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 Clim. Soc. Version: 1 7 (1) 5-17, issn: 1948-8327, ids: CA5UN, doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-14-00001.1
- Dilling, L and J Berggren (2015), What do stakeholders need to manage for climate change and variability? A document-based analysis from three mountain states in the Western USA. Reg. Environ. Change Version: 1 15 (4) 657-667, issn: 1436-3798, ids: CD8VK, doi: 10.1007/s10113-014-0668-y
- Archie, KM, L Dilling, JB Milford and FC Pampel (2014), Unpacking the 'information barrier': Comparing perspectives on information as a barrier to climate change adaptation in the interior mountain West. J. Environ. Manage. Version: 1 133 397-410, issn: 0301-4797, ids: AA8JH, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.12.015, PubMed ID: 24440587
- Dilling, L and R Hauser (2013), Governing geoengineering research: why, when and how?. Clim. Change Version: 1 121 (3) 553-565, issn: 0165-0009, ids: 256OH, doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0835-z
- Dilling, L and E Failey (2013), Managing carbon in a multiple use world: The implications of land-use decision context for carbon management. Glob. Environ. Change-Human Policy Dimens. Version: 1 23 (1) 291-300, issn: 0959-3780, ids: 099JL, doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.10.012
- McNeeley, Shannon M., Sarah A. Tessendorf, Heather Lazrus, Tanya Heikkila, Ian M. Ferguson, Jennifer S. Arrigo, Shahzeen Z. Attari, Christina M. Cianfrani, Lisa Dilling, Jason J. Gurdak, Stephanie K. Kampf, Derek Kauneckis, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Juneseok Lee, Benjamin R. Lintner, Kelly M. Mahoney, Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Pallav Ray, Andy B. South, Andrew P. Stubblefield and Julie Brugger (2012), Catalyzing Frontiers in Water-Climate-Society Research A View from Early Career Scientists and Junior Faculty. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 93 (4) 477-484, issn: 0003-0007, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00221.1
- Archie, KM, L Dilling, JB Milford and FC Pampel (2012), Climate Change and Western Public Lands: a Survey of U.S. Federal Land Managers on the Status of Adaptation Efforts. Ecol. Soc. Version: 1 17 (4) , Art. No. 20, issn: 1708-3087, ids: 069EF, doi: 10.5751/ES-05187-170420
- Ellenwood, MS, L Dilling and JB Milford (2012), Managing United States Public Lands in Response to Climate Change: A View From the Ground Up. Environ. Manage. Version: 1 49 (5) 954-967, issn: 0364-152X, ids: 934WO, doi: 10.1007/s00267-012-9829-2, PubMed ID: 22437431
- Morss, RE, OV Wilhelmi, GA Meehl and L Dilling (2011), Improving Societal Outcomes of Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate: An Integrated Perspective. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour Version: 1 36 1-25, Ed. Gadgil, A; Liverman, DM, issn: 1543-5938, ids: BYP43, isbn: 978-0-8243-2336-3, doi: 10.1146/annurev-environ-060809-100145
- Dilling, L and MC Lemos (2011), Creating usable science: Opportunities and constraints for climate knowledge use and their implications for science policy. Glob. Environ. Change-Human Policy Dimens. Version: 1 21 (2) 680-689, issn: 0959-3780, ids: 784SC, doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.11.006
- Hale, Benjamin and Lisa Dilling (2011), Geoengineering, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution. SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN VALUES Version: 1 36 (2) 190-212, issn: 0162-2439, doi: 10.1177/0162243910366150
- Failey, EL and L Dilling (2010), Carbon stewardship: land management decisions and the potential for carbon sequestration in Colorado, USA. Environ. Res. Lett. Version: 1 5 (2) , Art. No. 24005, issn: 1748-9326, ids: 618PZ, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/024005
- Dilling, L and B Farhar (2007), Making it easy: establishing energy efficiency and renewable energy as routine best practice. Version: 1 CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND FACILITATING SOCIAL CHANGE 359-382, Ed. Moser, SC; Dilling, L, ids: BXV80, isbn: 978-0-52186-923-2, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511535871.026
- Moser, SC and L Dilling (2007), CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change Preface. Version: 1 CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND FACILITATING SOCIAL CHANGE IX-XII, Ed. Moser, SC; Dilling, L, ids: BXV80, isbn: 978-0-52186-923-2, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511535871.001
- Dilling, L and SC Moser (2007), CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change Introduction. Version: 1 CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND FACILITATING SOCIAL CHANGE 1-27, Ed. Moser, SC; Dilling, L, ids: BXV80, isbn: 978-0-52186-923-2, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511535871.003
- Moser, SC and L Dilling (2007), Toward the social tipping point: creating a climate for change. Version: 1 CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND FACILITATING SOCIAL CHANGE 491-516, Ed. Moser, SC; Dilling, L, ids: BXV80, isbn: 978-0-52186-923-2, doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511535871.035
- Miller, J. B. (2005), Book Review: ‘The Global Carbon Cycle: Integrating Humans, Climate, and the Natural World’. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 87 (4)
- Moser, SC and L Dilling (2004), Making climate hot - Communicating the urgency and challenge of global climate change. Environ. Version: 1 46 (10) 32-46, issn: 0013-9157, ids: 891RY
- Dilling, L and MA Brzezinski (2004), Quantifying marine snow as a food choice for zooplankton using stable silicon isotope tracers. J. Plankton Res. Version: 1 26 (9) 1105-1114, issn: 0142-7873, doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbh103
- Dilling, L, SC Doney, J Edmonds, KR Gurney, R Harriss, D Schimel, B Stephens and G Stokes (2003), The role of carbon cycle observations andknowledge in carbon management. ANNUAL REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES Version: 1 28 521-558, issn: 1543-5938, doi: 10.1146/annurev.energy.28.011503.163443
- Dilling, L and AL Alldredge (2000), Fragmentation of marine snow by swimming macrozooplankton: A new process impacting carbon cycling in the sea. DEEP-SEA RESEARCH PART I-OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH PAPERS Version: 1 47 (7) 1227-1245, issn: 0967-0637, doi: 10.1016/S0967-0637(99)00105-3
- Dilling, L, J Wilson, D Steinberg and A Alldredge (1998), Feeding by the euphausiid Euphausia pacifica and the copepod Calanus pacificus on marine snow. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Version: 1 170 189-201, issn: 0171-8630, doi: 10.3354/meps170189
- DILLING, L and AL ALLDREDGE (1993), CAN CHAETOGNATH FECAL PELLETS CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY TO CARBON FLUX. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Version: 1 92 (2-Jan) 51-58, issn: 0171-8630, doi: 10.3354/meps092051