Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Roger Pielke, Jr.

Research Interests

Roger A. Pielke, Jr. joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in 2001. He is currently Professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES). At CIRES Roger is former Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, and also served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the University's Graduate Program in Environmental Studies from 2002-2004. Roger's current areas of interest include understanding the relations of science and politics, technology policy in the atmospheric and related sciences, use and value of prediction in decision making, and policy education for scientists. In 2000, Roger received the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship Award and in 2001, he received the Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award by students in the University of Colorado's Department of Political Science. Before joining the University of Colorado, from 1993-2001 Roger was a Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Current Research

Making energy access meaningful

In an essay published in Issues in Science and Technology, Roger Pielke Jr. and Morgan Bazilian (then with the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) seek to help clarify the challenge of energy access, expose assumptions that are informing policy design in the development and diplomatic communities, and offer a framework for future discussions rooted in the aspirations of people around the world to achieve energy access compatible with a decent standard of living. Compounding the difficulty of decision-making in such a complex space is that the concept of “energy access” is often defined in terms that are unacceptably modest. Discussions about energy and poverty commonly assume that the roughly 2 billion to 3 billion people who presently lack modern energy services will only demand or consume them in small amounts over the next several decades. This assumption leads to projections of future energy consumption that are not only potentially far too low, but therefore imply, even if unintentionally, that those billions will remain deeply impoverished. Such limited ambition risks becoming self-fulfilling, because the way we view the scale of the challenge will strongly influence the types of policies, technologies, levels of investment, and investment vehicles that analysts and policy makers consider to be appropriate.


Bazilian, M, and R Pielke Jr. 2013. Making energy access meaningful. Issues Sci. Tech. 74-79.

View Publications

  • Hossain, F, J Arnold, E Beighley, C Brown, S Burian, J Chen, A Mitra, D Niyogi, R Pielke, V Tidwell and D Wegner. (Nov 2015). What Do Experienced Water Managers Think of Water Resources of Our Nation and Its Management Infrastructure?. PLoS One , 10(11). 10.1371/journal.pone.0142073
  • Hossain, F, J Arnold, E Beighley, C Brown, S Burian, J Chen, S Madadgar, A Mitra, D Niyogi, R Pielke, V Tidwell and D Wegner. (Jul 2015). Local-To-Regional Landscape Drivers of Extreme Weather and Climate: Implications for Water Infrastructure Resilience. JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGIC ENGINEERING , 20(7). 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0001210
  • Woldemichael, AT, F Hossain and R Pielke. (Apr 2014). Impacts of Postdam Land Use/Land Cover Changes on Modification of Extreme Precipitation in Contrasting Hydroclimate and Terrain Features. JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY , 15(2). 10.1175/JHM-D-13-085.1
  • Mahmood, R, RA Pielke, KG Hubbard, D Niyogi, PA Dirmeyer, C McAlpine, AM Carleton, R Hale, S Gameda, A Beltran-Przekurat, B Baker, R McNider, DR Legates, M Shepherd, JY Du, PD Blanken, OW Frauenfeld, US Nair and S Fall. (Mar 2014). Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY , 34(4). 10.1002/joc.3736
  • Suarez, A, R Mahmood, AI Quintanar, A Beltran-Przekurat and R Pielke. (Jan 2014). A comparison of the MM5 and the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System simulations for land-atmosphere interactions under varying soil moisture. TELLUS SERIES A-DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY , 66. 10.3402/tellusa.v66.21486
  • Woldemichael, AT, F Hossain and R Pielke. (Jan 2014). Evaluation of surface properties and atmospheric disturbances caused by post-dam alterations of land use/land cover. HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES , 18(9). 10.5194/hess-18-3711-2014
  • Gill, EC, TN Chase, RA Sr and K Wolter. (Aug 2013). Northern Hemisphere summer temperature and specific humidity anomalies from two reanalyses. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 118(15). 10.1002/jgrd.50635
  • Truong, NM, VT Hang, RA Pielke, CL Castro and K Dairaku. (Nov 2012). Synoptic-scale physical mechanisms associated with the Mei-yu front: A numerical case study in 1999. ASIA-PACIFIC JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES , 48(4). 10.1007/s13143-012-0039-x
  • Woldemichael, AT, F Hossain, R Pielke and A Beltran-Przekurat. (Sep 2012). Understanding the impact of dam-triggered land use/land cover change on the modification of extreme precipitation. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH , 48. 10.1029/2011WR011684
  • McNider, RT, GJ Steeneveld, AAM Holtslag, RA Pielke, S Mackaro, A Pour-Biazar, J Walters, U Nair and J Christy. (Jul 2012). Response and sensitivity of the nocturnal boundary layer over land to added longwave radiative forcing. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 117. 10.1029/2012JD017578
  • Pielke, RA, A Pitman, D Niyogi, R Mahmood, C McAlpine, F Hossain, KK Goldewijk, U Nair, R Betts, S Fall, M Reichstein, P Kabat and N de Noblet. (Dec 2011). Land use/land cover changes and climate: modeling analysis and observational evidence. WILEY INTERDISCIPLINARY REVIEWS-CLIMATE CHANGE , 2(6). 10.1002/wcc.144
  • Fall, S, A Watts, J Nielsen-Gammon, E Jones, D Niyogi, JR Christy and RA Pielke. (Jul 2011). Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the US Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 116. 10.1029/2010JD015146
  • Nair, US, Y Wu, J Kala, TJ Lyons, RA Pielke and JM Hacker. (Apr 2011). The role of land use change on the development and evolution of the west coast trough, convective clouds, and precipitation in southwest Australia. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 116. 10.1029/2010JD014950
  • Jamiyansharav, K, D Ojima, RA Pielke, W Parton, J Morgan, A Beltran-Przekurat, D LeCain and D Smith. (Apr 2011). Seasonal and interannual variability in surface energy partitioning and vegetation cover with grazing at shortgrass steppe. JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS , 75(4). 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.11.008
  • Degu, AM, F Hossain, D Niyogi, R Pielke, JM Shepherd, N Voisin and T Chronis. (Feb 2011). The influence of large dams on surrounding climate and precipitation patterns. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 38. 10.1029/2010GL046482
  • Montandon, LM, S Fall, RA Pielke and D Niyogi. (Feb 2011). Distribution of Landscape Types in the Global Historical Climatology Network. EARTH INTERACTIONS , 15. 10.1175/2010EI371.1
  • Steeneveld, GJ, AAM Holtslag, RT McNider and RA Pielke. (Jan 2011). Screen level temperature increase due to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide in calm and windy nights revisited. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 116. 10.1029/2010JD014612
  • McAlpine, CA, JG Ryan, L Seabrook, S Thomas, PJ Dargusch, JI Syktus, RA Pielke, AE Etter, PM Fearnside and WF Laurance. (Dec 2010). More than CO2: a broader paradigm for managing climate change and variability to avoid ecosystem collapse. CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY , 2(6-May). 10.1016/j.cosust.2010.10.001
  • Kishtawal, CM, D Niyogi, M Tewari, RA Pielke and JM Shepherd. (Nov 2010). Urbanization signature in the observed heavy rainfall climatology over India. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY , 30(13). 10.1002/joc.2044
  • Fall, S, D Niyogi, A Gluhovsky, RA Pielke, E Kalnay and G Rochon. (Nov 2010). Impacts of land use land cover on temperature trends over the continental United States: assessment using the North American Regional Reanalysis. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY , 30(13). 10.1002/joc.1996
  • Fall, S, NS Diffenbaugh, D Niyogi, RA Pielke and G Rochon. (Nov 2010). Temperature and equivalent temperature over the United States (1979-2005). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY , 30(13). 10.1002/joc.2094
  • Herman, BM, MA Brunke, RA Pielke, JR Christy and RT McNider. (Nov 2010). Satellite Global and Hemispheric Lower Tropospheric Temperature Annual Temperature Cycle. REMOTE SENSING , 2(11). 10.3390/rs2112561
  • Matsui, T, D Mocko, MI Lee, WK Tao, MJ Suarez and RA Pielke. (Jul 2010). Ten-year climatology of summertime diurnal rainfall rate over the conterminous US. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 37. 10.1029/2010GL044139
  • Ray, DK, RA Pielke, US Nair and D Niyogi. (Mar 2010). Roles of atmospheric and land surface data in dynamic regional downscaling. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 115. 10.1029/2009JD012218
  • Hossain, F, I Jeyachandran and R Pielke. (Mar 2010). Dam safety effects due to human alteration of extreme precipitation. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH , 46. 10.1029/2009WR007704
  • Mahmood, R, RA Pielke, KG Hubbard, D Niyogi, G Bonan, P Lawrence, R McNider, C McAlpine, A Etter, S Gameda, BD Qian, A Carleton, A Beltran-Przekurat, T Chase, AI Quintanar, JO Adegoke, S Vezhapparambu, G Conner, S Asefi, E Sertel, DR Legates, YL Wu, R Hale, OW Frauenfeld, A Watts, M Shepherd, C Mitra, VG Anantharaj, S Fall, R Lund, A Trevino, P Blanken, JY Du, HI Chang, RE Leeper, US Nair, S Dobler, R Deo and J Syktus. (Jan 2010). IMPACTS OF LAND USE/LAND COVER CHANGE ON CLIMATE AND FUTURE RESEARCH PRIORITIES. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY , 91(1). 10.1175/2009BAMS2769.1
  • Wu, YL, US Nair, RA Pielke, RT McNider, SA Christopher and VG Anantharaj. (Dec 2009). Impact of Land Surface Heterogeneity on Mesoscale Atmospheric Dispersion. BOUNDARY-LAYER METEOROLOGY , 133(3). 10.1007/s10546-009-9415-1
  • Castro, CL, AB Beltran-Przekurat and RA Pielke. (Dec 2009). Spatiotemporal Variability of Precipitation, Modeled Soil Moisture, and Vegetation Greenness in North America within the Recent Observational Record. JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY , 10(6). 10.1175/2009JHM1123.1
  • Klotzbach, PJ, RA Pielke, RA Pielke, JR Christy and RT McNider. (Nov 2009). An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 114. 10.1029/2009JD011841
  • Ray, DK, RA Pielke, US Nair, RM Welch and RO Lawton. (Apr 2009). Importance of land use versus atmospheric information verified from cloud simulations from a frontier region in Costa Rica. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 114. 10.1029/2007JD009565
  • Vukicevic, T, RA Pielke and A Beltran-Przekurat. (Apr 2009). New method for estimating the impact of heterogeneous forcing on atmospheric circulations. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 114. 10.1029/2008JD010418
  • Nguyen, MT, TT Tran, RA Pielke, CL Castro and G Leoncini. (Feb 2009). A Modified Kain-Fritsch Scheme and Its Application for the Simulation of an Extreme Precipitation Event in Vietnam. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW , 137(2). 10.1175/2008MWR2434.1
  • Beltran-Przekurat, A, CH Marshall and RA Pielke. (Dec 2008). Ensemble reforecasts of recent warm-season weather: Impacts of a dynamic vegetation parameterization. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 113. 10.1029/2007JD009480
  • Herman, B, M Barlage, TN Chase and RA Pielke. (Dec 2008). Update on a proposed mechanism for the regulation of minimum midtropospheric and surface temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 113. 10.1029/2008JD009799
  • Leoncini, G, RA Pielke and P Gabriel. (Dec 2008). From Model-Based Parameterizations to Lookup Tables: An EOF Approach. WEATHER AND FORECASTING , 23(6). 10.1175/2008WAF2007033.1
  • Rockel, B, CL Castro, RA Pielke, H von Storch and G Leoncini. (Nov 2008). Dynamical downscaling: Assessment of model system dependent retained and added variability for two different regional climate models. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 113(D21). 10.1029/2007JD009461
  • Strack, JE, RA Pielke, LT Steyaert and RG Knox. (Nov 2008). Sensitivity of June near-surface temperatures and precipitation in the eastern United States to historical land cover changes since European settlement. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH , 44(11). 10.1029/2007WR006546
  • Beltran-Przekurat, A, RA Pielke, DPC Peters, KA Snyder and A Rango. (Oct 2008). Modeling the effects of historical vegetation change on near-surface atmosphere in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS , 72(10). 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2008.05.012
  • Wang, JW, K Wang, RA Pielke, JC Lin and T Matsui. (Sep 2008). Towards a robust test on North America warming trend and precipitable water content increase. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 35(18). 10.1029/2008GL034564
  • Matsui, T, A Beltran-Przekurat, D Niyogi, RA Pielke and M Coughenour. (Jul 2008). Aerosol light scattering effect on terrestrial plant productivity and energy fluxes over the eastern United States. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 113(D14). 10.1029/2007JD009658
  • Lo, JCF, ZL Yang and RA Pielke. (May 2008). Assessment of three dynamical climate downscaling methods using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 113(D9). 10.1029/2007JD009216
  • Schecter, DA, ME Nicholls, J Persing, AJ Bedard and RA Pielke. (Mar 2008). Infrasound emitted by tornado-like vortices: Basic theory and a numerical comparison to the acoustic radiation of a single-cell thunderstorm. JOURNAL OF THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES , 65(3). 10.1175/2007JAS2384.1
  • Baldi, M, GA Dalu and RA Pielke. (Feb 2008). Vertical velocities and available potential energy generated by landscape variability - Theory. JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY , 47(2). 10.1175/2007JAMC1539.1
  • Lei, M, D Niyogi, C Kishtawal, RA Pielke, A Beltran-Przekurat, TE Nobis and SS Vaidya. (Jan 2008). Effect of explicit urban land surface representation on the simulation of the 26 July 2005 heavy rain event over Mumbai, India. ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS , 8(20).
  • Pielke, RA, CA Davey, D Niyogi, S Fall, J Steinweg-Woods, K Hubbard, X Lin, M Cai, YK Lim, H Li, J Nielsen-Gammon, K Gallo, R Hale, R Mahmood, S Foster, RT McNider and P Blanken. (Dec 2007). Unresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface temperature trends. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 112(D24). 10.1029/2006JD008229
  • Lin, X, RA Pielke, KG Hubbard, KC Crawford, MA Shafer and T Matsui. (Dec 2007). An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 34(24). 10.1029/2007GL031652
  • Sen Roy, S, R Mahmood, D Niyogi, M Lei, SA Foster, KG Hubbard, E Douglas and R Pielke. (Nov 2007). Impacts of the agricultural Green Revolution - induced land use changes on air temperatures in India. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 112(D21). 10.1029/2007JD008834
  • Strack, JE, RA Pielke and GE Liston. (Nov 2007). Arctic tundra shrub invasion and soot deposition: Consequences for spring snowmelt and near-surface air temperatures. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-BIOGEOSCIENCES , 112(G4). 10.1029/2006JG000297
  • Castro, CL, RA Pielke and JO Adegoke. (Aug 2007). Investigation of the summer climate of the contiguous United States and Mexico using the regional atmospheric modeling system (RAMS). Part 1: Model climatology (1950-2002). JOURNAL OF CLIMATE , 20(15). 10.1175/JCLI4211.1
  • Castro, CL, RA Pielke, JO Adegoke, SD Schubert and PJ Pegion. (Aug 2007). Investigation of the summer climate of the contiguous United States and Mexico using the regional atmospheric modeling system (RAMS). Part II: Model climate variability. JOURNAL OF CLIMATE , 20(15). 10.1175/JCLI4212.1
  • Niyogi, D, HI Chang, F Chen, LH Gu, A Kumar, S Menon and RA Pielke. (Aug 2007). Potential impacts of aerosol-land-atmosphere interactions on the Indian monsoonal rainfall characteristics. NATURAL HAZARDS , 42(2). 10.1007/s11069-006-9085-y
  • Pielke, RA, J Adegoke, A Beltran-Przekurat, CA Hiemstra, J Lin, US Nair, D Niyogi and TE Nobis. (Jul 2007). An overview of regional land-use and land-cover impacts on rainfall. TELLUS SERIES B-CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL METEOROLOGY , 59(3). 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2007.00251.x
  • Matsui, T, A Beltran-Przekurat, RA Pielke, D Niyogi and MB Coughenour. (Jun 2007). Continental-scale multiobservation calibration and assessment of Colorado State University Unified Land Model by application of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface albedo. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-BIOGEOSCIENCES , 112(G2). 10.1029/2006JG000229
  • Pielke, R, J Nielsen-Gammon, C Davey, J Angel, O Bliss, N Doesken, M Cai, S Fall, D Niyogi, K Gallo, R Hale, KG Hubbard, XM Lin, H Li and S Raman. (Jun 2007). Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY , 88(6). 10.1175/BAMS-88-6-913
  • Poulos, GS, JE Bossert, TB McKee and RA Pielke. (Jun 2007). The interaction of katabatic flow and mountain waves. Part II: Case study analysis and conceptual model. JOURNAL OF THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES , 64(6). 10.1175/JAS3926.1
  • Nair, US, DK Ray, J Wang, SA Christopher, TJ Lyons, RM Welch and RA Pielke. (May 2007). Observational estimates of radiative forcing due to land use change in southwest Australia. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 112(D9). 10.1029/2006JD007505
  • Pielke, RA, JO Adegoke, TN Chase, CH Marshall, T Matsui and D Niyogi. (Feb 2007). A new paradigm for assessing the role of agriculture in the climate system and in climate change. AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY , 142(4-Feb). 10.1016/j.agrformet.2006.06.012
  • Chase, TN, K Wolter, RA Pielke and I Rasool. (Dec 2006). Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context?. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 33(23). 10.1029/2006GL027470
  • Hiemstra, CA, GE Liston, RA Pielke, DL Birkenheuer and SC Albers. (Dec 2006). Comparing Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) assimilations with independent observations. WEATHER AND FORECASTING , 21(6). 10.1175/WAF961.1
  • Davey, CA, RA Pielke and KP Gallo. (Nov 2006). Differences between near-surface equivalent temperature and temperature trends for the Eastern United States - Equivalent temperature as an alternative measure of heat content. GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE , 54(2-Jan). 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.11.002
  • Alpert, P, D Niyogi, RA Pielke, JL Eastman, YK Xue and S Raman. (Nov 2006). Evidence for carbon dioxide and moisture interactions from the leaf cell up to global scales: Perspective on human-caused climate change. GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE , 54(2-Jan). 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.03.015
  • Gero, AF, AJ Pitman, GT Narisma, C Jacobson and RA Pielke. (Nov 2006). The impact of land cover change on storms in the Sydney Basin, Australia. GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE , 54(2-Jan). 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.05.003
  • Douglas, EM, D Niyogi, S Frolking, JB Yeluripati, RA Pielke, N Niyogi, CJ Vorosmarty and UC Mohanty. (Jul 2006). Changes in moisture and energy fluxes due to agricultural land use and irrigation in the Indian Monsoon Belt. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 33(14). 10.1029/2006GL026550
  • Matsui, T and RA Pielke. (Jun 2006). Measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 33(11). 10.1029/2006GL025974
  • Ray, DK, US Nair, RO Lawton, RM Welch and RA Pielke. (Jan 2006). Impact of land use on Costa Rican tropical montane cloud forests: Sensitivity of orographic cloud formation to deforestation in the plains. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES , 111(D2). 10.1029/2005JD006096
  • Alley, RB, J Marotzke, WD Nordhaus, JT Overpeck, DM Peteet, RA Pielke, RT Pierrehumbert, PB Rhines, TF Stocker, LD Talley and JM Wallace. (Mar 2003). Abrupt climate change. SCIENCE , 299(5615). 10.1126/science.1081056