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

Research Groups

The mission of the Center for Social and Environmental Futures (C-SEF) is to conduct cutting-edge research, education, and outreach activities focused on human dimensions of environmental problems, with specific emphases on two broad areas, focusing on long-term and short-term futures, respectively.


The Chase research group focuses on modeling and observational studies of the effects of the land surface and changing landcover (for example, deforestation, desertification, and irrigation) and their effects on regional and global climate. 


The Pielke research group focuses on land-atmosphere interactions on the local, mesoscale, regional, and global scales. These interactions include biophysical, biogeochemical, and biogeographic effects.


We merge insights from models and observations of clouds, precipitation, radiation, sea ice, and coupled climate processes.

Margaret Tolbert Group aurora

Research aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the Earth's complex atmosphere.

Studying the geophyics of the crust and upper mantle of the Earth and its relation to tectonic deformation.      

Greg Tucker Group a winding river

The Computational Geomorphology Group studies the processes that shape the Earth's surface.

NSIDCSun rising above icy landscape

Researchers at CIRES' National Snow and Ice Data Center [About NSIDC] investigate the dynamics of Antarctic ice shelves.


Our research focuses on understanding the chemistry of organic nitrogen compounds in the atmosphere.

The geomagnetic field protects the Earth's atmosphere against charged particles from the solar wind. Rapid and long-term changes in the field are monitored by low-orbiting satellites and a global network of about 200 magnetic observatories.

We make 3-dimensional maps of coasts that help understand and predict changes in Earth's environment.

The Denver Basin Earthquake Study began with a rapid aftershock deployment of the June 1, 2014 UTC (May 31 local time) earthquake that occurred east of Greeley, Colorado.

Lidar Working Group city at dusk

The measurement of the global tropospheric wind field would address one of the key unmet observational requirements for understanding and predicting the future state of the earth-atmosphere system.

Airplane taking off

The Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy Laboratory (ATMOSpeclab) designs, assembles, and validates innovative optical spectroscopic instruments. We conduct in-situ and remote sensing measurements of atmospheric trace gases, radicals, and aerosol optical properties.

Livneh Research Group forest and mountains

Our research group focuses on physical hydrology research across multiple scales.

Carol Wessman Group image of a green mountain pass

Seeking to gain insights on feedback dynamics between ecosystem structure and function, and the influence of disturbance on trajectories of ecosystem processes.

Elizabeth Weatherhead Group Wind Trubines

Dr. Weatherhead is proud to share a number of awards including the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. More recently, she received the Kenneth Spengler Award for working across public, private and academic communities to improve weather forecasts.

Global Health Group Water dew forming on grass

The Global Health Group of CIRES is led by Robert Sievers and Stephen Cape, with the participation of CIRES graduate students, David McAdams and J’aime Manion and an undergraduate, Nisha Shah.

Hamlington-Milliff Group rendering of a satellite above earth

Earth-observing satellite data provide multi-scale perspectives on atmosphere-ocean systems in both global and regional contexts.

John Cassano Group aircraft in the snow

Our research group studies the meteorology and climate of both polar regions using regional climate models and numerical weather prediction models.

Chu Research Group Lidar being written with light

We explore advanced spectroscopy principles, develop new lidar technologies, and study the fundamental physical and chemical processes that govern the whole atmosphere.