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

Mike Hobbins

Research Interests

  • Evapotranspiration and evaporative demand
  • Drought monitoring and early warning
  • Secular and climate-scale hydrologic trends
  • Land surface-atmosphere interactions
  • Drivers of hydrologic spatio-temporal variability

Current Research

My goal is to advance drought and famine early warning by improved estimation and innovative exploitation of atmospheric evaporative demand. This entails fundamental research into land surface/atmosphere hydrology and outreach to stakeholders in the drought-monitoring and scientific communities. I generate reference evapotranspiration reanalyes for NOAA's stakeholders across the continental US and for FEWS NET's science communities in food-insecure countries, and I convert these reanalyses into a drought index--the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI)--that offers early warning and ongoing monitoring of agricultural and hydrologic drought.

2-week EDDI (right) indicates drought emerging, spreading, and intensifying across the Midwest during the "flash drought" event of 2012 many weeks ahead of the US Drought Monitor (left).

Honors and Awards

  • CIRES Outstanding Performance Award in Science for: ”Leadership and innovation in drought research, including development and operationalization of the Evaporative Demand Drought Index, its application to famine early warning, and strides in understanding flash drought,” 2022.
  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Superior Paper Award for paper: “The variability of ASCE Standardized Reference Evapotranspiration: a rigorous, CONUS-wide decomposition and attribution,” 2017.
  • Gary Comer Abrupt Climate Change Fellowship, 2005 – 2008.
  • NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarship, 2002.
  • H. W. Shen Water Resources Graduate Award, Colorado State University, 2001.
  • Best M.S. Student Paper Award at 19th Annual AGU Hydrology Days conference, 1999.

View Publications

  • Hobbins M; Boiko O; Dewes C; Hoell A; Husak G; Jayanthi H; Magadzire T; McNally A; Sarmiento D; Senay G. (May 2023). A new global reference evapotranspiration reanalysis: global opportunities in operational drought monitoring and famine early warning. 10.5194/egusphere-egu23-16989
  • Otkin JA; Woloszyn M; Wang H; Svoboda M; Skumanich M; Pulwarty R; Lisonbee J; Hoell A; Hobbins M; Haigh T. (Oct 2022). Getting ahead of Flash Drought: From Early Warning to Early Action. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , 103(10), E2188-E2202. 10.1175/BAMS-D-21-0288.1
  • Abadi AM; Gwon Y; Gribble MO; Berman JD; Bilotta R; Hobbins M; Bell JE. (Sep 2022). Drought and all-cause mortality in Nebraska from 1980 to 2014: Time-series analyses by age, sex, race, urbanicity and drought severity. Science of the Total Environment , 840, 156660-156660. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156660
  • Hobbins M; Jackson D; Hughes M; Woloszyn M. (Mar 2022). A rigorous attribution of the demand side of drought: a case study in the Midwest US. 10.5194/egusphere-egu22-13137
  • McEvoy D; Roj S; Dunkerly C; McGraw D; Huntington J; Hobbins M; Ott T. (Jan 2022). Validation and bias correction of forecast reference evapotranspiration for agricultural applications in Nevada, USA. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001595
  • Parker T; Gallant A; Hobbins M; Hoffmann D. (Jun 2021). Flash drought in Australia and its relationship to evaporative demand. Environmental Research Letters , 16(6). 10.1088/1748-9326/abfe2c
  • Hoffmann D; Gallant AJE; Hobbins M. (Apr 2021). Flash Drought in CMIP5 Models. Journal of Hydrometeorology. 10.1175/jhm-d-20-0262.1
  • Hobbins M; Parker T; Gallant A; Hoffmann D. (Mar 2021). Flash drought in Australia: deriving a long-term climatology from drought metrics based on precipitation, evapotranspiration, and evaporative demand. 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-16380
  • Kew SF; Philip SY; Hauser M; Hobbins M; Wanders N; van Oldenborgh GJ; van der Wiel K; Veldkamp TIE; Kimutai J; Funk C. (Jan 2021). Impact of precipitation and increasing temperatures on drought trends in eastern Africa. Earth System Dynamics , 12(1), 17-35. 10.5194/esd-12-17-2021
  • Hobbins M; Barsugli J. (Mar 2020). CLIMATE CHANGE Threatening the vigor of the Colorado River. Science , 367(6483), 1192-1193. 10.1126/science.abb3624
  • Pendergrass AG; Meehl GA; Pulwarty R; Hobbins M; Hoell A; AghaKouchak A; Bonfils CJW; Gallant AJE; Hoerling M; Hoffmann D. (Mar 2020). Flash droughts present a new challenge for subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction. Nature Climate Change , 10(3), 191-199. 10.1038/s41558-020-0709-0
  • Zhang B; Xia Y; Long B; Hobbins M; Zhao X; Hain C; Li Y; Anderson MC. (Jan 2020). Evaluation and comparison of multiple evapotranspiration data models over the contiguous United States: Implications for the next phase of NLDAS (NLDAS-Testbed) development. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology , 280. 10.1016/j.agrformet.2019.107810
  • McEvoy, DJ; Hobbins, M; Brown, TJ; VanderMolen, K; Wall, T; Huntington, JL; Svoboda, M. (Apr 2019). Establishing Relationships between Drought Indices and Wildfire Danger Outputs: A Test Case for the California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System. CLIMATE , 7(4). 10.3390/cli7040052
  • Hobbins M; Harrison L; Blakeley S; Dewes C; Husak G; Shukla S; Jayanthi H; McNally A; Sarmiento D; Verdin J. (Feb 2019). Drought in Africa: Understanding and Exploiting the Demand Perspective Using a New Evaporative Demand Reanalysis. 10.1002/essoar.10500783.1
  • McNeeley, SM, CF Dewes, CJ Stiles, TA Beeton, I Rangwala, MT Hobbins and CL Knutson. (Jun 2018). Anatomy of an interrupted irrigation season: Micro-drought at the Wind River Indian Reservation. CLIMATE RISK MANAGEMENT , 19. 10.1016/j.crm.2017.09.004
  • Shukla, S, D McEvoy, M Hobbins, G Husak, J Huntington, C Funk, D Macharia and J Verdin. (Nov 2017). Examining the Value of Global Seasonal Reference Evapotranspiration Forecasts to Support FEWS NETs Food Insecurity Outlooks. JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY , 56(11). 10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0104.1
  • Dewes, CF, I Rangwala, JJ Barsugli, MT Hobbins and S Kumar. (Mar 2017). Drought risk assessment under climate change is sensitive to methodological choices for the estimation of evaporative demand. PLOS ONE , 12(3). 10.1371/journal.pone.0174045
  • Hobbins, MT, A Wood, DJ McEvoy, JL Huntington, C Morton, M Anderson and C Hain. (Jun 2016). The Evaporative Demand Drought Index. Part I: Linking Drought Evolution to Variations in Evaporative Demand. JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY , 17(6). 10.1175/JHM-D-15-0121.1
  • McEvoy, DJ, JL Huntington, MT Hobbins, A Wood, C Morton, M Anderson and C Hain. (Jun 2016). The Evaporative Demand Drought Index. Part II: CONUS-Wide Assessment against Common Drought Indicators. JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY , 17(6). 10.1175/JHM-D-15-0122.1
  • McEvoy, DJ, JL Huntington, JF Mejia and MT Hobbins. (Jan 2016). Improved seasonal drought forecasts using reference evapotranspiration anomalies. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS , 43(1). 10.1002/2015GL067009
  • Moorhead J; Gowda P; Hobbins M; Senay G; Paul G; Marek T; Porter D. (Oct 2015). Accuracy Assessment of NOAA Gridded Daily Reference Evapotranspiration for the Texas High Plains. Journal of the American Water Resources Association , 51(5), 1262-1271. 10.1111/1752-1688.12303
  • Xia, Y.L., M.T. Hobbins, Q.Z. Mu, and M.B. Ek. (Mar 2015). Evaluation of NLDAS-2 evapotranspiration against tower flux site observations. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES , 29(7). 10.1002/hyp.10299
  • King, D.A., D.M. Bachelet, A.J. Symstad, K. Ferschweiler and M.T. Hobbins. (Feb 2015). Estimation of potential evapotranspiration from extraterrestrial radiation, air temperature and humidity to assess future climate change effects on the vegetation of the Northern Great Plains, USA. ECOLOGICAL MODELLING , 297. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.10.037
  • Lim, W.H., M.L. Roderick, M.T. Hobbins, S.C. Wong, and G.D. Farquhar. (Dec 2013). The energy balance of a US Class A evaporation pan. AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY , 182. 10.1016/j.agrformet.2013.07.001
  • Bardsley, T, A Wood, M Hobbins, T Kirkham, L Briefer, J Niermeyer and S Burian. (Oct 2013). Planning for an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Sensitivity Assessment toward Adaptation Planning for Public Water Supply. EARTH INTERACTIONS , 17. 10.1175/2012EI000501.1
  • Hobbins M; Wood A; Streubel D; Werner K. (Aug 2012). What Drives the Variability of Evaporative Demand across the Conterminous United States?. Journal of Hydrometeorology , 13(4), 1195-1214. 10.1175/JHM-D-11-0101.1
  • Lim WH; Roderick ML; Hobbins MT; Wong SC; Groeneveld PJ; Sun F; Farquhar GD. (Jan 2012). The aerodynamics of pan evaporation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology , 152, 31-43. 10.1016/j.agrformet.2011.08.006
  • Szilagyi J; Hobbins MT; Jozsa J. (Jun 2009). Modified Advection-Aridity Model of Evapotranspiration. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering , 14(6), 569-574. 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000026
  • Roderick ML; Hobbins MT; Farquhar GD. (Mar 2009). Pan Evaporation Trends and the Terrestrial Water Balance. II. Energy Balance and Interpretation. Geography Compass , 3(2), 761-780. 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2008.00214.x
  • Roderick ML; Hobbins MT; Farquhar GD. (Mar 2009). Pan Evaporation Trends and the Terrestrial Water Balance. I. Principles and Observations. Geography Compass , 3(2), 746-760. 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2008.00213.x
  • Brown TC; Hobbins MT; Ramirez JA. (Dec 2008). Spatial Distribution of Water Supply in the Coterminous United States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association , 44(6), 1474-1487. 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2008.00252.x
  • Hobbins MT; Dai A; Roderick ML; Farquhar GD. (Jun 2008). Revisiting the parameterization of potential evaporation as a driver of long-term water balance trends. Geophysical Research Letters , 35(12). 10.1029/2008GL033840
  • Roderick ML; Rotstayn LD; Farquhar GD; Hobbins MT. (Sep 2007). On the attribution of changing pan evaporation. Geophysical Research Letters , 34(17). 10.1029/2007GL031166
  • Ramirez JA; Hobbins MT; Brown TC. (Aug 2005). Observational evidence of the complementary relationship in regional evaporation lends strong support for Bouchet's hypothesis. Geophysical Research Letters , 32(15). 10.1029/2005GL023549
  • Hobbins MT; Ramirez JA; Brown TC. (Jul 2004). Trends in pan evaporation and actual evapotranspiration across the conterminous US: Paradoxical or complementary?. Geophysical Research Letters , 31(13). 10.1029/2004GL019846
  • Hobbins MT; Ramirez JA; Brown TC; Claessens LHJM. (May 2001). The complementary relationship in estimation of regional evapotranspiration: The Complementary Relationship Areal Evapotranspiration and Advection-Aridity models. Water Resources Research , 37(5), 1367-1387. 10.1029/2000WR900358
  • Hobbins MT; Ramirez JA; Brown TC. (May 2001). The complementary relationship in estimation of regional evapotranspiration: An enhanced Advection-Aridity model. Water Resources Research , 37(5), 1389-1403. 10.1029/2000WR900359