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

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, 61-82. 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), 2941-2949. 10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0104.1
  • Dewes, CF, I Rangwala, JJ Barsugli, MT Hobbins and S Kumar. (16-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. (2016). THE VARIABILITY OF ASCE STANDARDIZED REFERENCE EVAPOTRANSPIRATION: A RIGOROUS, CONUS-WIDE DECOMPOSITION AND ATTRIBUTION. TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASABE, 59(2), 561-576.
  • 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), 1763-1779. 10.1175/JHM-D-15-0122.1
  • 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), 1745-1761. 10.1175/JHM-D-15-0121.1
  • McEvoy, DJ, JL Huntington, JF Mejia and MT Hobbins. (16-Jan 2016). Improved seasonal drought forecasts using reference evapotranspiration anomalies. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 43(1), 377-385. 10.1002/2015GL067009
  • Xia, Y.L., M.T. Hobbins, Q.Z. Mu, and M.B. Ek. (30-Mar 2015). Evaluation of NLDAS-2 evapotranspiration against tower flux site observations. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 29(7), 1757-1771. 10.1002/hyp.10299
  • King, D.A., D.M. Bachelet, A.J. Symstad, K. Ferschweiler and M.T. Hobbins. (10-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, 86-97. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.10.037
  • Lim, W.H., M.L. Roderick, M.T. Hobbins, S.C. Wong, and G.D. Farquhar. (15-Dec 2013). The energy balance of a US Class A evaporation pan. AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY, 182, SI-314. 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