Bill Travis photo portrait
Associate Professor of Geography • Natural hazards, technological risk, climate change, decision-making • Director, North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCCASC) CIRES/USGS • Ph.D. Clark University, 1981
Human Geography • Environment-Society

Office: SEEC S-348

Research Interests

These big questions guide my current research and teaching:

  • Disasters: Why do disasters occur even when and where we invest significant efforts to make systems and settlements safe? Why do large disparities in vulnerability and equity of hazard protection persist?
  • Extremes and Risk: What differentiates extreme events from routine, and can we improve our handling of low probability/high consequence risks?
  • Climate Adaptation Science: How and when should managers of climate-sensitive resources change what they're doing in the face of climate change? How can we disentangle the signals of impacts and adaptation in a variable and changing climate?

This work is conducted with support of grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to CU's Western Water Assessment; the National Science Foundation (NSF) program on Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems, the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Centers, the National Drought Mitigation Center, and CU's Grand Challenge/Earth Lab in the Cooperative Institute for Research on Environmental Science (CIRES).

Blogs:

https://earthlab.colorado.edu/blog/development-patterns-increase-hazard-...

Podcasts:

https://anchor.fm/william-r-travis

Recent Courses Taught

  • Fall 2022 GEOG 3412 Conservation Practice and Resource Management
  • Spring 2022  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Spring 2022  GEOG 4501/5501 Water Resources and Water Management of Western US
  • Spring 2021  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Spring 2021  GEOG 4501/5501 Water Resources and Water Management of Western US
  • Fall 2020  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Spring 2020  GEOG 1962 Geographies of Global Change
  • Fall 2019  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Spring 2019  GEOG 5161 Research Design

Selected Publications

Iglesias, V., W.R. Travis, and J.K. Balch (2022) “Recent droughts in the United States are among the fastest-developing of the last century.” Weather and Climate Extremes. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2022.100491

Shrum, T. and W.R. Travis (2022) “Experiments in ranching: Rain-index insurance and investment in production and drought risk management.” Applied Economics Perspectives & Policyhttps://doi.org/10.1002/aepp.13304

Iglesias, V., Balch, J. K., and Travis, W. R. (2022). “U.S. fires became larger, more frequent, and more widespread in the 2000s.” Science Advances 8 (11). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abc0020

Rangwala, I.; Moss, W.; Wolken, J.; Rondeau, R.; Newlon, K.; Guinotte, J.; Travis, W.R. (2021) “Uncertainty, Complexity and Constraints: How Do We Robustly Assess Biological Responses under a Rapidly Changing Climate?” Climate 9, 177. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9120177

Travis, W.R. (2021) “Impacts and adaptation at the climate risk frontier.” Chapter 11 in C. Rosenzweig, M. Parry and M. De Mel, eds., Our Warming Planet: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, pp. 276-293. Singapore: World Scientific.

Iglesias, Virginia, Anna E. Braswell, Maxwell B. Joseph, Caitlin McShane, Matthew W. Rossi, Megan Cattau, Michael J. Koontz, Joe McGlinchy, R. Chelsea Nagy, Jennifer Balch, Stefan Leyk, and W.R. Travis (2021): “Risky development: increasing exposure to natural hazards in the United States.” Earth’s Futurehttps://doi.org/10.1029/2020EF001795 

Clifford, K and W.R. Travis (2021): "The New (ab)Normal: Outliers, everyday exceptionality and the politics of data management in the Anthropocene." Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111:3, 932-943, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1785836

Clifford, K., L. Yung, W.R. Travis, R. Rondeau, I. Rangwala, C. Wyborn, N. Burkhardt, and E. Neeley (2020): "Navigating climate adaptation on public lands: how views on ecosystem change and scale interact with management approaches.” Environmental Management 66: 614–628 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-020-01336-y

Balch, J. K., Iglesias, V., Braswell, A. E., Rossi, M. W., Joseph, M. B., Mahood, A. L., Mahood, A.L., Shrum, T., White, C., Scholl, V., McGuire, B., Karban, C., Buckland, M. & Travis, W.R. (2020). Social‐environmental extremes: Rethinking extraordinary events as outcomes of interacting biophysical and social systems. Earth's Future 8: e2019EF001319. DOI: 10.1029/2019EF001319

Clifford, K., W.R. Travis, and L.T. Nordgren (2020): “A climate knowledges approach to climate services.” Climate Services. 10.1016/j.cliser.2020.100155

Williams, T.M. and W.R. Travis (2019): “Evaluating alternative drought indicators in a weather index insurance instrument.” Weather, Climate and Society 11: 629-649. DOI: 10.1175/WCAS-D-18-0107.1

Dilling, L., M. Daly, D. Kenney, R. Klein, K. Miller, A. Ray, W.R. Travis, O. Wilhelmi (2019): “Drought in urban water systems: Learning lessons for climate adaptive capacity.” Climate Risk Management 23: 32-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2018.11.001

Travis, W.R. (2018) “Robert W. Kates (1929–2018): Grappled with problems of the human environment.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (31) 7844-7845; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810131115

Shrum, T., W.R. Travis, T. Williams, and E. Lih (2018): “Managing climate risks on the ranch with limited drought information.” Climate Risk Management 20: 11-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2018.01.002

Updated March 2022