Bill Travis photo portrait
Associate Professor of Geography • Natural hazards, risk, climate change, decision-making • Earth Lab Deputy Director Project Risk Principal Investigator • Ph.D. Clark University, 1981
Human Geography • Environment-Society

Research Interests

Two sets of questions guide my current research and teaching:

  • Disasters: Why do disasters occur even when we invest significant efforts to make systems and settlements safe? What differentiates extremes events from routine, and can we improve our response to low probability extremes?
  • 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 research 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, and CU's Grand Challenge/Earth Lab in the Cooperative Institute for Research on Environmental Science (CIRES).

Recent Courses Taught

  • Spring 2020  GEOG 1962 Geographies of Global Change
  • Fall 2019  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Spring 2019  GEOG 5161 Research Design
  • Spring 2018  GEOG 3402 Natural Hazards
  • Fall 2017  GEOG 1972 Environment-Society Geography

Selected Publications

Clifford, K., L. Yung, W.R. Travis, R. Rondeau, I. Rangwala, C. Wyborn, N. Burkhardt, and E. Neeley (in press): "Navigating climate adaptation on public lands: how views on ecosystem change and scale interact with management approaches.” Environmental Management.

Clifford, K and W.R. Travis (in press): "The New (ab)Normal: Outliers, everyday exceptionality and the politics of data management in the Anthropocene." Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

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

Publications updated July 2020