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

Office: GUGG 001 or SEEC S-348


Research Interests

Three big questions about human behavior in the environment guide my current research and teaching:

Potential Graduate Students: Please note that my work approaches these questions from a social science perspective, as dimensions of human behavior and decision-making.

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, the National Drought Mitigation Center, and CU's Grand Challenge/Earth Lab in the Cooperative Institute for Research on Environmental Science (CIRES).



High-Impact Weather and Climate Events in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, 1862–2022” 

Data base developed by: J. Lukas, A. McCurdy, K. Wolter, and W. Travis. Up-dated in 2022 by E. Knight, L. Woelders, and L. Peyton.

The Work of Robert W. Kates

I maintain a website celebrating and archiving the scholarship of geographer Robert W. Kates. It offers a perspective on the evolution of environment and society theory and research via one scholar's lifetime effort:

Recent Courses Taught

  • Spring 2024  GEOG 1962  Geographies of Global Change
  • Spring 2024  GEOG 3402  Natural Hazards
  • Fall 2023  GEOG 4501/5501  Water Resources and Water Management of Western US
  • Spring 2023  GEOG 1962  Geographies of Global Change
  • Spring 2023  GEOG 3402  Natural Hazards
  • 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

Palasti, L.A.* and W.R. Travis (in revision) “Valuing forecast-informed decision-making in range livestock production."

Miller, Brian W., Mitchell J. Eaton, Amy J. Symstad, Gregor W. Schuurman, Imtiaz Rangwala, and W. R. Travis. 2023. “Scenario-Based Decision Analysis: Integrated Scenario Planning and Structured Decision Making for Resource Management under Climate Change.” Biological Conservation 286: 110275.

Dilling, L., M. Daly, W. R. Travis, A. Ray, O. Wilhelmi (2023) “The role of adaptive capacity in incremental and transformative adaptation in three large U.S. urban water systems.” Global Environmental Change 79: 102649.

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.

Shrum, T. and W.R. Travis (2022) “Experiments in ranching: Rain-index insurance and investment in production and drought risk management.” Applied Economics Perspectives & Policy

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).

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.

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 Future 

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).

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