Kathy Jacobs

Director - Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

Professor - Environmental Science (ENVS)

Selected programs/projects:

  • Over the past three years, Jacobs has been working with an array of stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin to help re-envision the management of the River. The Colorado River Conversations have led to new relationships between the environmental community, states, tribes and water managers. The UArizona team recently hosted a series of scenario planning events focused on how the intersection of extreme climate, economic and other events might affect the River, and are developing a guidance document on understanding how climate change might affect the magnitude and frequency of future extreme events. CCASS is also working directly with the US Bureau of Reclamation on stakeholder engagement strategies associated with the re-negotiation of the 2007 Interim Guidelines for managing the River.
  • CCASS and the Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR) are implementing a program at UArizona designed to work directly with the greater Tucson community on applied climate solutions, while also building shared environmental leadership projects with regional, state, and national partners. This project is a component of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), which consists of 22 leading North American research universities working to expand commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to working with community partners to encourage climate-related resilience. 
  • Jacobs is currently working on a project to assess the risks of climate change on the business functions of some of the largest water utilities in the country, including Denver Water and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The project is funded by the Water Utility Climate Alliance and the Water Research Foundation.
  • Jacobs is also a member of many boards and advisory committees, most notably, she is a member of the National Academies Board on Environmental Change and Society, a Trustee of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Chair of the External Advisory Board for the Western Water Assessment, and a member of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy External Advisory Board.

Selected publications:

  • Ruckelshaus, M.H., S.T. Jackson, H.A. Mooney, K.L. Jacobs, K.S. Kassam, M.T.K. Arroyo, A.  Baldi, A.M. Bartuska, J. Boyd, L.N. Joppa, A.Kovacs-Hostyanszki, J.P. Parsons, R.J. Scholes, J.F. Shogren, Z. Ouyang, 2020.  The IPBES Global Assessment: Pathways to Action. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

  • Jacobs, K. “Water, Climate Change and Law: The Case for More Protection” Arizona Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, Spring, 2019, Vol 10, No. 3, 12 pp.

  • Wasley, E., K. Jacobs, and J. Weiss, 2019. “Mapping Climate Exposure and Climate Information Needs to Utility Business Functions.”  Water Res. Fndn Project 4729. 80 p.

  • Gerlak, A.K., Z. Guido, C. Vaughan, V. Rountree, C. Greene, D. Liverman, A. Trotman, R. Mahon, S. Cox, S.J. Mason, K.L. Jacobs, J.L. Buizer, C. Van Meerbeeck, and W.E. Baethgen, 2018. Building a framework for process-oriented evaluation of Regional Climate Outlook Forums, Water, Climate and Society. doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-17-0029.1

  • Jacobs, K. and P. Fleming, 2017.  “Climate Change: A Strategic Opportunity for Water Managers” in The Water Problem: Climate Change and Water Policy in the United States.  P. Mulroy, Ed. Brookings Institution Press: ISBN 9780815727842

  • Jackson, S.T., C.S. Duke, S.E. Hampton, K.L. Jacobs, L.N. Joppa, K.S. Kassam, H.A. Mooney, L.A. Ogden, M. Ruckelshaus, J.F. Shogren, 2016. Towards a National, Sustained U.S. Ecosystem Assessment.  Science Policy. Vol. 354, No. 6314, p 838-339.

  • Moss, R., … K. Jacobs et al., “Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment, Report of an Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment. Weather, Climate and Society, July 2019, Vol. 11, No. 3.

  • Jacobs, K., and P. Fleming, in press. Climate change: A strategic opportunity for water managers. In Metropolitan Water Policy in the Face of Climate Change: Strategies for Resilience, Sustainability and Regional Competitiveness, Brookings.

  • Jacobs, K.L., S. Moser and J.L. Buizer, eds., 2016.  The US National Climate Assessment: Innovations in Science and Engagement. Springer International, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-41802-5.

  • Jacobs, K.L., 2015. California water enters an era of limits. Journal of Extreme Events, 2(1). doi:10.1142/S2345737615020030


  • MLA, Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 1981
  • BA, Biology, Middlebury College, 1977

Expertise Area

  • Scenario Planning
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Water Conservation, Supply, and Demand
  • Public Policy and Governance
  • Climate Assessment
  • Decision-Support
  • Drought
  • Human Dimensions of Climate Change

Language Area

  • French

Geographic Area

  • US/Canada