Most of my research focuses on understanding the hydroclimate of the past to inform current environmental and societal concerns, with a focus on major watersheds in western North America. While paleoclimatology is at the heart of my work, it inevitably extends to include the investigation and understanding of the current controls on hydroclimate. A strong component is the connection between the scientific aspects of my work and the challenges of managing natural resources (especially water) in the face of changing demands, climate extremes, and climate change impacts. A transdisciplinary approach to research has become a primary theme, including not only an interdisciplinary approach, but integrating the perspectives of potential users of scientific information – not as an afterthought, but as a part of the process of shaping a science agenda. Finally, my research considers how we, as scientists, should take responsibility for our role in addressing societal problems, and our role in educating the next generation of scientists in ways to promote the integration of science into decision making across a broad spectrum of users and decisions. Related to this, with colleagues, I am in the process of developing a 3-course online professional development program, Transdisciplinary Environmental Science for Society, TESS.
Some of my current research projects include hydroclimatic reconstructions of the upper Colorado River basin, southern California, and the Missour River basin. Other evolving interests include investigating past and current tree lines in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.