Kathy Jacobs

Professor, Environmental Science
Director, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS)

Katharine Jacobs is a faculty member at the University of Arizona in the Department of Soils, Water and Environmental Science and is the Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) within the Arizona Institute for Resilience.  CCASS builds and supports climate change adaptation and assessment capacity at regional, national and international scales, based on climate science and service investments within the University.  Jacobs has a broad array of applied research projects related to climate adaptation at local, regional and federal scales.

From 2010 – 2013, Jacobs served as an Assistant Director in the Executive Office of the President. Jacobs was the director of the National Climate Assessment, leading a team of 300 authors and more than a thousand contributors who wrote the Third NCA report.  She also was the lead advisor on water science and policy, and climate adaptation, within the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Prior to her work in the White House, from 2006-2009 Jacobs was the Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of the three state universities focused on water-related research, education and technology transfer in support of water supply sustainability. She has more than twenty years of experience as a water manager for the State of Arizona Department of Water Resources, including 14 years as director of the Tucson Active Management Area.  Her research interests include water policy, connecting science and decision-making, stakeholder engagement, use of climate information for water management applications, climate change adaptation and drought planning. 

Ms. Jacobs earned her M.L.A. in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley.  She has served on nine National Research Council panels and was Chair of the NRC Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change and a member of the panel on America’s Climate Choices.