Improving Societal Welfare in the Context of Changing Weather and Climate. 

RAL carries out interdisciplinary research on social, economic, and health activities related to climate and weather at local, regional and global scales. Our research areas include natural resource governance, dynamics of urban systems, weather climate and health, GIS and regional climate for adaptation.   RAL scientists address adaptation to climate change by generating scenarios of projected climate change, developing scientific tools and methods for analyzing current and future vulnerability, and conducting integrated analyses of climate change impacts and adaptation.  An important component of this program is the integration of decision-makers and users of climate information into our societal research activities.

Focus Areas of Research

Alpine lake and snowy mountain in high altitude near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, off of Beartooth Highway between Red Lodge and Yellowstone National Park.

Climate Analysis

Climate projections and their uncertainties

Climate and Weather Impacts on Human Health

Modeling the Impact of Climate on Infectious Disease Transmission and Human Health
Smoke from the 2022 North Waugh prescribed fire near Canon City, Colorado.  Photo by Damon Kurtz, BLM

Climate and Wildfire

Decision support and planning for future scenarios of wildland fire
NASA image of the continental snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter of 2001-02.

Climate Downscaling Methodology

The ongoing need for high-resolution regional climate models
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Climate Modeling and Downscaling

Climate modeling and downscaling for better utilization of climate information for impact assessments

Geographic Information Systems - GIS

Global Assessment of urban heat island effects and future heat waves
High-Resolution Climate Projections & Dataset Development

High-Resolution Climate Projections and Dataset Development

Providing climate change information for impacts, decision-making, and climate science

Institutional Aspects of Vulnerability and Adaptation

Scientific Efforts to Improve the Ability to Monitor and Predict the Status of Natural Resources
NASA Cloud Fraction map shows what fraction of an area was cloudy on average each month.

International Climate Activities

Climate research and planning on the regional and global scale

Regional Climate for Adaptation

Deliver climate science to decision-makers to promote sustainability and reduce vulnerabilites to impacts

Seasonal Forecasting

Promoting economic and societal preparedness for next season’s weather

Urban Futures

Exploring Crucial Intersections Between Urban Development and the Environment

Water Resources and Climate

Climate Variability and Change Impacts on Water


Linda Mearns

Head of RISC Program


Olga Wilhelmi

Head of GIS Program