Robert S. Webb

NOAA logo
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
Physical Science Division
325 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80305-3328
Voice: (303) 497-6967
FAX: (303) 497-7013 or (303) 497-6449


Professional Experience

    2014 - present Director
    Physical Science Division
    NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO
    2006 - 2013 Chief
    Climate Analysis Branch
    Physical Science Division
    NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO
    2005 - 2006 Interim Lead
    Climate Diagnostics Branch
    Physical Science Division
    NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO
    1999 - 2005 Physical Scientist
    NOAA Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, CO
    1992 - 1999 Physical Scientist
    NOAA Paleoclimatology Program
    National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO
    1998 - Faculty Member
    Graduate School Faculty
    University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
    1996 - 2002 Research Associate II
    Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
    University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
    1992 - 1995 Affiliate Research Scientist
    Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
    University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
    1990 - Adjunct Associate Research Scientist
    Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
    Columbia University, Palisades, NY
    1990 - 1992 National Research Council Research Fellow
    NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY
    1989 Fall Post-Doctoral Research Scientist
    Department of Geological Sciences
    Brown University, Providence, RI
    1988 Summer Young Scientists' Summer Program Research Assistant
    Biosphere Dynamics Program
    International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
    1982 - 1989 Research and Teaching Assistant
    Department of Geological Sciences
    Brown University, Providence, RI


  • Webb, R.S., and Webb, T. III, 1988. Rates of sediment accumulation in small lakes and mires of eastern North America. Quaternary Research 30, 284-297.

  • Thorson, R.M., and Webb, R.S. 1991. Postglacial history of a cedar swamp in southeastern Connecticut,Journal of Paleolimnology 6, 17-35

  • Overpeck, J.T., Webb, R.S. and Webb, T. III. 1992. Mapping eastern North America vegetation change over the past 18,000 years: no-analogs and the future, Geology 20, 1071-1074.

  • Webb, R.S., and Overpeck, J.T., 1993. Carbon reserves released? Nature 361, 497-498.

  • Webb, R.S., Rosenzweig, C., and Levine, E., 1993. Specifying land surface characteristics in GCMs: soil profile dataset and derived water-holding capacities, Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7, 97-108.

  • Webb, R.S., Anderson, K.H., and Webb, T. III., 1993. Pollen response surface estimates of late Quaternary changes in moisture balance of the northeastern United States, Quaternary Research 40, 213-227.

  • Anderson, D.M., and Webb, R.S., 1994. Ice-age tropics revisited? Nature 367, 23-24.

  • Webb, R.S., Rind, D.H., Lehman, S.J., Healy, R.J., and Sigman, D. 1997. Influence of ocean heat transports on climate of the Last Glacial Maximum. Nature 385, 695-699.

  • Bartlein, P.J., Anderson, K.A., Anderson, P.M., Edwards, M.E., Mock, C.J., Thompson, R.S., Webb, R.S., Webb T. III, and Whitlock, C., 1998. Paleoclimate Simulation for North America over the Past 21,000 Years: Features of the Simulated Climate and Comparisons with Paleoenvironmental Data. Quaternary Science Reviews 17, 549-586.

  • Webb T. III, Anderson, K.A. , Bartlein, P.J., Webb, R.S., 1998. Late Quaternary Climate Change in Eastern North America: a Comparison of Pollen-Derived Estimates with Climate Model Results. Quaternary Science Reviews 17, 587-606.

  • Joussaume, S., Taylor, K. E., Braconnot, P., Mitchell, J. F. B., Kutzbach, J. E., Harrison, S.P., Prentice, I. C., Broccoli, A. J., Abe-Ouchi, A., Bartlein, P. J., Bonfils, C., Dong, B., Guiot, J., Herterich, K., Hewitt, C. D., Jolly, D., Kim, J. W., Kislov, A., Kitoh, A., Loutre, M. F., Masson, McAvaney, V., B. McFarlane, N., de Noblet, N., Peltier, W. R., Peterschmitt, J.Y., Pollard, D., Rind, D., Royer J. F., Schlesinger, M. E., Syktus, J., Thompson, S., Valdes, P., Vettoretti, G., Webb, R. S., Wyputta, U., 1999. Monsoon changes for 6000 years ago: Results of 18 simulations from the Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PMIP). Geophysical Research Letters 26, 859-862.

  • Kerwin, M., Overpeck, J.T. Webb, R.S., DeVernal, A., Rind, D.H., and Healy, R.J., 1999. The role of oceanic forcing in mid-Holocene Northern Hemisphere Climatic Change. Paleoceanography 14, 200-210.

  • Cole, J. E., Rind, D., Webb, R.S., Jouzel, J., and Healy, R.J., 1999. Global controls on interannual variability of precipitation d18O: the relative roles of temperature, precipitation amount, and vapor source region. Journal of Geophysical Research 104, 14223-14235.

  • Alley, R.B., Clark, P.U., Keigwin, L.D., and Webb, R.S., 1999. Making Sense of Millennial-Scale Climate Change, in " Mechanisms of Millennial-Scale Global Climate Change", eds. Peter U. Clark, Robert S. Webb, and Lloyd D. Keigwin, AGU Monograph 385-394.

  • Jackson, S., Webb, R.S., Overpeck, J.T., Anderson, K.A. and Webb, T. III, Williams, J., Hansen, B.C.S., 2000. Vegetation and Environment in eastern North America During the Last Glacial Maximum Quaternary Science Reviews 19, 489-508.

  • Overpeck, J.T. and Webb, R.S., 2000. Non-glacial Rapid Climate Events: Past and Future. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 97: 1335-1338.

  • Newby, P.E., Killoran, P., Waldorf, M.R., Webb, R.S., Webb, T. III, 2000. 11,500 Years of Sediment, Vegetation and Water Level Changes at the Makepeace Cedar Swamp, Southeastern Massachusetts. Quaternary Research 53, 352-368.

  • Bush, M.B., Stute, M., Ledru, M.P., Behling, H., Colinvaux, P.A., De Oliveira, P.E., Grimm, E.C., Hooghiemstra, Haberle, H., S., Leyden, B.W., Salgado-Labouriau, M.L., Webb, R., 2001. Paleotemperature Estimates of the Lowland Americas Between 30 Degrees South and 30 degrees North at the Last Glacial Maximum. In 'Interhemispheric Climate Linkages',ed. V. Markgraf, Academic Press, 293-306.

  • Charles, C.D., Rind, D., Healy, R., Webb, R, 2001. Tropical cooling and the isotopic composition of precipitation in general circulation model simulations of the ice age climate. Climate Dynamics 17(7), 489-502.

  • Forman, S.L.,Oglesby, R., Webb, R.S. 2001. Temporal and spatial patterns of Holocene dune activity on the Great Plains of North America: megadroughts and climate links. Global and Planetary Change 29, 1-29

  • Mathieu, R., Pollard, D., Cole, J., White, J.W.C., Webb, R.S., Thompson, S.L. 2002. Simulation of Stable Water Isotopes Variations by the Genesis GCM for Present-Day Conditions. JGR, Vol. 107, No. D4, 2:1-15.

  • Markgraf, V. Webb, R.S., Anderson, K.H. and Anderson, L. 2002. Modern Pollen Climate Calibration For Southern South America, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 181, 375-397.

  • Mangan, J., Overpeck, J., Webb, R., Wessman, C., Goetz, A, 2004. Response of Nebraska Sand Hills Natural Vegetation to Drought, Fire, Grazing, and Plant Functional Type Shifts as Simulated by the Century Model. Climatic Change 63: 49-90.

  • Kerwin, M. W., J. T. Overpeck, R. S. Webb, K. H. Anderson, 2004. Pollen-based summer temperature reconstructions for the eastern Canadian boreal forest, subarctic, and Arctic. Quat. Sci. Rev., 23, 1901- 1924.

  • Liu, Z. Y., S.-I. Shin, R. S. Webb, W. Lewis, and B. L. Otto-Bliesner, 2005. Atmospheric CO2 forcing on glacial thermohaline circulation and climate. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32(2), L02706, 10.1029/2004GL021929.

  • Forman, S. L., L. Marin, J. Pierson, J. Gomez, G. H. Miller, and R. S. Webb, 2005. Aeolian sand depositional records from western Nebraska: Landscape response to droughts in the past 1500 years. The Holocene, 15, 973-981.

  • Shin S.-I., P.D. Sardeshmukh, R.S. Webb, R.J. Oglesby, J.J. Barsugli (2006). Understanding the Mid-Holocene Climate. Journal of Climate, 19, 2801-2817

  • Kilbourne K.H., T.M. Quinn, T.P. Guilderson, R.S Webb, F.W. Taylor (2007). Decadal- to interannual-scale source water variations in the Caribbean Sea recorded by Puerto Rican coral radiocarbon. Clim Dyn DOI 10.1007/s00382-007-0224-2

  • Kilbourne, K. H., T. M. Quinn, R. Webb, T. Guilderson, J. Nyberg, and A. Winter (2008), Paleoclimate proxy perspective on Caribbean climate since the year 1751: Evidence of cooler temperatures and multidecadal variability, Paleoceanography, 23, PA3220, doi:10.1029/2008PA001598

  • Lowrey,J.L., Ray, A.J., Webb, R.S. (2009). Factors influencing the use of climate information by Colorado municipal water managers. Climate Research, 40, 103–119, doi: 10.3354/cr00827

  • Shin, S.I., Sardeshmukh,P.D., and R.S. Webb, 2010: Optimal Sea Surface Temperature forcing of North American Drought. Journal of Climate. DOI: 10.1175/2010JCLI3360.1 [pdf]

  • Hoerling M. P, J.K. Eischeid, X-W Quan, H.F. Diaz, R.S. Webb, R.M. Dole and DR Easterling (2012): Is a Transition to Semipermanent Drought Conditions Imminent in the U.S. Great Plains? J. Clim. 25 (24), 8380-8386.

  • McAfee S.A., J.L. Russell R.S. Webb (2012): Influence of bias correction on simulated landcover changes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39 (16), L16702.

  • White A.B., B. Colman, G. Carter, F.M. Ralph, R.S. Webb, D.G. Bandon, C.W. King, P.J. Neiman, D.J. Gottas, et al. (February 2012): NOAA's rapid response to the Howard A. Hanson Dam flood risk management crisis. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 93, 189-07.

  • Dole, R.M., M. Hoerling, A. Kumar, J. Eischeid, J. Perlwitz, X.W. Quan, G. Kiladis, R. Webb, D. Murray, M. Chen, K. Wolter, and T. Zhang (2013). The Making of An Extreme Event: Putting the Pieces Together. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 95, 427–440.

  • Vano, J.A., B. Udall, D.R. Cayan, J.T. Overpeck, L.D. Brekke, T. Das, H.C. Hartmann, H.G. Hidalgo, M. Hoerling, G.J. McCabe, K. Morino, R.S. Webb, K. Werner, and D.P. Lettenmaier. (2014) Understanding Uncertainties in Future Colorado River Streamflow, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 95, 59-78.

Other Publications

  • Prentice, I.C., Webb, R.S., et al. , 1989. Developing a global vegetation dynamics model: results of an IIASA summer workshop. IIASA Publication RR-89-7, Laxenburg, Austria.

  • Webb, R.S., Rosenzweig, C.E., and Levine, E. 1991. A global data set of soil particle size information. NASA Technical Memorandum 4286. Anderson, D. M., Webb, R.S., Overpeck, J.T., and Bauer, B., 1993. The NOAA Paleoclimatology Program: Using evidence from the past as a key to understanding and predicting future climate change. Earth System Monitor 3: 6-8.

  • Webb, R.S., Overpeck J.T., D.M. Anderson, and others. 1993. World Data Center-A for Paleoclimatology at the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program. Journal of Paleolimnology 9: 69-75.

  • Webb, R.S., Anderson, D.M., and J.T. Overpeck. 1994. Editorial: Archiving data at the World Data Center-A for Paleoclimatology. Paleoceanography 9: 391-393.

  • Joussaume, Webb, R.S., and Taylor, K., 1995. The Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PMIP). In "Global Paleoenvironmental Data: A report from the workshop sponsored by Past Global Changes (PAGES) August, 1993", Organized by J.T. Overpeck and J. Pilcher, edited by D.M. Anderson. PAGES Workshop Report Series 95-2

  • Newby, P.E., Webb, R.S., Webb, T. III, 1995. Pollen and Sediment Records from Walter's Puddle in Central Delaware.Delaware Department of Transportation/U.S. Department of Transportation report, Archaeology Series No. 114, "Paleoenvironmental Studies of the State Route 1 Corridor: Contexts for Prehistoric Settlement, New Castle and Kent Counties, Delaware".

  • Newby, P.E., Webb, R.S., Webb, T. III, 1995. Palynology and Paleohydrology of Central Delaware. Delaware Department of Transportation/U.S. Department of Transportation report, Archaeology Series No. 114, "Paleoenvironmental Studies of the State Route 1 Corridor: Contexts for Prehistoric Settlement, New Castle and Kent Counties, Delaware".

  • Webb, R.S., 1995. Review of "Global Climates Since the Last Glacial Maximum" edited by H.E. Wright, J.E. Kutzbach, T. Webb III, W.F. Ruddiman, F.A. Street-Perrott, and P.J. Bartlein. Journal of Paleolimnology 14, 228-230.

  • Overpeck, J., Webb, R. and Anderson, D. 1996. Teaming up to meet IGBP Paleoenvironmental data needs. IGBP Global Changes Newsletter 27: 28-29.

  • Overpeck, J., Webb, R. 1999. Abrupt Climate Change Research. Quaternary Times, AMQUA June Newsletter.

  • Clark, P.U., and Webb, R.S., Keigwin, L.D. (eds). "Mechanisms of Millennial-Scale Global Climate Change". AGU Geophysical Monograph 112, 1999.
  • Vorosmarty, C.J, abd the NSF-ARCSS Hydrology Workshop Steering Committee 2001. The Hydrologic Cycle and its Role in Arctic and Global Environmental Change: a Rationale and Strategy for Synthesis Study: Fairbanks Alaska: Arctic Research Consortium of the US, 84 pp.
  • Ojima, D.S., Lackett, J.M., and the Central Great Plains Steering Committee and Assessment Team, 2004. Preparing for a Changing Climate: The potential consequence of climate variability and change – Central Great Plains. Report for the US Global Change Research Program. Colorado State University. 103 pp.
  • Schuck, E. C., W.M. Frasier, and R. Webb. 2003 “Preliminary Summary of the 2002 Colorado Drought Survey”, Colorado Water, Volume 20, No. 3: 8-11.
  • National Integrated Drought Information System Core Team 2004. Creating a Drought Early Warning System for the 21st Century. Western Governors’ Association, pp 13.
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program, 2008. Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.4, Abrupt Climate Change, Final Report
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program, 2008. Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3, Decision support experiments and evaluations using seasonal-to- interannual forecasts and observational data, Final Report.
  • Ray, A.J., J.J. Barsugli, K.B Averyt, K.Wolter, M. Hoerling, N. Doesken, B. Udall, R. Webb 2008. Colorado Climate Change: A Synthesis To Support Water Resource Management and Adaptation, a report for the Colorado Water Conservation Board
  • Brekke, LD, Kiang, JE, Olsen, JR, Pulwarty, RS, Raff, DA., Turnipseed, DP, Webb, RS, and White, KD, 2009, Climate change and water resources management - A federal perspective: USGS Circular 1331, 65 p.
  • Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program Climate Change Scopeś Definition Work Group (2010). 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan—Climate-Change Scope Definition Work Group Summary Report: California Department of Water Resources Flood Safe Report, 76 p.]

WWW Publications

Conferences, Workshops and Symposia Convened

  • Fall 2005 - WWA Climate workshops for water managers, Golden, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

  • May 2005 - Planning Workshop to Develop Hydroclimatic Reconstructions for Decision Support in the Colorado River Basin, Tucson, AZ

  • November 2004 - Colorado River Basin Outlook briefing for water managers, decision makers, and planning groups in the region in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • December 2003 - AGU Fall Special Session "“ Reconstructing Hydroclimatic Variability in North America: Progress, Methods, and Uncertainties ", San Francisco, CA (co-convened with C. Woodhouse)

  • March 2001 - Pacific Climate Variability (PACLIM), annual meeting special session, Asilomar, CA: Decadal to Centennial Variation in the Late Holocene (co-convened with M. Hughes)

  • May 2000 - AMQUA 16th Biennial Meeting Landscape and Biotic Responses to Climate Variablity: Future Impacts and Past Lessons, Fayetteville, AK, (program chair).

  • December 1999 - AGU Fall Special Session 'Asssessing the Range of Central North American Droughts and Associated Land Cover Change', San Francisco, CA (co-convened with C. Woodhouse).

  • June 1999 - NOAA/NASA Workshop: Assessing the full range of central North America Droughts and Associated Landcover Change, Boulder (co-convened with J. Overpeck, C. Woodhouse, D. Muhs).

  • June 1998 - AGU Chapman Conference titled "Mechanisms of Millennial-Scale Global Climate Change", Snowbird, Utah (co-convened with P. Clark)

  • June 1998 - GCIP Mississippi Basin June Conference session titled "Paleohydrology", St. Louis, MO. (co-convened with J. Knox).

  • February 1998 - International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) PAGES (Past Global Changes) "Second Workshop on Global Paleoenvironmental Data", Boulder, CO, USA(co-convened with D. Anderson).

  • October 1996 - Geological Society of Ameria Annual Meeting "Earth System Processes at the Last Glacial Maximum", San Francisco, CA (co-convened with B. Felzer).

  • December 1995 - IGBP Past Global Changes "Paleoenvironmental Multiproxy Analysis and Mapping Project Workshop", San Francisco, CA.

  • December 1995 - AGU Fall Special Session "Climate System Processes at the Last Glacial Maximum", San Francisco, CA (co-convened with A. Broccoli).

  • December 1994 - IGBP Past Global Changes "Multiproxy Mapping Workshop ", San Francisco, CA (co-convened with E. Grimm, R. Graham).

  • November 1991- NOAA/NASA sponsored "Late Quaternary Climate Model Boundary Conditions Workshop" at Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY (co-convened with D. Rind and W. Ruddiman).