2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Robert S. Webb

Robert S. Webb

Robert S. Webb

Robert S. Webb

Climate Analysis Branch Chief

Physical Sciences Division


Dr. Webb is Climate Analysis Branch Chief in the Physical Sciences Division of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. He is a member of the NIDIS Implementation Team and the ESRL liaison to the Western Water Assessment RISA. Webb currently co-leads an effort focused on reconciling projections of future Colorado River stream flow to inform policy and decision makers. Webb is the NOAA lead on the federal interagency Climate Change and Water Working Group (CCAWWG), focused on advancing scientific collaborations in support of water management as climate changes. Webb also serves on the cross-line office NOAA West regional team.


  • AB Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, 1981
  • MSc Geological Sciences, Brown University, 1985
  • PhD Geological Sciences, Brown University, 1990
  • NRC Research Fellow, NASA-GISS, 1990-1992

Research Interests

Webb's research focused initially on the reconstruction of past climate from lake sediments and other paleoenvironmental proxies, and using global climate models to investigate the mechanisms of the past climate variability and change. Webb's more recent paleoclimate work involved developing new techniques to reconstruct streamflow and drought from tree rings in the intermountain west for use in water resource management. His research also focuses on improving the use and usability of climate products and services to provide information and decision support tools for proactive planning, impact mitigation, and improved decision making.


Webb was a climate science expert on the OSTP led delegation to the 10th Session of IPCC Working Group I, member of Interagency Task Force on Science to Support Food and Agricultural Research for the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science, member of CCSP SAP 3.4 and 5.3 FACA panels, member of the NOAA Climate Services Development Team, member of the Technical Review Panel for the Long-Term Central Valley Project/State Water Project Operational Criteria and Plan Biological Assessment, and member of the Climate Change Scope Definition Workgroup for the 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Recent Publications

  • 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