2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Roger S. Pulwarty

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Roger S. Pulwarty

Physical Scientist and Director, National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

Physical Sciences Division and OAR/Climate Program Office


  • Provide guidance and mission leadership, management oversight and direction in overall management of NIDIS.
  • Communicate and mainstream the outcomes of the climate related projects/programs and NOAA's Climate Program in regional, national and international decision-making communities in sectors such as water resources, energy, agriculture, ecosystems and disasters management
  • Conduct research and assessments of early warnings systems, vulnerability and capacity for responding to climate variability and change
  • Author technical papers, book chapters and reports
  • Participate in national and international assessments of climate impacts and adaptation such as the IPCC and the USGCRP Synthesis products


  • B.S. Atmospheric Sciences, Hons, York University, 1986
  • Ph.D. Climatology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1994

Research Interests

Research interests are in climate variability and change in the the Western US, Latin America and the Caribbean, assessing social and environmental vulnerability, and designing climate services to meet information needs in water resources, ecosystem, disasters, and agricultural management in the United States. Publications include:

  • Climate variability in South America, the Caribbean and Western U.S. Hurricane
  • Impacts assessments of climate extremes, variability and change
  • Communication of climate information for risk reduction
  • Designing climate services
  • Adaptive management strategies for managing the impacts of climate variability and change


  • From 1998 to 2002 helped develop and direct the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program
  • Acted in formal advisory capacities to U.S., international governments and agencies including the UN and the World Bank
  • Lead author- 2007 UN IPCC AR4 Working Group II, Technical Paper on Water, and the US Synthesis Report.
  • Co-authored over 50 papers, book chapters and technical reports including widely-used guidance manuals for managing climate risks.
  • Developed interagency NIDIS Implementation Plan. The NIDIS Drought Portal was launched in 2007 (www.drought.gov)
  • Provided testimonies before the U.S. Congress on adaptation to climate change
  • Co-recipient of a 2008 NOAA Administrator's award

Recent Publications

  • IPCC 2007 Working Group II Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability-Chapter 17 Adaptation Practices, and IPCC 2008 Technical Report: Climate Change and Water (Lead Author)
  • Pulwarty, R., C., Simpson, and C., Nierenberg, 2009: The Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program: Crafting assessments for the long haul. In Knight, G., and Jager, J, Cambridge Press 367-394
  • Pulwarty, R., S., Olanrewaju, S., and P. Zorba, 2009: Communicating Agro climatological information, including forecasts, for agricultural decisions. In Stigter K., 2009 (ed): Guide to Agro-Meteorological Practices WMO Commission for Agricultural and Meteorological Practices Available from http://www.wmo.ch/web/wcp/agm/RevGAMP/ 40 pp
  • Pulwarty, R., 2003: Climate and water in the West: Science, information and decision-making. Water Resources 124, 4-12
  • Pulwarty, R. and Melis, T., 2001: Climate extremes and adaptive management on the Colorado River. J. Environmental Management 63, 307-324