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Staff information

Kathy Hibbard

Kathy Hibbard

Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K9-34
Richland, WA 99352


Kathy received her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University in 1995 where she examined the consequences of management practices (fire suppression, heavy grazing) on woody plant encroachment. The consequences of the conversion from grassland to thorn woodlands were investigated in the context of altered biogeochemistry and successional dynamics through the integration of field observations and ecosystem modeling.

Following her Ph.D., she was a post-doctoral research associate in the College of Forestry at the University of Montana where she worked with an international modeling team on the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP). In 1998, Kathy moved to the University of New Hampshire and worked for the International Geosphere/Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Global Analysis and Integration of Models (GAIM) Task Force. Kathy worked with leaders in the social and biophysical sciences to launch the international Global Carbon Project. In 2002, Kathy joined the Department of Forest Science at Oregon State University where she developed a research program measuring and modeling carbon cycle dynamics following catastrophic wildland fire in central Oregon. Kathy returned to the IGBP in 2005 as executive officer for the Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) core project ( at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The primary focus of AIMES is to understand and integrate human-environmental processes (e.g., land use, emissions) in Earth System modeling. Three major activities of AIMES include (1) the Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) project with the goal to understand the complex ways in which humans have affected and have been affected by natural systems of the Earth, and to integrate human history with a fairly detailed and spatially explicit natural history of the Earth since early human settlement, (2) a Young Scholar's Network (YSN) with the goal to foster collaborations among Young Scientists and Scholars on integrative research to better understand the role of humans in perturbing biogeochemistry and climate, and, (3) contributing towards the development of New Scenarios and consistent model and dataset development with regard to land use/land cover and emissions for both the upcoming IPCC AR5 assessment and research priorities for future Earth system model and data coordination.

Kathy recently joined the PNNL group to lead the integrated Regional Earth System Model (iRESM) initiative that will couple regional climate, land, ocean, socio-economics and energy technologies. iRESM will address questions how policy and decision making, in response to climate change will consider both economic and environmental tradeoffs. For instance, decisions about allocating scarce water across competing municipal, agricultural, and ecosystem demands is just one of the challenges ahead, along with decisions regarding competing land use priorities such as biofuels, food, and species habitat. Assessing potential mitigation actions must include processes at a global level and extended time frame. However, adaptation is more relevant on a regional scale and in a shorter time frame, which encourages current research to address mitigation and adaptation separately, even though strategies for mitigation influence our ability for adaptation, and vice versa, none have attempted to fully integrate human and environmental processes at the regional level.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Texas A&M, College Station, TX, Rangeland Ecology & Management/Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Modeling, 1995
  • M.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Range Science/Ecosystem Modeling, 1987
  • B.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Biology, 1983

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Fall AGU Program Committee Chair: 2011-2013

PNNL Publications


  • Hibbard KA, and AC Janetos. 2013. "The Regional Nature of Global Challenges: A Need and Strategy for Integrated Regional Modeling." Climatic Change 116(3-4):565-577.  doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0674-3
  • Yang Z, T Wang, LYR Leung, KA Hibbard, AC Janetos, IP Kraucunas, JS Rice, B Preston, and T Wilbanks. 2013. "A modeling study of coastal inundation induced by storm surge, sea-level rise, and subsidence in the Gulf of Mexico." Natural Hazards 71(3):1771-1794.  doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0974-6


  • Costanza R, S van der Leeuw, KA Hibbard, S Aulenbach, S Brewer, M Burek, S Cornell, C Carole, J Dearing, C Folke, L Graumlich, M Hegmon, S Heckbert, S Jackson, I Kubiszewski, V Scarborough, P Sinclair, S Sorlin, and W Steffen. 2012. "Developing an Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE)." Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4(1):106-114.  doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2012.01.010
  • Janetos AC, WD Collins, DJ Wuebbles, N Diffenbaugh, K Hayhoe, KA Hibbard, and G Hurtt. 2012. Climate Change Modeling and Downscaling Issues and Methodological Perspectives for the U.S. National Climate Assessment PNNL-20824, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Luo Y, J Randerson, G Abramowitz, C Bacour, E Blyth, N Carvalhais, P Ciais, D Dalmonech, JB Fisher, R Fisher, P Friedlingstein, KA Hibbard, FM Hoffman, D Huntzinger, C Jones, C Koven, DM Lawrence, DJ Li, M Mahecha, SL Niu, RJ Norby, SL Piao, X Qi, P Peylin, IC Prentice, W Riley, M Reichstein, C Schwalm, Y Wang, JY Xia, S Zaehle, and XH Zhou. 2012. "A framework for benchmarking land models." Biogeosciences 9(2):1899-1944.  doi:10.5194/bgd-9-1899-2012
  • Skaggs R, KA Hibbard, P Frumhoff, T Lowry, R Middleton, R Pate, VC Tidwell, JG Arnold, K Averyt, AC Janetos, RC Izaurralde, JS Rice, and SK Rose. 2012. Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions Technical Report to the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate AssessmentPNNL-21185, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Hurtt G, LP Chini, S Frolking, R Betts, J Feddema, GM Fischer, JP Fisk, KA Hibbard, RA Houghton, AC Janetos, C Jones, G Kindermann, T Kinoshita, KK Goldeweijk, K Riahi, E Shevliakova, SJ Smith, E Stehfest, AM Thomson, P Thornton, D Van Vuuren, and Y Wang. 2011. "Harmonization of Land-Use Scenarios for the Period 1500-2100: 600 Years of Global Gridded Annual Land-Use Transitions, Wood Harvest, and Resulting Secondary Lands." Climatic Change 109(1-2):117-161.  doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0153-2
  • van der Leeuw S, R Costanza, S Aulenbach, S Brewer, M Burek, S Cornell, S Crumley, J Dearing, C Downey, L Graumlich, S Heckbert, M Hegmon, KA Hibbard, S Jackson, I Kubiszewski, P Sinclair, S Srlin, and W Steffen. 2011. "Toward An Integrated History to Guide the Future." Ecology and Society 16(4):Article No. 2.  doi:10.5751/ES-04341-160402
  • Van Vuuren D, JA Edmonds, M Kainuma, K Riahi, AM Thomson, KA Hibbard, G Hurtt, T Kram, V Krey, JF Lamarque, T Masui, M Meinhausen, N Nakicenovic, SJ Smith, and SK Rose. 2011. "The Representative Concentration Pathways: An Overview." Climatic Change 109(1-2):5-31.  doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z


  • Hibbard KA, AC Janetos, D Van Vuuren, J Pongratz, SK Rose, R Betts, M Herold, and JJ Feddema. 2010. "Research priorities in land use and land-cover change for the Earth system and integrated assessment modelling." International Journal of Climatology 30(13):2118-2128.  doi:10.1002/joc.2150
  • Manning M, JA Edmonds, S Emori, A Grubler, KA Hibbard, F Joos, M Kainuma, R Keeling, T Kram, A Manning, M Meinhausen, RH Moss, N Nakicenovic, K Riahi, SK Rose, SJ Smith, R Swart, and D Van Vuuren. 2010. "Misrepresentation of the IPCC CO2 emission scenarios ." Nature Geoscience 3(6):376-377. 
  • Nobre C, GP Brasseur, M Shapiro, M Lahsen, G Brunet, A Busalacchi, KA Hibbard, S Seitzinger, K Noone, and JP Ometto. 2010. "Addressing the Complexity of the Earth System." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 91(10):1389-1396.  doi:10.1175/2010BAMS3012.1

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