Dennis Lettenmaier

Distinguished Professor of Geography, Institute of Environment and Sustainability

University of California, Los Angeles

Dennis Lettenmaier

Contact Information

Phone: (310) 794‐4327

Research Interest & Background

Dr. Lettenmaier’s research primarily focuses on large-scale hydrology, hydrologic aspects of remote sensing, and hydrology-climate interactions. Professor Lettenmaier recently joined the faculty at UCLA after nearly four decades at the University of Washington’s Civil & Environmental Engineering department.   Along with his university responsibilities, he has been involved in a variety of other agencies and associations.  He was the Program Manager of NASA’s Land Surface Hydrology Program and is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Water Resources Association, the European Geosciences Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a recipient of ASCE's Huber Research Prize in 1990, and the American Geophysical Union’s Hydrology Section Award in 2000.

Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations


Xiao, M., B. Udall, and D.P. Lettenmaier.  2018.  “On the causes of declining Colorado River streamflows.”  Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1029/2018WR023153,

Vano, J.A. and D.P. Lettenmaier. 2013. A sensitivity-based approach to evaluating future changes in Colorado River Discharge, Climatic Change, doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-1023-x.

Rosenberg, E. A., E. A. Clark, A. C. Steinemann, and D. P. Lettenmaier. 2013.  On the contribution of groundwater storage to interannual streamflow anomalies in the Colorado River basin, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 17, 1475-1491, doi:10.5194/hess-17-1475-2013.

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. 2013. Understanding Uncertainties in Future Colorado River Streamflow, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 94, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00228.1.

Vano, J.A., T.  Das, and D.P. Lettenmaier.  2012.  Hydrologic sensitivities of Colorado River runoff to changes in precipitation and temperature.  Journal of Hydrometeorology, doi:10.1175/JHM-D-11- 069.1.

Gao Y., J. Vano, C. Zhu, and D.P. Lettenmaier.  2011.  Evaluating climate change over the Colorado River basin using regional climate models.  Journal of Geophysical Research 116, doi:10.1029/2010JD015278.

Christensen, N. and D.P. Lettenmaier.  2007.  A multimodel ensemble approach to assessment of climate change impacts on the hydrology and water resources of the Colorado River basin. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 11, 1417–1434.

Christensen, N.S., A.W. Wood, N. Voisin, D.P. Lettenmaier, and R.N. Palmer.  2004.   Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Water Resources of the Colorado River Basin.  Climatic Change 62, 337-363.


“The Sum of the Parts: A Blueprint for Lower Basin Sustainability?” at the conference “Fighting Back on the Colorado River: Carving Out Progress on Multiple Fronts.”  Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, University of Colorado; Boulder, CO; June 8, 2017.