Fellow, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
Professor, Department of Geography
University of Colorado, Boulder

Contact Information


Dr. Mark Williams, Fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Professor of Geography, at the University of Colorado, received his Ph.D in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in ecology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1991. He is also on the core faculty of Environmental Studies. His research interest is the ecology of mountain areas, looking at the interaction of organisms with their environment, focusing on classical environmental variables such as soil, rocks, and minerals as well as surrounding water sources and the local atmosphere. Mark has current or past research activities in many of the mountain ranges throughout the world, including the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada of California, the Tien Shan and Qilian Shan, China, Andes of South America, European Alps, and the Himalayas. Mark is on the faculty of the Hydrology Program in Geography and his classes can be used to satisfy the Hydrology Certification Program in Geography. Mark is the PI of the Niwot Ridge LTER program and a co-I on the research project: Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice & Snow (CHARIS). He was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2012. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador in 1999 and is a current Fulbright Scholar in Nepal for 2013-2014.

Videos, Radio Interviews, Magazine Interviews

Here's a 2 minute video for prospective graduate students. Requires an mp4 player. click for video

Mark's research was featured in this joint NSF/CU press release on 12 January 2016: NSF DISCOVERY: Colorado high peaks losing glaciers as climate warms . Channel 7 news Denver interview . Story picked up by many dozens of newspapers: New York Times ; Colorado Public Radio ; Denver Post ; Boulder Daily Camera .

Mark was interviewed extensively by local and national media about the acid mine drainage spill into the Animas River on 5 August 2015. Channel 9 News Denver , Popular Science , Time Magazine, Vice , Christian Science Monitor

CU Boulder's Arts and Sciences Magazine for June 2014 highlights some of my research on nitrogen cycling for the Niwot Ridge LTER program: Warming trend boosts nitrogen in Boulder watershed

Mark is interviewed by Ryan Warner on Colorado Public Radio on 1 May 2014 about Why gas patch residents should test their water regularly and by the Coloradoan on 20 June 2014 Landowners can test wells for oil and gas pollutants

His LTER team's research is highlighted in a new five-minute educational video released in September 2012, and titled, "Water: A Zero Sum Game" viewable at Learn More About Climate at CU-Boulder . The video was nominated for an EMMY

Here's a long video from April 2012 on climate change and water resources as part of CU on the weekend outreach program. Save Our Snow: Part One

December 2012 interview in Elevation Outdoors Magazine

Curriculum Vitae


Family stuff

CU on the weekend talk

NWT LTER site review team 2013

Aosta Valley


GEOG 1011 -- Introduction to Physical Geography: Landscapes and Water
GEOG 3251 -- Mountain Geography
GEOG 3511 -- Introduction to Hydrology
GEOG 4110 -- Alpine Hydrology and Hydrochemistry
GEOG 4311/5421 -- Watershed Biogeochemistry
GEOG 4321/5321 -- Snow Hydrology
GEOG 5241 -- Hydrologic and Hydrochemical Modeling
GEOG 3900 -- Snow Hydrology Internship Program

UNIX help!

Current Students

Current Research Activity

PI (NSF): Mountain Groundwater and Climate Change
Co-I (NSF): Development of GPS As a Snow Sensor
PI (NSF): The Role of Dust on Snow and Other Aeolian Inputs in Soil Formation and Biogeochemical Cycling in Barren, Alpine Catchments
CoI (NSF): Coupled Natural and Human Systems in the Colorado Front Range Wildland
PI (State of Colorado): Hydrologic remediation of the Commodore and Nelson Mine Shafts near Creede, Colorado
CoI (USAID): effect of shrinking Himalayan glaciers on Asia's water supply
Co-I (NSF): SRN: Routes to Sustainability for Natural Gas Development and Water and Air Resources in the Rocky Mountain Region
Co-I (USDA/NSF): WSC Collaborative Research: Snowpack and Ecosystem Dynamics: The Sustainability of Inter-basin Water Transfers under a Changing Climate
Co-I (USAID/NSF): Establishing a collaborative assessment of the impacts of climate change on the hydrological regime of the Langtang River Basin, central Nepal
PI (NASA): Using Remote Sensing and Physically-Based Hydrologic Models to Assess the Contribution of Snow and Ice Melt to the Major Rivers of High Asia (12-EARTH12F-270) to the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) Program

Former Students

Past Research Activity

Mary Murphy Mine: acid mine drainage
Glaciers in the Andes
Snow Hydrology
Protection of Telluride headwaters
Snow/Elk interactions, Yellowstone