Montana Drought & Climate Team
Laurie Yung is a Professor of Natural Resource Social Science in the Department of Society and Conservation. Her work focuses on how rural communities, agricultural producers, and federal land management agencies respond to environmental change. Yung is particularly interested in the relationship between science, practice, and policy, and how decision-makers handle scientific uncertainty. Her current research examines the intersections between rural livelihoods, drought, and resource management.
Montana State Climatologist
Kelsey Jencso is an Associate Professor of Hydrology and the Montana State Climatologist. His research focuses on forested mountain terrain and the factors that influence the redistribution of water, nutrients, and sediment across hillslopes and entire watersheds. Kelsey's current funded research focuses on the role of landscape topography for regulating forest productivity through differences in microclimate and plant available water. In his capacity as the Montana State Climatologist Dr. Jencso also places strong emphasis on bridging the gap between basic research in hydro-climatology and the extension of information to the public and managers for user specific decision making.
Social Science Lead
Libby Metcalf is an Associate Professor of Recreation Management & Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation. Libby's research interests center around recreation and wildlife management, and understanding complex social-ecological systems. Libby has worked on statewide studies examining outdoor recreation, hunter recruitment and retention issues, and river management. She utilizes structural equation modeling in social data analysis and has been working with other researchers to develop models to couple human and natural systems.
Climate Science Lead
Kyle Bocinsky is a research associate in the Montana Climate Office, and the climate science lead for the Montana Drought & Climate project. Kyle is a computational anthropologist interested in human responses to environmental change; climate change adaptation; and more generally how we can learn from the human past to plan for the future. Kyle's archaeological research has focused on the Ancestral Pueblo in the American Southwest. Kyle is leading the development of innovative climate information technologies for the MT Drought and Climate, including maps and figures for the MT Drought & Climate newsletters and website.
Adam Snitker is a Master's student in the University of Montana's College of Forestry and Conservation. He serves as a research assistant for the Montana Drought & Climate project. As a current UM BRIDGES trainee, Adam's research interests include the intersection of food and water within a changing climate. His current research project focuses on the use of local knowledge among Montana agricultural producers during periods of drought.
Ada Smith is a PhD student in the Department of Society & Conservation working in the Human Dimensions Lab. Ada's research interests focus on agrarian values, decision-making and climate adaptation in Montana. She is particularly interested in understanding the ways in which producers experience, adapt, and respond to climate change in light of climate information, especially where there is a 'knowledge-action' gap. Ada has a background in community-based participatory research focused on Indigenous food sovereignty and decolonizing food systems education and is committed to research understanding how food systems connect and sustain both people and places.