Kristen Averyt

Kristen Averyt

Well over a decade ago, I had the opportunity to attend my first AMS Annual Meeting as a last-minute substitute for a colleague on a panel discussing water in the western U.S. During that meeting in Phoenix, three things about AMS stood out and left an indelible impression—the robust connection among science, society, and policy; the commitment to interdisciplinary research; and the breadth of membership from across both the public and private sectors. These characteristics have served AMS well. If we are to sustain the leadership our Society has established across the weather–water–climate enterprise into the future, we must continue to embrace and bolster these core tenets.

Today, we are at a critical juncture where the decisions made concerning climate, natural resources, social justice, and the economy will determine what the future will be for generations to come. In this context, it is essential that we consider the complexities of shifting extreme weather regimes, diminishing water resources, and the broader scope of drivers and impacts of climate change. Paving a path toward a healthier, more resilient future is central to the vision “Building Within, Reaching Beyond” that our organization embraced during the AMS Centennial. Now it is time to build on the legacy of AMS and implement steps that will ensure that our Society successfully navigates the new and emerging complexities of weather, water, and climate.

It is an honor to have been nominated for consideration to serve on the AMS Council, and, if elected, it would be a privilege to support our Society in defining our future and the enduring legacy of AMS.

Kristen Averyt currently serves as the climate policy coordinator for the State of Nevada and is a research professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As the top climate official in the state, she is responsible for coordinating climate activities across state agencies to support the governor’s Nevada Climate Initiative. Prior to her current role, Averyt served as president of the Desert Research Institute. She has also held positions at the University of Colorado Boulder, including as the associate director for science at CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) and as the director of the Western Water Assessment—a NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program. During this time, her research focused on characterizing risks at the energy–water nexus, as well as understanding linkages between climate and water resources.

In general, Averyt’s career has centered on connecting science with society and decision-making. As a graduate student, she was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies. After completing her Ph.D. in 2005, she worked in the U.S. Senate as a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow. She then moved to Colorado to join the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the Technical Support Unit for the Working Group I contribution to the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. She served as a lead author for the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment, and has coordinated state climate assessments for both Colorado and Nevada.

Averyt received her Bachelor of Science degrees in marine science and chemistry from the University of Miami and her Masters in chemistry from the University of Otago (New Zealand) as a Fulbright Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in geological and environmental sciences.