Cathy Whitlock - MSU

Cathy Whitlock headshot

Dr. Cathy Whitlock, professor of earth sciences at Montana State University and a fellow of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, was the lead author of the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment, which evaluates scientific information on Montana’s climate and examines the impact of climate change on vital sectors of the state’s economy, namely water, forests and agriculture.

Historical trends indicate that, since 1950, Montana’s temperatures increased by 3 degrees, and today’s growing season is 12 days longer. Projected changes in temperature and precipitation in coming decades will alter snowpack and water availability, affecting forest health and agriculture.

Whitlock’s research, which focuses on vegetation, fire and climate history, has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Joint Fire Sciences Program, National Park Service and the Department of Energy. She is nationally and internationally recognized in her field and has published 190 reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Since her arrival at MSU in 2004, she has built a successful research and teaching program.

She has a Ph.D in geological sciences from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College. Her current research sites extend from Yellowstone and the western U.S. to New Zealand, Tasmania and Patagonia.