Mark Williams

Mark Williams CV

Fellow of INSTAAR

  • Professor of Geography



  • PhD: University of California at Santa Barbara, 1991

Contact Information

(Office) 303 492-8830
(Fax) 303 492-6388
1560 30th Street, rm 207, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 80303


Mountain hydrology and biogeochemistry, surface-groundwater interactions, acid mine drainage, glacial hydrology, snow hydrology.


Dr. Mark Williams, Fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Professor of Geography, received his Ph.D in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in ecology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1991.

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 core faculty of Environmental Studies. He is also 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 is a Fulbright Scholar and was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2012.

See more about Mark's research, courses, and students on his web site,


  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, American Geophysical Union, 2012
  • Scientist who provides the most help to Federal land use managers, National Park Service, Intermountain West Division, 2006
  • Fulbright Scholar, Fulbright Foundation, 1999
  • Denali Recent Accomplishment Award, AAG Mountain Geography Speciality Group , 2008




John Knowles,Peter D. Blanken,Mark Williams{/exp:playa:children, 2016: Wet meadow ecosystems contribute the majority of overwinter soil respiration from snow-scoured alpine tundra. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 121(4): 1118-1130. DOI: 10.1002/2015JG003081

Xie, M.,Mladenov, N.,{playaOF8lrAqS:title},Neff, J. C.,Wasswa, J.,Hannigan, M. P, 2017: Water soluble organic aerosols in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, USA: Composition, sources and optical properties. Scientific Reports, 6: article 39339. DOI: 10.1038/srep39339

Balestrini, R.,Delconte, C. A.,Sacchi, E.,Wilson, A. M.,{playazkwJYjxq:title},Cristofanelli, P.,Putero, D, 2016: Wet deposition at the base of Mt Everest: Seasonal evolution of the chemistry and isotopic composition. Atmospheric Environment, 146(SI): 100-112. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.08.056

Max Berkelhammer,David C. Noone,Tony E. Wong,Sean P. Burns,John Knowles,Aleya Kaushik,Peter D. Blanken,Mark Williams{/exp:playa:children, 2016: Convergent approaches to determine an ecosystem's transpiration fraction. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 30(6): 933-951. DOI: 10.1002/2016GB005392

{playauds5R0to:title},Mark Williams,Chowanski, K.,Hartman, M.,Ackerman, T.,Losleben, M.,Blanken, P. D, 2016: Contrasting long-term alpine and subalpine precipitation trends in a mid-latitude North American mountain system, Colorado Front Range, USA. Plant Ecology & Diversity, 8(5-6): 607-624. DOI: 10.1080/17550874.2016.1143536

Mark Williams,Alana Wilson,Tshering, D.,Thapa, P.,Kayastha, R. B, 2016: Using geochemical and isotopic chemistry to evaluate glacier melt contributions to the Chamkar Chhu (river), Bhutan. Annals of Glaciology, 57(71): 339-348. DOI: 10.3189/2016AoG71A068

All publications by Mark Williams >



Current Courses

  • GEOG 4321/5321: Snow Hydrology
  • GEOG 3251: Mountain Geography
  • GEOG 3511: Introduction to Hydrology

Past Courses

  • GEOG 5241: Watershed Biogeochemistry


Outreach Statement

Mark and his LTER team's research is highlighted in a new five-minute video released September 2012, "Water: A Zero Sum Game." View it on the CU-Boulder site Learn More About Climate.

See the complete video from Mark's CU on the Weekend one-day course, Save Our Snow. Mark explains why mountains are "water towers” critical to the economy of Colorado and other western states and shows how our water security is threatened by a variety of factors, including climate change, the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Read a December 2012 interview with Mark in Elevation Outdoor magazine, touching on why he went into snow hydrology and the probable fate of skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies.

See more about Mark's research, courses, and students on his web site,