Timothy Kittel

Research Associate

  • Faculty Director, Conservation Biology and Practice in Brazil's Atlantic Forest Global Seminar, Education Abroad Programs
  • Lecturer, CU Mountain Research Station
  • Graduate Faculty, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology



  • PhD Ecology: University of California, Davis, 1986

Contact Information


Global change biology and climate science.

Research Interests

Global Environmental Change—Conservation Planning in Context of Climate Change
Earth System Science—Terrestrial Biosphere-Climate Interactions
Climate Analysis—Climate Change in High Mountain Systems
Ecosystem Geography


Dr. Timothy Kittel is a research ecologist and climate scientist.  After receiving his PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins.  Dr. Kittel has since held research positions at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (Colorado State University), the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), before joining INSTAAR in 2004. 

Dr. Kittel has worked for more than 30 years in the field of global change science, with contributions to our understanding of climate-biosphere interactions and historical climatic change and to the modeling of regional ecosystem and climate dynamics.  Dr. Kittel's work on climate change impacts has been included in IPCC and US National Assessments.  His current research is on approaches for handling climate change uncertainty in biodiversity conservation and on the nature of recent climate change in high mountain regions.  Dr. Kittel has published more than 85 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in ecology and climate dynamics, along with 39 climatic and ecological public-access datasets. 

Dr. Kittel's teaching emphasizes field instruction in ecology and conservation biology.  He has taught field courses for the University of Colorado-Boulder, Columbia University of New York, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and Semester-at-Sea (University of Pittsburgh/University of Virginia-Charlottesville).  He currently teaches Winter Field Ecology and Field Methods in Vegetation Ecology in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and study abroad courses on conservation in practice in Brazil.


Research Statement

Research Highlights:

  • Development of climate data quality and analysis protocols for agency monitoring programs

Active Research

Research Programs



Timothy Kittel, Williams, M. W., 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

Timothy Kittel 2013: The vulnerability of biodiversity to rapid climate change. In Seastedt, T. R. and Suding, K. (eds.), Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate, vol. 4 in Pielke, R. A., Sr. (series ed.), Climate Vulnerability: Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources. Oxford: Elsevier; Academic Press, 185-201. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384703-4.00437-8 Postprint (417 KB)

Timothy Kittel, Baker, B. B., Higgins, J. V., Haney, J. C. 2011: Climate vulnerability of ecosystems and landscapes on Alaska's North Slope. Regional Environmental Change, 11(suppl. 1): S249-S264. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-010-0180-y

Timothy Kittel, Rosenbloom, N., Royle, J. A., Daly, A. C., Gibson, W. P., Fisher, H. H., Thornton, P., Yates, D., Aulenbach, S., Kaufman, C., McKeown, R., Bachelet, D., Schimel, D., VEMAP2 Participants 2004: VEMAP Phase 2 bioclimatic database. I. Gridded historical (20th century) climate for modeling ecosystem dynamics across the conterminous USA. Climate Research, 27(2): 151-170. Dataset access. DOI: 10.3354/cr027151

Scott-Denton, L. E., Moore, D. J. P., Rosenbloom, N. A., Timothy Kittel, Burns, S. P., , Monson, R. K. 2013: Forecasting net ecosystem CO2 exchange in a subalpine forest using model data assimilation combined with simulated climate and weather generation. Journal of Geophysical Research—Biogeosciences, 118(2): 549-565. DOI: 10.1002/jgrg.20039

All publications by Timothy Kittel >


Teaching Statement

A personal goal for me, as an instructor, is to foster familiarity with the nature of science.  There are many facets to understanding the world of science.  One is experiencing the process of accumulation and evaluation of scientific understanding – how do new ideas arise and how are they tested?  Another is developing the ability for independent thought, to be able to generate innovative ideas and to critically assess the results of others.  And finally, gaining what is often called a ‘sense of place,’ which is to say in this context, to start on the road to develop an intuitive, personal sense of how natural systems work.


Current Courses