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 PhD 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




Rory CowieMark Williams, Wireman, M., Runkel, R. L. 2014: Use of natural and applied tracers to guide targeted remediation efforts in an acid mine drainage system, Colorado Rockies, USA. Water, 6(4): 745-777. DOI: 10.3390/w6040745

Driscoll, J. M., Meixner, T., Noah P. Molotch, Ferre, T. P. A., Mark Williams, Sickman, J. O. 2018: Event-response ellipses: A method to quantify and compare the role of dynamic storage at the catchment scale in snowmelt-dominated systems. Water, 10(12): 1824-1841. DOI: 10.3390/w10121824

Ryan W. WebbMark Williams, Erickson, T. A. 2018: The spatial and temporal variability of meltwater flow paths: Insights from a grid of over 100 snow lysimeters. Water Resources Research, 54(2): 1146-1160. DOI: 10.1002/2017WR020866

Alana Wilson, Gladfelter, S., Mark Williams, Shahi, S., Baral, P., Armstrong, R., Racoviteanu, A. 2017: High Asia: The international dynamics of climate change and water security. Journal of Asian Studies, 76(2): 457-480. DOI: 10.1017/S0021911817000092

Magnani, A., Viglietti, D., Godone, D., Mark Williams, Balestrini, R., Freppaz, M. 2017: Interannual variability of soil N and C forms in response to snow-cover duration and pedoclimatic conditions in alpine tundra, northwest Italy. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 49(2): 227-242. DOI: 10.1657/AAAR0016-037

Oldani, K. M., Natalie MladenovMark Williams, Campbell, C. M., Lipson, D. A. 2017: Seasonal patterns of dry deposition at a high-elevation site in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Journal of Geophysical Research—Atmospheres, 122(20): 11,183-11,200. DOI: 10.1002/2016JD026416

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,