Maria Carmen Lemos

Professor; Associate Dean for Research


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (political science)

MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (political science)

BS, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil (economics)



Maria Carmen Lemos' broad research interests are related to climate adaptation and the role of knowledge in building adaptive capacity.  She is particularly interested in understanding: (a) the co-production of science and decision-making and the creation of actionable knowledge; (b) the intersection between development and climate, especially concerning the relationship between anti-poverty programs and risk management; (c) the use of climate information in building adaptive capacity in different sectors (e.g. drought planning, water management, agriculture, and urban planning); and (d) the impact of technocratic decision-making on issues of democracy and equity.

Lemos was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR5) and the Fourth US National Climate Assessment (NCA4), contribute to IPCC-AR4, and has served in a number of the US National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences committees including Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change (2007 and 2009), America Climate Choice Science Panel (2010) and the Board on Environmental Change and Society (2008-2014) and the Council Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)—(2011-13).

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – grant for: Great Lakes Climate & Assessments—GLISA.” PI 2015-20. $4M
  • National Science Foundation—NSF—grant for: “Water Science Climate—WSC.” Co-PI (PI Anna Michalak). 2011-2015. $5 M 
  • National Science Foundation—NSF—grant for: Collaborative Research: The relative importance of generic vs. specific capacity in addressing drought vulnerability in NE Brazil. PI (Co-PIs Don Nelson and Hallie Eakin). 2010-2014. $510,00.  
  • United States Department of Agriculture—USDA—grant for: U2U: Useful to Usable: Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers. Co-PI. (PI Linda Prokopy). 2012-2017 $ 5M. 
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – grant for: NERRS Science Collaborative Program. Co-PI (PI Don Scavia). 2014-2019. $20M 
  • National Science Foundation. Coastal SEES: Enhancing sustainability in coastal communities threatened by harmful algal blooms by advancing and integrating environmental and socio-economic modeling, PI Steiner, co-PIs Lemos, Scavia, Kirchhoff, Obenaour, 2016-2019. $1.9M
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – grant for: Co-producing Climate Knowledge and Sustained Engagement in the Great Lakes in Support of Stormwater Management Adaptation. PI, $175K, 2018-19.

  • James Martin 21st Century School Fellowship, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, England. July 2006-2007. 
  • Kavli Fellow, US National Academy of Sciences, 2007. Certificate of Tribute by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm (Michigan) to honor contributions to the science of global climate change” in conjunction with “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2008. 
  • National Science Foundation Distinguished Lecture: “Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change.” March 12, 2015. Washington DC. 
  • The Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. Office of the Governor, Indiana. U2U—for Useful to Usable, a research project focused on improving climate decision making among corn farmers in IN, MI, IA and NE and funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USADA). 

Select publications: 
  • Lemos, M. C., K. S. Wolske, L. V. Rasmussen, J. C. Arnott, M. Kalcic and C. J. Kirchhoff (2019). "The Closer, the Better? Untangling Scientist–Practitioner Engagement, Interaction, and Knowledge Use." Weather, Climate, and Society 11(3): 535-548. 
  • Moss, R. H., S. Avery, K. Baja, M. Burkett, A. M. Chischilly, J. Dell, P. A. Fleming, K. Geil, K. Jacobs, A. Jones, K. Knowlton, J. Koh, M. C. Lemos, J. Melillo, R. Pandya, T. C. Richmond, L. Scarlett, J. Snyder, M. Stults, A. M. Waple, J. Whitehead, D. Zarrilli, B. M. Ayyub, J. Fox, A. Ganguly, L. Joppa, S. Julius, P. Kirshen, R. Kreutter, A. McGovern, R. Meyer, J. Neumann, W. Solecki, J. Smith, P. Tissot, G. Yohe and R. Zimmerman (2019). "Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment. Report of an Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment." Weather, Climate, and Society 11(3): 465-487. 

  • US Fourth National Climate Assessment. Angel, J., C. Swanston, B.M. Boustead, K.C. Conlon, K.R. Hall, J.L. Jorns, K.E. Kunkel, M.C. Lemos, B. Lofgren, T.A. Ontl, J. Posey, K. Stone, G. Takle, and D. Todey, 2018: Midwest. In Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II[Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 872–940. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH21 

  • Trueblood, D., S. Almazán-Casali, J. Arnott, M. Brass, M. C. Lemos, K. Matso, J. Read, L. Vaccaro and J. Wondolleck (2019). "Advancing Knowledge for Use in Coastal and Estuarine Management: Competitive Research in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System." Coastal Management 47(3): 337-346. 

  • Lemos, M. C., J. Arnott, N. M. Ardoin, K. Baja, A. Bednarek, A. Dewulf, C. Fieseler, K. Goodrich, K. Jagannathan, N. Klenk, K. J. Mach, A. M. Meadow, R. Meyer, R. Moss, L. Nichols, K. D. Sjostrom, M. Stults, E. Turnhout, C. Vaughan, G. Wong-Parodi and C. Wyborn (2018). "To co-produce or not to co-produce." Nature Sustainability VOL 1: 722–724. 

  • Lemos, M. C., H. Eakin, L. Dilling and J. Worl (2018). "Social Sciences, Weather, and Climate Change." Meteorological Monographs 59: 26.21-26.25. 

  • Eakin, H., T. A. Muñoz-Erickson and M. C. Lemos (2018). "Critical Lines of Action for Vulnerability and Resilience Research and Practice: Lessons from the 2017 Hurricane Season." Journal of Extreme Events 05(02n03): 1850015. 

  • Bedran-Martins, A. M., M. C. Lemos & A. Philippi (2018) Relationship between subjective wellbeing and material quality of life in face of climate vulnerability in NE Brazil. Climatic Change, 147, 283-297. 

  • Haigh, T., V. Koundinya, C. Hart, J. Klink, M. Lemos, A. S. Mase, L. Prokopy, A. Singh, D. Todey and M. Widhalm (2018). "Provision of Climate Services for Agriculture: Public and Private Pathways to Farm Decision-Making." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 99(9): 1781-1790. 

  • Tian, Q. and M. C. Lemos (2018) Household Livelihood Differentiation and Vulnerability to Climate Hazards in Rural China. World Development, 108, 321-331. 

  • Tian, Q., L. Jiang, M. Lemos & S. Qi (2018) Interactions of social, natural, and technological subsystems and synergy between development and adaptation to floods around Poyang Lake. Annals of GIS, 1-12.

  • Lemos, M. C. (2015). Usable climate knowledge for adaptive and co-managed water governance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 12: 48-52.

  • Agrawal, A. and M. C. Lemos (2015). "Adaptive development." Nature Climate Change 5(3): 185-187.

  • Haigh, T., L. W. Morton, M.C. Lemos, L. Prokopy, J. Angel and Y.J. Lo (2015) "Agricultural Advisors as Climate Information Intermediaries: Exploring Differences in Capacity to Communicate Climate" Weather, Climate and Society, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 83-93. 

  • Kalafatis, S. E., M. C. Lemos, Y.-J. Lo and K. A. Frank (2015). "Increasing information usability for climate adaptation: The role of knowledge networks and communities of practice." Global Environmental Change 32: 30-39.

  • Prokopy, L. S., J. S. Carlton, J. G. Arbuckle Jr, T. Haigh, M. C. Lemos, A. S. Mase, N. Babin, M. Dunn, J. Andresen and J. Angel (2015). "Extension′ s role in disseminating information about climate change to agricultural stakeholders in the United States." Climatic Change: 1-12. 


James Martin 21st Century School Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, England (1998-2002).
Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture and Planning, U of A (1999-2001).
Faculty Fellow, Global Environmental Assessment (GEA) Project, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1999-2001).


Advisory Board—Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Universityof Michigan, 2005-present
Advisory Board, Research Application Laboratory (RAL), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), (2013-Present)
The National Academies/National Research Council Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change/Board of Environment Change and Society, (2008-Present)
The National Academies/National Research Council Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) (2011-13)
Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute Executive Committee. 2012-present
Global Engagement Committee (SNRE), 2013-2015, Chair
UM Eisenberg Civic Engagement Committee, 2017-present
CIGLR Scientific Committee 2017-present