The University of Arizona

Ben McMahan | CLIMAS

Research, Outreach, & Assessment Specialist, Climate Assessment for the Southwest

Ben McMahan joined CLIMAS after completing a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Arizona.  His dissertation research was on hurricanes and disaster on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where he focused on

  • Human interactions in dynamic social and environmental contexts,
  • Risk perception and landscape changes during and after disaster, and
  • Social network and policy responses to governance issues related to the acute threats of disaster; as they layer onto long term environmental issues and landscape scale changes.  

He was also a key contributor to UA Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) collaborative/trans-disciplinary research on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the US Oil and Gas industry (2007-2011), and the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010-2013).

At CLIMAS, his research activities include tracing how climate information is incorporated into regional decision maker networks, leading CLIMAS team research on the risks and effects of climate extremes, and collaborative research on the effects of climate variability on phenology and temporality of native plants in the region.  He is also responsible for working to develop collaborative research opportunities and outreach efforts at CLIMAS, and as part of ongoing assessment and science/strategic planning, he contributes to strategic planning used to prioritize future research and outreach directions. He also coordinates publication of the monthly Southwest Climate Outlook, produces the Southwest Climate Podcasts, and is the online editor for CLIMAS’ blog - Southwestern Oscillations.