UC Merced
Founding Professor of Engineering, Director of Sierra Nevada Research Institute, Director of UC Water

Dr. Bales focuses on the scientific research of mountain hydrology and biogeochemistry, polar snow and ice, climate impacts and water resources. He applies his research to real world problems and engages with decision makers to improve information and investments in California's water resources systems.

UC Water Connection: 

Roger Bales is the director and a founding member of UC Water.


Dr. Roger Bales, Founding Professor of Engineering at UC Merced, has been active in water- and climate-related research for over 30 years.

His degrees include a B.S. in Civil Engineering (Purdue), M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (UC Berkeley), M.S. in Social Science/Economics (Caltech) and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Science (Caltech). Dr. Bales’ scholarship includes over 140 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and many more presentations, reports and book chapters.

He is a fellow in the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published well-cited papers in multiple disciplines, including hydrology, glaciology, paleoclimate, atmospheric chemistry, geochemistry and environmental engineering.

His current work is contributing to California’s efforts to both build the knowledge base and implement policies that adapt our water supplies, critical ecosystems and economy to the impacts of climate warming.

He works with leaders in state agencies, elected officials, federal land managers, water leaders, non-governmental organizations, and decisionmakers on developing climate solutions for California. He has led several multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary research programs, at UC Merced since 2003, and prior to that at the University of Arizona, including:

He has been active in climate applications both regionally and nationally, including the University of California Office of the President Global Climate Leadership Council. He has led development of regional, national and international measurement programs that are critical for understanding climate change and contributing to climate solutions. He has also served on multiple advisory committees, is active in the region, and has a long record of service to the university. Dr. Bales is also an Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley, and a researcher in the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).