• Climate




    Welcome! I am a climatologist, hydrologist, and earth systems geographer. I specialize in the development and analysis of high-resolution paleoenvironmental (historical environmental) records, which I use to interpret the impacts of climate change on earth’s hydroclimatology and forest vegetation. A principal goal of my work is to design studies that generate useful information for water, forest, and other resource managers, policy-makers, and communities addressing climate change.


    Currently, I am a Postdoctoral research associate with the Past Landscapes Lab at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, where I work closely with Dr. Kevin Anchukaitis. Learn more about the PLL here: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kanchukaitis/. My research involves using tree-ring data to explore long-term interactions among precipitation, streamflow, snowpack, drought, and forest primary productivity across the North American and Mediterranean cordilleras. My previous and ongoing research programs include assessing the unusualness of recent snowpack declines, streamflow drought, and glacier ice melt across the western North American mountain ranges; determining impacts of mountain snowpack deficits on forest vegetation in western North America and the Mediterranean; evaluating how climate changes causes hazardous mass movement events in the Canadian cordilleras, and; developing new methods for paleohydrology in underrepresented parts of the globe.


    I earned my Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Victoria, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Dan Smith (University of Victoria Tree-Ring Laboratory). I hold an M.Sc. in Geography from the University of Victoria, and a B.A. from Mount Allison University.

  • Research & publications

    previous & ongoing

    Gridded spatial field reconstruction of snowpack, spanning the North American Cordilleras


    Developing long-term gridded records of snowpack variability (spatial field reconstruction) for the western cordilleras of the contiguous United States, Canada, and Alaska.


    Mediterranean snow and runoff variability


    Developing multi-century reconstructions of snow and runoff variability in the Mediterranean region, using a large network of moisture-sensitive tree-ring data.

    Drought and primary productivity in Mediterranean forests


    Exploring whether tree-ring records can serve as proxies for forest and/or ecosystem primary productivity in arid, drought-susceptible environments.

    Is worst-case scenario streamflow drought underestimated in British Columbia? A multi-century perspective for the south coast, derived from tree-rings


    Coulthard, B., Smith, D. J., & Meko, D. M. (2016). Journal of Hydrology.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.030

    A 477-year dendrohydrological assessment of drought severity for Tsable River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada


    Coulthard, B., & Smith, D. J. (2015). Hydrological Processes.

    DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10726



    Autumn Snowfall Controls the Annual Radial Growth of Centenarian Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) in the Southern Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada.


    Carlson, K., Coulthard, B., & Starzomski, B.M.  Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research DOI: 10.1657/AAAR0016-033


    Was the low 2015 snowpack record-breaking in British Columbia's coastal cordilleras?


    Multi-century tree ring-based reconstructions of snow water equivalent for the Vancouver Island and Pacific (Coast Mountain) Ranges

    Dendroglaciological investigations of mid- to late-Holocene glacial activity in the Mt. Waddington area, British Columbia Coast Mountains, Canada


    Coulthard, B., Smith, D. J., & Lacourse, T. (2012). The Holocene.

    DOI: 10.1177/0959683612455537

    Mountain creek debris flood hazard assessments, Bow Valley, Alberta


    Town of Canmore

    Hazard and risk assessment reports, BGC Engineering:

    http://www.canmore.ca/residents/community-life/mountain-creek-hazard-mitigation?highlight= YTozOntpOjA7czo2OiJkZWJyaXMiO2k6MTtzOjQ6ImZsb3ciO2k6MjtzOjExOiJkZWJyaXMgZmxvdyI7fQ==


    Municipal District of Bighorn

    Hazard and risk assessment reports, BGC Engineering: 



  • Reports

    science communication reports (non-peer reviewed)

    Cowichan Tribes and Cowichan Watershed Board, British Columbia, Canada

    The sustainability of Cowichan River in-stream flows: tree-ring records suggest the worst droughts are yet to come. Report in progess, based on the results of Coulthard et al. (2016) and Coulthard and Smith (2015).

    Sunshine Coast Regional District, British Columbia, Canada

    The susceptibility of the Chapman Creek Watershed to climate-induced drought. Report in progress, based on the results of Coulthard et al. (2016) and Coulthard and Smith (2015). 

  • Courses

    Water Resources Management

    Department of Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

    Course Syllabus: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/282289d9-8fec-4b7c-9ea5-334fd1218e63/Geog 371 Syllabus.pdf?id=21221


    PRO-grad Seminar

    Founder and co-facilitator

    Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Graduate Student Seminar: Scientific and Professional Training

    University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona


  • Cambium Consulting

    Consulting services in:


    · Geomorphological hazard assessment (eg. debris flow, flood)

    · Streamflow and climate reconstruction

    · CMT (culturally modified tree) survey and dating

    · Dendrochronological dating of historic structures

    · Geographic Information Systems and spatial analysis

    · Dendrochronology training courses


    Inquire here:

  • Media

    The Globe and Mail

    Tree-ring data suggest B.C. is facing harshest droughts in 350 Years


    CBC News

    B.C. has seen worse droughts than previously thought, tree rings reveal


    The Vancouver Sun

    UVic researchers find tree rings predict potential for several B.C. coastal droughts


    Times Colonist

    Island droughts are going to worsen, researchers say


  • Contact