Richard H Skaggs

My research and instruction are strongly focused in climatology. There are three phases to my career during and after graduate school. My M.A. and doctoral research at the University of Kansas was on the climatology of severe local storms, especially tornadoes. Papers in the Monthly Weather Review resulted from my thesis and dissertation. I continued my research on severe local storms for a few years after coming to the University of Minnesota. In the 1970s and 1980s, my research concentrated on the climatology of drought, particularly its spatial pattern over the United States and its persistence through time. This research led to a series of papers in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geographical Analysis, the Monthly Weather Review, and Idojaras. In the middle 1980s, I started joint research with Donald G. Baker on the Eastern Minnesota temperature record. These results are reported in a series of papers in Climatic Change, Journal Climate, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Climate Research, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. During most of the 1990s, I was an academic administrator (Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Associate Vice President for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering); my research was extremely limited during this period. In the past several years, I have been investigating extreme precipitation in Minnesota and assessing the impacts of climate variability and change on Minnesota natural resources.

Educational Background & Specialties


  • climate variability
  • climatology
  • long-term temperature trends
  • physical geography
  • weather
Courses Taught
  • Geog 3355 - Environmental Quality
  • Geog 3401 - Geography of Environmental Systems
  • Geog 3531 - Numeric Spatial Analysis
  • Geog 5426 - Climatic Variations
  • Geog 8004 - Proseminar: Physical Geography
  • Geog 8420 - Seminar in Climatology
  • Temperature Change in Eastern Minnesota. Skaggs, Richard, D.G. Baker, Journal of Climate, 2(6), pp. 629-630, 1989.
  • Seasonal Variation in Daily Temperature Range. Skaggs, Richard, D. Baker and D. Ruschy, Journal of Climate, 4(12): pp. 1211-1216, 1991.
  • The Effects of Climate Variability and "Greenhouse Effect" -- Scenarios on Minnesota's Water Resources. Skaggs, Richard, L. Newman and D. Baker, Technical Report No. 135, Water Resources Research Center, University of Minnesota, May-88.
  • Air Temperature and Radiation Depressions Associated with a Snow Cover. Skaggs, Richard, D. Baker, D. Ruschy, and D. Wall, Journal of Applied Meteorology, 3, pp. 247-254, 1992.
  • Snow Depth Required for Near Steady-State Soil Temperature. Skaggs, Richard, B. Sharratt, D. Baker, D. Wall, and D. Ruschy, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 57, pp. 243-251, 1992.
  • Fulbright Scholar Award
  • President's Award for Outstanding Service, University of Minnesota