Rick Lawford’s work with IISD explores the linkages between Earth observations of water and climate as they relate to observational methodologies (including satellites), data processing and visualization systems, information interpretation and the use of information in decision support and policy development. His specific areas of application involve climate and hydrological information, water resource management and capacity building.

As a senior scientific advisor, Rick Lawford provides advice related to Natural and Social Capital in the water sector and the role of Earth observations and information in achieving these goals. Geographical areas of focus include the Lake Winnipeg basin, other Canadian and US basins, and basins in Latin and Caribbean America, Africa and Asia.

Rick Lawford’s other part-time appointments include his position as the Network Manager for the Drought Research Initiative and as a GEO and GEWEX advisor with RESTEC and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Before moving to Winnipeg in 2006, he served in a number of positions in Silver Spring, Maryland including Director of the International GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) project, Director of the Water Cycle Program office for the US Climate Change Science Program, and as NOAA Program Manager for the GEWEX Americas Prediction Project and the GEWEX Continental Scale International Project (GCIP). Prior to that time, he worked in a number of positions with the Canadian government (Environment Canada, Ministry of State for Science and Technology) in research management for hydrometeorological research activities, science policy, management of the planning and evaluation of Environment Canada’s water programmes, climate and scientific services, professional meteorological training, cloud physics research and weather forecasting.



  • Chair, Scientific Committee for the Integrated Global Water Cycle Observations Community of Practice.
  • Member, Scientific Committee of the Global Water System Project (GWSP), and the User Interface and Science and Technology Committees of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).
  • Member, American Meteorological Society.
  • Member, American Geophysical Union.
  • Member, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS).
  • Member, Continental Who’s Who.


  • Master of Sciences – Meteorology (1970): University of Alberta.
  • Bachelor of Sciences – Physics (1966): University of Manitoba/Brandon College.


  • English
  • French
Water-Energy-Food Security: New Challenges and New Solutions for Water Management
Paper: Richard Lawford, Karla Zubrycki, Sina Marx, Henry David Venema (June 22, 2012)
The Role of Water in the Green Economy
Paper: Henry David Venema, Richard Lawford (June 11, 2012)
Water-Energy-Food Security: New Challenges and New Solutions for Water Management
Brochure: Richard Lawford, Henry David Venema (February 27, 2012)