Kelly Klima

Photo of Kelly Klima
Engineer; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in engineering & public policy, Carnegie Mellon University; M.S. in earth, atmosphere, & planetary science, MIT; M.S. in aeronautics & astronautics, MIT; B.S. in mechanical engineering, Caltech

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Kelly Klima is associate program director of the Acquisition and Development Program (ADP) for the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) and a research engineer at the RAND Corporation. She has over ten years of experience in quantitative and qualitative decision analysis for risk reduction. She is also an affiliate faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Recent work has focused on urban adaptation to reduce natural hazard risks. This includes theory and applications of (1) hazard and vulnerability assessments of hazards, and (2) behavioral and economic decisionmaking leading to plausible hazard mitigation and emergency management solutions. Klima's research work supports community resilience for extreme heat and flooding throughout the world, and has been applied in the City of Pittsburgh, City of St. Paul, counties in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Other areas of expertise include decisionmaking under uncertainty, energy and the environment, and vulnerable populations.

Klima has published several journal articles and served on the American Geophysical Union (AGU) board of directors and the steering committee for the National Adaptation Forum. She also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a summer associate mentor. She holds a CFM from the Association of State Floodplain Managers and a CCEA from the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association. She received her Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Selected Publications

Diogo Prosdocimi, Kelly Klima, "Health Effects of Heat Vulnerability in Rio de Janeiro: A Validation Model for Policy Applications," SN Applied Sciences, 2, 2020

Kelly Klima, Lobna El Gammal, Weilong David Kong, Diogo Prosdocimi, "Creating a Water Risk Index to Improve Community Resilience," IBM Journal of Research and Development, 64(1/2), 2019

Terry Allen, Emily Wells, Kelly Klima, "Culture and Cognition: Understanding Public Perceptions of Risk and (In)Action," IBM Journal of Research and Development, 64(1/2), 2019

Dreyer, P.; Jones, T.; Klima, K.; Oberholtzer, J.; Strong, A.; Welburn, J.; Winkelman, Z., Estimating the Global Cost of Cyber Risk: Methodology and Examples, RAND (RR-2299), 2018

Pozzi, M.; Memerzadeh, M.; Klima, "Hidden-model processes for adaptive management under uncertain climate change," Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 23(4), 2017

Meghan Doherty, Kelly Klima, Jessica J Hellmann, "Climate change in the urban environment: Advancing, measuring and achieving resiliency," Environmental Science & Policy, 66, 2016

Bradford, K.; Abrahams, L.; Hegglin, M.; Klima, K, "A Heat Vulnerability Index and Adaptation Solutions for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," Environmental Science & Technology, 66, 2015

Kelly Klima, Jay. Apt, "Geographic smoothing of solar PV: results from Gujarat," Environmental Research Letters, 10(10), 2015

Honors & Awards

  • Certified Floodplain Manager, Association of State Floodplain Managers
  • Professional Cost Estimator/Analyst, International Cost Estimating & Analysis Association


  • Flood waters inside the gymnasium at C.E. King High School following tropical storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, September 8, 2017, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Counting the Costs: Improving Disaster Recovery Cost Estimation

    Estimating the cost of disasters is a complex process. Disaster recovery is complicated even further during this new era of COVID-19, when extra precautions must be taken. How can we estimate costs quickly and reliably, thus improving the flow of dollars back into the community?

    Sep 30, 2020 Natural Hazards Center