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Michael Hayes’ research interests include drought risk management, disaster management, drought planning, impact and vulnerability assessments, climate variability and change, extreme events and adaptation strategies. He is involved in a variety of research projects with the National Drought Mitigation Center and DWFI, as well as with other climate faculty at the university and with researchers around the world. He provides outreach on drought- and climate-related issues to a wide variety of officials, decision-makers, and policymakers at local, tribal, state, national and international scales. Hayes is also part of the Applied Climate and Spatial Science Mission Area within UNL’s School of Natural Resources, and serves on SNR’s undergraduate and student recruitment committees. He teaches a course on the effects of climate variability and extreme climate events on human activities and how human activities impact climate and natural resources management.
Hayes joined the National Drought Mitigation Center as a climate impact specialist in 1995 and served as director from 2007 to 2016. The drought center works to provide people and institutions worldwide with the information needed to develop and implement measures to reduce societal vulnerability to drought, stressing preparedness and proactive risk management.
Hayes holds doctoral and master’s degrees in atmospheric sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.