Welcome to the Climate Console

The climate console is a web application designed for exploring climate change projections for a selected area of interest.

Getting Started

1. Select a reporting units layer

2. Select a feature or set of features in the map

3. Explore results generated for the selected area.
(Results will appear here)

Click the play button below to view an instructional video

Currently Selected:
Units: °Celsius °Fahrenheit
Projected Change (Ensemble(Averages), Annual)
The average max temperature in the selected area is projected to exceed the historical average by

1.8°C over the first future time period
2.9°C over the second future time period

The average min temperature in the selected area is projected to exceed the historical average by

1.8°C over the first future time period
2.9°C over the second future time period

The average precipitation in the selected area is projected to the historical average by

1.8% over the first future time period
2.9% over the second future time period

(Note that precipitation projections vary widely among models)

The average potential evapotranspiration in the selected area is projected to the historical average by

% over the first future time period
% over the second future time period

The average vapor pressure in the selected area is projected to the historical average by

1.8 Pascals (Pa) over the first future time period
2.9 Pascals (Pa) over the second future time period

▼ Scroll to see more ▼


The Climate Console is a web mapping application designed for exploring climate projections and simulated impacts for a specified area of interest.

Instructions for Use:

  1. Select a reporting units layer from the list provided in the upper left hand side of the map. Selecting "User Defined (1km)" will allow you to define an arbitrary area based on a 1km grid.
  2. Select a feature or set of features using the selection tools provided, or simply click on a feature of interest
  3. The area weighted averages for the climate variables and EEMS model outputs for the selected area will appear in the charts on the right hand side of the screen. You can choose to plot a different climate variable by selecting the variable from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click a data point on the chart to display the corresponding dataset used to generate the plotted value. Click the point again to remove the dataset from the map.

Instructional Video:

Click on the play button below to view an instructional video on the California Climate Console. While this video was created for the California Climate Console, and not the CONUS Climate Console, there is a significant amount of overlap between the two applications. Note, however, that there are some differences between the two applications, and certain features available in one application may not be available in the other. The video will open in a popup.


Climate refers to the statistical properties of weather over periods ranging from months to decades or more, and includes average conditions, and the range of variability, as well as the frequency of extreme events (definition borrowed from Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions).

A climate trend is a progressive change in the state of the climate based on weather statistics evaluated over long periods, typically of at least 30 years (definition borrowed from Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions).

To learn more about the differences between climate and weather, click on the play button below.

For more information on climate models use the following link to a presentation created by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions: http://pics.uvic.ca/insights/module1_lesson4/player.html.

Historical Climate Data (PRISM)

Climate data used for the historical period (1981-2010) correspond to the LT71m PRISM (Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model) 2.5 arc-minute spatial climate dataset for the Conterminous United States (Daly et al. 2008).

The LT71m PRISM dataset is a gridded time series of monthly-modeled values for precipitation (rain + melted snow), maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures. It uses data from station networks that have at least some stations with ≥ 20 years of observed data. To create a grid with PRISM, Daly et al. (2008) use the climatologically-aided interpolation (CAI) method with 1971-2000 monthly climatologies.

Future Climate Projections (MACA)

For future climate projections, we selected 20 climate models, either General Circulation Models (GCMs) or Earth System Models (ESMs), (Table 1) from the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5; Taylor et al. 2012).

Table 1 List of models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) used for the analysis.

Model Name Model Institution
BCC-CSM1.1 Beijing Climate Center Climate System Model
BCC-CSM1.1m Beijing Climate Center Climate System Model
BNUESM College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University
CanESM2 Second Generation Canadian Earth System Model
CCSM4 Community Climate System Model version 4
CNRM.CM5 Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques Coupled Global Climate Model, version 5.1
CSIRO-Mk3.6.0 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in collaboration with the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence
GFDL-ESM2G Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
GFDL-ESM2M Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
HadGEM2-CC3365 Met Office Hadley Centre (additional HadGEM2-ES realizations contributed by Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais)
HadGEM2-ES3365 Met Office Hadley Centre (additional HadGEM2-ES realizations contributed by Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais)
INM-CM4 Institute for Numerical Mathematics
IPSL-CM5A-LR Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace
IPSL-CM5A-MR Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace
IPSL-CM5B-LR Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace
MIROC5 Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, version 5
MIROC-ESM Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (The University of Tokyo), and National Institute for Environmental Studies
MIROC-ESM-CHEM Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (The University of Tokyo), and National Institute for Environmental Studies
MRI-CGCM3 Meteorological Research Institute
NorESM1-M Norwegian Climate Centre

The 20 GCM/ESMs capture a wide range of projected changes in both average annual temperature and precipitation under the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5; Meinshausen et al. 2011, van Vuuren et al. 2011). RCP8.5 is a highly energy-intensive scenario that results from high population growth and a moderate rate of technology development without establishment of climate change policies.

We chose ten ten-year periods to represent the projected futures. Each of the climate model projections were averaged over those periods.

The climate data used for the future projections were provided by the Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) project (Abatzoglou, Brown, 2011). MACA is a statistical downscaling method which utilizes a training dataset (i.e. a meteorological observation dataset) to remove historical biases and match spatial patterns in climate model output.

Calculation of Climate Variables

Climate variable values (tmax, tmin, and prec) were calculated as means of annual average temperatures and of annual total precipitation for each time period.

Potential evapotranspiration (PET), defined as the amount of water transpired by a plant given an adequate amount of water in the soil profile (Penman 1948), was also calculated for historical and future periods using the Linacre method for estimating evaporation rates (Linacre 1977).

The delta or change values between historic and future for minimum and maximum temperature were calculated by subtracting historical values from future values. However, for precipitation, change was calculated as a percent change from the historical (((future-historical) / historical) * 100).

The mean dewpoint temp, defined as the temperature to which air must be cooled in order to reach saturation, was obtained from the MACA dataset and converted to saturation vapor pressure (vpr) using the August-Roche-Magnus approximation of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation (Lawrence 2005). VPR can be defined as the partial pressure of water vapor present in the air and determines how much water vapor can be held in the air. VPR is useful in determining relative humidity which in part determines how much ecological water can be lost to the atmosphere.

Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)

Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) describe future concentrations and emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and land-use change, created by four different international teams using different sets of assumptions. The word ‘representative’ means that each RCP is only one of many possible scenarios found in the literature. The term ‘concentration’ is used because atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are the primary simulation product rather than emissions. RCPs are tagged for their radiative forcing target level for year 2100. RCP2.6 is a stringent mitigation scenario that aims to keep global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures, with radiative forcing peaks near 3 W/m2 before 2100 and then declines. RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 are two intermediate stabilization scenarios in which radiative forcing is stabilized at approximately 4.5 W/m2 and 6.0 W/m2 after 2100. RCP8.5 (used here) is a scenario with high greenhouse gas emissions where radiative forcing reaches >8.5 W/m2 by 2100 and continues to rise for some time. (Van Vuuren et al. 2011; Stocker et al. 2013)

Post Processing

The zonal means for each climate dataset was calculated for each of the reporting units and stored in a spatial database which can then be queried against using the tools provided on the left hand side of the map or by simply clicking on a feature of interest. This allows the user to examine future climate projections and climate change impacts within one or more administrative units or ecological boundaries of interest.

Weather Forecast:

Weather is different from climate. "A weather forecast refers to a prediction about specific atmospheric conditions expected for a location in the short-term future (hours to days)." [definition from the USGCRP Climate Literacy Guide at http://bit.ly/2bVWDH4]

To learn about the differences between climate and weather, click on the play button below.

The near-term weather forecast data presented in the climate console streams directly from the following forecast distribution files generated by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center:


The data in these files represent probability of exceedance values. The field headers (98, 95, 90 ,80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5, 2) indicate the probability that the actual temperature or precipitation level during the three month period expressed by the LEAD time will be greater than the stated value within the specified climate division (CD). Click here for complete field descriptions and additional information on the forecast distribution files above.

The historical means and forecast means displayed in the climate console come directly from the values in the climatological mean field (C MEAN) and the forecast mean field (F MEAN), respectively. The forecast mean corresponds to the 50% probability of exceedance value. These data are automatically updated on the third Thursday of each month (Barnston et al. 2000).

Climate Impacts:

The climate impacts data consists of decadal means (modes in the case of vtype_agg) of variables output by MC2 runs of the ConUS, at 2.5 arc-minute resolution, using MACA downscaled data for 20 GCMs. They use rcp 8.5, and values represent potential vegetation without fire-suppression.

Because the model runs used historical (PRISM) climate through 2014, the value for the first decade (2011-2020) is a combination of the final 4 years of the run using PRISM data, and the first 6 years of the run using MACA-downscaled data. Since the future runs end in 2099, the final decade is a mean (mode) of 9 years (2091-2099) rather than 10 as for the other decades. Time values for each step in the charts represent the beginning of each decade.

The fine-grained vegetation classes from MC2 were simplified before the 10-year modes were calculated. The vegetation classes are:

1: Tundra
2: Taiga tundra
3: Conifer forest
4: Cool mixed forest
5: Deciduous forest
6: Warm mixed forest
7: Tropical broadleaf forest
8: Woodland/Savanna
9: Shrubland/Woodland
10: Grassland
11: Arid land

Decadal means of the following MC2 variables are made available:

1. net biological production (NBP) (g C m-2 y-1) which corresponds to primary production minus soil respiration and minus harvest (agriculture or logging) and material lost through fire emission

2. total ecosystem carbon (g C m-2) including both herbaceous and woody plant material as well as soil carbon

3. forest carbon (g C m-2) including leaves, branches and boles, roots

4. dead aboveground carbon (g C m-2) corresponding to litter

5. biomass consumed by fire and emitted as gaseous emissions

6. stream flow including surface runoff and water that percolated through the soil profile without being evaporated or taken up by plant roots

7. climatic water deficit (CWD) which corresponds to the difference between potential and actual evapotranspiration.

The version of MC2 that was used here uses the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) runoff curve method ( http://bit.ly/2aawHpu)

Postprocessing of the MC2 data involved projecting each dataset to Albers Equal Area (USGS Contiguous US version) and calculating the zonal mean (for continuous variables) or area tabulation (for vegetation class) for a select set of reporting units using ArcGIS 10.3.


Abatzoglou, J.T., and T.J. Brown. 2012, A Comparison of Statistical Downscaling Methods Suited for Wildfire Applications, International Journal of Climatology, 32: 772-780

Arora, V.K., Scinocca, J.F., Boer, G.J., Christian, J.R., Denman, K.L., Flato, G.M. et al. (2011). Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases. Geophys Res Lett, 38, L05805, doi: 10.1029/2010GL046270.

Barnston, A.G., He Y., Unger D. (2000) A forecast product that maximizes utility for state of the art seasonal climate prediction. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 81:1271-1279.

Daly, C., Halbleib, M., Smith, J.I., Gibson, W.P., Doggett, M.K., Taylor, G.H. et al. (2008). Physiographically sensitive mapping of climatological temperature and precipitation across the conterminous United States. Int J Climatol, 28, 2031-2064.

Daly, C., R.P. Neilson, and D.L. Phillips. 1994. A statistical-topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. J. Appl. Meteor., 33, 140-158.

ESRI (2014). ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10. Available at: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html - /ESRI_ASCII_raster_format/009t0000000z000000/ Last accessed 3/25/15 2015.

Feng, S. & Fu, Q. (2013). Expansion of global drylands under a warming climate. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 14637-14665.

Lawrence MG 2005. The Relationship between Relative Humidity and the Dewpoint Temperature in Moist Air: A Simple Conversion and Applications. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86 225-233.

Linacre, Edward T (1977). A simple formula for estimating evaporation rates in various climates, using temperature data alone. Agricultural Meteorology, 6, 409-424.

Meinshausen, M., Smith, S.J., Calvin, K., Daniel, J.S., Kainuma, M.L.T., Lamarque, J.F. et al. (2011). The RCP greenhouse gas concentrations and their extensions from 1765 to 2300. Clim Change, 109, 213-241.

Miller, D.A. & White, R.A. (1998). A conterminous United States multi-layer soil characteristic dataset for regional climate and hydrology modeling. Earth Interac, 2, 1-26.

Penman, H.L. 1948. Natural evaporation from open water, bare soil and grass. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A193: 120-146.

Rew, R.K., Davis, G.P., Emmerson, S. & Davies, H. (1997). NetCDF User's Guide for C, An Interface for Data Access, Version 3.

Scoccimarro, E., Gualdi, S., Bellucci, A., Sanna, A., Fogli, P.G., Manzini, E. et al. (2011). Effects of Tropical Cyclones on Ocean Heat Transport in a High-Resolution Coupled General Circulation Model. J. Clim., 24, 4368-4384.

Stocker, T. F., D. Qin, G. K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex, and P. M. Midgley. (2013) Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Intergovernmental panel on climate change, working group I contribution to the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5). (http://www.epa-pictaural.com/ctr/m/cc/transcript/stocker.pdf)

Taylor, K.E., Stouffer, R.J. & Meehl, G.A. (2012). An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93, 485-498.

UNIDATA (2015). Network Common Data Form (NetCDF). Available at: http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/netcdf/ Last accessed 3/25/15.

Van Vuuren, D.P., Edmonds, J., Kainuma, M., Riahi, K., Thomson, A., Hibbard, K., Hurtt, G.C., Kram, T., Krey, V., Lamarque, J.F. and T. Masui. (2011) The representative concentration pathways: an overview. Climatic change, 109: 5-31.

Wischmeier, W.H. & Smith, D.D. (1978). Predicting rainfall erosion losses - A guide to conservation planning, United States Department of Agriculture, Science and Education Administration. No. 537. p. 85.

Three Month Forecast in Climate Division

Historical Mean
Show on Map
*Historical Period: 1971-2000
About the weather data

One Year Forecast at a Glance

Climate Impacts data are not available for the selected reporting units and/or more than one feature has been selected in the map (the climate impacts tab currently only supports single feature selection)

Select a Climate Model |
Vegetation Composition
Carbon, Fire, and Water
Values in the chart above represent the mean averages calculated across the selected reporting unit. About the climate impacts data
Data SetSizeFormatinfoDownload
Climate Data3.05GBNetCDF
Climate Impacts2.05GBNetCDF
Weather (temp)164KBText
Weather (precip)173KBText