Climate Change and...

Fast Facts

Topic

Climate Impacts, Hydrology

Purpose

To compile and distribute geospatial information on stream temperatures across the Northwest U.S., and to provide modeled historic stream temperatures. Models of future climate scenarios are in development.

Output

Two main products are available: 1) stream temperature data summaries available as Excel spreadsheets, along with maps of temperature data collection sites and 2) modeled stream temperature maps for historic scenarios, available on the website or as downloadable shapefiles for use in ArcMap. Users can also view the accuracy of the temperature model results.

Developed by

Led by USFS scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station with collaborators from CSIRO, Trout Unlimited, NOAA, and USGS. Over 60 organizations contributed data to the effort.

Format

Online database, geospatial data layers, and publications

Geography

Northwestern U.S. (ID, MT, WY, OR, WA), FS Regions 1,2,4 and 6.

Scale (range)

Individual stream to regional. Stream temperature climate scenarios are developed at 1-km resolutions and temperature information may be aggregated to higher levels.

Training Requirement

1 (on a scale of 1-3). Minimal time investment, < 2 hours

Status

Initial temperature models and historic climate scenarios are released for central Idaho. Releases are planned for other parts of the Northwest in 2013 and 2014.

Potential Applications

Facilitating better climate vulnerability assessments for aquatic species, enabling coordinated management planning and monitoring efforts, improving the description of habitat quality for aquatic species, stimulating new stream research, communicating with the public about climate effects on stream habitat and fish species.

Caveats, Restrictions

Currently, raw temperature data and modeled temperature data for historic climate scenarios are available. Modeled temperature data for future climate scenarios are not yet posted. Information on assumptions and procedures are available on the NorWeST website, including geospatial metadata, data processing procedures, and modeling procedures for climate scenarios. Metadata for basic stream temperature datasets are not available online.

NorWeST Stream Temperature

Overview & Applicability

Significant amounts of stream temperature data have been collected during the last two decades, but strategic coordination of these collection efforts within and among agencies has been lacking. This tool aggregates steam temperature data from the Northwestern U.S. into a stream  temperature database, and uses the data to develop stream temperature models. The models are being used to create a consistent set of historic (and eventually future) temperature scenarios for all 350,000 stream kilometers across the project area (ID, MT, WY, OR, WA).

The first temperature models and climate scenarios have been developed for streams in the Salmon and Clearwater river basins, encompassing approximately 40,000 stream kilometers in central Idaho. Stream temperature data organization and model development are ongoing for the remainder of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, with anticipated completion dates by mid-2013. Stream temperature data for Oregon and Washington will be addressed through the remainder of 2013 and 2014. Regular project timeline updates are posted to the NorWeST website. At project completion, consistent sets of stream temperature-climate scenarios will exist for 52 national forests.

A primary goal of this project is to provide an accurate assessment and description of historical and future stream temperatures and thermal habitat distributions for sensitive aquatic species. This could enable planning and monitoring efforts to be undertaken more efficiently and with greater confidence across the Northwest U.S.

History

This project was funded by the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative and involved development of an integrated regional database compiled from more than 60 resource agencies and consisting of  >45,000,000 hourly temperature recordings at >15,000 unique stream sites. The effort was led by USFS scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station Boise Aquatics Lab with collaborators from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Trout Unlimited, NOAA, and USGS.

Inputs and outputs

Input
Users only need to know the geographic locations where they require data. NorWeST data processing units typically consist of one or more USGS HUC3s (6-digit HUC’s). See more on HUCs.
 
Output
Two main outputs are available:

  1. Stream temperature data summaries. These are available as downloadable Excel spreadsheets. Information on the locations of the stream temperature measurements are also available through online maps and downloadable geospatial data.
  2. Modeled stream temperatures for historic climate scenarios for all streams in the completed river basins (central Idaho). These are available as online maps and as downloadable shapefiles for display in ArcMap. For each climate scenario, users can also see information on the accuracy of temperature model results.

Restrictions and limitations

Currently, raw temperature data and modeled temperature data for historic climate scenarios are available. Modeled temperature data for future climate scenarios are not yet posted. Information on other assumptions and procedures are available on the NorWeST website, including  geospatial metadata, data processing procedures, and modeling procedures for climate scenarios. Metadata for basic stream temperature datasets are not available online.

Accessing the tool and additional information.

Relevant publications include:


bottom right