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National forest climate change maps: Your guide to the future

Date: October 17, 2017

Providing information to support National Forest System managers


View of the National Forest climate change maps website.
View of the National Forest climate change maps website.

Forested and mountainous locations, such as national forests, tend to receive more precipitation than adjacent non-forested or low-lying areas. However the precise contributions of National Forest System lands to regional streamflow volumes has been largely unknown. New modeling work illustrates the importance of water yield from National Forest System land to water quantity and quality through visual and textual presentations of each forest’s contributions to regional streamflow. 

Research Information

Climate change is projected to alter the flow regimes of streams and rivers, with consequences for physical processes, aquatic organisms, and water resource management. To study these hydrologic changes, the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station has developed a database of flow metrics for streams in the western United States under historical conditions and climate change scenarios. Based on daily simulations of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model and the National Hydrography Dataset, the National Forest Climate Change Maps provide modeled flow metrics for streams in major river basins in the western United States. Historical (1977-2006) and future datasets are also available. 

Key Findings

  • Climate-flow forecast map products are available for all western forests. 

  • Partial forecasts are available for eastern forests.

Related Documents and Information

Featured Publications

Wenger, Seth J. ; Luce, Charles H. ; Hamlet, Alan F. ; Isaak, Daniel J. ; Neville, Helen M. , 2010

Principal Investigators: 
External Partners: 
University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group
University of Idaho (Abigail Lute, co-PI)
University of Georgia (Dr. Seth Wenger, co-PI)
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)
Trout Unlimited
Research Location: 
National Forests of the United States