Tutorial 1: EXPLORE by locale

Preparing for climate change when planning or management is focused on a specific place can involve asking the question: For this location, which conditions are likely to change first because of climate change?


I am a water resource manager, and I am concerned about hydrology in the Snohomish watershed.  Climate change could alter runoff patterns, leading to increasing or decreasing runoff at different times of the year, which could affect water availability and therefore water supply. I want to see when climate change could start having a significant impact on specific aspects of runoff in the Snohomish watershed.

Variables of interest

First I need to identify the variables in the tool that will help answer my question. The Time of Emergence tool provides results for 35 types of variables (158 specific variables) listed in the Read section under Climate Variables. The available runoff-related variables are:

Runoff, annual

Runoff, for each month of the year

Highest spring runoff date

Coefficient of variation of runoff, annual [standard deviation of annual runoff divided by annual mean]

Using the Time of Emergence tool

To answer my question -- When could climate change start having a significant impact on specific aspects of runoff in the Snohomish watershed? -- I need to identify the Snohomish as my location of interest, choose the specific variables I'd like to explore and select analytical parameters (assumptions) that fit my risk tolerance.

Initiate the place-based query:

  • Go to EXPLORE.
  • Select I want to focus on which type of changes could occur first (in a specific locale).
  • To choose location of interest, select Watershed (8-digit/4th-level HUC).
  • Select WA - Snohomish (17110011).
  • Click Next.

Choose specific variables to explore:

  • To simplify the list of available variables for ease of selection, under (1) Filter variables, select Theme: Hydrologic.
  • Click Filter.
  • To choose your specific variables of interest, under (2) Select one or more variables, hold down the “control” or “command” key to select the runoff-related variables: Runoff, annual; Runoff, Jan-Dec; Highest spring runoff date; Coefficient of variation of runoff, annual.