In the fall of 2015, CIRC embarked on an ambitious new effort: developing a series of free, online services and applications that will sort through, sift, systematize, classify, catalog, and otherwise deal with and declutter the volumes of data that has resulted from our research. We are calling this effort Climate Tools.

The goal of Climate Tools is simple: we want to aid our fellow Pacific Northwest residents as they incorporate climate information—from short-term climate forecasting (months) to long-term climate projections (decades)—into adaptation and resource management strategies designed to keep our region’s wildernesses, communities, and businesses resilient and flexible under the changes we face now and into the future.   


Northwest Climate Toolbox

The Northwest Climate Toolbox transforms raw climatological, meteorological, and hydrological information into a series of easy-to-navigate tools that allow users to plug in their location on a map and visualize data for that location. Tools in the Toolbox include visualizations of historical data (going back decades); short-term, seasonal forecasts (on the order of months); and long-term, future projections (on the order of decades to the year 2100). Still more tools track wildfire danger and track how plant growing zones are expected to shift as the climate warms.

Designed with farmers as well as forest and water managers in mind, the Toolbox is intended to help the Pacific Northwest respond to and prepare for potentially costly impacts to its agriculture and natural resources both today and under future climate change.

The Toolbox is a joint effort between CIRC and our friends and colleagues at the Northwest Knowledge Network, USDA Northwest Climate Hub, US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and National Integrated Drought Information System


Integrated Scenarios

Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northwest Environment (Integrated Scenarios) employs the latest climate science to understand what the Pacific Northwest will look like under climate change throughout this century. Results from the project are available through a series of free, web-based tools that allow users to visualize changes in climate, hydrology, and vegetation across the Pacific Northwest’s many and varied landscape. Integrated Scenarios data may also be downloaded for free online. The project is a joint venture between CIRC, the Conservation Biology Institute, and the Northwest Climate Science Center.


Climate Engine

A partnership between Google, the Desert Research Institute, and CIRC researchers at the University of Idaho, Climate Engine is a free web-based application that allows users to intuitively interact with high-resolution climate and remotely sensed data. Climate Engine leverages the technology behind the Google Earth Engine cloud-computing platform. Similar to Google Earth and Google Maps, Climate Engine’s users can ‘zoom in’ on a given locale. Once there, users can examine various climate factors, including differing measures of precipitation and temperature, drought, and wildfire risk. Climate Engine provides near real-time calculations allowing monitoring and early warning of climate impacts. Climate Engine was developed in response to the White House Climate Data Initiative


UW Pacific Northwest Drought Monitor

The work of CIRC hydrologists at the University of Washington, the UW Pacific Northwest Drought Monitor tracks moisture levels across the Northwest. Updated daily, the Monitor processes weather observations into computer models that track soil moisture and water stored as snow. The results of these computer simulations are combined into what’s called the total moisture percentile (TMP). TMP combines measures of current moisture conditions compared to past conditions for the same time of year. A percentile of 50 percent signifies that half of the previous years were drier for that date and half were wetter. A percentile of 90 percent implies wet conditions (9 out of 10 years were drier) and 10 percent implies dry conditions (1 out of 10 years was drier). Data from the Monitor are currently being used in the US Drought Monitor, a comprehensive national drought monitoring effort and online climate tool.


Climate Data Mining

CIRC’s Data Mining team is currently collecting data from federal, state, and municipal repositories and then sifting through that information using sophisticated data mining techniques empowered by machine learning. The goal is to discover useful patterns and relationships and turn them into science that can be put to work for our fellow Pacific Northwest community members as we plan for climate change. The Data Mining team is creating predictive models and what we’re calling decision support tools, that is tools that will aid regional decision makers from municipal utilities to farmers and ranchers, as they respond to climate change and its potential hazards in our region. Our Data Mining effort is being created in close partnership with the Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture project (REACCH), and the Northwest Knowledge Network (NKN).


Tribal Climate Change Funding Guide

An effort of the Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Project, the Tribal Climate Change Funding Guide assists Pacific Northwest American Indian tribes as they respond to climate change’s impacts on their cultural and natural resources. From raging forest fires and rising atmospheric temperatures that threaten traditionally gathered plants to warming stream temperatures further endangering already endangered salmon, Pacific Northwest tribal members’ cultures, identities, and sovereign treaty rights are threatened by climate change. 

The Tribal Climate Change Funding Guide is designed to help tribal members plan for these impacts by providing them with up-to-date information on everything from climate scientists working in the Pacific Northwest to federal and state grants as they become available.