Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) Tools and Datasets
Important Notice for Using Climate Projections
Climate projections can be useful for making decisions about the future, but the limitations of climate models make it easy to misinterpret or misuse their results. Be aware that:
- Climate projections are not predictions. Projections are based on assumptions about future human emissions of greenhouse gases and other policy choices.
- Climate projections do not attempt to predict the timing of meteorological events such as storms, droughts, or El Niños. The location and timing of future extreme weather events cannot be deduced from climate model projections.
- Projections vary from model to model: the best projection dataset for one location and purpose may not be the best for other situations. Considering a range of projections may help you gain a more complete picture of potential future risks.
- The increased spatial resolution of statistically downscaled projections available for temperature and precipitation may not be available for all parameters. In addition, increased resolution does not necessarily equate to greater fidelity or reliability.
For decisions involving the use of climate model projections, you may want to consider seeking expertise.
Climate change and land use change are global drivers of environmental change—impact assessments frequently demonstrate that interactions between climate and land use can create serious challenges for aquatic ecosystems, water quality, and air quality. The Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) project, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Global Change Research Program, develops scenarios that are used by climate change modelers to develop projections. ICLUS scenarios are broadly consistent with global-scale, peer-reviewed storylines of population growth and economic development.
A part of the ICLUS project, this Geographic Information System (GIS) tool—designed for ArcGIS users—can generate scenarios of housing density changes and calculate impervious surface cover for the conterminous United States. This tool allows users to:
- Customize housing density patterns by altering household size and travel time assumptions.
- Subset county-level population projections by age, ethnicity, and gender.
- Generate a map of estimated impervious surface based on a housing density map.
The ICLUS Tools for ArcGIS suite includes the ICLUS User’s Guide, which describes the GIS tools available to generate these scenarios. The data (available for download from the website in Ersi file formats) consists of five population scenarios by county for the conterminous United States and are available in five-year increments from 2000 to 2100.