Screen capture from the Climate Explorer

Climate Explorer—Visualize Climate Data in Maps and Graphs

Explore climate projections or compare sets of map layers related to topics in the Climate Resilience Toolkit. Learn how to control graph and map displays and interpret visualizations in the application.

The Climate Explorer is a research application built to support the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. The legacy version has been available on this site since November 2014. In July 2016, we released a new version with maps and graphs of climate projections for every county in the contiguous United States. In May 2018, we released a newly expanded and enhanced version of the tool.

About the Climate Explorer

The Climate Explorer offers graphs, maps, and data downloads of observed and projected climate variables for every county in the contiguous United States. The tool shows projected conditions for two possible futures: one in which humans make a moderate attempt to reduce global emissions of heat-trapping gases, and one in which human emissions of heat-trapping gases continues increasing through 2100. You can learn more about the data displayed in the Climate Explorer in the About text and Definitions and FAQs within the application.

The Climate Explorer has three main sections: Select a location, View by variable, and Weather and Tidal Stations. Access each option through the application's main menu.

Select a location

Enter a county, city, or zip code to access graphs and maps for counties and county-equivalents in the contiguous United States. NOTE: The Climate Explorer team is actively working to obtain and process projection data for Alaska and Hawai'i. We plan to add information for these areas as soon as possible).

Click options in the left pane to select climate variables of interest. Toggle between viewing the chart and map by clicking the vertical bar on the right side of graphs or the left side of maps.

For explanations of the chart elements, click How to Read This in the upper right corner. This initiates a "tour" of the graph's main elements. Click NEXT to continue through all stops on the tour; click CLOSE when you are done with the tour. All the climate projection graphs are customizable: you can adjust the endpoints of the timeline to zoom to a specific period; you can also click and drag the Y axis to re-center the graphed data in the display.

To save an image of your customized graph, click the image download button in the upper right to save a .png file. We encourage you to add the name of the county to the filename or image in case you want to go back to the interactive graph for the same county. You can also download comma-separated value (.csv) files of observed, historical modeled, and projected modeled data for any county; the names of downloaded .csv files begin with a unique five-digit FIPS county code (FIPS = Federal Information Processing Standard).

View by variable

Access maps showing past observations and future projections for eight different climate variables: Mean Daily Maximum Temperature, Mean Daily Minimum Temperature, Days With Max Above 95°F, Days With Min Below 32°F, Precipitation, Mean Daily Precipitation, Days of Precipitation Above 1 Inch, Heating Degree Days, and Cooling Degree Days.

The interface offers a way to select a decade from the 1950s to the 2090s. For future decades, you can slide an image swiper back and forth to compare conditions projected for two plausible scenarios: one scenario in which we experience continually increasing emissions of heat-trapping gases—labeled "higher emissions" in the Climate Explorer—and another scenario in which humans make a moderate effort to reduce emissions—labeled "lower emissions" in the application. For more information about future scenarios, see the list of Definitions and FAQs within the Climate Explorer.

Weather and Tidal Stations

Three types of station analyses are available: Daily vs. Climate, Thresholds, and Tidal Stations.

Daily vs. Climate show graphs of data from individual observing stations that let you compare daily temperatures and precipitation (weather) totals to long-term averages (climate). The graphs show when and by how much daily conditions differ from Climate Normals, values that are calculated from observations over the previous three decades.

Thresholds let you select a station and set a threshold value for temperature or precipitation. The resulting graph shows how often your selected threshold value was exceeded per year in the historical record.

Days with High-tide Flooding reports the number of days per year when local sea level rises above the identified threshold for flooding—without storm surge or riverine flooding.

Last modified
21 June 2018 - 11:16am