With water stressors on the rise, understanding and protecting water supplies is more important than ever. Now, a team of researchers from Indiana University has created a new climate change data portal to help Indianans understand the effects that climate change could have on the Wabash River Basin, Indiana’s largest watershed.
The project, called Future Water and developed under IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute, allows users to view projections of the basin under a range of climate change scenarios. Users can view specific forecasts for smaller watersheds, change the time period of the projection and change the emission scenario being projected.
Once the time period, emission scenario and watershed are selected in Future Data, users can view the results as maps and graphs. More research-inclined users are even able to download the underlying data, allowing them to conduct analyses themselves.
“By making Future Water data publicly available and accessible, we endeavor to change the way that science results are communicated and serve society,” said Chen Zhu, the IU professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who led the project, in an IU news release. “We’re giving everyone the opportunity to build on our work and address pressing problems in water and land management. Furthermore, in alignment with ERI’s mission to prepare Indiana for environmental change, we hope that experts and government leaders in the state will use these data as a resource to plan for the future.”
The regional watershed model required integration of an ensemble of climate models, hydrological modeling software and a wide range of datasets covering the land and water characteristics of the Wabash River Basin. To accomplish this, the research team turned to IU’s Big Red supercomputers. With the IU supercomputer, Big Red 200, newly dedicated, the team is looking forward to further improvements in performance. Big Red 200, a Cray Shasta system with a peak performance of 5.9 petaflops, is replacing the Big Red II system, which delivered 597 teraflops (1 petaflops peak) performance.
Future Water comes at a time when climate scientists are anticipating that Indiana will face hotter days, wetter springs and winters and more extreme weather events. Researchers are also hoping to apply Future Water to a number of issues outside of water management, including agriculture, land use and species migration.
“It’s one challenge to create all the data; it’s another challenge to use it,” said Marlon Pierce, director of IU’s Cyberinfrastructure Integration Research Center. “Creating science gateways like that of Future Water, and with the support of the National Science Foundation-funded Science Gateways Community Institute, makes it easier for researchers to build on one another’s work and have a greater impact on society.”
To access the Future Water data portal, click here.
To read the Indiana University release discussing this news, click here.
Header image of the Future Water web portal