You are here

National forest climate change maps: your guide to the future

April, 2017

The Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Office of Sustainability and Climate developed the National Forest Climate Change Maps project to provide climate change information at a scale relevant to decision making and to meet the needs of national forest managers. The maps use state-of-the-art science and are available for every national forest in the United States with relevant data coverage.

Access the Climate Map Exporter tool


You can use this tool to export a map of different climate variables for each Forest Service Region and unit in the country. Detailed metadata on all these datasets can be accessed here. Data and metadata for each of these data layers can also be downloaded from the Raster Data Warehouse. Additionally, the Climate By Forest tool provides charts of historical and projected changes over time, and of the variation between different climate models, for all forests in the contiguous United States.




Climate data for the contiguous U.S. were developed using MACAv2METDATA monthly temperature and precipitation data. Historical (1975–2005) and future (2071–2090, RCP 8.5) climate data are ensemble mean values across 20 global climate models from the CMIP5 experiment (Taylor et al. 2012), downscaled to a 4 km grid. For more information on the downscaling method and to access the input data, see Abatzoglou and Brown, 2012 and the MACA project page

These temperature and precipitation data were used to create snow maps using models developed by Luce et al. 2014, based on SNOTEL and TopoWx data.

Temperature and precipitation maps for the state of Alaska use datasets developed by SNAP (the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning). These were created using different global circulation models and downscaling methods than those used in the other maps. While they cover the same time periods, and represent the best available science for each portion of the country, caution should be used when directly comparing values between Alaska and the contiguous United States. 

Currently the maps available from this application include:

  • Temperature: average annual, summer (June–August), and winter (November–March) temperatures, in Celsius, for the continental United States.
  • Precipitation: total annual, summer, and winter precipitation, in millimeters, for the continental United States.
  • Snow Water Equivalent: the amount of water contained in the snowpack on April 1, in millimeters, for the contiguous United States.
  • Snow Residence Time: the average length of time that snow will remain on the ground, in days, for the contiguous United States.

For questions about the data, contact Charles Luce. For questions or comments about the maps and map exporter application, please contact Nathan Walker.




Looking for the old National Forest Climate Change Maps? An archived version of this page with the previous versions of all of these maps is available here.

Project Contact: 

Nathan Walker - Office of Sustainability & Climate

Research Staff: