Monthly Water Balance Model Futures Portal

Created: 10/17/2017 - Updated: 2/27/2020


Simulations of future climate suggest profiles of temperature and precipitation may differ significantly from those in the past. Future changes in climate, specifically changes in temperature, and the type, timing, and distribution of precipitation may lead to changes in the hydrologic cycle. As such, natural resource managers are in need of tools that can provide estimates of key components of the hydrologic cycle, uncertainty associated with the estimates, and limitations associated with the climate data used to estimate these components. To help address this need, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Monthly Water Balance Model Futures Portal ( is a user friendly interface that summarizes meteorological and hydrologic variables for historical and simulated future conditions across the continental United States (CONUS).

The portal is the end product of several related products that work together to bring information to the user. Climate data were summarized for hydrologic response units (HRUs), which are land surface units that contribute runoff to the stream network and are used to simulate hydrologic processes across the CONUS with the monthly water balance model (MWBM). MWBM input and output variables were organized into the Monthly Water Balance Model Futures database. A Web Feature Service (WFS) was built on top of the hydrographic features. The portal was then constructed on top of the WFS to take user-specified data request (such as geographic location, period of record, and variable of interest), retrieve the specified data from the Monthly Water Balance Model Futures database, and generate graphs and summary reports back to the user. The portal provides summaries for seven different hydrologic and meteorologic variables (actual evapotranspiration, atmospheric temperature, potential evapotranspiration, precipitation, runoff, snow water equivalent, and streamflow).


The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.