A new publication in Environmental Modeling and Software (Whitney et al. 2023) describes a visualization tool for water managers and other stakeholders to explore climate change and forest disturbance modeling scenarios in the Colorado River. Congratulations to authors associated with the Center for Hydrologic Innovations!
- Abstract: Growing challenges of climate change require urgent shifts in scientific research to inform environmental decision-making. In the context of water management of the Colorado River Basin (CRB), the impacts of intensifying forest disturbances under climate change are not well understood but expected to have major consequences. To address this, we developed a web-based tool, CRB-Scenario-Explorer, that provides interactive visual assessments of modelled future CRB hydrology scenarios and detailed documentation of our approach to support mindful interpretations. Water manager feedback and user-experience principles were incorporated to achieve a user-centered design. Stakeholders confirmed the effectiveness of the web-based tool in assisting with the discovery that future CRB hydrology appears more sensitive to climate uncertainty than forest disturbances, which can be used to brief leaders and spark discourse around risk management. CRB-Scenario-Explorer thus exemplifies a novel and effective method to increase the accessibility, applicability, and transparency of environmental science research.