2011 California Basin Characterization Model (BCM) Downscaled Climate and Hydrology 30-year Summaries

Commons Hosting
Climate Commons Hosting Status: 
Not applicable
Other Online Access: 

This dataset has been superseded by a newer version. Please see

Discussion Forum
Basic Information
There is a newer version of this dataset which would generally be preferable for new work.

The California Basin Characterization Model (BCM) dataset provides historical and projected climate and hydrologic surfaces for the state at a 270 meter resolution. The historical data is based on 4 kilometer PRISM data, and the projected climate surfaces are based on the A2 and B1 scenarios of the PCM and GFDL GCMs. The BCM approach uses a regional water balance model based on high resolution downscaled precipitation and temperature as well as elevation, geology, and soils to produce surfaces for a wide range of variables. These variables include maximum temperature, minimum temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, runoff, recharge, climatic water deficit, actual evapotranspiration, sublimation, soil water storage, snowfall, snowpack, snowmelt, and excess water. Data is distributed as 30-year monthly summaries and 30-year water year summaries, with month-by-month data for each year available by special request.

For more information please see: Featured Dataset: The California Basin Characterization Model.

You can also watch a 3-minute video demonstrating how to get access to this data., and talk with the data providers on the BCM Dataset's Forum.

Data Disclaimer: The data are released on the condition that neither the USGS nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from their authorized or unauthorized use. Although the data have been subjected to rigorous review and are substantially complete, the USGS reserves the right to revise the data pursuant to further analysis and review. Furthermore, the data are released on the condition that neither the USGS nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from their authorized or unauthorized use. Limitations of use: The user of this data should be aware that these model outputs are intended for watershed-scale evaluation. Use of the data for analyses at a scale smaller than the planning watershed is not intended and could yield misleading results.
Flint, Lorraine E., Alan L. Flint
Thorne, James H., Ryan Boynton
United States Geological Survey
Data Type:
Spatial Resolution: 
Temporal Coverage: 
Date Issued: 

Selected data layers can be downloaded using the Commons Hosting links above. Full copies of the data (multiple terabytes) are currently being distributed via copying onto disk drives by Jim Thorne ( and Ryan Boynton ( of the Information Center for the Environment, UC Davis.

Parameters / Choices
A dataset often contains many geodata layers representing the same kind of measurement, but for different values of some parameters - time periods, models or scenarios, different species, etc. A value must be chosen for each such parameter in order to select a specific layer or raster which associated a single value with each geographic location (cell). The parameters or choices relevant to selecting layers from this dataset are described here.
Climate Models: 
Emission Scenarios: 
Time Units: 
Months of Year, Water Year
Multi-year Ranges: 
historic: 1910-1939, 1940-1969, 1970-1999; modeled: 2010-2039, 2040-2069, 2070-2099
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