BASINs 4.0 Climate Assessment Tool (CAT): Supporting Documentation and User's Manual (Final Report)

EPA announced the availability of the report, BASINS 4.0 Climate Assessment Tool (CAT): Supporting Documentation and User's Manual. This report was prepared by the EPA's Global Change Research Program (GCRP), an assessment-oriented program, that sits within the Office of Research and Development, that focuses on assessing how potential changes in climate and other global environmental stressors may impact water quality, air quality, aquatic ecosystems, and human health in the United States. The Program’s focus on water quality is consistent with the Research Strategy of the U.S. Climate Change Research Program—the federal umbrella organization for climate change science in the U.S. government—and is responsive to U.S. EPA’s mission and responsibilities as defined by the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. A central goal of the EPA GCRP is to provide EPA program offices, Regions, and other stakeholders with tools and information for assessing and responding to any potential future impacts of climate change.

In 2007, the EPA Global Change Research Program (GCRP), in partnership with the EPA Office of Water, supported development of a Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) for version 4 of EPA’s BASINS modeling system. This report provides supporting documentation and user support materials for the BASINS CAT tool.

BASINS is a multi-purpose, environmental analysis system that integrates a geographical information system (GIS), national watershed data, and state-of-the-art watershed modeling tools, including the Hydrologic Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) model, into one package. BASINS CAT was released with BASINS version 4 in 2007, and extends the existing capabilities of BASINS to facilitate watershed-based assessments of the potential implications of climate variability and change on water and watershed systems using the HSPF model.

Specifically, BASINS CAT provides flexible capabilities for creating climate change scenarios allowing users to quickly assess a wide range of what if questions about how weather and climate could affect their systems. BASINS CAT does not provide climate change data for specific regions and watersheds. Combined with the existing capabilities of HSPF for assessing the effects of land-use change and management practices, BASINS CAT can be used to assess the coupled effects of climate and land-use change, and to guide the development of effective management responses.

The purpose of this report is to provide documentation and user support materials for BASINS CAT. The report is composed of 8 chapters. Chapter 1 is an Executive Summary, and Chapter 2 an introduction to BASINS CAT. Chapter 3 provides a narrative description of the basic capabilities of BASINS CAT. Chapter 4 is an overview of the BASINS CAT interface. Chapter 5 provides a set of detailed tutorials illustrating how various tasks are completed using BASINS CAT. Chapter 6 summarizes a case study application of BASINS CAT assessing the potential impacts of climate change on a mid-Atlantic watershed. Chapter 7 lists some supporting resources where users can go for additional information about climate change, and Chapter 8 lists references cited throughout the report.


U.S. EPA. BASINs 4.0 Climate Assessment Tool (CAT): Supporting Documentation and User's Manual (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-08/088F, 2009.


2006In 2006, the EPA Global Change Research Program (GCRP) supported the development of a Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) for the BASINS modeling system.
Apr 2007BASINS CAT tool released with version 4 of EPA's BASINS modeling system.
Sep 2008EPA releases the draft documentation and user manual for public review and comment.
Oct 2008EPA announced a 30-day public comment period in an October 2, 2008 Federal Register Notice.
Mar 2009External peer review comments received on the draft documentation and user manual report.
May 2009EPA released the final report and related materials.

This document has been reviewed in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy and approved for publication. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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