Exercise One

FutureWater Exercise Option 1: Climate Change and Seasonal Changes in Rainfall and Streamflow

This lesson centers around the use of https://futurewater.indiana.edu/, a science gateway that presents a model of the hydrologic changes happening in the Wabash River basin over the next 80 years. Our goal with this module is to show, in concrete terms, what changes in climate will mean for the behavior of the water cycle where the students live.


First, we will ask students to find a local body of water (a lake, stream, etc.) to serve as a reference point for discussion. Then, the students will find that water body’s watershed on the FutureWater website and extract the pertinent data of predicted changes. Students will be asked to make predictions about seasonal variability and streamflow changes compared to the historical mean.

After determining the reference water body, students will be asked to identify changes in precipitation and streamflow for the area. After finding the annual data, the focus should shift to seasonal variability. To illustrate the importance of seasons, students will look at data from March and September, representing fall and spring. These two seasons are chosen because they represent the most dramatic swing in conditions in the Wabash basin. The students will record rainfall and streamflow values for these two months and compare them to annual averages, then discuss the importance of looking at seasonal variability. Based on their findings, students will predict any changes to crop yields and other economic and environmental impacts.