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Climate Indices

Summary of instructions to use the ClimateIndices toolbox:


Purpose: ClimatIndices toolbox compute several dozen climate indices (metrics) for two (climatic) period to analyze how the system response has changed from period one to period two in terms of the analyzed metrics. The 150+ (nonunique) provided metrics address magnitude, frequency, duration, timing and rate of changes in the desired variable (streamflow or what not).

How to Run: 

Make sure to change the directory of matlab, to the directory that you saved the ClimateIndices files in.

  1. GUI: Run script “ClimateIndices.m” in matlab and the graphical user interface will pop up. If you would like to include “The extreme temperature and precipitation indices recommended by the ETCCDI” you should check the box next to “Include ETCCDI Climate Indices”. Default is not to include them. Next step is to select 1st and 2nd periods of data by browsing them, and finally compute metrics and generate report.
  2. Script: Manually modify the script “RUN_METRIC.m” and run it. If you would like to include ETCCDI indices change the value of variable ETCCDI to 1, otherwise set it to 0 (line 4). Specify the first period of data in “fid = fopen(‘DATA1.txt’);“ in line 7, and second period of data in line 18. Now run your sript.


Input file is a text file (“.txt” format) with 4 columns of “YEAR, MONTH, DAY, VARIABLE VALUE” if ETCCDI is not selected; and with 3 extra columns of “PRECIPITATION, MIN TEMP, MAX TEMP” if ETCCDI is selected. First line of the input file is a header.

You will need two input files, one for the 1st period and one for the 2nd.


Outputs will be saved in the RESULTS folder, and include a “HI.mat” file which saves metrics for the 1st period under a structure HI1 and 2nd period under a structure HI2. A “SummaryReport.txt” file will report out “Old Metric” (1st period), “New Metric” (2nd period), Difference in terms of percentage, Nominal Difference, and Index Description. Summary report sort the metrics, in a descending order, based on absolute value of percent difference between the two periods.


  1. Please refer to inside the scripts for references.
  2. Please refer to file “MetricsNames.txt” for names of the metrics. Similarly you could visit “SummaryReport.txt” in the RESULTS folder.