About the IDF_CC tool

Description of the tool

About the IDF_CC tool

Municipal water management in Canada is heavily dependent on the use of Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves for planning, design, and operation of municipal water infrastructure. Many watershed management activities also rely on the use of IDF curves, including those related to water supply, water quality management and flood control. This web-based tool provides an approach for updating IDF curves under a changing climate and is available to anyone interested in developing IDF curves that incorporate projected climate change impacts.

While there is a need in almost every Canadian municipality to adapt to changing climatic conditions, there is a lack of necessary expertise within municipalities for implementing current research related to the impact of climatic change on IDF curves (Sandink et al, 2016). Thus, one of the primary aims of the tool is to standardize the IDF update process and make the results of current research on climate change impacts on IDF curves accessible to everyone (Simonovic et al, 2016). The developers and supporting agencies believe that a freely available, computerized IDF update tool will aid in the selection of effective climate change adaptation options at the local level, advancing the decision-making capabilities of municipalities, watershed management authorities and other key stakeholders. The tool also provides a direct link between Canadian municipalities and the research community, creating opportunities for further research and innovation.

The IDF_CC tool is designed as a simple and generic decision support system to generate local IDF curve information that accounts for the possible impacts of climate change. It uses friendly GIS interface and provides precipitation accumulation depths for a variety of return periods (2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 years) and durations (5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes and 1, 2, 6, 12 and 24 hours), and allows users to generate IDF curve information based on historical data, as well as future climate conditions that can inform infrastructure decisions.

The IDF_CC tool stores data associated with 700 Environment Canada operated rain stations from across Canada. Roughly 500 of these stations have 10 years of data – the minimum time series used by Environment Canada to develop IDF curves for a specific location. Users can also create and share their own rain station information. Version 2 of the tool uses version 2.30 of the Environment Canada IDF dataset, released on 21/Dec/2014 (Environment Canada, 2017).

The IDF_CC tool allows users to select multiple future greenhouse gas concentration scenarios (RCPs) and apply results from a selection of 9 Global Circulation Models (GCMs) downscaled using two downscaling methods that simulate various climate conditions to local rainfall data. To access functionalities and explore advanced options (for example, provide your own data/stations and carry out analysis for future scenarios using Global Circulations Models), please create your account or login if you have an account already.


  • Environment Canada (2017): Engineering Climate Datasets, available at http://climate.weather.gc.ca/prods_servs/engineering_e.html , last accessed July 2017.
  • Sandink, D., S.P. Simonovic, A. Schardong, and R. Srivastav, (2016) “A Decision Support System for Updating and Incorporating Climate Change Impacts into Rainfall Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves: Review of the Stakeholder Involvement Process”, Environmental Modelling & Software Journal, 84:193-209.
  • Simonovic, S.P., A. Schardong, D. Sandink, and R. Srivastav, (2016) “A Web-based Tool for the Development of Intensity Duration Frequency Curves under Changing Climate”, Environmental Modelling & Software Journal, 81:136-153.
  • Srivastav, R.K., A. Schardong and S.P. Simonovic, (2014) “Equidistance Quantile Matching Method for Updating IDF Curves Under Climate Change”, Water Resources Management: An International Journal, 28(9): 2539-2562.

Research and Development Team

Slobodan P. Simonovic, Professor, Western University

Andre Schardong, Post Doctoral Fellow, Western University

Dan Sandink, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction


Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (www.iclr.org/)

IDF_CC Tool 2.0