June 13, 2018

Tethys Tackles Downscaling Challenge for Regional Water Withdrawals

An open-source tool helps connect high-resolution sectoral models and broader integrated human-Earth system models


Example inputs (regional and annual scale) and outputs (gridded and monthly scale) of Tethys are shown for the irrigation, livestock, and manufacturing sectors.

The Science

Downscaling of water withdrawals is a fundamental step when integrating large-scale complex human-Earth models with detailed sectoral models. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland, College Park, developed Tethys, an open-access software package that applies statistical algorithms to spatially and temporally downscale water withdrawal data.

The Impact

Tethys bridges the gap between coarser integrated human-Earth system model projections and detailed sectoral models that require high-resolution water withdrawal projections in space and time. The ability to exchange water withdrawal information when coupling models of different scales is especially important to inform local and regional water resource projections and planning.


Reference: X. Li, C.R. Vernon, M.I. Hejazi, R.P. Link, Z. Huang, L. Liu, L. Feng, "Tethys - A Python Package for Spatial and Temporal Downscaling of Global Water Withdrawals." Journal of Open Research Software 6(1), 9 (2018). [DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jors.197]

Key Capabilities


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://www.energy.gov/science/. For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: June 13, 2018

Research Team

Xinya Li and Chris R. Vernon, PNNL
Mohamad I. Hejazi, Robert P. Link, Zhongwei Huang, and Leyang Feng, PNNL (Joint Global Change Research Institute)
Lu Liu, PNNL (JGCRI) and University of Maryland, College Park

Research topics