Outline of hydrology

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to hydrology:

Hydrology – study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability.

What type of thing is hydrology?[edit]

Hydrology can be described as all of the following:

Essence of hydrology[edit]

Branches of hydrology[edit]

  • Hydrometry – the measurement of the different components of the hydrologic cycle
  • Chemical hydrology – the study of the chemical characteristics of water
  • Ecohydrology – the study of interactions between organisms and the hydrologic cycle
  • Hydrogeology – the study of the presence and movement of water in aquifers
  • Hydroinformatics – the adaptation of information technology to hydrology and water resources applications
  • Hydrometeorology – the study of the transfer of water and energy between land and water body surfaces and the lower atmosphere
  • Isotope hydrology – the study of the isotopic signatures of water
  • Surface hydrology – the study of hydrologic processes that operate at or near the Earth's surface
  • Catchment hydrology – study of the governing processes in a given hydrologically-defined catchment
  • Drainage basin management – covers water-storage, in the form of reservoirs, and flood-protection.
  • Water quality – includes the chemistry of water in rivers and lakes, both of pollutants and natural solutes.

History of hydrology[edit]

History of hydrology

Things studied by hydrology[edit]

Abstract concepts in hydrology[edit]

Phenomena studied by hydrology[edit]

Water movement pathways[edit]

Water cycle (aka "hydrological cycle")

Physical things studied by hydrology[edit]

Environmental issues[edit]

Measurement tools[edit]


  • Aquifer characterization
  • Flow direction
  • Piezometer - groundwater pressure and, by inference, groundwater depth (see: aquifer test)
  • Conductivity, storativity, transmisivity
  • Geophysical methods

Surface water[1][edit]

  • Water level
  • Channel shape
  • Discharge


  • Precipitation[1]
  • Rain gauge – rainfall depth (unit) and intensity (unit time−1)
  • Disdrometer – raindrop size, total precipitation depth and intensity
  • Doppler weather radar – raindrop size, total precipitation depth and intensity, rain cloud reflectivity converted to precipitation intensity through calibration to rain gauges
  • Wind profiler – precipitation vertical and horizontal motion, vertical cross-section of reflectivity and typing
  • Frozen precipitation (on ground)
  • Mean windspeed and direction
  • Mean air temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air pressure
  • Heat flux
  • Cloudiness/Sunshine
  • Evapotranspiration [2]
  • Water budget method
  • Water vapor transfer method
  • Component analysis
  • Large-scale

Soil/porous media[1][edit]

  • Bulk density & porosity
  • Matric potential
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Disc permeameter – measures soil hydraulic conductivity
  • Rainfall simulator – measures output through the application of constant input ("rain") in a sealed area
  • Slug test – addition or removal of water and monitors the time until return to predisturbance level
  • Piezometer
  • Soil moisture content (water volume percentage)

Water quality[1][edit]

  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO)
  • Turbidity
  • Water clarity
  • Bed load
  • Erosion/deposition






Infiltration/Soil Movement

Streamflow/Open channel





Hydrological transport model

Applications of hydrology[edit]

Some examples of applications of hydrology:

Hydrology organizations[edit]

Intergovernmental organizations[edit]

International research bodies[edit]

National research bodies[edit]

National and international societies[edit]

Basin- and catchment-wide overviews[edit]

  • Connected Waters Initiative, University of New South Wales[32] – Investigating and raising awareness of groundwater and water resource issues in Australia
  • Murray Darling Basin Initiative, Department of Environment and Heritage, Australia[33]

Hydrology publications[edit]

Hydrology-related journals[edit]

Persons influential in the field of hydrology[edit]

Hydrology scholars[edit]

Ven Te Chow, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering, University of Illinois. Most noted for the 1964 compendium of water resources technology and methods titled "Handbook of Applied Hydrology", published by McGraw-Hill Book Company. Library of Congress Catalogue number 63-13931.

Allied sciences[edit]

Hydrology lists[edit]

  • Drainage basins by area – largest hydrologically defined watersheds in the world
  • Floods – chronological and geographic list of major floods worldwide
  • Waterways – worldwide listing of waterbodies classified as rivers, canals, estuarys, and firths

See also[edit]

Other water-related fields
  • Oceanography – more general study of water in the oceans and estuaries.
  • Meteorology – more general study of the atmosphere and of weather, including precipitation as snow and rainfall.
  • Limnology – study of inland waters (running and standing waters, both fresh and saline, natural or man-made), including their biological, chemical, physical, geological, and other attributes.[34] This includes the study of lakes and ponds, rivers, springs, streams and wetlands.
  • Water resources – sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Hydrology studies the availability of those resources, but usually not their uses.


  1. ^ a b c d e Western, Andrew W. (2005). "Principles of Hydrological Measurements". In Anderson, Malcolm G. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 1. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Inc. pp. 75–94. 
  2. ^ Shuttleworth, W. James (January–February 2008). "Evapotranspiration Measurement Methods" (PDF). Southwest Hydrology. Tucson, AZ. 7 (1): 22–23. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  3. ^ "International Hydrological Programme (IHP)". IHP. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "International Water Management Institute (IWMI)". IWMI. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education". UNIESCO-IHE. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "CEH Website". Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Cranfield Water Science Institute". Cranfield University. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Eawag aquatic research". Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Professur für Hydrologie". University of Freiburg. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Water Resources of the United States". USGS. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Office of Hydrologic Development". National Weather Service. NOAA. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Hydrologic Engineering Center". US Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Hydrologic Research Center". Hydrologic Research Center. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "NOAA Economics and Social Sciences". NOAA Office of Program Planning and Integration. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Center for Natural Hazard and Disasters Research". University of Oklahoma. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "National Hydrology Research Centre (Saskatoon, SK)". Environmental Science Centres. Environment Canada. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "National Institute of Hydrology (Roorkee), India". NIH Roorkee. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "Hydrogeology Division". The Geological Society of America. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Welcome to AGU's Hydrology (H) Section". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "National Ground Water Association". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "American Water Resources Association". 2 January 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "CUAHSI". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  23. ^ "International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)". Associations. International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "International Association of Hydrological Sciences". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "International Commission on Statistical Hydrology". STAHY. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  26. ^ Deutsche Hydrologische Gesellschaft, accessed 2 September 2013
  27. ^ Nordic Association for Hydrology, accessed 2 September 2013
  28. ^ "The British Hydrological Society". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  29. ^ Гидрологическая комиссия [Hydrological Commission] (in Russian). Russian Geographical Society. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Hydroweb". The International Association for Environmental Hydrology. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "International Association of Hydrogeologists". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Connected Waters Initiative (CWI)". University of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "Integrated Water Resource Management in Australia: Case studies – Murray-Darling Basin initiative". Australian Government, Department of the Environment. Australian Government. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  34. ^ Wetzel, R.G. (2001) Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems, 3rd ed. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-744760-1

External links[edit]