Hydrology Overview

SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN AND MARTHA P. L. WHITAKER

1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter provides a brief overview of the hydrologic cycle and discusses the role of hydrology, not only in the global contexts of weather and climate but also in the local and regional contexts of weather as it affects water resources management. This chapter contains a description of the hydrologic cycle and the identification of its specific reservoirs and fluxes. In each description, their relevance to various scales of the hydrologic cycle is discussed. The concept of the water balance is subsequently introduced as the basic tool with which one can understand the effects of perturbations on the hydrologic cycle, regardless of the scale of interest. Provided with this knowledge, stakeholders with concerns ranging from global climate change to flood forecasting will be better informed to responsibly manage water resources.

This section of the handbook also contains in-depth discussions on each flux of the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation of rain and snow (Chapters 24 and 25, respectively), evaporation and transpiration (Chapter 26), infiltration and soil moisture (Chapter 27), groundwater flow (Chapter 28), and runoff generation (Chapter 29). The final four chapters describe various types of mathematical tools with which one can analyze hydrologic phenomena: Chapters 30 to 32 specifically describe tools to better understand hydrologic events such as high river flows, runoff, and floods, and Chapter 33 explores the uses of remote sensing and geographic information systems to both visualize and quantify large-scale hydro-logic phenomena.

Handbook of Weather, Climate, and Water: Atmospheric Chemistry, Hydrology, and Societal Impacts, Edited by Thomas D. Potter and Bradley R. Colman. ISBN 0-471-21489-2 <Q 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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