An Introduction to Hydrology


Hydrology deals with studying the earth’s water supply. This includes studying precipitation, surface runoff, subsurface flows, groundwater quality, surface runoff volume, total dissolved solids (TDS), regional water availability, groundwater productivity, regional climate, ice melt, and permafrost. It also includes studying the climate in relation to precipitation and climate extremes. The word hydrology was derived from the Greek word hydro meaning water, which then became hydrology.

Hydrology deals with the distribution and flow of water throughout the earth. A hydrologist is usually also known as a hydromysologist. The primary field of hydrology involves studying and managing groundwater resources. These resources are located on the land surface, in the atmosphere, in the subsurface, in the snowpack and ice, in the ocean, in lakes, and rivers, or they can be obtained from the atmosphere.

Groundwater is important for human life and is a vital source of surface water, drinking water, irrigation, agriculture, industry, manufacturing, transportation, recreation, wildlife, eco-system, etc. The major areas of hydrology are geohydrology, hydrology, groundwater systems, groundwater quality, water cycle, dynamic hydrology, environmental hydrology, climate change/mediterranean climate, hydrography, geodynamics, satellite hydrology, and hydroelectricity. Geohydrology deals with studying the relationships between the physical characteristics of the earth’s surface and the groundwater system. Hydrologic cycle is considered to be the most important influence on the climate and environment. On the other hand, hydrology and climatology are two independent fields of study.

There are many types of hydrology, including hydrogeology, hydrology of the atmosphere and precipitation, water cycles, groundwater flow, surface water hydrology, climate cycle and hydrology of global change. Rainfall is a part of the hydrogeology. Rainwater is collected by the Earth’s surface and transported to various drainage canals, which empty into oceans and rivers. In order to study precipitation, hydrology scientists need to monitor the rainfall. They can calculate the rainfall and use it as input to numerical hydrology and altitude hydrology models.

Global change hydrology studies the long-term change in global water cycle. This study can help foresters predict climate change and protect human society from possible future drastic changes in the climate. Climatologists study the changes in the atmospheric pressure and temperature of air and ground water. They use this information to forecast climate change and the effects it will have on the ecosystems. They can also detect and monitor changes in the atmosphere and precipitation. These methods are used for determining the changes in precipitation, snowfall, El Nino, La Nina and tropical storms and floods.

The above figures provide a basic overview of hydrology. But there is a lot more to know about hydrology than just the above. It is up to us, the members of the scientific community, to learn more about hydrology so that we can be better prepared for any natural disaster or climate change. We should all be concerned with the health of our groundwater, because groundwater is the life source of communities and cities. And we need to know all we can about the groundwater in order to protect it. So I hope you will please consider all this.

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