Outline of hydrology

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.


Essence of hydrology

Main article: Hydrology

Branches of hydrology

  • 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

History of hydrology

Main article: History of hydrology

Water movement pathways

Above ground

On ground

Below ground

Measurement tools


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

Surface water[1]

  • Water level
  • Channel shape
  • Discharge
  • Acoustic Doppler velocimeter –
  • Dilution tracing –


  • 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)
  • Pressure sensors – pressure, depth, and liquid water equivalent
  • Acoustic sensors – pressure, depth, and liquid water equivalent
  • Mean windspeed and direction
  • Mean air temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air pressure
  • Heat flux
  • Cloudiness/Sunshine
  • Evapotranspiration [2]
  • Water budget method
  • Basin water balance –
  • Evaporation pan –
  • Lysimetry –
  • Soil moisture depletion –
  • Water vapor transfer method
  • Component analysis
  • Large-scale

Soil/porous media[1]

  • Bulk density & porosity
  • Oven dried sample –
  • Matric potential
  • Suction plate – determines relationship between the water volume and matric potential
  • Resistance thermometer – relates to matric potential from previous calibration
  • 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]

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






Infiltration/Soil Movement

Streamflow/Open channel





Persons influential in the field of hydrology

Hydrology scholars

Environmental issues

Allied sciences

Hydrology lists

  • 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


  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". Southwest Hydrology (Tucson, AZ) 7 (1): 22–23. http://www.swhydro.arizona.edu/archive/V7_N1/feature3.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 

External links

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