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Hydrology—the science of water—is central to our understanding of the global environment and its many problems. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences explains how the science of water historically has played second fiddle to its applications and how we now must turn to the hydrologic sciences to solve some of the emerging problems. This first book of its kind presents a blueprint for establishing hydrologic science among the geosciences.

Informative and well-illustrated chapters explore what we know about the forces that drive the global water system, highlighting promising research topics in hydrology's major subfields. The book offers specific recommendations for improving hydrologic education, from kindergarten through graduate school. In addition, a chapter on the basics of the science is interesting for the scientist and understandable to the lay reader.

This readable volume is enhanced by a series of brief biographical sketches of past leaders in the field and fascinating vignettes on important applied problems, from the relevance of hydrology to radioactive waste disposal to the study of ancient water flows on Mars.

The volume concludes with a report on current research funding and an outline of strategies for scientists and professional societies to advance the field.

Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences is indispensable to policymakers in science and education, research managers in geoscience programs, researchers, educators, graduate students, and future hydrologists.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1991. Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

371 pages |  5 x 9 |  DOI:

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