The course is designed to develop an understanding of hydrologic processes at the surface of the Earth so that we can examine how environmental change, such as land use/cover change or climate change, affects hydrology.
Students will learn about the types of hydrologic changes that can occur, and which methods are used to study them. Examples of watersheds and regions from around the globe, with different climates and flow regimes, will be used to introduce the physical processes behind hydrologic changes.
Data from these watersheds will be analyzed in class to demonstrate how hydrologic data can be used to quantify ongoing hydrologic change and make predictions about future watershed response. An emphasis will also be placed on learning fundamental scientific skills including data collection, data evaluation, scientific writing and presentation skills.
Where does freshwater occur on Earth? How does water flow interact with aquatic ecosystems? What hydrological processes maintain the quantity and quality of water? How do humans impact the hydrological cycle, and what are the implications of global climate change for water resources?
Environmental hydrology is the study of the distribution and movement of water on Earth, including precipitation, runoff, groundwater, surface-atmosphere interactions, and human-environment relations.
Students will become familiar with conceptual and quantitative models of hydrological processes and how water interacts with humans and ecosystems. A major emphasis is placed on the critical use of simple calculations and observations to test working hypotheses about water.