The Major Branches of Hydrology

The continuous growth and development of hydrology, resulting to its several areas of application in society, has led to the evolvement of different areas of specialization.

Each of these branches or areas of specialization is concerned with the study of an aspect of hydrology. The following are some of the major branches in hydrology.

Chemical Hydrology: This branch deals with the study of the chemical characteristics of water.

Ecohydrology: This branch is concerned with the study of interactions between organisms and the hydrologic cycle.

Surface Hydrology: This area focuses on the study of hydrologic processes that operate at or near Earth’s surface.

Hydrogeology: This is the study of presence and movement of groundwater.

Hydrometeorology: This is the study of the transfer of water and energy between land and water body surfaces, and the lower atmosphere.

Engineering Hydrology: This area of hydrology is concerned mainly with estimating rates or volumes of flow or the changes in these values resulting from human activities.

Hydroinformatics:This is the study of the adaptation of information technology to hydrology and water resources applications.

Isotope Hydrology: This is the study of the isotopic signatures of water.

The Major Branches of Hydrology

In summary, having gone through this unit, you should be well acquainted with the definition and scope of hydrology, its major branches and mode of study, which involve both laboratory analysis and field measurements of hydrological processes. To further appreciate the science of hydrology, unit 2 will discuss a brief history of the development of hydrology.

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Hydrology is the detailed scientific study of water. The study of hydrology is multi-disciplinary. The hydrological cycle is the central theme of the study of hydrology.

Hydrological studies involve the application of scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water related problems.

The major branches of hydrology include: chemical hydrology, ecohydrology, surface hydrology, hydrogeology amongst others.

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Benadine Nonye

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