Basic Hydrologic Sciences: International Edition

Basic Hydrologic Sciences: International Edition


Developed for an international audience with a broad background, this course is designed to address the needs of non-hydrologists who work with hydrologic data, particularly in flood forecasting. The course provides an understanding of the complex interactions between the ground, waters and atmosphere, and will prepare the student for further study in hydrologic methods and forecasting. The course is based on materials originally developed for NOAA forecasters, but adapted so that the topics presented include a variety of hydrologic forecast methods applicable to a audiences in varied locations. All units are presented in the International System of Units (SI).

Goals and Objectives

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to provide students with knowledge of basic scientific concepts underlying hydrology and to develop fundamental skills in hydrologic forecasting within a broad framework that is applicable to most locations.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the elements of the hydrologic cycle
  • Explain the rainfall runoff process
  • Describe the process of streamflow routing
  • Understand unit hydrograph methodology and use unit hydrographs in forecast situations
  • Apply multiple tools and methods of flash flood forecasting to forecast situations
  • Apply an understanding of current hydrologic modeling methods to the interpretation of model guidance
  • Apply statistical methods to assess flood risk
  • Describe the snowmelt-runoff process
  • Recognize effects of river ice on flood occurrences


Course Outline

Additional Resources

The resources below are applicable to the core foundation topics.

Streamflow and Flood Analysis Methods

US National Weather Service Unit Hydrograph Module:

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Fact Sheet – The 100-year Flood:

Surface-water Field Methods Training Class:

US Army Corps of Engineers Flood-Runoff Analysis Manuals:

Full Equations for streamflow routing and modeling:

Fluvial Geomorphology Training Module by State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF)

Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling

Unified River Basin Simulator (URBS) website:

HBV model from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute: for more information on HBV.

MIKE modeling suite by the former Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI):

"Introduction to Distributed Hydrologic Modeling" module by COMET

"Distributed Hydrologic Models for Flow Forecasts:Part 1" module by COMET:

"Distributed Hydrologic Models for Flow Forecasts:Part 2" module by COMET:

Precipitation Estimation Tools

"Precipitation Estimates: Part 1" module by COMET:

"Precipitation Estimates: Part 2" module by COMET:

Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) links and tutorials

Global Precipitation Measurement Mission

Hydro-Estimator from NOAA/NESDIS:

The Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimate from EUMETSAT:


Environmental Satellite Resource Center:

Dual Polarization Radar Training from NOAA:

Flood Forecasting Tools

"Introduction to Verification of Hydrologic Forecasts" module by COMET:

"Techniques in Hydrologic Forecast Verification" module by COMET:

Course Outline