PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 36-45.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.01.005

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Progress and prospect of hydrological sciences

Dawen YANG1(), Zongxue XU2, Zhe LI3, Xing YUAN4, Lei WANG5, Chiyuan MIAO6, Fuqiang TIAN1, Lide TIAN5, Di LONG1, Qiuhong TANG3,*(), Xingcai LIU3, Xuejun ZHANG3   

  1. 1. Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    2. College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia (RCE-TEA), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS, Beijing 100029, China
    5. Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    6. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
  • Received:2017-12-25 Revised:2018-01-19 Online:2018-01-28 Published:2018-01-28
  • Contact: Qiuhong TANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.L1624026, No.41425002, No.41790424;Research Project on the Development Strategy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.2016-DX-C-02


Hydrology is the science that describes the continuous movement of water, the related biogeochemical and geophysical processes, and their interactions with the environment. Hydrology research has evolved from experience-based to theories, from single process to complex systems, and from qualitative interpretations to quantitative models. The progress and evolution of hydrology has been intimately intertwined with the scientific and technological progresses and socioeconomic development, which creates many branches and interdisciplinary areas of hydrology, such as ecohydrology, hydrometeorology, cryosphere hydrology, hydrologic remote sensing, isotope hydrology, urban hydrology, and socio-hydrology. Hydrology research has made notable progress in the fields of multi-scale observations, coupled land surface-hydrology-society modeling, and multi-source data and model assimilation techniques, which further expands the connotation of hydrological study. In the future, hydrology research will focus on the characteristics and mechanism of the changes of water cycle, prediction of the changes of water cycle, and natural and social impact assessment of the changes of water cycle, in order to offer sustainable solutions to water security. In summary, the research paradigm of hydrology would shift from the traditionally self-focused approaches to the emerging integrated approaches that focus on all the water-related processes across multiple scales and sectors in the earth system.

Key words: hydrology, hydrological cycle, earth system, human activity, hydrologic observation, interdisciplinary