Terms of Reference

Water is essential for sustaining life on earth and is the only substance to occur naturally in a gaseous, liquid, and solid phase. The movement of water in these phases across the earth's surface constitutes the global hydrological cycle, and the exchanges of energy associated with phase changes are fundamental in driving weather and climate. The atmospheric transport of water vapor is embedded in the local, regional, and global regimes of atmospheric motion, which are themselves partly forced by spatial and temporal variations in the surface available heat and moisture. While water brings the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere together into an integrated physical system, some of the underlying mechanics of the global hydrological cycle are still poorly understood. This lack of knowledge necessitates interdisciplinary investigation of hydrological fluxes and storage terms and their feedbacks across a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

The AMS Committee on Hydrology is charged with promoting events and activities that support the integration of expertise in the hydrological and meteorological sciences. Analysis of the resultant two-way coupling between surface/subsurface hydrologic processes and atmospheric physical/dynamical processes requires the integration of scientific knowledge from many scientific disciplines. Interdisciplinary studies of snow and ice, oceanic and biospheric influences and other physical factors affecting hydrologic and atmospheric processes are important constituents of the integrated earth science approach. Emerging issues in both research and operational hydrology are the focus of activities for the AMS Committee on Hydrology. Investigations into land-atmosphere interaction, monitoring environmental variables by remote sensing, field experimentation, and modeling are areas of emerging research interest. Development of tools, techniques, and expertise in forecasting hydrometeorological events such as river flooding, flash floods, and other weather-related hazards is among the primary set of priorities for the activities sponsored by the committee. These activities will increase our understanding of the important role of hydrology in the earth system and its relationship to climate change.

The Committee on Hydrology shall realize its goals and missions through the following:

  1. encouraging interactions among hydrologists, meteorologists, and others at regular meetings of the AMS and affiliated professional societies;
  2. sponsoring special sessions and workshops in topical problems of interest to AMS;
  3. supporting public and private sector and interagency initiatives that relate to research and operational hydrology;
  4. reporting the status and results of significant observational and modeling problems to the AMS;
  5. representing the AMS, upon request of the Council, in matters concerning the field of hydrology; and
  6. recommending to the Awards Committee annually a nominee to be designated "The Robert E. Horton Lecturer in Hydrology of the American Meteorological Society." In addition, the Committee nominates deserving individuals for consideration as Fellows.