Robert E. Horton Memorial Lecture

New Directions in Hydrometeorology

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The field of hydrometeorology has always been a difficult one to define. For the present purposes, the term will be used to include those fields in which meteorologists and water specialists must interact closely to solve problems. Traditionally, these interactions have been on topics such as flood forecasting and determination of storm, flood, and drought frequency for water project design. Some of the most important needs of water managers for meteorological information and advice are emphasized here. Internationally, a growing recognition of the importance of hydrometeorology is attested to by the work programs of the World Meteorological Organization and of the U.N. Water Conference of March 1977.

Although flood and drought topics remain important in hydrometeorology, there are two subjects whose significance has gained recognition in recent years. One is the need for much greater collaboration on long-term climatic change between meteorologists and climatologists, on the one hand, and water scientists working in hydrology, glaciology, and lake sediments, on the other. Water planners are increasingly anxious to incorporate better estimates and predictions of longer-term climatic probabilities in project design. The second subject of increasing concern is the transport of contaminants and nutrients to water systems through the atmosphere. In some basins, such as the Upper Great Lakes, atmospheric sources of some contaminants and nutrients dominate the chemical budgets of the water system. Meteorological knowledge of cycling and transport of such substances will be an essential key to future water quality management programs.

1 Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Management Service, Fisheries, and Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1A 0E7.

2 Paper presented at the Second Conference on Hydrometeorology of the American Meteorological Society and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Toronto, Ont., Canada, 25 October 1977.

The field of hydrometeorology has always been a difficult one to define. For the present purposes, the term will be used to include those fields in which meteorologists and water specialists must interact closely to solve problems. Traditionally, these interactions have been on topics such as flood forecasting and determination of storm, flood, and drought frequency for water project design. Some of the most important needs of water managers for meteorological information and advice are emphasized here. Internationally, a growing recognition of the importance of hydrometeorology is attested to by the work programs of the World Meteorological Organization and of the U.N. Water Conference of March 1977.

Although flood and drought topics remain important in hydrometeorology, there are two subjects whose significance has gained recognition in recent years. One is the need for much greater collaboration on long-term climatic change between meteorologists and climatologists, on the one hand, and water scientists working in hydrology, glaciology, and lake sediments, on the other. Water planners are increasingly anxious to incorporate better estimates and predictions of longer-term climatic probabilities in project design. The second subject of increasing concern is the transport of contaminants and nutrients to water systems through the atmosphere. In some basins, such as the Upper Great Lakes, atmospheric sources of some contaminants and nutrients dominate the chemical budgets of the water system. Meteorological knowledge of cycling and transport of such substances will be an essential key to future water quality management programs.

1 Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Management Service, Fisheries, and Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1A 0E7.

2 Paper presented at the Second Conference on Hydrometeorology of the American Meteorological Society and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Toronto, Ont., Canada, 25 October 1977.

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