Over the past 9 years, the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), has coordinated the activities of the Continental Scale Experiments (CSEs) and other related research through the GEWEX Hydrometeorology Panel (GHP). The GHP contributes to the WCRP'S objective of “developing the fundamental scientific understanding of the physical climate system and climate processes [that is] needed to determine to what extent climate can be predicted and the extent of man's influence on climate.” It also contributes to more specific GEWEX objectives, such as determining the hydrological cycle and energy fluxes, modeling the global hydrological cycle and its impacts, developing a capability to predict variations in global and regional hydrological processes, and fostering the development of observing techniques, data management and assimilation systems. GHP activities include diagnosis, simulation, and experimental prediction of regional water balances and process and modeling studies aimed at understanding and predicting the variability of the global water cycle, with an emphasis on regional coupled land–atmosphere processes. GHP efforts are central to providing a scientific basis for assessing critical science issues, such as the consequences of climate change for the intensification of the global hydrological cycle and its potential impacts on regional water resources. This article provides an overview of the role and evolution of the GHP and describes scientific issues that the GHP is seeking to address in collaboration with the international science community.

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International GEWEX Project Office, Silver Spring, Maryland

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, California

GKSS Forschungszentrum Geesthacht GmbH, Geesthacht, Germany

Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Centro de Previsao de Tempo e Estudos Climaticos, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil

Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, and FRSGC, Yokohama, Japan

University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

UCAR/JOSS, Boulder, Colorado