Hydrological Predictability, Scales, and Uncertainty Issues

  • Joshua K. RoundyEmail author
  • Qingyun Duan
  • John Schaake
Living reference work entry


The survival and well-being of human civilization depends on water. Human civilization is especially vulnerable to large variations in the water cycle such as flood and drought that disrupts food supplies and can cause havoc to day-to-day operations. Many of these extreme events have occurred in recent years including large droughts and extreme floods in many parts of the world. The looming threat of climate change has the additional potential to make the impacts of extreme water cycle events an even greater threat to society. The ability to have foreknowledge of these extremes in the water cycle can provide time for preparations to reduce the negative impacts of these extremes on society. Predictions of these extreme events require models of the hydrometeorological system, including all its associated uncertainties, and appropriate observations systems to provide input data to these models. Ensemble forecasts using statistical and physically based models that also account for forecast uncertainties have great potential to make the needed predictions of future hydrometeorological events.

This chapter discusses the basis for predictability, predictive scales, and uncertainty associated with hydrometeorological prediction. Although much uncertainty may be associated with some hydrometeorological predictions, ensemble forecasting techniques offer a way to quantify this uncertainty making it possible to have more useful predictions for decision makers and for the ultimate benefit to society.


Predictability Uncertainty GCM ESP Spatial scales Temporal scales 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural EngineeringUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.College of Global Change and Earth System ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Independent Environmental Services ProfessionalAnnapolisUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Qingyun Duan
    • 1
  • John C. Schaake
    • 2
  1. 1.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.AnnapolisUSA

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