4th International Distance Learning Course in Basic Hydrological Sciences - 2019 for Asian Region (WMO RA-II)

The National Water Academy Central Water Commission Pune, India in collaboration with WMO and the COMET Program are organizing a Distance Learning Course in Hydrology I: Basic Hydrological Sciences for professionals working in hydrological forecasting in the Asian Region, from 17 June to 2 August 2019.

The course is designed to meet the needs of environmental forecasters who do not have formal training in hydrology, but who work with hydrologic data, particularly in flood forecasting. The course (in English only) is intended to provide an understanding of ground, surface, and atmospheric forms of water, and will prepare the student for further study in hydrologic methods and forecasting.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the elements of the hydrologic cycle
  • Explain the rainfall runoff process
  • Learn river discharge measurement technique and discharge computation by velocity area method
  • Describe the process of streamflow routing
  • Derive and use a unit hydrograph
  • Apply various hydrologic modelling methods for streamflow routing
  • Apply various methods to assess flood risks

Details about the course and the course syllabus are hosted on the WMO ETRP course website. Please watch the course overview video below to learn more.

This collection contains the self-paced modules that are used in the course. It allows access to the content without an Internet connection. Quizzes, however, do rely on an Internet connection. Please use the links in the WMO ETRP course website to access all quizzes. To take the quizzes hosted on the MetEd website, you will need to set up an account on the MetEd website.

If you are having technical difficulites viewing any of the COMET/MetEd course content, please refer to COMET's Technical Notes for more guidance. For registration information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.


Introductory Video

Introductory Video

Language: English
Publish Date: 2019-06-07
Description: This video provides an introduction to the course.

Pre-course Module

Understanding the Hydrologic Cycle: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-07-27
Skill Level: 1

Description: This module helps students gain a basic understanding of the elements of the hydrologic cycle. The hydrologic cycle is the continuous movement and phase change of liquid water, ice, and water vapor above, on, under and through the earth's surface. This module examines the basic concepts of the hydrologic cycle including water distribution, atmospheric water, surface water, groundwater, and snowpack/snowmelt.

Week 1 Modules

Runoff Processes: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-11-09
Skill Level: 1

Description: The Runoff Processes module offers a thorough introduction to the runoff processes critical for flood and water supply prediction. This module explains key terminology and concepts including the following: types of runoff, paths through which water becomes runoff, basin and soil properties that influence runoff, and numerical runoff modeling. Examples of popular runoff models are also discussed.

Measurement of River Discharge

Description: Whilst a wide range of techniques to record river discharge are available, in this module, our focus will be pointed to river discharge estimation by velocity-area method only. Alternative options, such as slope-area method, float method etc. are available, and can be engaged at a particular site, if velocity area method approach is limited by the geometric and hydraulic characteristics of the channel, and by the facilities and instruments available at the site. Content provided by National Water Academy Central Water Commission Pune, India.

Associated file: Discharge Calculation Worksheet (.xls file)

Week 2 Modules

Unit Hydrograph Theory: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-07-27
Skill Level: 1

Description: The role of unit hydrograph theory in the flood prediction process is to provide an estimate of streamflow that results from a given amount precipitation. A unit hydrograph shows the temporal change in flow, or discharge, per excess unit of precipitation runoff. This module offers a thorough introduction to the use of unit hydrographs and the application of unit hydrograph theory in flood prediction. Key terminology and assumptions, the process of creating a unit hydrograph and application of unit hydrograph theory to forecast situations are all explored through comprehensive animations and interactions.

Streamflow Routing: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-10-19
Skill Level: 2

Description: Streamflow routing provides a set of methods for describing and predicting the movement of water from one point to another along a river. Typically, this process involves predicting the shape of a hydrograph downstream from a particular location in a channel, reservoir, or lake. This first requires an understanding of the basic flow regimes and how water is stored and released within a channel. From there, information and calculations based on flow and channel bed characteristics are implemented in hydrologic routing methods, which are storage-based, and hydraulic routing methods, which utilize fully-dynamic equations. This module offers a thorough introduction to these routing concepts and processes through illustrations, animations and sample exercises, with a primary focus on hydrologic routing methods.

Derivation of Unit Hydrograph (optional)

Description: The Unit Hydrograph (UH) is the simplest but at the same time a very powerful tool for hydrological analysis in general and flood forecasting in particular. The unit hydrograph may be defined as the direct runoff (outflow) hydrograph resulting from one unit of effective rainfall, which is uniformly distributed over the basin at a uniform rate during a specified period of time known as unit time or unit duration. Content provided by National Water Academy Central Water Commission Pune, India.

Associated file: Practice of Derivation of Unit Hydrograph by different approaches (.xls file)

Week 3 Modules

Flood Frequency Analysis: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-08-31
Skill Level: 2

Description: Flood frequency analysis uses historical flow records to both estimate the frequency with which floods of a certain magnitude may occur and predict the possible flood magnitude over a certain time period. This module offers a thorough introduction to appropriately constructing the necessary historical data series, calculating the flooding probabilities, and gauging the reliability of the resulting probability values. Methods for assessing flood frequency in basins with limited data are also discussed.

Flash Flood Processes: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2011-02-22
Skill Level: 1

Description: Flash floods can occur in nearly any area of the world. A rainfall-induced flash flood is a truly hydrometeorological event: one that depends on both hydrologic and meteorological conditions. Forecasting flash floods involves a detailed understanding of the local hydrologic features and continual monitoring of the current meteorological situation.

This module examines both the hydrologic and meteorological processes that often contribute to the development of flash flooding. Common tools and technologies that are used in flash flood monitoring and forecasting, from manual gauging systems to complex radar- and satellite-based runoff models, are explored. This module also examines the strengths and limitations of these technologies, as well as how they are likely to advance in the future.

Flood Forecasting Case Study: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2011-05-17
Skill Level: 1

Description: This module allows users to explore the flood forecasting process by assuming the role of a visiting hydrologist intern at the National Hydrologic Service in Main Country. Fictional senior hydrologists guide the intern through an idealized flooding event that takes place over Main Country's Mainstem river basin and its tributary basins, each with varying landscapes and observation systems. Users will examine how these variations impact the quality and type of forecast that can be achieved. Users will also learn about common problems encountered in flood forecasting, and how to adjust forecasts accordingly. This module is intended for a diverse audience that uses a variety of observing and computing technologies, and builds upon material covered in the foundation topics of the International Basic Hydrologic Sciences Course. These core foundation topics are recommended as a prerequisite since this module assumes some pre-existing knowledge of hydrologic principles.

Week 4 Modules (choose 2 of the 8)

Flood Frequency Analysis - Part 2

Description: The previous module on this topic provides elementary knowledge of flood frequency analysis. This module moves a step further, and enables the reader to handle complex problems related to this topic.

Estimates of extreme events of given recurrence interval are used for a host of purposes, such as design of dams, coffer dams, bridges, flood-plain delineation, flood control projects, barrages, and also to determine impact of encroachment of flood plain etc. Frequency analysis, if done manually, is burdensome, tedious, and leaves little manoeuvring space if something wrong is noticed at the end of calculation. It often requires calculations all over again. Accordingly, this module attempts at presenting some statistical parameters, its application in flood frequency analysis, and thereafter introduces HEC-SSP software that offers multiple functions to perform frequency analysis speedily and accurately. Content provided by National Water Academy Central Water Commission Pune, India.

Flood Forecasting Techniques

Description: The goal of flood forecast is to issue advance warning about water level or discharge large enough that threatens safety of structures and flood plain activities. As observed in previous module, an advance warning of this nature help authorities adopt a series of measures to contain adverse impacts of flood.

Unlike several other disasters, approaching flood can be forecast ahead of its occurrence with advance collection of hydro-meteorological data, and its transformation into flood water level or flood hydrograph. Succeeding paragraphs of this module unfolds a range of commonly employed models in India. Content provided by National Water Academy Central Water Commission Pune, India.

Associated file: An animation generated by HEC-RAS (.mp4 file)

Distributed Hydrologic Models for Flow Forecasts - Part 1

Language: English
Publish Date: 2009-07-28
Skill Level: 2

Description: Distributed Hydrologic Models for Flow Forecasts – Part 1 provides a basic description of distributed hydrologic models and how they work. This module is the first in a two-part series focused on the science of distributed models and their applicability in different situations. Presented by Dr. Dennis Johnson, the module begins with a review of hydrologic models, and then examines the differences between lumped and distributed models. It explains how lumped models may be distributed by subdividing the basin and suggests when distributed hydrologic models are most appropriate. Other topics covered include the advantages of physically-based versus conceptual approaches and some strengths and challenges associated with distributed modeling.

Dam Failure Concepts and Modeling

Language: English
Publish Date: 2017-10-12
Skill Level: 1

Description: This lesson provides an in-depth case study to illustrate principles of dam failure modeling and examines some of the critical data inputs and outputs. Output is provided from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers HEC-RAS model for simulated failures of a large dam. Several simulations are presented that show the impact from varying the size of the breach and the time it takes the breach to fully develop. The lesson also summarizes several infamous large dam failures from around the world and the impacts from other factors are such as reservoir shape and size, the age of the dam, and the material used to construct the dam.

River Ice Processes - Short Version

Language: English
Publish Date: 2010-07-13
Skill Level: 1

Description: This module provides information on flooding associated with river ice jams. Based on a presentation by Dr. Kate White, a nationally-recognized expert on river ice, this webcast explores basic river ice processes including the formation, growth, breakup, and transport of river ice and how it can become jammed, triggering floods. This shorter version of the previously published module "River Ice Processes", has less focus on the US National Weather Service, making it more broadly applicable, including to an international audience.

Snowmelt Processes: International Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2011-01-04
Skill Level: 1

Description: Snowmelt is an integral component of the hydrologic forecasting process in many parts of the world. Here, we examine the influences of environmental conditions on snowfall distribution, snowpack structure, snowpack-environment energy exchange, and finally, the rate and amount of snowmelt itself. The fate of snowmelt water after it reaches the ground is also explored.

ASMET: 2009 Drought in East Africa

Language: English
Publish Date: 2012-01-17
Skill Level: 2

Description: The module examines the 2009 drought in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), focusing on conditions in Kenya. The module begins by reviewing drought conditions in the years leading up to 2009. From there, it examines the seasonal climate forecast for the beginning of 2009 and see what it portends. Satellite products are used to study rainfall performance throughout the year and its impact on the drought situation. Finally, the module describes the climate oscillations that can impact drought in the GHA and identifies patterns that were present in 2009 and contributed to its severity. By the end of the module, weather forecasters and students should have a better understanding of drought and the tools available for its early detection and monitoring.