We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Hydrometeorology?

By James Gapinski
Updated: May 21, 2024

Hydrometeorology is a scientific field of study that incorporates aspects of both meteorology and hydrology. Meteorology is an interdisciplinary field of study specializing in atmospheric science, specifically as it relates to weather patterns. Hydrology, in the simplest terms, is the study of water on earth. Hydrometeorology, by comparison, studies water as it relates to earth’s lower atmosphere and interacts with earth’s surface.

Hydrometeorology is chiefly concerned with the transfer of energy between atmospheric water and the earth’s surface. In other words, when atmospheric water impacts landmasses, hydrometeorologists are keenly interested. Any time atmospheric water changes from gaseous to liquid or solid form, a hydrometeorological process has occurred.

At any given time, most of earth’s water is found in oceans, lakes, and rivers. It is important to remember, however, that atmospheric water vapor goes through a continual cycle. Even though atmospheric water is a small percentage of the earth’s water, a large amount of water moves through the water vaporization process on a daily basis. Water vaporizes and falls to earth at astounding rates, leading to intense movement of the atmosphere. On a daily basis, water moves from the oceans to the atmosphere and back again.

Floods, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and other water-rich weather all represent an intense transfer of energy. Such water-based weather patterns are predicted and studied using the latest hydrometeorological methods. Using Doppler radar and other devices, hydrometeorologists study the atmosphere, looking for weather patterns indicative of known atmospheric water disturbances. Emphasis is also placed on careful study of precipitation. By studying a region’s precipitation levels, hydrometeorologists are better able to predict the effect atmospheric water will have on the nearby populations.

In addition to studying precipitation cycles and water movement, hydrometeorology also studies static bodies of atmospheric water. Atmospheric water vapor that has not fallen to earth poses a specific curiosity for hydrometeorologists. Scientists expect regular cycling of water vapor, and lapses in this cycle are a phenomenon that can lead to drought.

Hydrometeorology not only studies phenomena, it seeks proactive solutions to climate problems. During a drought, atmospheric water content is locked in the clouds, leading to decreased rain, sleet, and snow. Hydrometeorology studies those clouds and also looks for solutions to unforeseen lapses in the atmospheric water cycle. In some instances, hydrological engineers can use hydrometeorological data determine when and if it is appropriate to "seed" stubborn clouds. Cloud seeding is a process whereby an airplane drops silver iodide and frozen carbon dioxide into a cloud, thereby forcing the gaseous cloud to liquefy and fall to the ground as rain.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.