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4 Organization and Process

Part 1. Theory, Organization and Scale

  1. Mike Kirkby

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa003

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Kirkby, M. 2006. Organization and Process. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 1:4.

Author Information

  1. School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Water, its movement, changes of state, and chemistry, is fundamental to the nature of planet Earth. It is involved in the most important processes near the surface and supports life as we know it. Hydrological sciences potentially address all aspects of water movement and transformation, although with major divisions between hydrology, which is essentially focused on the principle of conservation of mass; hydraulics, based on conservation of momentum (Newton's laws of motion); and meteorology, based on the laws of thermodynamics. This review of processes takes a primarily hydrological viewpoint, concerned with where water is, its pathways, and impacts on other aspects of the environment. A good understanding of these processes is an essential prerequisite to modeling and forecasting the behavior of water, and much of the history of hydrological science reflects changes in our conceptual understanding of how and where water moves. The main theme of this article is the way in which the landscape influences the flow of water, particularly surface hydrology, and how the hydrology in turn influences the form of the landscape.


  • climate;
  • geomorphology;
  • hillslopes;
  • hydrological pathways;
  • runoff, sediment transport