Standard Article

203 A Guide to International Hydrologic Science Programs

Part 17. Climate Change

  1. R G Lawford1,
  2. S Eden2

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa214

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Lawford, R. G. and Eden, S. 2006. A Guide to International Hydrologic Science Programs. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 17:203.

Author Information

  1. 1

    International GEWEX Project Office, Silver Spring, MD, US

  2. 2

    US Climate Change Science Program Office, Washington, DC, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Building on the successes of a few mature organizations dealing with the hydrological sciences and the International Hydrologic Decade of the 1960s, the number of water research and applications programs has grown rapidly in the past two decades. This growth can be attributed to new global research priorities (e.g. climate change), new technologies (e.g. satellites and high speed computers), new environmental awareness (e.g. globalization and its environmental impacts), and a growing awareness of the limits to available safe water in many parts of the world. Although some progress was made towards better structuring of hydrologic research activities during preparations for the International Water Decade (1981–1990), the relative roles and relationships among the plethora of groups and projects can still be confusing unless the range of activities and responsibilities is viewed in a broader context. This overview provides some context for these programs.

In general, international hydrologic research activities are undertaken within a programmatic framework developed by a community of scientists and coordinated by international scientific organizations and government agencies. Because international frameworks and programs do not fund research directly, they must rely on nations for funding support and experts. Frequently, national and international programs are implemented in an iterative and symbiotic way whereby national programs provide a core set of projects, while international programs provide the intellectual frameworks and organizational structures. Effective implementation of international hydrologic science programs in this context relies on mutual trust and respect, and on the clear articulation and pursuit of a shared vision.

This article provides an overview of the international hydrological science programs and their priorities, and identifies related global hydrometeorological and applications programs that either directly or indirectly provide scientific support for water management. It also describes mechanisms that facilitate the application of hydrologic science to regional and national water resource issues and those that inform the public and decision makers of the results from these international science programs.


  • hydrologic;
  • programs;
  • international;
  • water;
  • research;
  • science;
  • applications;
  • hydrometeorology