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Hydrology - an (incomplete) introduction


About This Course

This Online Course is usually used as part of an introductury course in hydrology at the University of Zurich, where the online material complements traditional lectures and seminars. To support remote teaching in the current situation, we want to make our material accesible for hydrologists around the world. The amount of video material varies. For soil- and groundwater there are many videos, where Allan Rodhe explains various experiments and concepts. These are highly recommended! For other parts, there are fewer videos. The quizzes, however, cover most parts of hydrology.

Keep in mind, that there are other (normal) lectures and excercises, and the online material here is only an addition. We will try to add more material, but please understand that this is not on the top of our priority list right now. Most of the other course material and the lectures, which we now record quickly, also is in German (and there are copy-right issues when making things generally available. Please let us know in case you have material, which could be included in this course.

If you want to use the quizzes in your class, the easiest might be to ask the students for a screenshot of their progress report to see that they did the quizzes.

In this course, you will use Bernoulli and Darcy's laws to understand how water flows from one place to another, answer the question, "why is Zurich so foggy in the wintertime", and learn how salt can be used to measure discharge in a mountain stream.

You will be introduced to the different components and processes of the water cycle, through an understanding of water storage (snow, soil and groundwater) and water fluxes (evaporation, precipitation and runoff). You will also apply these concepts to several exercises that will supplement the lecture material.

We will use this platform to post lecture videos (on snow and evapotranspiration), experimental videos (by Allan Rodhe, Uppsala University and the H2K group) and quizzes on the video and in-class lecture content.

In our course we use the following literature / course book

Introduction to Physical Hydrology (M.R.Hendriks, Oxford University Press)

Relevant Book Chapters:

Ch 1, 2, 3.1-3.7, 3.12, 4.1- 4.5, 4.7, 4.9, 5.2, 5.3, C1-3 (Conceptual toolkits), M1-2 (Mathematics toolboxes)

In addition:

Spreafico, M., Weingartner, R., 2005: Hydrologie der Schweiz – Ausgewählte Aspekte und Resultate. Berichte des BWG, Serie Wasser Nr. 7, Bern.

Seibert, J., M. Jenicek, M. Huss and T. Ewen, 2015: Snow and Ice in the Hydrosphere, In: Snow and Ice-Related Hazards, Risks and Disasters, edited by W. Haeberli, C. Whiteman, J.F. Shroder Jr., Academic Press, Boston, Pages 99-137,

Course Team

Course Team Image #1

Jan Seibert

Jan is Professor and Head of the Hydrology and Climate Group in the Geography Department.

Course Team Image #2

Ilja van Meerveld

Ilja is a Senior Scientist and Group Leader in the Hydrology and Climate Group.

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