Hydrometeorology is a branch of meteorology that deals with water in the atmosphere, particularly as precipitation. It has recently emerged as an important area for basic and applied research at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. Research has focused on the application of physically based models for flood forecasting and water resources analysis, remote sensing of atmospheric and hydrologic processes, and assessment of hydrometeorological hazards.
A combination of meteorological and hydrological models can be used to forecast flash floods. Local quantitative precipitation-prediction models, coupled with land surface hydrology and channel routing models, are used to provide probability forecasts of flood occurrence and magnitude.
Another ongoing research effort investigates ways to incorporate remotely sensed data into hydrometeorological modeling systems. Research in remote sensing includes the use of radar glider and satellite sensors to estimate changes in hydrologic fluxes and hydrologic storage, the evaluation of the uncertainties of remotely sensed estimates, and the evaluation on how these uncertainties affect hydrologic model predictions.
A third focus area is assessing the hazards of hydrometeorological extremes, such as Midwest floods in 1993 and 2008. Drought, another case of extremity, is predicted by reconstructing streamflows with past records and tree-ring information. IIHR is developing better methods for flood frequency analysis and floodplain mapping in the complex settings of urban environments.