The Hydrology Class 2022 – Introduction

This Hydrology class aims to explain the physics (meaning the mathematical equations and their phenomenology) and, in some cases, the statistics (i.e. the distribution) of the basic hydrological processes (precipitation, runoff, infiltration, evaporation and transpiration)
Students will be required to:
  •  being able to derive and comment the hydrological equations above mentioned and 
  • to do some statistics on hydrological data. Particular attention will be dedicated to the derivation of the statistics of extreme rainfall.
  • Besides students will be requested to get some basics of the tools that will be used to estimate the hydrological fluxes (using a GIS, Python, and other tools, among those in GEOframe).
They will be required to be able, by means of some models provided by the instructors the main hydrological fluxes and represent them at catchment scale.
This is intended to serve as a basis for getting further knowledge and
  • prevent, manage, control floods, landslides and snow-avalanches
  • manage irrigation
  • estimate water availability for hydropower production
  • forecast roads freezing
  • estimate soil, roads, or snow temperature
  • forecast snow water equivalent and snow height
Assuming that the student will take a master in Environmental Engineering at Trento University, Acquedotti e fognature, Modelli idrologici, Ingegneria fluviale, are classe that request the knowledge communicate in this Hydrology class. 

The first part of the course, until April 3, will be dedicated to the presentation and discussion of theoretical concepts through lectures that will be videotaped and uploaded on the course’s Vimeo channel. The lessons will cover 4 of the five hours per week. The fifth hour will be devoted to simple exercises with Python and Jupyter lab and to the preparation of the data necessary for the projects to be completed in the second part of the course in groups of two or three students.
The student must take care to understand the hydrological concepts and discuss them with the lecturer. The first twenty minutes of each lesson will be devoted to the discussion of the topics covered in the previous lesson. Each group will have to prepare one question or comment to which the teacher will answer. A summary of the lesson will follow, followed by the actual lesson. The second part of the course will take up the theoretical themes of the first part and using the tools made available to the GEOframe system. Students, in groups of two or three, will have to:

  • Analyze a series of rainfall and hydro-meteorological data with the use of Python 
  • Estimate the intensity-duration-frequency curves with the methods presented in the first part of the course using the data of a hydro-meteorological gauge station

Besides, they have to accomplish two of the following three tasks under the supervision of the tutor and the teacher: 

  • Design and run some infiltration simulations in complex soils and discuss the results.
  • Design and perform the calculation of evaporation and transpiration in a chosen site
  • Studying the coupled transpiration and infiltration in one site. 
* The exam will be written if COVID-19 will allow the students to be in classroom. Otherwise it will be oral. 

The lessons will be video recorded and made available. Each lesson will be given through slides in English which will be delivered to students in advance. When necessary, the lessons will be accompanied by appropriate in-depth articles. There is no real text because the course, even when it is fully in the hydrological tradition, elaborates the concepts in a contemporary way and uses innovative tools.

As general reference texts we recommend:

  • Bras, R.L, An introduction to Hydrologic Science, ISBN-13: 978-0201059229, 1989 – ISBN-10: 0201059223, Addison-Wesley (July 1, 1989)
  • Brutsaert, W., Hydrology: an introduction, ISBN-13: 978-0521824798 – ISBN-10: 0521824796, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • Dingmann, L., Physical Hydrology, ISBN-13: 978-1478611189, ISBN-10: 1478611189, Third Edition, Waveland Press, 2015
  • Freeze, A. ; Cherry, J., Groundwater, 1979
  • Lu, N. and Godt, J.W., Hillslope Hydrology and Stability, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 978-1107021068, ISBN-10: 11070210652010, 2013

These books represent a shareable review of phenomena and hydrological modeling but the methods they present are not necessarily those used in the course. The course, also for reasons of time, presents a selected and limited perspective of the subject that the texts cited dissect from various points of view.

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