Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (7): 904-920.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1306-z

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Hydrological monitoring and seasonal forecasting:Progress and perspectives

Qiuhong TANG1(), Xuejun ZHANG1,6, Qingyun DUAN2, Shifeng HUANG3, Xing YUAN4, Huijuan CUI5, Zhe LI1, Xingcai LIU1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Remote Sensing Technology Application Center, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
    4. RCE-TEA, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS, Beijing 100029, China
    5. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    6. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-01-06 Accepted:2016-03-21 Online:2016-07-25 Published:2016-07-25
  • About author:

    Author: Tang Qiuhong, PhD and Professor, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41425002;National Basic Research Program of China, No.2012CB955403;National Youth Top-notch Talent Support Program in China;China Special Fund for Meteorological Research in the Public Interest (Major projects), No.GYHY201506001-7;The Beijing Science and Technology Plan Project, No.Z141100003614052


Hydrological monitoring and seasonal forecasting is an active research field because of its potential applications in hydrological risk assessment, preparedness and mitigation. In recent decades, developments in ground and satellite measurements have made the hydrometeorological information readily available, and advances in information technology have facilitated the data analysis in a real-time manner. New progress in climate research and modeling has enabled the prediction of seasonal climate with reasonable accuracy and increased resolution. These emerging techniques and advances have enabled more timely acquisition of accurate hydrological fluxes and status, and earlier warning of extreme hydrological events such as droughts and floods. This paper gives current state-of-the-art understanding of the uncertainties in hydrological monitoring and forecasting, reviews the efforts and progress in operational hydrological monitoring system assisted by observations from various sources and experimental seasonal hydrological forecasting, and briefly introduces the current monitoring and forecasting practices in China. The grand challenges and perspectives for the near future are also discussed, including acquiring and extracting reliable information for monitoring and forecasting, predicting realistic hydrological fluxes and states in the river basin being significantly altered by human activity, and filling the gap between numerical models and the end user. We highlight the importance of understanding the needs of the operational water management and the priority to transfer research knowledge to decision-makers.

Key words: hydrological monitoring, hydrological forecasting, uncertainty, modeling, remote sensing, climate model