2023 Science Olympiad: Freshwater hydrology

Resources for the 2023 Science Olympiad challenge in Dynamic Planet: Freshwater hydrology

Science Olympiad is a national STEM competition dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing interest and engagement in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by students and teachers. Science Olympiad tournaments emphasize teamwork, problem solving, and hands-on learning practices. For more information about Science Olympiad, visit www.soinc.org offsite link. Here, we share resources from NOAA and our federal partners.

The Science Olympiad logo on top of a thunderstorm cityscape.

Science Olympiad logo (Image credit: Science Olympiad; Background image courtesy of Sam Farkas. )

Background information

National Weather Service JetStream: An online school for weather

JetStream has comprehensive information on a variety of meteorology and atmospheric science topics, including severe weather phenomena, winds, precipitation, atmospheric circulation, upper air charts, global weather, synoptic weather, and smaller scale phenomena like thunderstorms, Doppler radar, satellites, and more. There is a section on River Forecast Centers and one on the hydrologic cycle with accompanying lessons and a water cycle chart.

National Snow & Ice Data Center offsite link

Learn all about the cryosphere, the parts of our planet that are so cold that they stay frozen all year long. Cryosphere features include glaciers, snow, sea ice, and frozen ground. Learn about researchers studying the cryosphere and how climate change is affecting the it.

NOAA SciJinks

SciJinks features information, illustrations, and learning tools for many different weather topics including water and ice

River Forecast Centers

Find your local River Forecast Center and local river and hydrology data. 

National Weather Service safety tips

Learn about weather hazards, why they happen, and how you can keep yourself safe. Hazards include drought, flooding, and more. 

Careers in hydrology

Learn all about hydrology careers with the National Weather Service.

National Severe Storms Lab

The National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) research laboratory studies a wide range of severe weather, including tornadoes, lightning, winds, hail, flash floods, and winter weather. New technology developed by NSSL, including research into the topics of weather processes, radars, and models, benefits National Weather Service forecasters by providing them with new tools. NSSL’s education page can help your students jump into the world of severe weather. The Severe Weather 101 portal includes overviews a variety of phenomena, including flooding.

USGS: What is hydrology?

Read through hydrology basics and information about hydrologists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Data resources

Climate at a Glance

Explore shows temperature and precipitation at local, regional, national, and international scales. You can change your parameters to show monthly, seasonal, or multi-year averages. Get started with our tiny tutorial!

National Integrated Drought Information System

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) is a multi-agency partnership that coordinates drought monitoring, forecasting, planning, and information at national, tribal, state, and local levels. Explore data, including the U.S. Drought Monitor and the Climate Prediction Center's Seasonal Drought Outlook.

National Snow and Ice Data Center offsite link

Access snow and ice data in Google Earth. Datasets include snow, ice, ice shelf, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice extent.

Arctic Report Card

Issued annually since 2006, the Arctic Report Card is a timely and peer-reviewed source for clear, reliable and concise environmental information on the current state of different components of the Arctic environmental system relative to historical records. The Report Card is intended for a wide audience, including scientists, teachers, students, decision-makers, and any other audiences interested in the Arctic environment and science.

NOAA View Global Data Explorer

Access NOAA data from a variety of satellite, model, and other observations in a single, user-friendly map. Investigate various datasets related to the ocean, atmosphere, land, cryosphere, and climate and view them as animations over weeks, months, or years. Mouse over the maps to inspect individual data values at any point. 

River Observations

View hydrograph, summary, and real-time data (flood stage, current height) from river gauges across the country. Explore river forecasts and experimental long-range flood risk. Download KMZ files for Google Earth of observed and forecasted river conditions.

National Water Quality Data Portal

The National Water Quality Data Portal integrates publicly available water quality data from the Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Storage and Retrieval (STORET) Data Warehouse, and the Department of Agriculture’s Sustaining the Earth’s Watersheds Agricultural Research Database System (STEWARDS). Information includes a wide variety of site and sampling parameters, available for each sample location since the beginning of that database.

The Climate Explorer offsite link

Explore past and projected future climate data, including precipitation and drought, by U.S. city or county. Future projections include high and low emission scenarios.

National Data Buoy Center

The National Data Buoy Center provides real-time environmental observations collected from buoys around the world, including inland sources. View both recent and historical information on ocean and weather conditions, as well as any current tsunami activity. Graphs and tables of data are available for water column height at each buoy location.

Great Lakes MODIS Imagery Region Map

View real-time and recent satellite images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. Download high-resolution images in multiple formats. 

USGS: National hydrography data products

Explore datasets from USGS including the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR). These geospatial datasets represent the surface water of the United States for mapping and modeling applications.

USGS: Current water data

This real-time dataset shows streamflow data from across the United States.

USGS: National Water Dashboard

View over 13,000 real-time stream, lake, reservoir, precipitation, water quality, and groundwater stations. 

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