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Water Balance web-app, slides, and activities

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Created: Aug 05, 2021 at 12:31 p.m.
Last updated: Sep 24, 2021 at 4:22 p.m.
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This resource includes materials to introduce students in an introductory hydrology or earth science class to the concept of a water balance using active learning. Included are a short powerpoint presentation, a link to an interactive web app, and a set of example activities that use the web app. The web app, which runs well on a smartphone or desktop, runs a monthly Thornthwaite-type water balance for any of thousands of sites across the United States for either of two NOAA climate normals periods and presents the results in a series of plots. Once a site and period are chosen, users can make a variety of changes to the site data to run simulations. For example, users can change the available soil water capacity, latitude, precipitation, and/or temperature data for the site. Additionally, users can output the raw data from the app to use in external programs for additional analysis or plotting in more advanced courses. Three activities that explore the water balance using the app are included in the activities document. These are provided for direct use in classrooms, as sets of questions to chose from, or as inspiration for new activities. If you create additional activities that use the app, please let the authors know!

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Related Resources

The content of this resource is derived from Soil Survey Staff. (2020). Gridded National Soil Survey Geographic (gNATSGO) Database for theConterminous United States [United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, December 1, 2020 (FY2020 official release)].
The content of this resource is derived from Anthony Arguez, Imke Durre, Scott Applequist, Mike Squires, Russell Vose, Xungang Yin, and Rocky Bilotta (2010). NOAA's U.S. Climate Normals (1981-2010). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI:10.7289/V5PN93JP

How to Cite

Gannon, J. P., K. McGuire (2021). Water Balance web-app, slides, and activities, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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