Efforts to understand climate variability and predict future climate change have highlighted many aspects of the hydrologic cycle and the exchange of energy and water at the atmosphere-surface interface as areas of critically needed study. The very nature of weather and climate demands that an international perspective and a comprehensive research approach be applied to understand these important issues. In response to this need, the international partners of the World Climate Research Program developed GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Experiment) as a major focus of international study. As the first of five continental-scale experiments, the GEWEX Continental Scale International Project (GCIP) was established to quantitatively assess the hydrologic cycle and energy fluxes of the Mississippi River basin. GCIP focuses on understanding the annual, interannual, and spatial variability of hydrology and climate within the Mississippi River basin; the development and evaluation of regional coupled hydrologic/atmospheric models; the development of data assimilation schemes; and the development of accessible, comprehensive databases. Improved water resource management on seasonal to interannual time scales is also a key GCIP goal. This book reviews the GCIP program, describes progress to date, and explores promising opportunities for future progress.
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