Scarcity of Rain, Stream Gages Threatens Forecasts

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Science  20 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5431, pp. 1199-1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5431.1199

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BIRMINGHAM, U.K.-- Hydrologists warn that the world's network of rainfall and stream gages--often a low priority in science budgets--is slowly eroding. That decline means that at a time when global warming may be exacerbating weather extremes and water shortages, scientists are less able to monitor water supplies, predict droughts, and forecast floods than they were 30 years ago. And although remote sensing and other technologies offer new sources of climatic data, rain and stream gages remain crucial for finding out how much water is flowing down a river.