Klemeš, Vit

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Vit Klemes


Vit Klemeš 30 April 1932 (Podivín, Moravia) – 8 March 2010 (Victoria, Canada)


Vit Klemeš was a Canadian hydrologist of Czech origin. He received a Civil Engineering degree (Ing) from the Brno University of Technology (Moravia), a CSc degree (a local equivalent of PhD) in hydrology and water resources from the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava (Slovakia) and a DrSc degree from the Czech Technical University in Prague (Bohemia).

Following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, Klemes and his family came to Canada in September 1968. There he obtained a position of associate professor at the University of Toronto, first in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and later in the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. In 1972 he was appointed research hydrologist at the National Hydrology Research Institute of Environment Canada, a position he held for 17 years; after the institute's move from Ottawa to Saskatoon, he also served as its chief scientist. From 1990 to 1999 he was a water resources consultant in Victoria, British Columbia where he continued to live after his retirement until his death.

During his career Klemes has authored about 150 scientific and technical publications, lectured extensively on all five continents, was visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Monash University in Melbourne, Agricultural University (BOKU) in Vienna, the University of Karlsruhe, and in 1994 was appointed Invited Professor at Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique of Université du Quebec.

In 1987 he was elected President of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) and his work has been recognized by a number of awards; among other, he received a Gold Medal from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (1993), the International Hydrology Prize from the IAHS (1994), the Ray K. Linsley Award from the American Institute of Hydrology (1995) and the Ven Te Chow Award from the American Society of Civil Engineering (1998).

Demetria Koutsoyiannis writes in appreciation of Klemes that "Vít’s involvement in science went far beyond hydrology. He had an informed opinion about broad scientific and philosophical issues. In addition to being a scientist and engineer, Vít was a conscious and active citizen of the world, having strong positions on all contemporary political, societal, economic and even religious affairs and problems. His recent book, entitled “An Imperfect Fit: Advanced Democracy and Human Nature”, is one of the testimonies of his activity of this type. Vít Klemeš was an unusual and unorthodox personality resembling more an ancient philosopher than a specialized modern scientist." He also gives a good account of Vit's iconoclastic approach to climate change and other issues, illustrating how preferred rigorous thought to political correctness.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Vit Klemeš made signicant contributions to rigorous hydrological thinking, particularly in terms of testing hydrological models (his 1986 paper is his most highly cited), but also to the use of regression and of frequency distributions. He was known for his iconoclastic (or sometimes "heretical") viewpoint but his papers should be read by all hydrologists. They are conveniently collected in the book edited by David Sellars.

Reference Material[edit]

Source: Vit Klemeš Wikipedia page

Source: Koutsoyiannis, D. (2011): Vít Klemeš (1932-2010). The Reference Frame, recollection

Major Publications[edit]



Klemeš, V., 1974. The Hurst phenomenon: A puzzle?. Water Resources Research, 10(4):675-688.

Klemeš, V., 1977. Value of information in reservoir optimization. Water Resources Research, 13(5), pp.837-850.

Klemeš, V., 1977. Discrete representation of storage for stochastic reservoir optimization. Water resources research, 13(1), pp.149-158.

Klemes, V., 1978. Physically based stochastic hydrologic analysis. Advances in hydroscience, 11, pp.285-356.

Klemeš, V., 1979. Storage mass‐curve analysis in a systems‐analytic perspective. Water Resources Research, 15(2), pp.359-370.

Klemeš, V., Srikanthan, R. and McMahon, T.A., 1981. Long‐memory flow models in reservoir analysis: What is their practical value?. Water Resources Research, 17(3), pp.737-751.

Klemeš, V., 1983. Conceptualization and scale in hydrology. Journal of hydrology, 65(1), pp.1-23.

Klemes̆, V., 1985. Sensitivity of water resource systems to climate variations. World Climate Programme.

Klemeš, Vit. 1986, Operational testing of hydrological simulation models." Hydrological Sciences Journal 31: 13-24.

Klemeš, V., 1986. Dilettantism in hydrology: transition or destiny?. Water Resources Research, 22(9S).

Klemeš, V., 1988. A hydrological perspective. Journal of Hydrology, 100(1-3), pp.3-28.

Nash, J.E., Eagleson, P.S., Philip, J.R., Van der Molen, W.H. and Klemeš, V., 1990. The education of hydrologists (Report of an IAHS/UNESCO Panel on hydrological education). Hydrological Sciences Journal, 35(6): 597-607.


Klemeš, V., 1999, Keeping techniques, methods, and models in perspective, JOURNAL OF WATER RESOURCES PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT-ASCE 125(4):181-185

Klemeš, V., 2000. Tall tales about tails of hydrological distributions. I. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 5(3), pp.227-231.

Klemeš, V., 2008. Apocrypha, or "things that are hidden" - personal experience with "hidden" impacts over the past 50 years - Discussion of "Editorial - Quantifying the impact of hydrological studies" HYDROLOGICAL SCIENCES JOURNAL-JOURNAL DES SCIENCES HYDROLOGIQUES, 53(2): 488-494