Hydrologic research at the interface between the atmosphere and land surface is undergoing a dramatic change in focus, driven by new societal priorities, emerging technologies, and better understanding of the earth system. In this paper an agenda for land surface hydrology research is proposed in order to open the debate for more comprehensive prioritization of science and application activities in the hydrologic sciences. Sets of priority science questions are posed and research strategies for achieving progress are identified. The proposed research agenda is also coupled with ongoing international data collection programs. The driving science questions and related research agenda lead to a call for the second International Hydrologic Decade. This activity will help to ensure that hydrology starts the new millennium as a coherent and vital discipline.