Environmental monitoring is a primary reason for collecting sediment data. One emphasis of this monitoring is identification of trends in suspended sediment discharge. A stochastic equation was used to generate time series of annual suspended sediment discharges using statistics from gaging stations with drainage areas between 1606 and 1 805 230 km2. Annual sediment discharge was increased linearly to yield a given increase at the end of a fixed period and trend statistics were computed for each simulation series using Kendal's tau (at 0.05 significance level). A parameter was calculated from two factors that control trend detection time: (a) the magnitude of change in sediment discharge, and (b) the natural variability of sediment discharge. In this analysis the detection of a trend at most stations is well over 100 years for a 20% increase in sediment discharge. Further research is needed to assess the sensitivity of detecting trends at sediment stations.
Additional Publication Details
Identifying trends in sediment discharge from alterations in upstream land use
Effects of scale on interpretation and management of sediment and water quality. Proc. symposium, Boulder, 1995