Streamflow record extension for selected streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska

Scientific Investigations Report 2012-5210

Prepared in cooperation with the Alaska Energy Authority



Daily streamflow records for water years 1950–2010 in the Susitna River Basin range in length from 4 to 57 years, and many are distributed within that period in a way that might not adequately represent long-term streamflow conditions. Streamflow in the basin is affected by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a multi-decadal climate pattern that shifted from a cool phase to a warm phase in 1976. Records for many streamgages in the basin fell mostly within one phase of the PDO, such that monthly and annual statistics from observed records might not reflect streamflow conditions over a longer period. Correlations between daily discharge values sufficed for extending streamflow records at 11 of the 14 streamgages in the basin on the basis of relatively long-term records for one or more of the streamgages within the basin, or one outside the basin, that were defined as index stations. Streamflow at the index stations was hydrologically responsive to glacier melt and snowmelt, and correlated well with flow from similar high-elevation, glaciated basins, but flow in low-elevation basins without glaciers could not be correlated to flow at any of the index stations. Kendall-Theil Robust Line multi-segment regression equations developed for one or more index stations were used to extend daily discharge values to the full 61-year period for all 11 streamgages. Monthly and annual statistics prepared for the extended records show shifts in timing of breakup and freeze-up and magnitude of snowmelt peaks largely predicted by the PDO phase.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow record extension for selected streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center
vi, 36 p.; col. ill.; map (col.); Appendix B
United States
Other Geospatial:
Susitna River Basin
Additional Online Files (Y/N):