User's manual for the Graphical Constituent Loading Analysis System (GCLAS)

Techniques and Methods 4-C1

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This manual describes the Graphical Constituent Loading Analysis System (GCLAS), an interactive cross-platform program for computing the mass (load) and average concentration of a constituent that is transported in stream water over a period of time. GCLAS computes loads as a function of an equal-interval streamflow time series and an equal- or unequal-interval time series of constituent concentrations. The constituent-concentration time series may be composed of measured concentrations or a combination of measured and estimated concentrations. GCLAS is not intended for use in situations where concentration data (or an appropriate surrogate) are collected infrequently or where an appreciable amount of the concentration values are censored. It is assumed that the constituent-concentration time series used by GCLAS adequately represents the true time-varying concentration. Commonly, measured constituent concentrations are collected at a frequency that is less than ideal (from a load-computation standpoint), so estimated concentrations must be inserted in the time series to better approximate the expected chemograph. GCLAS provides tools to facilitate estimation and entry of instantaneous concentrations for that purpose. Water-quality samples collected for load computation frequently are collected in a single vertical or at single point in a stream cross section. Several factors, some of which may vary as a function of time and (or) streamflow, can affect whether the sample concentrations are representative of the mean concentration in the cross section. GCLAS provides tools to aid the analyst in assessing whether concentrations in samples collected in a single vertical or at single point in a stream cross section exhibit systematic bias with respect to the mean concentrations. In cases where bias is evident, the analyst can construct coefficient relations in GCLAS to reduce or eliminate the observed bias. GCLAS can export load and concentration data in formats suitable for entry into the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Information System. GCLAS can also import and export data in formats that are compatible with various commonly used spreadsheet and statistics programs.

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USGS Numbered Series
User's manual for the Graphical Constituent Loading Analysis System (GCLAS)
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Techniques and Methods
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vi, 51 p.
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