Data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collocated-sampler program for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) are used to estimate the overall error of NADP/NTN measurements. Absolute errors are estimated by comparison of paired measurements from collocated instruments. Spatial and temporal differences in absolute error were identified and are consistent with longitudinal distributions of NADP/NTN measurements and spatial differences in precipitation characteristics. The magnitude of error for calcium, magnesium, ammonium, nitrate, and sulfate concentrations, specific conductance, and sample volume is of minor environmental significance to data users. Data collected after a 1994 sample-handling protocol change are prone to less absolute error than data collected prior to 1994. Absolute errors are smaller during non-winter months than during winter months for selected constituents at sites where frozen precipitation is common. Minimum resolvable differences are estimated for different regions of the USA to aid spatial and temporal watershed analyses.
Additional publication details
Spatial and temporal variability of the overall error of National Atmospheric Deposition Program measurements determined by the USGS collocated-sampler program, water years 1989-2001