Methods for quantifying the uncertainty in discharge measurements typically identify various sources of uncertainty and then estimate the uncertainty from each of these sources by applying the results of empirical or laboratory studies. If actual measurement conditions are not consistent with those encountered in the empirical or laboratory studies, these methods may give poor estimates of discharge uncertainty. This paper presents an alternative method for estimating discharge measurement uncertainty that uses statistical techniques and at-site observations. This Interpolated Variance Estimator (IVE) estimates uncertainty based on the data collected during the streamflow measurement and therefore reflects the conditions encountered at the site. The IVE has the additional advantage of capturing all sources of random uncertainty in the velocity and depth measurements. It can be applied to velocity-area discharge measurements that use a velocity meter to measure point velocities at multiple vertical sections in a channel cross section.
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Estimating discharge measurement uncertainty using the interpolated variance estimator