Evaluation of uncertainty intervals for daily, statistically derived streamflow estimates at ungaged basins across the continental U.S.

Water
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Abstract

Streamflow estimation methods that transfer information from an index gage to an ungaged site are commonly used; however, uncertainty in daily streamflow estimates are often not adequately quantified. In this study, daily streamflow was simulated at 1,331 validation streamgages across the continental United States using four transfer-based streamflow estimation methods. Empirical 95 percent uncertainty intervals were computed for estimated daily streamflows. Uncertainty intervals were evaluated for reliability, sharpness, and overall ability to accurately quantify the uncertainty inherent in the estimated daily streamflow. Uncertainty intervals performed reliably in the Eastern U.S. and Pacific Northwest regions of the country, containing a median of 96 and 99 percent of the observed values respectively. Uncertainty intervals were less reliable in the Great Plains and arid Southwest regions, where uncertainty intervals contained a median of 83 and 94 percent of the observed streamflows respectively. Uncertainty interval performance was correlated with gage density and hydrologic similarity near the validation site, as well as the aridity and base-flow indices at the site.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluation of uncertainty intervals for daily, statistically derived streamflow estimates at ungaged basins across the continental U.S.
Series title Water
DOI 10.3390/w12051390
Volume 12
Issue 5
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description 1390, 20 p.
Country United States
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