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Mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability map for Oklahoma, 1940–2007

December 6, 2021

Hydrologic records used to create previously published maps depicting mean annual runoff are biased to a relatively dry period in Oklahoma history that was dominated by droughts. Therefore, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, developed an updated mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability map for Oklahoma and parts of adjacent States. The updated map, which is based on mean-annual-streamflow regression equations developed from available streamgage data through 2007, is assumed to be representative of the long-term mean annual runoff conditions. The map covers all 69 8-digit hydrologic units with at least 1 square mile of area in Oklahoma; those 8-digit hydrologic units contain 2,870 12-digit hydrologic units that provided the geographic framework for the analysis described in this report. Although parts of adjacent States are included in the study area, this report is primarily focused on providing a map of mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability for Oklahoma.

The mean annual runoff increased from less than 0.25 inch per year in the Panhandle of northwestern Oklahoma to more than 30 inches per year in the mountainous terrain of southeastern Oklahoma. The orientation and pattern of mean annual runoff contours in this report were comparable to those of previously published map reports. The annual runoff variability, or the difference between the 80-percent and 20-percent streamflow-duration statistics, increased from less than 0.25 inch per year in the Panhandle of northwestern Oklahoma to more than 40 inches per year in the mountainous terrain of southeastern Oklahoma. The annual runoff variability data were similar in orientation and pattern to the mean annual runoff contours; annual runoff variability generally increased proportionally with increasing mean annual runoff. The annual runoff variability was also greatest, therefore, in the mountainous terrain of southeastern Oklahoma.

The mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability were calculated at sampled points representing the outlets of 12-digit hydrologic units, so the map in this report is most representative of runoff conditions in rural, unregulated drainage basins at the 12-digit hydrologic-unit scale. The map was developed by using regression equations formulated on streamgage data for the entire period of record through 2007, but those equations are biased to the period 1940–2007 when streamgages became more numerous and distributed across Oklahoma. Therefore, the map is likely most representative of runoff conditions during the period 1940–2007. Because runoff is a function of climate variables that can change over time, caution is warranted when using the information in this report to project mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability conditions beyond 2007.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Mean annual runoff and annual runoff variability map for Oklahoma, 1940–2007
DOI 10.3133/sim3482
Authors S. Jerrod Smith, Elise M. Sherrod
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Map
Series Number 3482
Index ID sim3482
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center

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