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Comparison of methods for computing streamflow statistics for Pennsylvania streams

January 1, 1999

Methods for computing streamflow statistics intended for use on ungaged locations on Pennsylvania streams are presented and compared to frequency distributions of gaged streamflow data. The streamflow statistics used in the comparisons include the 7-day 10-year low flow, 50-year flood flow, and the 100-year flood flow; additional statistics are presented. Streamflow statistics for gaged locations on streams in Pennsylvania were computed using three methods for the comparisons: 1) Log-Pearson type III frequency distribution (Log-Pearson) of continuous-record streamflow data, 2) regional regression equations developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1982 (WRI 82-21), and 3) regional regression equations developed by the Pennsylvania State University in 1981 (PSU-IV). Log-Pearson distribution was considered the reference method for evaluation of the regional regression equations. Low-flow statistics were computed using the Log-Pearson distribution and WRI 82-21, whereas flood-flow statistics were computed using all three methods. The urban adjustment for PSU-IV was modified from the recommended computation to exclude Philadelphia and the surrounding areas (region 1) from the adjustment. Adjustments for storage area for PSU-IV were also slightly modified.

A comparison of the 7-day 10-year low flow computed from Log-Pearson distribution and WRI-82- 21 showed that the methods produced significantly different values for about 7 percent of the state. The same methods produced 50-year and 100-year flood flows that were significantly different for about 24 percent of the state. Flood-flow statistics computed using Log-Pearson distribution and PSU-IV were not significantly different in any regions of the state. These findings are based on a statistical comparison using the t-test on signed ranks and graphical methods.

Publication Year 1999
Title Comparison of methods for computing streamflow statistics for Pennsylvania streams
DOI 10.3133/wri994068
Authors Marla H. Ehlke, Lloyd A. Reed
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 99-4068
Index ID wri994068
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center