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Implementation of MOVE.1, censored MOVE.1, and piecewise MOVE.1 low-flow regressions with applications at partial-record streamgaging stations in New Jersey

August 20, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) uses Maintenance of Variance Extension Type 1 (MOVE.1) regression to transfer streamflows measured at long-term continuous-record streamgaging stations to partial-record (PR) streamgaging stations where intermittent base-flow measurements are available. MOVE.1 regression is used widely throughout the hydrologic community to extend historic low flows and low-flow statistics at continuous-record streamgaging stations to streamgaging stations that have access to only a partial record of low flows. The method correlates base-flow measurements at PR streamgaging stations with daily mean streamflows measured at index stations that exhibit similar streamflow characteristics.

Following changes in the computing platform for storing, processing, retrieving, and publishing National Water Information System (NWIS) hydrologic data, legacy Statistical Analysis System (SAS) code developed by the USGS to implement the MOVE.1 regression was no longer suitable for reading and processing NWIS streamflow data. To migrate the MOVE.1 program so that it could continue to read streamflow data using the new hydrologic data platform, the SAS code was re-written in R, an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The work described in this report was performed in a study conducted by USGS in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

During migration from SAS to R, graphical and tabular output generated by the R script was compared to output produced by the legacy SAS code to ensure that equations used to perform the MOVE.1 regression remained the same. An option to perform censored MOVE.1 regression was added to extend the MOVE.1 methodology to cases where one or more measured continuous-record or PR streamgaging station flows are zero valued. In addition to permitting censored regression, the new R script includes an option to perform piecewise MOVE.1 regression when the relation between PR station and index station low flows varies significantly across the range of index station streamflows.

Together with traditional MOVE.1 regression, censored, and piecewise MOVE.1 regression methods implemented by the R script offer less biased estimates than ordinary least squares regression for the annual 7-day 10-year and other low-flow statistics at PR stations for a range of base-flow conditions. The R script is used to implement the MOVE.1 regression methods across a variety of computing platforms.

Publication Year 2018
Title Implementation of MOVE.1, censored MOVE.1, and piecewise MOVE.1 low-flow regressions with applications at partial-record streamgaging stations in New Jersey
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181089
Authors Susan J. Colarullo, Samantha L. Sullivan, Amy R. McHugh
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2018-1089
Index ID ofr20181089
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New Jersey Water Science Center