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Map correlation method: Selection of a reference streamgage to estimate daily streamflow at ungaged catchments

October 9, 2010

Daily streamflow time series are critical to a very broad range of hydrologic problems. Whereas daily streamflow time series are readily obtained from gaged catchments, streamflow information is commonly needed at catchments for which no measured streamflow information exists. At ungaged catchments, methods to estimate daily streamflow time series typically require the use of a reference streamgage, which transfers properties of the streamflow time series at a reference streamgage to the ungaged catchment. Therefore, the selection of a reference streamgage is one of the central challenges associated with estimation of daily streamflow at ungaged basins. The reference streamgage is typically selected by choosing the nearest streamgage; however, this paper shows that selection of the nearest streamgage does not provide a consistent selection criterion. We introduce a new method, termed the map‐correlation method, which selects the reference streamgage whose daily streamflows are most correlated with an ungaged catchment. When applied to the estimation of daily streamflow at 28 streamgages across southern New England, daily streamflows estimated by a reference streamgage selected using the map‐correlation method generally provides improved estimates of daily streamflow time series over streamflows estimated by the selection and use of the nearest streamgage. The map correlation method could have potential for many other applications including identifying redundancy and uniqueness in a streamgage network, calibration of rainfall runoff models at ungaged sites, as well as for use in catchment classification.

Publication Year 2010
Title Map correlation method: Selection of a reference streamgage to estimate daily streamflow at ungaged catchments
DOI 10.1029/2009WR008481
Authors Stacey A. Archfield, Richard M. Vogel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Research
Index ID 70160861
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Massachusetts Water Science Center