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Methods for computing 7Q2 and 7Q20 low-streamflow statistics to account for possible trends

June 3, 2022

Low-streamflow statistics, such as the annual minimum 7-day streamflow (which is the 7-day streamflow likely to be exceeded in 9 out of 10 years on average [7Q10]), that are computed by using the full historical streamflow record may not accurately represent current conditions at sites with statistically significant trends in low streamflow over time. Recent research suggests that using a contemporary subset of the historical streamflow record (specifically, the most recent 30 years) to compute an estimate of 7Q10 more accurately represents current streamflow conditions when a statistically significant trend in the streamflow record is present. This report presents the results of a Monte Carlo simulation experiment on artificial low-streamflow records, derived from the characteristics of streamflows at 174 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages, to test whether a similar approach is appropriate for the computation of the annual minimum 7-day streamflow exceeded in 1 out of 2 years on average (7Q2) and the annual minimum 7-day streamflow exceeded in 19 out of 20 years on average (7Q20). The results indicate that using the most recent 30-year subset of the low-streamflow record also may be the best approach when computing 7Q2 and 7Q20 at sites where a statistically significant trend in low streamflows is detected.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Methods for computing 7Q2 and 7Q20 low-streamflow statistics to account for possible trends
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211111
Authors Luther Schalk, Robert W. Dudley, Annalise G. Blum
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2021-1111
Index ID ofr20211111
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New England Water Science Center