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Mississippi River streamflow measurement techniques at St. Louis, Missouri

January 1, 2013

Streamflow measurement techniques of the Mississippi River at St. Louis have changed through time (1866–present). In addition to different methods used for discrete streamflow measurements, the density and range of discrete measurements used to define the rating curve (stage versus streamflow) have also changed. Several authors have utilized published water surface elevation (stage) and streamflow data to assess changes in the rating curve, which may be attributed to be caused by flood control and/or navigation structures. The purpose of this paper is to provide a thorough review of the available flow measurement data and techniques and to assess how a strict awareness of the limitations of the data may affect previous analyses. It is concluded that the pre-1930s discrete streamflow measurement data are not of sufficient accuracy to be compared with modern streamflow values in establishing long-term trends of river behavior.

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