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Streamflow record extension for selected streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska

October 4, 2012

Daily streamflow records for water years 1950–2010 in the Susitna River Basin range in length from 4 to 57 years, and many are distributed within that period in a way that might not adequately represent long-term streamflow conditions. Streamflow in the basin is affected by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a multi-decadal climate pattern that shifted from a cool phase to a warm phase in 1976. Records for many streamgages in the basin fell mostly within one phase of the PDO, such that monthly and annual statistics from observed records might not reflect streamflow conditions over a longer period. Correlations between daily discharge values sufficed for extending streamflow records at 11 of the 14 streamgages in the basin on the basis of relatively long-term records for one or more of the streamgages within the basin, or one outside the basin, that were defined as index stations. Streamflow at the index stations was hydrologically responsive to glacier melt and snowmelt, and correlated well with flow from similar high-elevation, glaciated basins, but flow in low-elevation basins without glaciers could not be correlated to flow at any of the index stations. Kendall-Theil Robust Line multi-segment regression equations developed for one or more index stations were used to extend daily discharge values to the full 61-year period for all 11 streamgages. Monthly and annual statistics prepared for the extended records show shifts in timing of breakup and freeze-up and magnitude of snowmelt peaks largely predicted by the PDO phase.

Publication Year 2012
Title Streamflow record extension for selected streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska
DOI 10.3133/sir20125210
Authors Janet H. Curran
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2012-5210
Index ID sir20125210
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center