Shope, CL; Bartsch, S; Kim, K; Kim, B; Tenhunen, JD; Peiffer, S; Park, J-H; Ok, YS; Fleckenstein, JH; Koellner, T: A weighted, multi-method approach for accurate basin-wide streamflow estimation in an ungauged watershed, Journal of Hydrology, 494, 72-82 (2013) [Link]
River discharge is a commonly measured hydrologic variable; however, estimate uncertainty is often higher than acceptable limits. To quantify method limitations and spatiotemporal variability, a multi-year hydrologic flow partitioning investigation was completed under monsoonal conditions in the ungauged complex terrain of the Haean Catchment, South Korea. Our results indicate that sediment transport from a single annual monsoonal event can significantly modify the channel cross-sectional area resulting in inaccurate stage-discharge rating curves. We compare six discharge measurement methods at 13 locations that vary in slope from 1% to 80%, with discharge ranging up to four orders in magnitude, which enabled us to weight the accuracy of each method over a specific range in discharge. The most accurate discharge estimation methods are the weir, the acoustic Doppler current profiler, and the in-stream velocity area method; however, under certain conditions each of these methods is less desirable than other methods. The uncertainty in the three methods is on average 0.4%, 4.7%, and 6.1% of the total discharge, respectively. The accuracy of the discharge estimates has a direct influence on the characterization of basin-wide hydrologic partitioning, which can lead to significant variability in sediment erosion rates and nutrient fate and transport.
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