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11/13/2015

OSUStreamflowTutorialTerminology

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Terminology
Acrefoot:Thevolumeofwatercovering1acretoadepthof1foot.
BaseFlow:Theflowinachannelduetosoilmoistureorgroundwater.
ClassInterval:Arangeintowhichdatamaybegrouped(asubrangeofthe
totalrange).
Contour(forelevationorprecipitation):Alineconnectingpointsonaland
surfacehavingthesameelevationorprecipitation.
Datum:Geographicalreferenceframe,horizontalplanebasedonavertical
benchmark(suchasmeansealevel)
Discharge:(SeeStreamflow)
DrainageBasin:Thelandzonethatcontributeswatertotherunoffpasta
givenpointonastream.
ExceedenceProbability:Theprobabilitythataspecifieddischargewillbe
exceeded.
FrequencyFactorTable:Tableusedtodeterminethefrequencyfactor(K)in
aLogPearsonType3statisticaldistribution.Tousethetableyouneedto
calculatetheskewnesscoefficientandchooseadesiredreturnperiod.Kisa
functionofthesetwovariablesandislistedaccordinglyinthetable.
GagingStation:Aninstallationatastreamsitewheredischargeandwater
levelsaremeasured(seealsostreamgaging).
GumbelDistribution:Astatisticaldistributionthatoriginatedfromthe
theoryofextremes.Thisdistributionhasadownfallinthatthefunctionis
unboundedoneitherside,whichcouldleadtothecalculationofnegativeflows
(however,thisisunlikely).
Hydrograph:Achronologicalgraphicrecordofstreamdischargeorwaterlevel
(stage)atagivenpointonastream(agraphofdischargeorstagevs.time).
Infiltration:Movementofwaterfromthelandsurfaceintothesoil.
KValues:Valuesfoundusingthefrequencyfactortablethisconstant
determinestheshapeofthefloodfrequencydiagram(itsasymmetry).
LogNormalDistribution:Statisticaldistributionforwhichthelogofthe
randomvariableisdistributednormally.
NormalDistribution:Statisticaldistributioninwhichdataarerepresentedby
abellshapedcurve.Thedistinctshapeandpositionofthecurveare
determinedbythemeanandthestandarddeviation.
OrographicEffect:Rainfallthatresultsfromorisenhancedbymechanical
liftingofanairmassovermountains.
OverlandFlow:Flowofwateracrossthelandsurfaceinadowngradient
direction.

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PeriodofRecord:Thetimeperiodforwhichflowmeasurementshavebeen
recorded.Theperiodofrecordmaybecontinuousorinterruptedbyintervals
duringwhichnodatawerecollected.ForUSGSgages,itisusuallylistedatthe
topofthepagewithotherkeyinformationaboutthegage.
Population:Completesetofpersons,places,orthingsunderstatistical
analysis.
PorousMedium:Materialthatwillallowwatertoflowthroughit.Sand,soil,
andsometypesofrockaretypicalgeologicmaterialsthatactasporousmedia.
Precipitation:Waterthatfallstotheearthintheformofrain,snow,hail,or
sleet.
RatingCurve:Relationshipbetweenwaterstage(elevation)andwater
dischargeinachannel.
RecurrenceInterval:Timeintervalinwhichaneventcanbeexpectedto
occuronceontheaverage.
Reservoir:Amanmadestorageareaforfloodcontrolofwatersupply.
ReturnPeriodandExceedenceProbability:Aneventhasareturnperiod
(orrecurrenceinterval)ofTyearsifitsmagnitudeisequaledorexceededonce,
ontheaverage,everyTyears.Thereciprocalofthereturnperiodisthe
exceedanceprobabilityoftheevent,thatis,theprobabilitythattheeventis
equaledorexceededinanyoneyear.Forexample,the50yearfloodhasa
probabilityof0.02or2%,ofbeingequaledorexceededinanysingleyear.Itis
importanttonotethatthereturnperiodimpliesnothingabouttheactualtime
sequenceofanevent.The50yearflooddoesnotoccuronceevery50yearsit
isexpected,forexample,thatontheaverage,abouttwenty50yearfloods
canbeexpectedtobeexperiencedduringa1,000yearperiod.
Skewness:Statisticaltermdescribingthethirdcentralmomentaboutthe
mean,ameasureofasymmetry.
SkewnessCoefficient:Statisticaltermdescribingthethirdcentralmoment
aboutthemean(skewness)dividedbythecubeofstandarddeviation.The
skewnesscoefficientisusedwithreturnperiodinthefrequencyfactortableto
determinethefrequencyfactorK,whichsubsequentlydeterminestheshapeof
thefloodfrequencydiagram(asymmetry).
StandardDeviation:Statisticaltermdescribingthemeasureofspreadabout
themeanforadataset,calculatedbytakingthesquarerootoftheaverageof
thedeviationssquared(variance).
Streamflow(Discharge):Therateofwaterflow(volume/unittime)passing
agivencrosssectionofastream.Somecommonunitsinclude:
cubicfeetpersecond,cfs,ft3/s
cubicmeterspersecond,m3/s
gallonsperminute,gpm
Streamgaging:Twotypesoffieldmeasurementsformthebasisforall
streamflowwork:(1)riverstage(watersurfaceelevation)and(2)cross
sectionalarea.Thelocationalongtheriverwherethesemeasurementsare
takenisreferredtoasagagingsite.Apermanentfacilityatthissiteisreferred
toasagagingstation.Determinationofriverdischargerequiresthatthe
velocityandcrosssectionareabemeasuredatthestationinsomesystematic
manner.Thisprocessisreferredtoasstreamgaging.
Variance:Statisticaltermdescribingthesecondcentralmomentaboutthe
mean,ameasureofscaleorwidth,calculatedbytakingtheaverageofthe
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deviationssquared.
WaterYear:TimeconventionusedbytheUSGSforcompilingandreporting
theirstreamflowdata.ThewateryearforOregon(andUnitedStates)isfrom
October1 sttoSeptember30 th.Forexamplewateryear2000isfromOctober
1,1999toSeptember30,2000.ForOregonandWesternU.S.,thewateryear
splitsdataduringarelativelydryperiodduringwhichstreamflowdoesnot
changesignificantlyfromdaytoday(endofsummer,earlyautumn),rather
thaninthemidstofthewetseasonduringwhichflowscanchangerapidlyfrom
daytoday.
Watershed:Theareaoflandthatdrainstoasingleoutletandisseparated
fromotherwatershedsbyatopographicorsubsurfacedrainagedivide.
WatershedDivide:Alineorborderthatdefinesawatershedtopographically.
SourcesofData:ThemainsourcesfordataonstreamflowinOregonarethe
USGeologicalSurvey(U.S.DepartmentofInterior)andtheOregonWater
ResourcesDepartment.
Foramoredetailedandcompletediscussionofhydrologicterms,pleasereferto
thefollowingtext:
Bedient,PhilipB.andWayneC.Huber.HydrologyandFloodplainAnalysis.
PrenticeHall,Inc.,UpperSaddleRiver,2002.

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