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U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 92-505
Online version 1.0

Water Balance for Crater Lake, Oregon


Manuel Nathenson


A water balance for Crater Lake, Oregon, is calculated using measured lake levels and precipitation data measured at Park Headquarters and at a gage on the North Rim. Total water supply to the lake from precipitation and inflow from the crater walls is found to be 224 cm/y over the area of the lake. The ratio between water supply to the lake and precipitation at Park Headquarters is calculated as 1.325. Using leakage determined by Phillips (1968) and Redmond (1990), evaporation from the lake is approximately 85 cm/y. Calculations show that water balances with precipitation data only from Park Headquarters are unable to accurately define the water-level variation, whereas the addition of yearly precipitation data from the North Rim reduces the average absolute deviation between calculated and modeled water levels by one half. Daily precipitation and water-level data are modeled assuming that precipitation is stored on the rim as snow during fall and winter and released uniformly during the spring and early summer. Daily data do not accurately define the water balance, but they suggest that direct precipitation on the lake is about 10 % higher than that measured at Park Headquarters and that about 17 % of the water supply is from inflow from the rim.


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For questions about the content of this report, contact Manuel Nathenson

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: January 30, 2001
Last modified: May 27, 2005 (mfd)