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HCDN: A U.S. Geological Survey streamflow data set for the United States
for the study of climate variations, 1874 - 1988
USGS Open-File Report 92-129
By J.R. Slack and Jurate Maciunas Landwehr


Records of streamflow can provide an account of climatic variation over a hydrologic basin. The ability to do so is conditioned on the absence of confounding factors that diminish the climate signal. A national data set of streamflow records that are relatively free of confounding anthropogenic influences has been developed for the purpose of studying the variation in surface-water conditions throughout the United States. Records in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Storage and Retrieval System (WATSTORE) data base for active and discontinued streamflow gaging stations through water year 1988 (that is, through September 30, 1988) were reviewed jointly with data specialists in each USGS District office. The resulting collection of stations, each with its respective period of record satisfying the qualifying criteria, is called the Hydro-Climatic Data Network, or HCDN. The HCDN consists of 1,659 sites throughout the United States and its territories, totaling 73,231 water years of daily mean discharge values. For each station in the HCDN, information necessary for its identification, along with any qualifying comments about the available record and a set of descriptive watershed characteristics are provided in tabular format in this report, both on paper and on computer disk (enclosed). For each station in the HCDN, the appropriate daily mean discharge values were compiled, and statistical characteristics, including monthly mean discharges and annual mean, minimum and maximum discharges, were derived. The discharge data values are provided in a companion report.

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