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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


The Hydro-Climatic Data Network -- HCDN -- has been defined and constructed. The HCDN is a national data set of relatively long streamflow records that are predominantly free of anthropogenic influences. These records are suitable for the study of variation of surface-water conditions in relation to climate variation over the last century, the period for which gaged streamflow records are available. To construct the HCDN, the USGS WATSTORE data base, the primary repository of streamflow records for the United States, was examined by a consistent set of criteria to identify all suitable streamflow records. With the assistance of surface-water specialists in each State, a total of 73,231 water years of daily mean discharge record at 1,659 gaging stations were identified as acceptable for inclusion in the HCDN by the defining criteria. This report identifies those stations with their respective acceptable period of record, which together constitute the HCDN. In addition to information identifying the stations, basin description information is also provided for each station. The information is presented both in published tables in this report, and in electronic format on the enclosed disk, entitled the Hydro-Climatic Data Network Information Disk. For the acceptable water years, the daily mean discharge data were extracted from WATSTORE and verified. In addition to compiling the daily mean discharges, the monthly and annual mean values were computed, and the annual minimum and maximum values were identified for each water year. The streamflow data for the HCDN can be obtained through the USGS NAWDEX Office.

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