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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5210

Prepared in cooperation with the Alaska Energy Authority

Streamflow Record Extension for Selected Streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska

By Janet H. Curran

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.6 MB) Abstract

Daily streamflow records for water years 1950–2010 in the Susitna River Basin range in length from 4 to 57 years, and many are distributed within that period in a way that might not adequately represent long-term streamflow conditions. Streamflow in the basin is affected by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a multi-decadal climate pattern that shifted from a cool phase to a warm phase in 1976. Records for many streamgages in the basin fell mostly within one phase of the PDO, such that monthly and annual statistics from observed records might not reflect streamflow conditions over a longer period. Correlations between daily discharge values sufficed for extending streamflow records at 11 of the 14 streamgages in the basin on the basis of relatively long-term records for one or more of the streamgages within the basin, or one outside the basin, that were defined as index stations. Streamflow at the index stations was hydrologically responsive to glacier melt and snowmelt, and correlated well with flow from similar high-elevation, glaciated basins, but flow in low-elevation basins without glaciers could not be correlated to flow at any of the index stations. Kendall-Theil Robust Line multi-segment regression equations developed for one or more index stations were used to extend daily discharge values to the full 61-year period for all 11 streamgages. Monthly and annual statistics prepared for the extended records show shifts in timing of breakup and freeze-up and magnitude of snowmelt peaks largely predicted by the PDO phase

Revised October 23, 2012

First posted October 3, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, Alaska Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
4210 University Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508-4560

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Suggested citation:

Curran, J.H., 2012, Streamflow record extension for selected streams in the Susitna River Basin, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5210, 36 p.




Description of the Susitna River Basin

Streamflow in the Susitna River Basin

Methods of Analysis

Extended Streamflow Records


References Cited

Appendix A. Plots of Daily Discharge and Best-Fit Multi-Segment Kendall Theil Regression Lines for Sites of Interest and Index Stations for Concurrent Periods during Water Years 1950–2010, Susitna River Basin, Alaska

Appendix B. Extended and Observed Streamflow Records for Water Years 1950–2010 for Selected Streamgages, Susitna River Basin, Alaska

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