An analysis for the determination of the best measure of precipitation for the estimation of bankfull width
Date of Award
Master of Science
Wilkerson, Dr. Gregory
It has been demonstrated in past studies that drainage area (Ada) and mean annual precipitation depth (Pmean) are significant independent variables for predicting bankfull channel geometry. Bankfull width (Wbf), a particularly useful measure of bankfull channel geometry, is used in hydrology, fluvial geomorphology and stream ecology applications. Since precipitation depth does not generally have a normal distribution over a basin it is reasonable to question whether or not Pmean is the best measure of precipitation across a basin. That is, perhaps the median precipitation depth (P50) or the mean annual precipitation depth at the basin outlet (Poutlet) is more representative of precipitation in a basin. The objective of the study is to see if Pmean, P50, or Poutlet is a significantly better measure of precipitation in a watershed. Along with Ada, each of these precipitation measures was used to develop relationships for predicting Wbf for basins located across the continental U.S. Using several goodness-of-fit statistics i.e., coefficient of determination(R2), Standard error of estimates(SEE) and Akaike Information Criterion(∆AIC), the relationships were compared to determine which one had the greatest predictive strength. Estimates of Pmean, P50, and Poutlet were derived from a precipitation model developed by PRISM. Results from this study tentatively indicate that all three measures of precipitation depth yield models for predicting Wbf that have comparable goodness-of-fit statistics.
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