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Record Length Needed to Predict Suspended Sediment Load from Stream Discharge Data Using Linear Regression

Isam E. Amin, Alan M. Jacobs


Although it has been established that suspended sediment load of streams can be derived from stream water discharge data, it is assumed that the longer the record length, the better the correlation. Using linear regression analysis, we applied this technique to four diverse US rivers, with sediment record lengths of 30 to 54 years. High correlation coefficients (0.72 to 0.97) showed high accuracy whereas predicted minus observed suspended sediment loads for each river re-calculated for records in increasing increments of 5 to 10 years in length showed high precision regardless of the record length. Consequently, record lengths more than 5 to 10 years were considered unnecessary.


Linear regression analysis, suspended sediment load, river discharge, correlation coefficients, predicted vs. observed sediment load, accuracy vs. precision

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