A comparison of storm-based and annual-based indices of hydrologic variability: a case study in Fort Benning, Georgia


The magnitude, frequency, duration, timing, and rate of change of hydrologic conditions regulate ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems. Conditions are typically characterized using annual-based hydrologic indices derived from daily and/or monthly stream flow data. In this study, we present an alternative approach to identify hydrologic indices based on storm hydrographs. Hydrologic indices derived from long-term daily flow data were compared to those from storm events for two headwater watersheds in Fort Benning, Georgia. Five hydrologic indices derived from daily flow data and storm events shared common features. Storm-based magnitude of mean peak discharge and mean response factor, frequency of bankfull discharge, rate of change in mean slopes of rising, and falling limb of the hydrograph were consistent with the results from long-term daily flow data. The annual flow increases and decreases were well matched by stormflow rising and falling. Both indicators showed one watershed having three times the response rates as compared to the other. Results suggested that select storm-based indices may be used as surrogates to the indices derived from long-term data.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment



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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009