A Non-parametric Stochastic Approach for Multisite Disaggregation of Annual to Daily Streamflow

By Nowak, K., J. Prairie, B. Rajagopalan, and U. Lall, A Non-parametric Stochastic Approach for Multisite Disaggregation of Annual to Daily Streamflow, Water Resources Research, 46, 2010. 

Abstract: Streamflow disaggregation techniques are used to distribute a single aggregate flow value to multiple sites in both space and time while preserving distributional statistics (i.e., mean, variance, skewness, and maximum and minimum values) from observed data. A number of techniques exist for accomplishing this task through a variety of parametric and nonparametric approaches. However, most of these methods do not perform well for disaggregation to daily time scales. This is generally due to a mismatch between the parametric distributions appropriate for daily flows versus monthly or annual flows, the high dimension of the disaggregation problem, compounded uncertainty in parameter estimation for multistage approaches, and the inability to maintain flow continuity across disaggregation time period boundaries. We present a method that directly simulates daily data at multiple locations from a single annual flow value via K‐nearest neighbor (K‐NN) resampling of daily flow proportion vectors. The procedure is simple and data driven and captures observed statistics quite well. Furthermore, the generated daily data are continuous and display lag correlation structure consistent with that of the observed data. The utility and effectiveness of this approach is demonstrated for selected sites in the San Juan River Basin, located in southwestern Colorado, and later compared with the disaggregation technique of Prairie et al. (2007) for several locations in the Colorado River Basin.


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