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Southern Great Plains 1997 (SGP97) Hydrology: United States Geological Survey (USGS) Stream Flow Data

posted on 2023-11-30, 08:39 authored by Long-Term Agroecosystem Research - LTAR, Southern Plains

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) stream flow dataset is one of various datasets provided for the Southern Great Plains 1997 (SGP97) project. This dataset contains stream flow data from 997 USGS stations in the SGP97 domain. The data collected at USGS gaging stations consist of records of stage and measurements of discharge of streams or canals, and stage, surface area, and contents of lakes or reservoirs. This dataset contains only the USGS stream flow data. For USGS stream-gaging stations, the daily mean discharge is computed from gage heights and rating tables. These rating tables are prepared from stage-discharge-relation curves and give the discharge for any stage. If the stage-discharge relation for a station is temporarily changed by the presence of aquatic growth or debris on the control, the daily mean discharge is computed by what is basically the shifting-control method. At some USGS gaging stations, acoustic velocity meter (AVM) systems are used to compute discharge. The AVM system measures the stream's velocity at one or more paths in the cross section. Coefficients are developed to relate this path velocity to the mean velocity in the cross section. Cross-sectional area curves are developed to relate stage to cross section area. Discharge is computed by multiplying path velocity by the appropriate stage related coefficient and area. Changing stage, backwater from reservoirs, tributary streams, or other sources, and ice in the winter affect the stage-discharge relation. Special methods, such as using comparable records of discharge for other stations, are then used to compute discharge. If no gage-height record can be obtained from a gaging station due to failed equipment, etc., daily discharge values are estimated using various means. The USGS stream flow dataset contains three metadata parameters and three data parameters. The metadata parameters identify the network, station, and time at which the data was collected. Each record contains one month's data. The three data parameters (stream flow, stage, and hour of observation) are repeated once for each UTC day (0000 to 2300). All records contain data for 31 days regardless of the actual number of days in a month. Months with less than 31 days are padded with missing values (e.g., -999.99). The stream flow values are reported in cubic meters per second and are 24 hour averages. There are no stage values in this dataset, so the stage values are shown as missing. The hour of observation is the beginning UTC hour for the 24 hour period for which the stream flow value is valid. No additional quality control was performed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/Joint Office for Science Support (JOSS).

Resources in this dataset:


Agricultural Research Service

National Science Foundation


Data contact name

Jackson, Thomas

Data contact email


National Center for Atmospheric Research / Earth Observing Laboratory

Intended use

SGP97 is set in a subhumid environment during early summer. Within this setting, the objectives of SGP97 are (1) to establish that the retrieval algorithms for surface soil moisture developed at higher spatial resolution using truck- and aircraft-based sensors can be extended to the coarser resolutions expected from satellite platforms; (2) to verify spatial-temporal estimators of soil moisture and to examine the utility of pedotransfer function in hydrologic modeling; (3) to examine the feasibility of inferring soil moisture and temperature profiles using surface observations in conjunction with in situ measurements, and (4) to examine the effect of soil moisture on the evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer and clouds over the Southern Great Plains during the warm season.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • inlandWaters

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Southern Plains
  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

stream flow; streams; lakes; surface area; acoustics; winter; summer; soil water; satellites; hydrologic models; temperature profiles; Great Plains region; warm season

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Long-Term Agroecosystem Research - LTAR; Southern Plains (2020). Southern Great Plains 1997 (SGP97) Hydrology: United States Geological Survey (USGS) Stream Flow Data. National Center for Atmospheric Research / Earth Observing Laboratory.

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