Jeep in muddy water.

Is that muddy water or watery mud you are measuring? There were several very good responses to the Clear as Mud post so rather than replying to each comment individually I think the topic is worthy of this new page. My reference to mud was deliberate. Watery mud is a geophysicist’s problem whereas muddy water is a hydrographer’s problem. We can easily tell the difference because of...

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Mickey Mouse balloon.

“Mickey Mouse is, to me, a symbol of independence. He was a means to an end.” – Walt Disney Why is it that in hydrometry, specifically with regards to plotting rating curves, that the dependent variable (discharge) is commonly plotted on the abscissa (x axis) and the independent variable (stage) is plotted on the ordinate (y axis)? This practice is contrary to mathematical convention and is...

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Albert Einstein quote.

I have talked previously about information and uncertainty in hydrometric data. Information refers to how well the data represent the ‘true’ signal whereas uncertainty refers to excursions from the truth that are entrenched in the data. Measuring uncertainty using statistical methods (e.g. Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty) gives us the ability to quantify misinformation but these methods are currently inadequate to even identify the...

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Susitna river.

 The growth of hydro-power projects in the United States has been flat since the 1970s. That may change with a recent announcement that the Alaska Energy Authority intends to develop a 600MW project on the Susitna River. That project has been under consideration for over 35 years. In the summer of 1979 I was considering paddling Devil’s Canyon in what was only the 4th descent of...

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OGC graphic.

I am writing this over the Atlantic Ocean on my way home from the ratings, gaugings and cross sections intensive workshop in Reading, England. This Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) workshop marks the launch of a project to develop WaterML2.0 part 2. In a concurrent meeting in Exeter, the OGC formally adopted WaterML2.0 part 1, the part that deals with time-series data, as an official international standard. The...

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Yellow ruler.

I was asked the other day if I thought that the USGS would ever go metric. I am unqualified to answer this question but I care about the implications of the issue. I started my field career working in Imperial units (also known as English) before the Water Survey of Canada converted to the International System of units (SI, commonly known as metric) in 1980 so...

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