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Title:Development of error correction techniques for nitrate-N load estimation models
Author(s):Verma, Siddhartha
Advisor(s):Cooke, Richard A.
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Load estimation
Error correction
Nutrient loads
Abstract:Excess nutrient loads carried by streams and rivers are a great concern for environmental resource managers. In agricultural regions, excess loads are transported downstream to receiving water bodies, potentially causing algal blooms, which could lead to numerous ecological problems. To better understand nutrient load transport, and to develop appropriate water management plans, it is important to have accurate estimates of annual nutrient loads. This study used a Monte Carlo sub-sampling method and error-corrected statistical models to estimate annual nitrate-N loads from two watersheds in central Illinois. The performance of three load estimation methods (the seven-parameter log-linear model, the ratio estimator, and the flow-weighted averaging estimator) applied at one-, two-, four-, six-, and eight-week sampling frequencies were compared. Five error correction techniques; the existing composite method, and four new error correction techniques developed in this study; were applied to each combination of sampling frequency and load estimation method. On average, the most accurate error reduction technique, (proportional rectangular) resulted in 15% and 30% more accurate load estimates when compared to the most accurate uncorrected load estimation method (ratio estimator) for the two watersheds. Using error correction methods, it is possible to design more cost-effective monitoring plans by achieving the same load estimation accuracy with fewer observations. Finally, the optimum combinations of monitoring threshold and sampling frequency that minimizes the number of samples required to achieve specified levels of accuracy in load estimation were determined. For one- to three-weeks sampling frequencies, combined threshold/fixed-interval monitoring approaches produced the best outcomes, while fixed-interval-only approaches produced the most accurate results for four- to eight-weeks sampling frequencies.
Issue Date:2011-01-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Siddhartha Verma
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-01-14
Date Deposited:December 2

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