Bias in Regression Estimates of Manning's n

by Kenneth L. Wahl, (M.ASCE), U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Selected equations for estimating roughness for gravel-bed streams were tested using a composite data set containing much of the data used to define the equations. All equations tested were found to significantly underestimate n for relatively low discharges. For floods about equal to the median annual peak discharge, Jarrett's equation overestimates n (median error = 10 percent) while the other equations tested showed no bias. Extrapolation of any of these equations to discharges greater than about 1.5 times the median annual peak discharge is presently unwarranted. The roughness of mountain streams is known to generally decrease as discharge and flow depth increases. The data, however, are presently not available to test the applicability of the equations to large flood discharges.

Subject Headings: Water discharge | Floods | Regression analysis | River and stream beds | Hydrologic data | Hydraulic roughness | Water flow

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