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RMRS-GTR-189: A tutorial on the piecewise regression approach applied to bedload transport data


Ryan, Sandra E.; Porth, Laurie S. 2007. A tutorial on the piecewise regression approach applied to bedload transport data. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-189. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 41 p.

This tutorial demonstrates the application of piecewise regression to bedload data to define a shift in phase of transport so that the reader may perform similar analyses on available data. The use of piecewise regression analysis implicitly recognizes different functions fit to bedload data over varying ranges of flow. The transition from primarily low rates of sand transport (Phase I) to higher rates of sand and coarse gravel transport (Phase II) is termed "breakpoint" and is defined as the flow where the fitted functions intersect. The form of the model used here fits linear segments to different ranges of data, though other types of functions may be used. Identifying the transition in phases is one approach used for defining flow regimes that are essential for self-maintenance of alluvial gravel bed channels. First, the statistical theory behind piecewise regression analysis and its procedural approaches are presented. The reader is then guided through an example procedure and the code for generating an analysis in SAS is outlined. The results from piecewise regression analysis from a number of additional bedload datasets are presented to help the reader understand the range of estimated values and confidence limits on the breakpoint that the analysis provides. The identification and resolution of problems encountered in bedload datasets are also discussed. Finally, recommendations on a minimal number of samples required for the analysis are proposed.

Keywords: Piecewise linear regression, breakpoint, bedload transport


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Title: RMRS-GTR-189: A tutorial on the piecewise regression approach applied to bedload transport data
Electronic Publish Date: April 12, 2007
Expires: Indefinite
Last Update:
April 12, 2007

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