Ilydrological Aspects of Alpine and High Mountain Areas (Proceedings of the Exeter Symposium, July 1982). IAHS Publ. no. 138.
Recession characterization of small mountain basins, derivation of master recession curves and optimization of recession parameters
LUIS 
S, PEREIRA 

High 
Institute 
of 
Agronomy, 
Technical 

University 
of 
Lisbon, 
Tapada 
da 
Ajuda, 

1399 
Lisboa 
Codex, 
Portugal 

HANS M, KELLER .. 

Eidg. 
Anstalt 
fur 
das 
forstliche 
Versuchswesen, 

CH8903 Birmensdorf, 
Switzerland 
ABSTRACT This paper deals with methods of obtaining master recession curves (MRC) of small mountain basins
and of estimating the parameters of compound recession laws. MRC correspond to average recession conditions. They are derived by: (a) analysing all observed depletion
curves;
(b) adjusting their segments with a simple
recession law; (c) grouping these segments
according to
their parameters; (d) characterizing these groups with the mean values of the recession parameters, and (e) representing the MRC by the sequence of these calculated recession segments. Utilizing a weighted leastsquares method for solving nonlinear equations, the optimization of recession parameters includes: (a) computerized estimation of the initial set of parameters; (b) a
procedure to check the parameter
values, (c) use of
particular techniques to improve calculation. A brief
analysis
of results shows
that in 95% of the cases the
variance of residuals was < 1.0 Is

.
INTRODUCTION
Recession flow is best described by an exponential
Q _{t} 
= 
Q _{Q} exp (at) 
(1) 
or by a hyperbolic function 

Q _{t} = Q _{0} /(l + at) ^{2} 
(2) 
where Q _{Q} is the initial and Q _{t} is the discharge
discharge, a is the recession coefficient
at time t.
Equation (1) corresponds to deep
aquifer depletion while equation (2) describes the recession
phenomena for shallow aquifers.
The recession flow from a basin corresponds to the release of water from different reservoirs, each with specific storage and
discharge characteristics.
It cannot be described entirely by these
equations. 
In general it is necessary to use a complex equation, 
like 
243
244
L.S.Pereira
S
H.M.Keller
2
t
^{=}
2o
1
exp(a
t)
^
+
Q _{0}
exp(a„t)
3
+
Q _{Q}
exp(a
t)
(3)
where each term represents a different flow component.
THE MASTER RECESSION CURVE
A recession
curve represents the response of a given basin
integrating the existing conditions of recharge, storage and discharge. For small basins and shallow aquifers the variation of recession conditions is important and is mainly related to the antecedent recharge conditions, while in large basins and deep aquifers this variation is smaller and essentially related to long term fluctuations of rainfall.
The characteristic response of a basin is represented by the
master recession
curve
(MRC) that corresponds to the average
recession conditions during a given period. In a small mountain basin, the recession conditions are mainly
influenced by the antecedent recharge conditions. It is therefore necessary to consider an MRC for each season, where rainfall and évapotranspiration regimes are followed by specific recession conditions. The MRC represents the most frequent depletion
situation. This is why this curve is utilized to formulate
models
of streamflow, for forecasting, for estimating groundwater or to study the influence of man or vegetation on water regime and water balance.
The
derivation
of
the
master
recession
curve
A large number of methods for obtaining these MRC have been developed: the correlation method, the tabulating method, the strip method (Toebes & Ouryvaev, 1970), the method of plotting with
arbitrary origin (Trainer & Watkins, 1974) , the
method of
simultaneous adjustments (Snyder, 1962) , the method of ordination of discharges (Fédérer, 1973) or the simple calculation of the mean recession coefficients (Farvolden, 1971). In general, these methods are slow and it is difficult to estimate their accuracy. Also they are not well adapted to computer use. A new method has therefore been developed for characterizing the recession of several small mountain basins in the Swiss PreAlps (Pereira, 1977) listed in another symposium paper (Pereira & Keller, 1982) which overcomes these difficulties.
The recession segments 
method 
for 
derivation 
of 
the 
master 
recession 

curve 

Basic 
assumptions : 
(a) An MRC must describe average conditions of a complete
flow
recession unaffected by precipitation.
(b) The method concerns the decreasing flow rates at fixed time
intervals At.
In general it is applied to daily
streamflow.
(c) The MRC must include all the main flow components  direct
flow, subsurface flow and baseflow.
(d) The MRC is the integral result of various different
reservoirs
Recession 
characterization 
245 

releasin g water a t successively lower rates. 
Therefore 
i t can 
be 

represented 
by 
a 
se t 
of recession 
segments, 
each 
followed 
by another 

with 
lower 
recession 
coefficient. 

Description 
of 
the 
method 

(a) 
According 
to 
the conditions 
of 
recharge 
(precipitation), 
of 

storage (shallow 
and 
deep layers and aquifers) 
and of 
discharge 

(flow 
and 
évapotranspiration 
regimes), 
the seasons have 
to be 
chosen 

on 
the 
basis 
of 
simila r recession 
behaviour. 
In 
PreAlp 
areas, 
we 

distinguis h 
the 
springsummer 
period and 
the 
autumn 
season and 
during 

the winte r the snow accumulation and the snowmelt seasons. 

(b) 
Using 
a 
semilog plo t 
of all 
dail y 
flow 
hydrographs (Pereira , 

1975a) 
of 
a given 
time 
period , 
we 
can 
choose 
all 
the 
depletion 
curves 

to 
be 
used 
in 
the 
MRC. 
These 
plots 
(Fig.l) 
have 
to 
be 
observed 

togethe r with 
the 
meteorological data 
in 
orde r 
to 
exclude 
all 

intervals affected by precipitation . 

(c) 
The 
same hydrographs 
(Fig.l) 
are 
then 
utilize d 
to 
select, 
for 

each 
chosen 
depletion 
curve, 
the time 
intervals 
tha t 
can 
be described 

by 
a 
simple 
recession 
curve. 

Q (l/s/km') 

1000 

* 

© Mean daily discharge Recession segments 

266 Number of day in the 
year 

? Indicates days with 
precipitation 

100 

10 

FIG.l 
Example using hydrographs 
of 
mean daily 
flow 
for 

the 
choice 
of recessions 
and 
of the 
recession 
segments, 
246 L.S.Pereira 
& 
H.M.Keller 

(d) Each 
of these 
time intervals 
corresponds 
to 
a 
recession 

segment 
tha t 
must 
be 
characterized 
by 
it s 
initia l 
flow Q 
and 
it s 

recession coefficien t 
a 
as well 
as 
by 
some parameters 
of 
the 

statistica l 
significanc e 
of 
it s 
variatio n 
(Pereira , 
1975b), 
such as 

the coefficien t of variatio n C _{v} . 

(e) Plotting , 
for 
each season, a 
against 
Q _{Q} 
on 
semilog paper 

(Fig.2) , 
an 
analysis 
of 
the 
relationshi p 
between 
a 
and Q 
is 
made 

and 
abnormal 
data 
are 
excluded. 

Q 0 

(l/s/km ^{2} ) 

1000 

^ © 
© 
© 
 © 
 
© 
1 
© 
1 

500 • 
 I 
 
 

400 ' 
, I 

1 
89 x 
' 

300 I 
l 
l 

88 x 
1 

200 
1 
9! 
x149 
1 

I 
l 
l 
® 
X 
14 1 

_{x}_{7}_{b} 
136 . 
* ^{1} ^{4} ^{6} 
'33 > 

100 
l 
I 
! 
f _{7} 
mx 
' 
^ 
^{1}^{b}^{0}^{x}  

80 I 
 
I 

60 
I 
I 
157X 
,» 
65x 
137 J 
1 

90 K 
® 
X ,52 1 

X135 
. 
1 

40 3 0   
151 
y ^{4} X66 
 
13 I 

» 
158 
, ®,ff] 

I 
1 q _{7}_{x} 106 1 
A « 

20 I 
^{2}^{7}^{x} ® 
r j 
29 
Segment used for the caiculation of a _{t} 
and 
Q _{0} _{j} 

981 
93 
°" ^{3} _{8} rJ 
l 
A 
Segment used for the calculation of a, only 

10 
24 x 139* 
1 
i 
® 
Coordinates 
of 
a\ 
and 
Q _{0} _{i} 

9 6 ® 155* x 
1 
1 
© 
The groupes of recession segments 

3 

, _{/} 0 
I 
i 
i 
1 
1 
1 
I 
I 
I 
! 
1 
1 
1 "• 

0.1 
0.2 
0.3 
0.4 
0.5 
0.6 
0.7 
0.8 
0.9 
1.0 
1.1 
1.2 
_{1}_{.}_{3} 
_{a} 

FIG.2 
Example of 
the 
relation 
between 
the 
parameters 
a 

and Q 
of 
the 
regression 
segments. 
f) Observing this plot (Fig.2) we select a set of classes of a
*o grouping of the points (a, Q _{Q} ) and to the position of the
and Q„ values
This can be done according to the manner of
corresponding recession segments in the daily flow hydrographs
(Fig.l).
As an alternative, we can calculate
Aa = (a
mxn
m
)/ I
, k=0 ^{L} ^
(k = 0,1,2,
...
,m)
(4)
where a
the number
and a ,
are the observed extreme values of a and m is
of classes (5 to
i
7), and we can then estimate
the limits
of the class intervals a, by the relation
k
a, k = (2k + l)Aa
in which k increases with a.
(5)
(g) Each class interval i, with size n;, is characterized by the
Recession 
characterization 
247 

mean ^ 
values 

^{n} i 
n. 


^{i} 
(i = 
1,2, 
m) 
(6) 

l 
j=l 
(j = 1,2, 
n _{±} ) 



5 _{0} _{i} 
= I 
Q _{0} 
^{/}^{n} ± 
^{(}^{7} ^{)} 

j=l 
i,3 

The weights are WH 
J = Cv.; 
., functions of 
the coefficients of 
variation of each individual recession segment, as stated under (d),
and of the size Nj_ j of these segments.
(h) Each class interval corresponds to a calculated recession
segment;
thus, if i increases when Q _{0}
segments follow the equations
and a decrease, these
Q _{t} = Q _{0} . exp(cLt)
(8)
with Q 
> Q _{t} 

°i 

Therefore, the 

equation 
(8). 

Q _{t} 
= 
Q _{0} .exp 
with t. S> t > 
> Q
i+1
MRC is 
constitute d 
by m segments, 

The MRC can 
hence 
be 
expressed 
as 

{5 _{±} (t 
 t _{±} _ _{1} ) } 
each
following
the
(9)
t.
_, , after calculating the time limits of the class
intervals from tj_ = t• _, + At. , with
At _{±} = (In Q _{0} ,  In Qo _{i}_{+}_{1} >/âi
(10)
Equation (9) gives
all the values of
the MRC, expressed as daily
discharges, from Q _{0}  , the mean value of the first class, to Q _{m} ; _{n} ,
the mean value of the minimum discharge of any segment included in
the m classes.
(i) In order to ensure that the recession segments corresponding
to each class interval are statistically different, the calculations
to characterize these classes, mentioned under (g), can be completed
with the estimation of the variance and, thus, with ttests of
differences between the calculated mean values. Therefore, if
necessary, the limits of each class can be modified to improve the
accuracy of the method.
Brief
analysis
of
the
application
applied to obtain the MRC of eleven
of
the
method
This method was
PreAlp basins (Pereira, 1977,
1978a). The recession segments have been calculated through the
exponential (equation 1) and the hyperbolic (equation 2) models,
that we compared. For each basin three
seasons were considered:
the springsummer season (after snowmelt until August), the autumn
season (from August to the beginning of snow accumulation) and the
growing season, which contains the whole period without the
influence of snow. The method was also applied to a highmountain
basin, Varunash, in the southern Swiss Alps near Bernina, where only
the growing season was considered.
248 
L.S.Pereira 
S 
H.M.Keller 

An 
example 
of 
result s 
(parameters 
Q _{0} J 
and 
cL 
of 
equatio n 
(9) 

concernin g 
th e 
autumn 
MRC of 
some 
basin s 
of 
Alpta l 
(Schwyz) 
i s give n 

i n 
Tabl e 
1. 

TABLE 
1 
Parameters 
of 
MRC (equation 
9) 
and 
their 
confidence 

intervals 
for 
some 
Flysch 
basins 
in 
Alptal 
(Schwyz) 

Basins 
SpringSummer 
_{A}_{u}_{t}_{u}_{m}_{n} 

163.70±34.56 
0.8379+0.0561 
183.35+53.07 
1.0237+0.1612 

59.15+ 
5.85 
0.5133+0.0477 
66.46+17.27 
0.5132±0.0403 

31.96+ 
5.66 
0.2856+0.0114 
35.52+ 
3.69 
0.2990+0.0161 

20.78+ 
4.56 
0.2022+0.0153 
29.48+ 
2.47 
0.1960+0.0055 

15.11+. 
5.70 
O.0987+0.0223 
16.48+ 
3.43 
0.1311+0.0102 

9.14+ 
1.19 
0.0522+0.0070 
9.44+ 
0.89 
0.0634+0.0053 

7.49+ 
0.91 
0.0387+0.0050 

116 
.29 + 
23.60 
0.4997+0.0334 
144.86+39.43 
0.7863+0.0562 

58.29+12.16 
0.3594+0.0164 
38.88+ 
7.74 
0.3323+0.0264 

29.55+ 
4.33 
0.1320+0.0248 
19.54+ 
2.87 
0.1011+0.0116 

18.16+ 
2.59 
0.0751+0.0103 
11.75+ 
3.07 
0.0316+0.0043 

92.76+18.06 
0.4820+0.0418 
83.97+15.94 
0.5809+0.0789 

39.13+ 
6.04 
0.2121+0.0087 
46.63+ 
8.92 
0.2515+0.0309 

29.47+ 
8.26 
0.1452+0.0145 
29.16+ 
7.56 
0.1670+0.0147 

10.62+ 
4.50 
0.0897+0.0205 
20.74+ 
3.01 
0.0986+0.0068 

13.23+ 
1.39 
0.0513+0.0053 

From th e 
result s o f 
applyin g th e 
method 
t o 
fi t 
th e 
MRC a s 
state d 

above 
i t 
i s 
concluded : 

(a) 
Statistica l 
test 
s 
have 
shown 
tha t 
th e 
hypothesis 
of 
norma l 

distributio n 
insid e eac h 
class 
interva l 
had 
t o 
be 
accepted . 

(b) 
The ttes t 
fo r 
difference s 
between mean 
value s 
of 
subsequen t 

classe s have 
shown 
tha t 
th 
e 
averag e 
value s 
o f a 
were 
significantl y 

differen t 
(Tabl e 
2) . 

(c) 
The 
same 
test s 
when 
applie d 
t o 
th e mean 
value s 
of 
Q _{0} 

presente d 
differen t result s 
(Tabl e 
2) . 
The 
variabilit y 
of 
recharg e 

condition s 
influence s 
th e 
variabilit y 
of 
th e 
Q _{0} 
values. 

(d) 
The assumptio n 
of 
difference s 
between 
th e segments tha t 

describ e 
th e 
MRC 
(equatio n 
9) 
was 
accepte d 
becaus e 
of 
th e main 

influenc e 
of 
a 
on 
th e 
shap e 
of 
th e 
curves. 
OPTIMIZATION OF THE RECESSION PARAMETERS USING THE WEIGHTED LEAST SQUARES METHOD
An MRC being a complete recession curve, is described by a complex exponential or hyperbolic function, with two or three terms. The
TABLE 2 
ttest 

subsequent 
class 

class) 

Parameter 
and 

a(autumn) 

a(summer) 

a(growing 

season) 

Q _{Q} (autumn) 

Q 
(summer) 

Q _{0} (growing 

season) 
Recession 
character!zation 

for 
differences 
between 
means 
of 
a 
and 
0 _{o} 
of 

intervals 
(per 
cent 
of 
values 
in 
each 

Classes 
of 
probability 
P 

P40.1 
0.KP41 .0 
1.0<P45.0 
5.0<P415.0 
15. 

91.1 
6.7 
2.2 
 
 

86.0 
7.0 
7.0 
 
 

93.6 
2.1 
4.3 
 
 

28.9 
22.2 
24.5 
13.3 
11. 

18.6 
39.4 
14.0 
14.0 
14. 

44.7 
36.2 
10.6 
8 

' 
.1
.O
.5
249
probability
.0<P
exponentia l model (3) can be expresse d
N
Qt
=
I
k=l
Q _{n}
exp(a _{k} t)
(11)
Each pair of Q _{0}
and a _{k} characterizes a flow component. Therefore,
the calculation of these parameters is connected with the hydrograph
separation techniques. Many methods have been developed (Dickinson
et al., 1967) that give solutions to both questions. We can
mention the classical methods of Barnes (1939) and of Langbein (1940),
utilized and modified by many authors. In general these methods
are of little value to separate more than two components, even if
numerical techniques are used (Singh
& Stall, 1971).
Graphical
solutions (Kovacs, 1975) are the most common for problems with three
flow components.
To overcome the most common difficulties, and to permit the use
of computer facilities, Pereira (1977) developed a new leastsquares
approach in order to obtain the recession parameters that
characterize recession in small mountain basins.
The 
leastsquares 
method 
of 
solving 
complex 
exponential 
recession 
equations 
We can give to equation (11) the general form
_{Q}_{i}
f
(t _{±} ;
Q _{Q} _{1} ,
_{w}_{i} _{t} _{h}
_{i}
_{=}
_{1} _{,}
_{2}_{,}
_{Q}_{,} _{O}_{N} _{'}
<<1
I
e. _{i}
(12)
This
i s
a
system
of
n
equation s
and 2N
unknown parameters, where discharge Q^ is a function of time tj_, e^
being the residuals. The system can be solved by the leastsquares
method if some conditions are accepted.
250 L.S.Pereira 
S 
H.M.Keller 

The 
use 
of 
weights 
The 
first 
condition 
is 
tha t 
the 
residuals 

must 
be 
normally 
distributed . 
The 
shape 
of 
the 
recession 
curve, 

with 
the 
discharges 
decreasing 
exponentially 
suggested 
the 
use 
of 

weights. 

The 
choice 
of 
weights 
w. 
. was experimental. 
They 
are : 

w 
 
1 . 0 

1 
, 1 

w. 
. 
= 
^{W} i~l , 
i 
 1 
+ 
0 . 2 
( i 
= 
2 
, 
3, 
. 
, 
5) 

1 
, 1 

w. 
. 
= 
^{W} i1 , 
i 
 1 
+ 
2 . 0 
( i 
= 
6 
, 
7 , 
. 
, 
30) 

1 
, 1 

w. 
. 
= 
w. 
i 
 1 
+ 
1 . 0 
( i 
= 
3 
1 , 
32 , 
. 
,50 ) 

1 
, 1 
11 , 

w. 
. 
= 
w. 
+ 
0 . 5 
( i 
= 
5 
1 , 
52 , 
. 
. ) 

1 
, 1 
11 , 
i 
 1 

The 
values 
of 
w 
, can 
be 
differen t 
for 
othe r 
dat a 
in order 
to 

obtain 
the 
most adequate 
residuals 
distribution . 

The 
linearization 
technique 
The 
second 
condition 
for using 
the 

leastsquare s 
methods 
is 
the 
linearit y 
of 
the 
equations 
(12). Given 

y, 
= 
f 
(x. 
_{l} _{f} 
. 
, 
x. 
, 
, 
fi 
, 
. 
, 
9 
) + 
e. 
(13) 

^{J} i 
1, 1 
i, h 
1 
m 
i 

y. 
= 
f 
(X. , 
0) 
+ 
e. 
(14) 

J 
i 
l 
l 

we can linearize after developing the function f in a Taylor's 

series 

m 
9f(X _{i}_{f} 0) 

f (X _{i} , 0) = f (X _{±} , 0 _{Q} ) + 
I j=l 
1 
^{j} ti=e 
(15) 

J 
o 

when 0 
is the vector for an initial estimate of the unknown 

coefficients 6s. 
With brief notations, the equation (15) can be 

written 

m 

f, 
= 
f. + 
y 
z. 
. 
B. 
(i6) 

i 
o i 
ti 
° ^{1}^{,}^{:}^{i} ° ^{D} 

and, therefore, system (14) takes the linear form 

m 

y. 
= 
f. + 
y 
. 
3. + e. 
(17) 

1 
O l 
. ^ 
O 
1 
, 1 
O 
1 
1 
j=l
The unknown quantities are now Bj constituting the vector
B _{Q}
An iterative process gives new estimations of the 0 vector
through the successive values of the B vector,
The
iterative
solutions
The vector 0 is constituted by the
parameters of equation (12), after some transformations in order to
limit the variation of the parameters during the iterative process.
Recession 
characterization 
251 

Then, 
becaus e 
Q 
must 
always 
be 
positive , 
settin g 
Q _{Q} 
= to 
, we can 

calculat e 
OJ 
= 
+ZQ _{O} . 
The 
recessio n 
coefficien t 
i s 
transforme d 
t o 

K 
= 
exp(a) , 
which 
i 
s 
submitte d 
t o 
th e 
conditio n 
0 
< 
K 
< 
1; 
and 

settin g 
K 
= 
1/(1 + 
Ç ^{2} ), 
we 
therefor e 
calculat e 
Ç 
= +/( 1 
 
K)/K. 

To 
obtai n 
9 
we 
se t 
6^ 
= 
C _{M} , 
9„ 
= 
to 
, 
. 
, 
9 _{m} _^ 
= 
E,^ and 
0 _{m} = to, . 

Then 
equatio n 
(12) 
i s 
replace d 
by 

Q, 
= 
f 
(t 
. 
; 
6 _{n} 
, 
.. 
. 
, 
0 
) 
+ 
E. 
(18) 

^{1} 
i 
1 
m 
i 

which 
is identical 
to equation 
(13) . 
Its solution 
is given 
by 

equation (17), which 
is, utilizing weighted least squares, 

(z' 
w 
z 
)~ 
^{J} Z ' 
W 
(Y 
 
" 
^{F} „ 
(19) 

o 
o 
o 
o 

where 
Z _{Q} 
i 
s 
th e 
nx m 
matri x 
of 
th e 
partia l 
derivatives , 
W i s 
th e 

n x m 
matri x 
of 
weights 
and 
(Y 
 
F 
) 
i s 
a 
column 
matrix , 
wit h 

dimension 
n , 
constitute d 
by 
th e 
difference s 
(residuals) 
between th e 

dependen t 
variable s 
y. 
and 
it s 
estimation s 
f 
.. 
The elements 
b . 

o f 
B„ o 
ar e 
th e 
i estimation s 
of 
th e 
8. 1 , 
elements o i 
of B^. ° 
o i 

o 

The 
firs t 
estimat e 
of 
th e 
parameters 
QA 
i s 
replace d 
by 
a 
new one : 

0, 
= 
0 
+ 
B 
. 
Successiv e 
iteration s 
improve 
thes e 
estimates. 
Thus, 

f o r 
th e 
iteratio n 
1( 1 
= 
1,2 
, I _{m}_{a}_{x} ) 
we 
have 

^{ê} i 
= ^{ê} ii 
^{+} 
^{(}^{z} Ii 
^{w} Vi ^{r}^{l} V i ^{W}^{{}^{Y}  ^{F} ii' 
^{(}^{2}^{0} ^{)} 
The calculation finishes when results converge. As criteria for
convergence we can use the comparison between variances of the
residuals for successive iterations
1 < 
(ol 11 
,/a*) I < 1 + y 
(21) 

where 

n 
2 

f
1 
0 I 
) 
/(nm) 
(22) 

i=l 

and Y being 
a chosen quantity, 
in this case Y ^{=} 0.05. 

The 
first 
estimate 
of 
the 
recession 
parameters 
The first 

important question to be solved was the estimate 
of the initial 
set 

of values _{0} 9;, i.e. of parameters Q _{0} , 
and a^. To do this 
the 

normal graphical method has been transformed into 
a 
numerical 

calculation (Fig.3): 

(a) 
estimation of the 
time interval 
T, , beginning 
at t = 0, 
and 

ending when discharge Q 
is considered 
to be baseflow; 

(b) 
adjustment of the 
exponential 
equation to discharges 
Q, , with 

t > T _{b} , and calculation 
of Q _{Q} 
and 
a^; 

(c) 
calculation of Q* 
= Q _{t} 
 Q _{Q} 
exp(0U t) ; 

(d) 
estimation of the 
time 
interval T^, beginning 
at 
t 
= 
0 and 

ending when Q 
is considered 
to be subsurface flow; 

(e) 
adjustment of the set of values Q. , for T, ^ t < T, 
and 

Q 
^ Qmin' with chosen Q _{m} j_n' and calculation of Q _{0} _{2} 
and 
012 ; 

(f) 
calculation of Q" = Q, 
 Q _{0} „ 
exp(a2 t) , 
252 
L.S.Pereira 
S 
H.M.Keller 

Weight 

Discharge (]/s/km ^{2} l 
(units) 

QS. =96.45 ; 

•>» 

_ 

! 
! 
! 
! 
! _{r} _ 
— j 
! 
_{{} 
_{i} 
j 

_{n} 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 Time (days) 

0 1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 

H  
T _{h} 

FIG.3 
Example 
of 
a first 
estimate 
of 
the 
parameters 
Q _{Q} 

and 
a 
of 
the 
compound 
recession 
curve, 
exponential 

equation. 

(ga ) adjustmen _{J} 
t of 
th e 
se 
t 
of 
values 
*T Q 
, 
fo r 
t 
< 
T, h and t Q 
>, 
^{x} mm Q . ' 
, 

and 
calculatio n 
of Q _{Q} , and 
03 ; 

(h) transformation 
of 
Q _{0} , 
and (X int o 
(1)^ and Çj_, respectively , 

and 
determination 
of 
th e vector 
0 _{Q} 
a s 
indicate d 
above. 

The results 
of this 
estimation procedure 
can lead 
t o 
relativel y 

high 
variance s 
of residuals. 
In this 
case 
a particula r 
iterativ e 

process 
of correction 
of Q_ 
and Q 
i s 
enough 
t o reduce 
this 

_{v}_{a}_{r}_{i}_{a}_{n}_{c}_{e} 
_{a}_{n}_{d} _{i}_{m}_{p}_{r}_{o}_{v}_{e} _{t}_{h} _{e} 
vector 
^ (Pereira , 
1978b). 

Particular 
calculation 
techniques 
to 
improve 
convergence 

(a) To selec t 
a new 
scale , 
th e matrix 
A = z'w 
Z ha s 
been 

transformed 
int o 
a scaled 
matrix 
A* and th e vector 
B of 
th e 
solution 

has been transformed int o 
a scaled 
vector 
B*, 
a s 
proposed by 

Marquardt (1963). 

(b) In orde r 
t o improve 
calculation s 
with th e 
matrix 
Z, because 

of 
th e difference s between 
absolute 
values 
of 
it s 
columns, th e 

elements of each column have been modified: 
z*. 
. 
= 
z. 
*/Z\ • 
Tn e 

values of 
Ç. were 
chosen 
i n 
such 
a 
way tha t 
a becte r 
equilxbrium 

between columns was obtained. 

(c) I n 
a model 
with 
si x unknown parameters 
th e convergence was 

bette r when 
initiall y 
two parameters 
were 
fixed. 
Only 
afte r 
this 

step 
were 
al l parameters 
submitted 
t o th e convergence 
process. 

Together with this process, a control of th e value s of th e 

determinant 
was imposed 
i n order 
t o prevent 
overflow 
(Pereira , 
1978b) 
Recession 
characterization 
253 

(d) 
Because 
the 
gradien t 
method 
can be subjec t 
to 
divergence 

during 
the 
calculation , 
the 
halving 
method (Draper & Smith,1966) 
was 

adopted 
to 
modify 
the^vector 
By. 
The procedure 
consists 
of searching 

for 
the 
vector 
B _{y} 
= ±B _{[} /2 ^{u} , 
with u 
= 
1,2, , 
U _{m}_{a}_{x} , 
tha 
t gives, 
in 

a particula r 
iterativ e 
calculation , 
the minimum value 
to 
the 

variance 
of 
the 
residuals; 
thus, 
this 
vector 
B _{u} replace 
s Bj 
and 
the 

normal 
iterativ e 
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