Combining Multivariate Statistical Methods and Spatial Analysis to Characterize Water Quality Conditions in the White River Basin, Indiana, U.S.A.

Date
2011-02-25
Language
American English
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M.S.
Degree Year
2010
Department
Department of Earth Science
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Indiana University
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Abstract

This research performs a comparative study of techniques for combining spatial data and multivariate statistical methods for characterizing water quality conditions in a river basin. The study has been performed on the White River basin in central Indiana, and uses sixteen physical and chemical water quality parameters collected from 44 different monitoring sites, along with various spatial data related to land use – land cover, soil characteristics, terrain characteristics, eco-regions, etc. Various parameters related to the spatial data were analyzed using ArcHydro tools and were included in the multivariate analysis methods for the purpose of creating classification equations that relate spatial and spatio-temporal attributes of the watershed to water quality data at monitoring stations. The study compares the use of various statistical estimates (mean, geometric mean, trimmed mean, and median) of monitored water quality variables to represent annual and seasonal water quality conditions. The relationship between these estimates and the spatial data is then modeled via linear and non-linear multivariate methods. The linear statistical multivariate method uses a combination of principal component analysis, cluster analysis, and discriminant analysis, whereas the non-linear multivariate method uses a combination of Kohonen Self-Organizing Maps, Cluster Analysis, and Support Vector Machines. The final models were tested with recent and independent data collected from stations in the Eagle Creek watershed, within the White River basin. In 6 out of 20 models the Support Vector Machine more accurately classified the Eagle Creek stations, and in 2 out of 20 models the Linear Discriminant Analysis model achieved better results. Neither the linear or non-linear models had an apparent advantage for the remaining 12 models. This research provides an insight into the variability and uncertainty in the interpretation of the various statistical estimates and statistical models, when water quality monitoring data is combined with spatial data for characterizing general spatial and spatio-temporal trends.

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Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
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