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Science / Geology / Rating Curve: A plot that shows the relationship between the stage and discharge (streamflow) of a specific stream at a specific location. It is customary to plot stream stage on the y-axis of the plot and discharge on the x-axis. The resulting relationship is normally a curve. Rating curves can be used to estimate discharge (which is time consuming and expensive to measure) using a single stage measurement (which can be collected with automatic equipment). The principle of a rating curve enables hydrologists to monitor the discharge of many streams simultaneously once gages have been placed to collect and report the stage of the stream.
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