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A Method to Linearly Evaluate Rainfall Frequency–Intensity Distribution

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  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China
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Abstract

This study presents a method to linearly evaluate the rainfall frequency–intensity distribution, which is an important component of climatological rainfall characteristics. To grasp and represent the key information of the rainfall frequency distribution by intensity, a two-parameter double exponential function is formulated and fitted to the hourly rainfall observation at each station. The values of the two parameters are estimated by transforming the distribution to a linear pattern. The two parameters determine the location and shape of the fitted distribution curve, and they have different modulating effects in different intensity categories, one governing the low-intensity section and the other dominating the intense rainfall. Through analysis of the estimated parameters, essential features of rainfall distribution can be obtained and assessed. The proposed method is applied to analyze the climatology and long-term variation of the late-summer rainfall in China. It is found that topography and monsoon circulation are two major factors controlling the rainfall frequency–intensity distribution. At stations with high surface altitudes and complex orography, the frequency of light rain is extremely high and the number of intense rainfall events is relatively small. In the plain areas of eastern China, especially those influenced by the main monsoon rain belt, heavy rainfall is more frequent. By tracking the displacement of the parameter pairs, the decadal changes in rainfall frequency–intensity distribution can be clearly visualized and evaluated on a plane constructed by the two parameters. The southern flooding and northern drought pattern can be attributed to the changes in light and moderate rainfall, while the intense rainfall exhibits opposite trends.

Corresponding author address: Rucong Yu, No. 46, Zhongguancun South Street, Beijing, 100081, China. E-mail: yrc@cma.gov.cn

Abstract

This study presents a method to linearly evaluate the rainfall frequency–intensity distribution, which is an important component of climatological rainfall characteristics. To grasp and represent the key information of the rainfall frequency distribution by intensity, a two-parameter double exponential function is formulated and fitted to the hourly rainfall observation at each station. The values of the two parameters are estimated by transforming the distribution to a linear pattern. The two parameters determine the location and shape of the fitted distribution curve, and they have different modulating effects in different intensity categories, one governing the low-intensity section and the other dominating the intense rainfall. Through analysis of the estimated parameters, essential features of rainfall distribution can be obtained and assessed. The proposed method is applied to analyze the climatology and long-term variation of the late-summer rainfall in China. It is found that topography and monsoon circulation are two major factors controlling the rainfall frequency–intensity distribution. At stations with high surface altitudes and complex orography, the frequency of light rain is extremely high and the number of intense rainfall events is relatively small. In the plain areas of eastern China, especially those influenced by the main monsoon rain belt, heavy rainfall is more frequent. By tracking the displacement of the parameter pairs, the decadal changes in rainfall frequency–intensity distribution can be clearly visualized and evaluated on a plane constructed by the two parameters. The southern flooding and northern drought pattern can be attributed to the changes in light and moderate rainfall, while the intense rainfall exhibits opposite trends.

Corresponding author address: Rucong Yu, No. 46, Zhongguancun South Street, Beijing, 100081, China. E-mail: yrc@cma.gov.cn
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