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  • Author or Editor: Juliette Blanchet x
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Juliette Blanchet and Victor Mélèse

Abstract

This article proposes a statistical framework for assessing the multiscale severity of a given storm at a given location. By severity we refer to the rareness of the storm event, as measured by the return period. Rather than focusing on predetermined spatiotemporal scales, we consider a model assessing the return period of a storm event observed across the continuum of durations and areas around a focus location. We develop a Bayesian intensity–duration–area–frequency model based on extreme value distribution and space–time scale invariance hypotheses. The model allows us to derive an analytical expression of the return period for any duration and area, while the Bayesian framework allows us by construction to assess the related uncertainties. We apply this framework to high-resolution radar–rain gauge reanalysis data covering a mountainous region of southern France during the autumns 2008–15 and comprising 50 rain events. We estimate the model at two grid points located a few kilometers apart on either side of the mountain crest, considering spatiotemporal scales ranging over 3–48 h and 1–2025 km2. We show that at all scales and for all significant events, the return period uncertainties are skewed to the right, evidencing the need of considering uncertainty to avoid systematic risk underestimation. We also reveal the large variability of the storm severity both at short distance and across scales, due to both the natural variability of rainfall and the mask effect induced by the mountain crest.

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Catherine Wilcox, Claire Aly, Théo Vischel, Gérémy Panthou, Juliette Blanchet, Guillaume Quantin, and Thierry Lebel

Abstract

Stochastic rainfall generators aim to reproduce the main statistical features of rainfall at small spatial and temporal scales. The simulated synthetic rainfall series are recognized as suitable for use with impact analysis in water, agricultural, and ecological management. Convection-driven precipitation, dominant in certain regions of the world such as the intertropical belt regions, presents properties that require specific consideration when modeling: (i) strong rainfall intermittency, (ii) high variability of intensities within storms, (iii) strong spatiotemporal correlation of intensities, and (iv) marked seasonality of storm properties. In this article, improvements for an existing stochastic generator of rainfall fields that models convective storms are presented. Notable novelties include (i) the ability to model precipitation event timing, (ii) an improved temporal disaggregation scheme representing the rainfall distribution at subevent scales, and (iii) using covariates to reflect seasonal changes in precipitation occurrence and marginal distribution parameters. Extreme values are explicitly considered in the distribution of storm event intensities. The simulator is calibrated and validated using 28 years of 5-min precipitation data from the 30-rain-gauge AMMA-CATCH network in the Sahelian region of southwest Niger. Both large propagative systems and smaller local convective precipitation are generated. Results show that simulator improvements coherently represent the local climatology. The simulator can generate scenarios for impact studies with accurate representation of convective precipitation characteristics.

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