Analysis of Darwin Rainfall Data: Implications on Sampling Strategy

Qihang Li Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Rafael L. Bras Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Daniele Veneziano Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Abstract

Rainfall data collected by radar in the vicinity of Darwin, Australia, have been analysed in terms of their mean, variance, autocorrelation of area-averaged rain rate, and diurnal variation. It is found that, when compared with the well-studied GATE (Global Atmospheric Research Program Atlantic Tropical Experiment) data, Darwin rainfall has larger coefficient of variation (CV), faster reduction of CV with increasing area size, weaker temporal correlation, and a strong diurnal cycle and intermittence. The coefficient of variation for Darwin rainfall has larger magnitude and exhibits larger spatial variability over the sea portion than over the land portion within the area of radar coverage. Stationary and nonstationary models have been used to study the sampling errors associated with space-based rainfall measurement. The nonstationary model shows that the sampling error is sensitive to the starting sampling time for some sampling frequencies, due to the diurnal cycle of rain, but not for others. Sampling experiments using data also show such sensitivity. When the errors are averaged over starting time, the results of the experiments and the stationary and nonstationary models match each other very closely. In the small areas for which data are available for both Darwin and GATE, the sampling error is expected to be larger for Darwin due to its larger CV.

Abstract

Rainfall data collected by radar in the vicinity of Darwin, Australia, have been analysed in terms of their mean, variance, autocorrelation of area-averaged rain rate, and diurnal variation. It is found that, when compared with the well-studied GATE (Global Atmospheric Research Program Atlantic Tropical Experiment) data, Darwin rainfall has larger coefficient of variation (CV), faster reduction of CV with increasing area size, weaker temporal correlation, and a strong diurnal cycle and intermittence. The coefficient of variation for Darwin rainfall has larger magnitude and exhibits larger spatial variability over the sea portion than over the land portion within the area of radar coverage. Stationary and nonstationary models have been used to study the sampling errors associated with space-based rainfall measurement. The nonstationary model shows that the sampling error is sensitive to the starting sampling time for some sampling frequencies, due to the diurnal cycle of rain, but not for others. Sampling experiments using data also show such sensitivity. When the errors are averaged over starting time, the results of the experiments and the stationary and nonstationary models match each other very closely. In the small areas for which data are available for both Darwin and GATE, the sampling error is expected to be larger for Darwin due to its larger CV.

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