03 Aug 2023
 | 03 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Exploring patterns in precipitation intensity-duration-area-frequency relationships using weather radar data

Talia Rosin, Francesco Marra, and Efrat Morin

Abstract. Accurate estimations of extreme precipitation return levels are critical for many hydrological applications. Extreme precipitation is highly variable in both space and time, therefore, to better understand and manage the related risks, knowledge of their probability at different spatial-temporal scales is crucial. We employ a novel non-asymptotic framework to estimate extreme return levels (up to 100 years) at multiple spatial-temporal scales from weather radar precipitation estimates. The approach reduces uncertainties and enables the use of relatively short archives typical of weather radar data (12 years in this case). We focus on the eastern Mediterranean, an area of high interest due to its sharp climatic gradient, containing Mediterranean, semi-arid and arid areas across a few tens of kilometres, and its susceptibility to flash-flood. At-site intensity-duration-area-frequency relations are derived from radar precipitation data at various scales (10 min–24 h, 0.25 km2–500 km2) across the study area, using ellipses of varying axes and orientations to account for the spatial component of storms.

We evaluate our analysis using daily rain gauge data over areas for which sufficiently dense gauge networks are available. We show that extreme return levels derived from radar precipitation data for 24 h and 100 km2 are generally comparable to those derived from averaging daily rain gauge data over a similar areal scale. We then analyse differences in multi-scale extreme precipitation over coastal, mountainous, and desert regions. Our study reveals that the power-law scaling relationship between precipitation and duration (simple scaling) weakens for increasing area sizes. This has implications for temporal downscaling. Additionally, precipitation intensity varies significantly for different area sizes at short durations, but becomes more similar at long durations, suggesting that, in the region, areal reduction factors may not be necessary for computing return levels over long durations. Furthermore, the reverse orographic effect, which causes decreased precipitation for hourly and sub-hourly durations, diminishes for larger areas. Finally, we discuss the effects of orography and coastline proximity on extreme precipitation intensity over different spatial-temporal scales.

Talia Rosin et al.

Status: open (until 01 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Talia Rosin et al.

Data sets

Radar precipitation data Efrat Morin, Talia Rosin & Francesco Marra

Rain gauge data Efrat Morin, Talia Rosin & Francesco Marra

Model code and software

A Unified Framework for Extreme Sub-daily Precipitation Frequency Analyses based on Ordinary Events Francesco Marra

Talia Rosin et al.


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Short summary
Knowledge of extreme precipitation probability at various spatial-temporal scales is crucial. We estimate extreme precipitation return levels at multiple scales (10 min–24 h, 0.25–500 km2) in the eastern Mediterranean using radar data. We show our estimates are comparable to those derived from averaged daily rain gauges. We then explore multi-scale extreme precipitation across coastal, mountainous, and desert regions.