Regional frequency analysis of daily rainfall extremes using L-moments approach

HOSSEIN MALEKINEZHAD, ARASH ZARE-GARIZI

Abstract

Daily extreme precipitation values are among environmental events with the most disastrous consequences for human society. Information on the magnitudes and frequencies of extreme precipitations is essential for sustainable water resources management, planning for weather-related emergencies, and design of hydraulic structures. In the present study, regional frequency analysis of maximum daily rainfalls was investigated for Golestan province located in the northeastern Iran. This study aimed to find appropriate regional frequency distributions for maximum daily rainfalls and predict the return values of extreme rainfall events (design rainfall depths) for the future. L-moment regionalization procedures coupled with an index rainfall methodwere applied to maximum rainfall records of 47 stations across the study area. Due to complex geographicand hydro-climatological characteristics of the region, an important research issue focused on breaking downthe large area into homogeneous and coherent sub-regions. The study area was divided into five homogeneousregions, based on the cluster analysis of site characteristics and tests for the regional homogeneity.The goodness-of-fit results indicated that the best fitting distribution is different for individual homogeneousregions. The difference may be a result of the distinctive climatic and geographic conditions. The estimatedregional quantiles and their accuracy measures produced by Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate that theestimation uncertainty as measured by the RMSE values and 90% error bounds is relatively low when returnperiods are less than 100 years. But, for higher return periods, rainfall estimates should be treated withcaution. More station years, either from longer records or more stations in the regions, would be required forrainfall estimates above T=100 years. It was found from the analyses that, the index rainfall (at-site averagemaximum rainfall) can be estimated reasonably well as a function of mean annual precipitation in Golestanprovince. Index rainfalls combined with the regional growth curves, can be used to estimate design rainfallsat ungauged sites. Overall, it was found that cluster analysis together with the L-moments based regional frequencyanalysis technique could be applied successfully in deriving design rainfall estimates for northeasternIran. The approach utilized in this study and the findings are of great scientific and practical merit, particularlyfor the purpose of planning for weather-related emergencies and design of hydraulic engineering structures

Keywords

Regionalization; rainfall analysis; L-moments; northeastern Iran.

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