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ItemNon-stationarity in daily and sub-daily intense rainfall – Part 2: regional assessment for sites in south-east AustraliaJakob, D. ; Karoly, D. J. ; Seed, A. (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geoscience Union, 2011)Using data for a common period (1976–2005) for a set of 31 sites located in south-east Australia, variations in frequency and magnitude of intense rainfall events across durations from 6 min to 72 h were assessed. This study was driven by a need to clarify how variations in climate might affect intense rainfall and the potential for flooding. Sub-daily durations are of particular interest for urban applications. Worldwide, few such observation-based studies exist, which is mainly due to limitations in data. Analysis of seasonality in frequency and magnitude of events revealed considerable variation across the set of sites, implying different dominating rainfall-producing mechanisms and/or interactions with local topography. Both these factors are relevant when assessing the potential effects of climate variations on intense rainfall events. The set of sites was therefore split into groups ("north cluster" and "south cluster") according to the characteristics of intense rainfall events. There is a strong polarisation in the nature of changes found for the north cluster and south cluster. While sites in the north cluster typically exhibit decrease in frequency of events, particularly in autumn and at durations of 1 h and longer; sites in the south cluster experience an increase in frequency of events, particularly for summer and sub-hourly durations. Non-stationarity found in historical records has the potential to significantly affect design rainfall estimates. An assessment of quantile estimates derived using a standard regionalisation technique and periods representative of record lengths available for practical applications show that such estimates may not be representative of long-term conditions, so alternative approaches need to be considered, particularly where short records are concerned. Additional rainfall information, in particular radar data, could be used for an in-depth spatial analysis of intense rainfall events.
ItemNon-stationarity in daily and sub-daily intense rainfall – Part 1: Sydney, AustraliaJakob, D. ; Karoly, D. J. ; Seed, A. (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geoscience Union, 2011)This study was driven by a need to clarify how variations in climate might affect intense rainfall and the potential for flooding. Sub-daily durations are of particular interest for urban applications. Worldwide, few such observation-based studies exist, which is mainly due to limitations in data. While there are still large discrepancies between precipitation data sets from observations and models, both show that there is a tendency for moist regions to become wetter and for dry regions to become drier. However, changes in extreme conditions may show the opposite sign to those in average conditions. Where changes in observed intense precipitation have been studied, this has typically been for daily durations or longer. The purpose of this two-part study is to examine daily and sub-daily rainfall extremes for evidence of non-stationarity. Here the problem was addressed by supplementing one long record (Part 1) by a set of shorter records for a 30-yr concurrent period (Part 2). Variations in frequency and magnitude of rainfall extremes across durations from 6 min to 72 h were assessed using data from sites in the south-east of Australia. For the analyses presented in this paper, a peaks-over-threshold approach was chosen since it allows investigating changes in frequency as well as magnitude. Non-parametric approaches were used to assess changes in frequency, magnitude, and quantile estimates as well as the statistical significance of changes for one station (Sydney Observatory Hill) for the period 1921 to 2005. Deviations from the long-term average vary with season, duration, and threshold. The effects of climate variations are most readily detected for the highest thresholds. Deviations from the long-term average tend to be larger for frequencies than for magnitudes, and changes in frequency and magnitude may have opposite signs. Investigations presented in this paper show that variations in frequency and magnitude of events at daily durations are a poor indicator of changes at sub-daily durations. Studies like the one presented here should be undertaken for other regions to allow the identification of regions with significant increase/decrease in intense rainfall, whether there are common features with regards to duration and season exhibiting most significant changes (which in turn could lead to establishing a theoretical framework), and assist in validation of projections of rainfall extremes.