Scale-wise evolution of rainfall probability density functions fingerprints the rainfall generation mechanism


Journal Article

© 2010 by the American Geophysical Union. The cross-scale probabilistic structure of rainfall intensity records collected over time scales ranging from hours to decades at sites dominated by both convective and frontal systems is investigated. Across these sites, intermittency build-up from slow to fast time-scales is analyzed in terms of heavy tailed and asymmetric signatures in the scale-wise evolution of rainfall probability density functions (pdfs). The analysis demonstrates that rainfall records dominated by convective storms develop heavier-Tailed power law pdfs toward finer scales when compared with their frontal systems counterpart. Also, a concomitant marked asymmetry build-up emerges at such finer time scales. A scale-dependent probabilistic description of such fat tails and asymmetry appearance is proposed based on a modified q-Gaussian model, able to describe the cross-scale rainfall pdfs in terms of the nonextensivity parameter q, a lacunarity (intermittency) correction and a tail asymmetry coefficient, linked to the rainfall generation mechanism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Molini, A; Katul, GG; Porporato, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 1

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-8007

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2010GL042634

Citation Source

  • Scopus