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Calculation of rainfall intensity distribution frequency

Calculation of rainfall intensity distribution frequency

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In this chapter the characterisation of the mean rainfall is worked out based on

Intensity/Duration/Frequency-relationships (IDF-relationships).

New IDF-relationships are developed making optimal use of new methodologies

and the current computer technology (paragraph 2.1). The new IDF-relationships

are then compared with earlier (in Flanders) used design rainfall (paragraph 2.2).

Furthermore, the simplification into mean rainfall input for sewer system

calculations is worked out, which leads to composite design storms (paragraph 2.3).

These composite storms have been set up for three different applications as there are

: combined sewer system design (original application), hydrological calculations for

long storm durations (paragraph 2.3.4) and modelling the influence of rain water

storage tanks (paragraph 2.3.5). The applicability of these single storms and the

accuracy of the obtained results is discussed in chapter 5 for the design calculations and

in chapter 6 for the impact calculations.

2.1

IDF-relationships

2.1.1 The physical link with the design : the concentration time

The use of rainfall Intensity/Duration/Frequency-relationships (IDF-relationships)

has been standard practice for many decades for the design of sewer systems and other

hydraulic structures. The IDF-relationships give an idea about the frequency or

return period of a mean rainfall intensity or rainfall volume that can be expected

within a certain period, i.e. the storm duration. In this sense the storm duration is

an artificial parameter that can comprise any part of a rainfall event. IDF-relationships

are certainly not old fashioned. Even in this computer age they provide a lot of

information on the rainfall and they can be used as a base for the determination of

design storms. The reason is the physically based link between IDF-relationships

and hydraulic design, i.e. the concentration time.

The concentration time is the time the rainfall needs in order to travel from the

remotest place in the catchment to the point in the sewer system where the design

calculation is made [Chow, 1964]. For a sewer system this means that

the concentration time is the sum of the inlet time (time that the water flows over the

surface to the sewer system) and the flow time (time that the water flows through the

sewer system from the point where it enters the system to the design point). There will

be a contribution to the flow in the design point from the whole upstream catchment if

the storm duration is at least equal to the concentration time. This means that for a

certain (constant) rainfall intensity a maximum for the flow will be obtained at the

Chapter 2 : IDF-relationships and design storms

2.1

calculation point after a duration equal to the concentration time (if there is an equal

contribution of the whole catchment). Therefore, the duration of the storm equal to the

concentration time is the critical storm duration. The concentration time and thus

also the critical storm duration are specific parameters for each point. There is no

single critical duration for the whole catchment. For the upstream points, short storm

durations will be critical and for more downstream points and larger catchments longer

storm durations will be critical.

For a certain frequency or return period the mean rainfall intensity over short durations

will be higher than over longer durations. In figure 2.1 the rainfall intensities are

shown for durations of 10, 20 and 30 minutes for a return period of 2 years (see

paragraph 2.1.5). If these hyetographs are (equally) flattened over the same

concentration time of 20 minutes, the storm with a duration of 20 minutes will lead to

a maximum effect (figure 2.1). This means that for a certain return period the

critical storm duration (thus equal to the concentration time) will lead to the

maximum effect. When a peaked rainfall event is flattened over the concentration

time, the difference between the peak of the resulting hydrograph and the peak of the

initial rainfall event is equal to this concentration time. If this behaviour is inverted,

it can be concluded that the concentration time can be approximated (from simulations)

as the time difference between the peak rainfall and the peak flow in every point.

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

time (minutes)

on the rainfall volumes for a return period of 2 years and storm durations

for 10, 20 and 30 minutes (see paragraph 2.1.5).

2.2

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

As the flow time over the surface and through the sewer system are dependent on

the flow velocity and the velocity is in some extent related to the rainfall input,

the concentration time will actually not be a constant value for one specific point.

This means that the concentration time in reality is not a static, but a dynamic parameter

(i.e. a function of the rainfall intensity or flow : see paragraph 3.2.2).

In 1985 Demare published IDF-relationships. These IDF-relationships were

determined based on the yearly maxima for the period 1934 - 1983 measured at the

Royal Meteorological Institute in Uccle (Belgium). These rainfall data were processed

using a Gumbel extreme value distribution with two parameters [Demare, 1985].

The use of yearly maxima was a simplification introduced to limit the process time and

work. With this method only IDF-relationships with a return period larger than 1 year

can be derived. These IDF-relationships were used for about one decade for sewer

system design [Berlamont, 1987].

About one decade earlier, Laurant had already published IDF-relationships for Uccle

[Laurant, 1976]. Laurant used the rainfall data measured at the same location

(Royal Meteorological Institute in Uccle) for the period 1934 - 1973. These rainfall

data were analysed by direct fitting of curves to the calculated IDF-relationships

(obtained by the monotone ranking method), without using any extreme value

estimation method. For that reason these IDF-relationships are less accurate for high

return periods. Laurant extrapolated these IDF-relationships even for a return period

of 1000 years, but the accuracy for return periods higher than 10 years is low.

The advantage of the IDF-relationships of Laurant is that they were determined also for

return periods less than 2 years (i.e. for high frequencies). These IDF-relationships

have never been prescribed for sewer system design, since the guidelines were in an

early stage of development prior to 1987 [De Backer, 1978].

Nowadays, powerful computers and new statistical methods are available to determine

new IDF-relationships without any restriction in data amounts or return periods.

In 1994, the rainfall data for Uccle for the period 1967 - 1993 with a time step of

10 minutes were made available in digital form by the Belgian Royal Meteorological

Institute (KMI) for research purposes. This was the start for a search for better

IDF-relationships and new design storms.

2.3

For the development of the IDF-relationships in this study the distribution of rainfall

volumes (obtained by the monotonic ranking method) in a certain aggregation period

is determined for a wide range of aggregation periods. The aggregation period is

the period over which the rainfall intensities are summed up to obtain a mean rainfall

intensity or a rainfall volume over a storm duration equal to the aggregation period.

The minimum aggregation period is the time step of the original rainfall series,

i.e. 10 minutes for the historical rainfall series of Uccle. For a specific aggregation

period, a relationship between rainfall volume and exceedance frequency of that rainfall

volume is obtained from the cumulative probability distribution. This relationship is

determined for every aggregation period that is a multiple of the rainfall time step.

The intensity is the ratio of the rainfall volume to the aggregation period, i.e. storm

duration. In practice this means that for a certain aggregation period the number of

rainfall volumes is counted, which exceed a specific threshold. This is called the

peak over threshold method. The return period (in [years]) for exceedance of that

threshold value is then the total length of the original rainfall series (in [years]) divided

by the number of exceedances.

Two exceedances of a certain rainfall threshold can occur within a short period.

This will not always lead to two different effects in the considered sewer system

(e.g. two rainfall events which lead to only one flooding event or one overflow event).

Therefore, an independency criterion has to be incorporated to distinguish dependant

rainfall events which lead to the same effect. The problem with this criterion is its

subjectivity and its correlation with the design application. As the studied effects for

each application will be different, the criterion is application dependent. The rainfall

volumes over a certain aggregation level (storm duration) will be critical for these

points in a sewer system with a concentration time equal to the storm duration.

Therefore, two rainfall events over this storm duration will lead to two different effects,

if there is a period of at least the storm duration (concentration time) in between.

This leads to an independency criterion which specifies that a rainfall volume is taken

into account if in a period equal to the aggregation period antecedent and posterior to

the considered rainfall volume no higher or equal rainfall volume occurs.

Furthermore, two effects can be observed as dependent (thus as one event) if they are

situated close in time (e.g. two overflow events in a few hours). This is based more on

the psychological perception of the effect, than on an objectively defined criterion.

For sewer system design, it can for instance be assumed that two effects are

independent if they do not occur on the same day or night. The independency criterion

is then implemented as follows : two events are independent if in 12 hours before and

12 hours after the event no higher (or equal) event occurs. This choice is made to limit

the subjectivity of the criterion, by preventing the need to make an arbitrary choice for

the time that a new day or night starts.

2.4

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

a rainfall volume is independent if in a certain period antecedent and posterior to

the considered rainfall volume no larger or equal rainfall volume occurs. For this

period the maximum between 12 hours and the aggregation period is assumed.

For an aggregation period equal to N times the rainfall time step, there are N possible

ways to aggregate the rainfall volumes. If all these N possibilities are used together,

additional dependent rainfall volumes are introduced. It is absolutely necessary to

consider all N possible combinations and extract the local maximum rainfall volumes

(using a moving window), to obtain an accurate estimation of the extreme rainfall

volumes for the specific aggregation period. These additional dependent rainfall

volumes are however automatically eliminated using the above-mentioned

independency criterion. If all N aggregation possibilities are considered separately and

the IDF-relationships are determined as the mean of these N different

IDF-relationships, the rainfall volumes will be underestimated (by averaging).

This corresponds with IDF-relationships based on rainfall with a time step equal to the

storm duration. The other way around, this means that the rainfall intensities are

underestimated for storm durations near to the rainfall time step.

In figure 2.2 an overview is given of the generally applied methodology to determine

the IDF-relationships. Based on the extreme value estimation (see paragraph 2.1.5),

it could be concluded that the monotonic ranking method (see paragraph 2.1.4) can be

used for return periods up to 1 year and that the extreme value estimation must be used

for return periods starting from 2 years to obtain the highest accuracy [Vaes et al.,

1994c, d].

2.5

The independency criterion might have a large effect on the IDF-relationships.

Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a specific independency criterion for each

application. If no specific independency criterion is used to distinguish two effects

which occur within a short period, a lower limit for the return period

(i.e. an upper limit for the intensity and frequency) is obtained. To eliminate

clustering of rainfall of the same nature this independency criterion is necessary in

order to prevent overdesign. Experience with the rainfall data of Uccle has shown that

the influence of this independency criterion is however very small and that clustering

rarely occurs for return periods higher than or equal to 1 year. For more frequent

rainfall the independency criterion is needed. Using this approach, a satisfactory

mean IDF-relationship is obtained. However, this is a misleading terminology,

because of the clustering of rainfall. For instance, a rainfall event with a return period

of 2 years may occur twice in one year or not at all in 5 years.

The IDF-relationships, which are obtained by the application of the monotone ranking

technique, are shown in figure 2.3 for frequencies between 1 and 20 p.a. (the numerical

values are listed in appendix A.1). As the original rainfall series covers a time span of

only 27 years, these IDF-relationships become more inaccurate for higher return

periods. In that case extreme value theory should be used (see paragraph 2.1.5).

100

1 /year

10

2 /year

5 /year

10 /year

20 /year

0.1

10

100

storm

duration

1000

(minutes)

Figure 2.3 : IDF-relationships for Uccle for frequencies between 1 and 20 p.a.

using the monotone ranking technique for independent rainfall volumes.

2.6

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

curves. For hydrological phenomena often a hyperbolic relation exists between

the amplitude and the duration, in this case the intensity i and the storm duration )t.

The Talbot-Montana formula often gives good results (a1, a2 and a3 are regression

parameters) [Demare, 1985] :

(2.1)

This formula leads to a linear relationship in a double logarithmic coordinate system

using a constant shift a2 for the storm duration. For the IDF-relationships for Uccle

this formula does not give satisfactory regression results for all storm durations.

Therefore, an extension with a second-order term in a double logarithmic coordinate

system has been proposed in this study. This modified Talbot-Montana formula then

becomes :

(2.2)

Or :

(2.3)

The extra regression parameter a4 is especially necessary to fit the small storm

durations. The regression coefficients are presented in table 2.1.

As the time step in the historical rainfall series is 10 minutes and this is also the

smallest storm duration considered, the question rises if the bending in the curves for

small storm durations is not due to the averaging within the rainfall time step. In that

case this bending should not be incorporated in the fitting, because an underestimation

of the 10 minutes peak rainfall is obtained. This requires further attention, but the

effect of it phases out significantly for storm durations of 20, 30, ... minutes and this is

thus of minor importance for design applications.

In figure 2.4 the fitting of the IDF-relationships for frequencies between 1 and 10 p.a.

is shown for storm durations up to 720 minutes. The fitted IDF-relationships are listed

in appendix A.2.

2.7

between 1 and 20 p.a. and storm durations between 10 and 720 minutes.

frequency

(p.a.)

2.8

regression coefficients

a1

a2

a3

a4

1582.844

14.36867

1.26778

- 0.094137

2517.828

17.37187

1.54020

- 0.156110

241.519

5.17747

0.83104

- 0.026011

134.960

3.59031

0.66541

0.006106

43.081

- 3.34774

0.30920

0.074643

48.737

- 1.33084

0.38552

0.056565

53.513

- 0.36559

0.44984

0.041244

55.995

0.84588

0.48095

0.035051

63.669

2.35176

0.54523

0.021303

10

47.347

0.74991

0.45944

0.038036

11

41.887

1.23952

0.42563

0.045611

12

38.843

1.17893

0.41168

0.048418

13

31.885

- 0.77606

0.35975

0.058012

14

33.058

0.30195

0.38236

0.053515

15

32.163

0.79145

0.38115

0.054113

16

35.931

2.34597

0.42473

0.046139

17

30.211

0.59111

0.37697

0.055318

18

29.247

1.41954

0.36850

0.058166

19

24.792

1.15932

0.31684

0.068966

20

21.208

- 0.52011

0.27076

0.078386

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

100

1 /year

2 /year

5 /year

10 /year

10

1

10

100

storm

duration

1000

(minutes)

Figure 2.4 : Fitting for the IDF-relationships for frequencies between 1 and 10 p.a.

(markers = original ranked data, lines = fitting).

2.1.5 The use of extreme value estimation for high return periods

For increasing return periods the IDF-relationships become more inaccurate if only the

monotonic ranking method is used. Therefore, extreme value analyses were performed

by Willems [Willems, 1998c; Vaes et al., 1994c, d, 1996]. An upper limit of

360 minutes for the storm duration was chosen, because in sewer design larger

concentration times rarely occur for the high return periods. If longer storm durations

would be included, the accuracy for the small storm duration would decrease.

The peak over threshold method was applied, which means that all rainfall volumes

that exceed a certain threshold i0 are selected from the historical rainfall series. The

120 most extreme (independent) rainfall volumes were used for each storm duration

between 10 and 360 minutes (partial duration series). This leads to the overall

optimal threshold. Different types of distributions were tested and the best fit was

obtained with the exponential distribution.

An exponential distribution leads to the following relationship for the return period

T (in [years]) as a function of the rainfall intensity i (in [mm/h]) :

(2.4)

2.9

In this formula, n is the length of the historical rainfall series (= 27 years) and m the

number of extreme rainfall volumes used (= 120). The two parameters of this

distribution i0 (threshold intensity) and $ (mean intensity) are the characterising

intensities for the distribution (both in [mm/h]). Because these parameters behave as

intensities, they can be fitted as a function of the storm duration )t (in [min]) using the

modified Talbot-Montana formula (equation (2.2)), which leads to :

(2.5)

(2.6)

In figure 2.5 the IDF-relationships are shown for return periods of 2, 5, 10 and 20 years

obtained with this extreme value estimation.

Since the implementation of the new guidelines for sewer system design in 1996,

these IDF-relationships were introduced for common use in Flanders [VMM, 1996].

In appendix A.3 these IDF-relationships are listed in numerical form.

rainfall intensity (mm/h)

100

10

20 years

10 years

5 years

2 years

1

10

100

1000

(from bottom to top).

2.10

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

2.2

In the absence of powerful computer tools in the past, the method of periodic maxima

was popular to determine the IDF-relationships, as was used by Demare [1985] who

used yearly maxima. This method leads to an underestimation of the rainfall intensities

(or an overestimation of the return periods), which has been shown theoretically

[Demare, 1985] and practically [Vaes et al., 1994c, d, 1996; Willems, 1998c].

For larger return periods these differences become smaller. The disadvantage of the

method of yearly maxima is that it cannot lead to IDF-relationships for return periods

smaller than 2 years. In table 2.2 the comparison between the IDF-relationships of

Demare [1985] and the new IDF-relationships (equations (2.4) to (2.6)) is shown.

The underestimation of the rainfall intensities for low return periods using the yearly

maxima is obvious. Furthermore, smaller rainfall intensities are found with the new

IDF-relationships for the short storm durations. This could point to the intrinsic

averaging within the time step of 10 minutes in the rainfall series used for the new IDFrelationships, because Demare started from rainfall without this averaging (time step

accuracy of about 1 minute). However, there are differences over the whole range of

storm durations and return periods, which may be due to the difference in methodology

and different rainfall periods. The IDF-relationships of Demare were commonly used

as block hyetographs for design calculations in Flanders. Also the IDF-relationships

in the guidelines of 1987 were based on the work of Demare [Berlamont, 1987].

In 1976, Laurant published IDF-relationships for Uccle, based on the rainfall series for

the period 1934-1973. To determine these IDF-relationships the monotonic ranking

method was used. The IDF-relationships were determined for storm durations up to

360 minutes. Then a formula was fit to the IDF-relationships [Laurant, 1976] :

6.644 log (T + 9)

log i = 9.68 0.835

0.65 log T 4387

. t 0.00735

(2.7)

6.644 log (T + 9)

10.312 0.835

+ 0.9 log T + 46.37

in which i is the rainfall intensity in [mm/h], T is the return period in [year] and )t is

the storm duration in [min]. Some of the resulting IDF-relationships are listed in

table 2.3. The differences with the new IDF-relationships are mainly due to the

different rainfall period which has been used and due to the differences in independency

criterion. The independency criterion of Laurant is less strict, which can lead to higher

intensities, especially for more frequent rainfall events. The higher intensities for small

2.11

storm durations probably have the same cause as for the IDF-relationships of Demare

(see paragraph 2.2.1), i.e. the smaller time step for the rainfall data.

and the new IDF-relationships (second row) (see paragraph 2.1.5)

(intensities in [mm/h]). In the third row the relative difference is given.

storm

duration

[minutes]

10

20

30

60

120

240

360

2.12

2

10

20

51.1

69

80.8

92.2

52.4

65.4

75.2

85

2.5%

-5.5%

-7.4%

-8.5%

33.6

46.3

54.7

62.7

37.2

46.5

53.6

60.6

9.7%

0.4%

-2.1%

-3.5%

25.2

35

41.6

47.8

29

36.3

41.8

47.2

13.1%

3.6%

0.5%

-1.3%

15.1

20.9

24.8

28.4

17.8

22.1

25.4

28.6

15.2%

5.4%

2.4%

0.7%

12.3

14.5

16.6

10.4

12.7

14.5

16.3

13.5%

3.2%

0.0%

-1.8%

5.4

7.3

8.5

9.7

7.2

8.2

9.1

10.0%

-1.4%

-3.7%

-6.6%

3.9

5.3

6.2

7.1

4.3

5.2

5.8

6.5

9.3%

-1.9%

-6.9%

-9.2%

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

and the new IDF-relationships (second row) (see paragraph 2.1.4)

(intensities in [mm/h]). In the third row the relative difference is given.

storm

duration

[minutes]

10

20

30

60

120

240

360

frequency [1/years]

1

10

40.77

34.25

27.36

23.14

41.91

32.34

21.34

14.49

2.7%

-5.9%

-28.2%

-59.7%

24.98

21.05

15.88

14.31

29.79

23.18

13.97

10.1

16.1%

9.2%

-13.7%

-41.7%

18.74

15.82

12.71

10.8

23.26

18.14

11.01

8.08

19.4%

12.8%

-15.4%

-33.7%

11.44

9.69

7.81

6.65

14.34

11.2

7.29

5.43

20.2%

13.5%

-7.1%

-22.5%

6.96

5.92

4.79

4.09

8.47

6.63

4.75

3.58

17.8%

10.7%

-0.8%

-14.2%

4.23

3.61

2.93

2.51

4.95

3.94

3.02

2.32

14.5%

8.4%

3.0%

-8.2%

3.15

2.7

2.2

1.88

3.63

2.94

2.29

1.79

13.2%

8.2%

3.9%

-5.0%

2.13

In paragraph 1.4.3 the (south-east) English design storms were discussed, which were

introduced in Flanders in 1992 [WS, 1992]. The rainfall generator version 1.44,

within the software Spida version 2.1, was to some extent calibrated to the

IDF-relationships of Demare [1985] and thus mainly contains the same differences

with the new IDF-relationships as illustrated in table 2.2.

This calibration however was only performed for return periods higher than or equal

to 2 years. For more frequent rainfall (frequencies higher than or equal to 1 p.a.)

the original (south-east) English storms were used. In figure 2.6, the relative

underestimations, as compared with the new IDF-relationships (see paragraph 2.1.4),

are shown for the English design storms with frequencies between 5 and 14 p.a.

as compared with the new IDF-relationships (see paragraph 2.1.4)

for storms with frequencies f between 5 and 14 p.a.

2.14

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

2.3

Composite storms

It was clear from the analysis of the previously used design rainfall (see paragraph 2.2),

that new design storms were needed, specifically developed for the Flemish situation.

The new IDF-relationships form a solid base for this. For this reason new design

storms were developed in this work. The storms are determined in such a way that

only one storm is necessary for one frequency or return period, while before for

each storm duration a separate storm was needed. All storm durations up to

the maximum included storm duration are combined in one single storm. For this

reason these storms are called composite storms. These composite storms are

analogous to the well-known Chicago-storms [Keifer & Chu, 1957].

The composite storms are determined by setting out the rainfall volumes (hatched area)

from the IDF-relationship symmetrically around the centre of the storm starting from

the shortest storm duration (10 minutes) till the longest storm duration )tmax (figure

2.7).

The instantaneous rainfall intensity r(t) within the composite storm can then be

described by the following differential equation as a function of the rainfall intensity

i()t) from the IDF-relationships [Vaes & Berlamont, 1995] :

2.15

(2.8)

wherein the time t can be introduced as a function of the storm duration )t (figure 2.7) :

(2.9)

To develop these composite storms, the fitted IDF-relationships were used to avoid

a non-monotonous curve. To serve as rainfall input for numerical calculations,

the design storms must be discretised. As the initial rainfall time step was 10 minutes

and the nature of this composite storms leads to a time step halving (half of the duration

at each side of the symmetry axis), the composite storms are discretised with a time step

of 5 minutes.

Composite storms were developed for return periods starting from 2 years using

the IDF-relationships based on the extreme value estimations for storm durations up to

)tmax equal to 360 minutes (see paragraph 2.1.5). These composite storms can be used

for design applications. Since the new guidelines of 1996 for sewer system design,

these composite storms are commonly introduced for hydrodynamic simulations

in Flanders [VMM, 1996; Aquafin, 1996]. An example is shown in figure 2.8.

Also composite storms were developed for frequencies between 1 and 20 p.a. using

the IDF-relationships based on the monotone ranking technique (after fitting) for storm

durations up to )tmax = 720 minutes (see paragraph 2.1.4). These storms may be used

for impact calculations. All these composite storms are included in the (in Flanders)

currently used software Hydroworks, starting from version 4.0 [WS, 1998].

rainfall intensity (mm/h)

50

40

30

20

10

0

0

6

time (hour)

2.16

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

Besides the rainfall during the critical storm duration, also the rainfall that occurs in

a period antecedent and posterior to this critical storm duration can have an effect on

the design. The antecedent rainfall determines whether a sewer system is already

partially filled and thus less storage in the system is available. The posterior rainfall

can possibly magnify the effect of the rainfall during the selected critical storm

duration. Therefore, it would be interesting if also the mean antecedent and posterior

rainfall could be included in the design storms.

The composite storms already have an intrinsic antecedent and posterior rainfall

included (figure 2.7). The antecedent rainfall, which is significant for a specific

storm duration, is the rainfall during that storm duration, that precedes the

critical storm duration. The same is valid for the posterior rainfall that follows the

considered storm duration in the period equal to that storm duration. These intrinsic

antecedent and posterior rainfall within the composite storms are checked with the

antecedent and posterior rainfall within the original rainfall series of 27 years.

However, the antecedent and posterior rainfall within the historical rainfall series,

which correspond with a specific rainfall intensity over a specific duration, are not just

one value, but cover a whole distribution of rainfall intensities. In figure 2.9 the

antecedent rainfall is shown for a storm duration of 60 minutes for the historical rainfall

series as compared with these for the composite storms. Antecedent and posteriori

conditions for other storm durations can be found in [Vaes & Berlamont, 1995]. In this

figure 2.9, the mean rainfall intensity during the antecedent period is presented

relatively to the mean rainfall intensity during the considered storm duration. This ratio

(on the vertical axis) is presented as a function of the mean rainfall intensity during the

considered storm duration (on the horizontal axis). A black square represents the

antecedent rainfall within 60 minutes preceding the central 60 minutes in the composite

storm. Each black square represents the antecedent rainfall for one composite storm

with a different frequency of return period. The grey dots represent the medians for the

antecedent rainfall within 60 minutes preceding any rainfall event in the original

rainfall series with a mean intensity over a duration of 60 minutes equal to the intensity

on the horizontal axis. The vertical grey bars give the 68 % interval for this distribution

and the horizontal dashes represent the limits of the 90 % interval. In figure 2.10 the

same comparison is shown for the posterior rainfall. From these figures it is clear that

there is a huge deviation on the antecedent and posterior rainfall. When the medians

of the antecedent and posterior rainfall from the original rainfall series are compared,

small differences are observed. The antecedent rainfall is smaller than the posterior

rainfall, especially for high rainfall intensities (figure 2.11). For very small rainfall

intensities it gives the opposite difference. This means that there should be a skewness

in the composite storms with a faster rising branch and a slower falling branch.

However, the variability of the antecedent and posterior rainfall (as a function of

the rainfall intensities) is higher than the observed overall difference between both

(figures 2.8, 2.9 & 2.10). This shows that the initial assumption of a symmetric storm

Chapter 2 : IDF-relationships and design storms

2.17

profile is acceptable.

for the composite storms as compared with those of the original rainfall series.

2.18

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

for the composite storms as compared with those of the original rainfall series.

2.19

0.8

IDF-intensity

0.7

antecedent condities

0.6

posteriori condities

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0

10

11

12

13

14

IDF-intensity (mm/h)

Figure 2.11 : Comparison between the medians of the antecedent and the posterior

rainfall for a storm duration of 60 minutes.

The new composite storms for sewer system design incorporate the new

IDF-relationships for storm durations between 10 and 360 minutes for the high return

periods (starting from 2 years) and between 10 and 720 minutes for the more frequent

storms. The longer maximum storm duration for the more frequent storms is justified

by the higher concentration times which occur at lower flow rates. For storm durations

up to one third of the total storm duration the mean antecedent and posterior rainfall are

incorporated well (figure 2.7). For higher storm durations the antecedent and posterior

rainfall is gradually underestimated. As only rainfall data were available with a time

step of 10 minutes, no smaller storm durations could be incorporated. Moreover,

the IDF-relationships for 10 minutes are slightly underestimated, because of the

intrinsic averaging over the time step. This will however not significantly influence the

design calculations, because the concentration times will rarely be smaller than 15

minutes. It is anyway generally accepted to use storm durations no smaller than 15

minutes for design calculations [Berlamont, 1987; VMM, 1996].

As an example, in figure 2.12 and 2.13, two Spida storms with durations of 60 and

720 minutes (rainfall generator version 1.44 [WS, 1994]) are compared with

the composite storm for a return period of 1 year. A more detailed application of these

composite storms for design calculations is discussed in chapter 5 and the application

for impact calculations is discussed in chapter 6.

2.20

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

intensity (mm/h)

45

40

composite storm

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

0

60

120

180

240

300

360

420

480

540

600

660 720

time (min)

with a return period of 1 year and the Spida storm

for a duration of 60 minutes and a return period of 1 year.

intensity (mm/h)

45

40

composite storm

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

0

60

120

180

240

300

360

420

480

540

time (min)

with a return period of 1 year and the Spida storm

for a duration of 720 minutes and a return period of 1 year.

2.21

When concentration times become larger than 360 minutes the previously composed

design storms are no longer sufficient. Such high concentration times can be

necessary for large catchments and when pervious areas have to be incorporated.

Furthermore, the antecedent and posterior rainfall are gradually underestimated for

storm durations larger than 120 minutes. For these reasons, special composite storms

were developed in this work for long durations, based on IDF-relationships for

durations from 1 hour to 15 days with a time step of 1 hour. As these storms will

serve for design calculations for return periods between 2 and even 2000 years, extreme

value estimations are necessary. These extreme value estimations have been made by

Willems [Willems, 1998d; Willems et al., 1999]. The peak over threshold method was

applied. The same independency criterion is used as discussed in paragraph 2.1.3,

which means that for storm durations larger than 12 hours all effects are treated as

independent. The extreme value estimation shows that for these larger storm durations

the distribution G(x) for the rainfall intensity i (in [mm/h]) is a two component

exponential distribution [Willems, 1998d; Willems et al., 1999] :

(2.10)

With :

(2.11)

(2.12)

The parameters i0 (threshold intensity), $a and $b (mean intensities) and the

proportionality factor p in equations (2.10) till (2.12) are fitted as a function of the

storm duration )t using the Montana formula [Demare, 1985] :

(2.13)

(2.14)

(2.15)

(2.16)

The parameters i0, $a and $b are expressed in [mm/h] and the storm duration is in [days].

The first component Ga(i) leads to peaked storms, while the second component Gb(i)

leads to more flattened storms. The assumption was made that this originates from the

differences in rainfall in summer (thunderstorms) and in winter (frontal storms).

To investigate this, the rainfall series was divided in two periods : a summer period

from April till September and a winter period from October till March (other divisions

in semesters were checked, but they did not give a more clear divergence in the

IDF-relationships). Then, it was checked whether the derived distributions for these

2.22

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

two periods, the summer distribution Gs(i) and the winter distribution Gw(i), can be

written as a function of the previously found two exponential components :

(2.17)

(2.18)

This comparison showed that the winter distribution Gw(i) corresponds very well to the

second component Gb(i). This means that pw is approximately 0. The summer

distribution Gs(i) remains a function of both exponential components Ga(i) and Gb(i) of

the global distribution. The first component Ga(i) yields a dominant contribution to the

short storm durations and gradually decreases in importance for increasing storm

durations.

A better estimation of the extreme rainfall events for the long durations is obtained if

the component Ga(i) is slightly adjusted to Ga*(i) [Willems, 1998d; Willems et al.,

1999] :

(2.19)

With :

*a = a + b ( 1 )

(2.20)

= 1 exp 40 p* 0113

.

(2.21)

(2.22)

The return period T [years] can be calculated from the global distribution as :

(2.23)

Wherein :

m is the number of values above the threshold intensity i0

The superposition of the two seasonal distributions Gs(i) and Gw(i) must lead to the

same return period as for the global distribution G(i). The sum of the frequency of

a rainfall intensity in summer (fs = 1/Ts) and the frequency of the same rainfall intensity

in winter (fw = 1/Tw) is equal to the frequency of that rainfall intensity in one year

(f = 1/T) :

f = f w + fs

(2.24)

2.23

or :

1

1

1

=

+

T Tw Ts

(2.25)

The return period T can be obtained analogously as illustrated for different boundary

conditions in paragraph 5.5.2 and figure 5.13.

Using equations (2.23), (2.10), (2.12) and (2.19), equation (2.24) leads to :

m ( 1 G (i) ) = m m p* G*a (i) + m 1 p* G b (i)

(2.26)

Using equations (2.23), (2.17) and (2.18) the right hand side of the equation (2.24)

leads to (in the assumption that pw = 0 and m = ms + mw) :

ms 1 G s (i) + mw 1 G w (i)

m p

m

(2.27)

(2.28)

The return period for the summer storms then becomes (in [ year]) :

n

Ts =

ms 1 G s (i)

n

=

m p* 1 G*a (i) + ms m p* 1 G b (i)

(2.29)

n

Tw =

mw 1 G w ( i)

( m ms )( 1 G b (i) )

(2.30)

In these formulas the parameters m and ms are function of the storm duration via the

threshold intensity i0 (in [mm/h]) (equation 2.15) :

(2.31)

(2.32)

The matching IDF-relationships are listed in appendix A.4 for the summer storms and

in appendix A.5 for the winter storms.

2.24

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

Based on these IDF-relationships for long storm durations, composite storms have been

determined with a time step of hour (half of the time step used for the

IDF-relationships) for return periods between 2 and 2000 years [Vaes et al., 1998a, b].

As the initial rainfall series only contained 27 years of rainfall, this is a large

extrapolation, which must be handled with care. As an example, in figure 2.15

a composite summer storm is shown with a return period of 10 years, while in

figure 2.16 a composite winter storm is shown with the same return period.

In figure 2.14 the central part (1 day) of both storms is compared for a return period of

5 years.

22

20

18

winter storm

16

summer storm

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

168

171

174

177

180

183

186

189

192

time (hours)

Figure 2.14 : Comparison of the central part (1 day) of the composite summer and

winter storms for long durations for a return period of 5 years.

These seasonal varying IDF-relationships and composite storms can be compared for

the central part with the composite storms which were developed in paragraph 2.3.1

for the application in sewer system design. The summer IDF-relationships for storm

durations up to 6 hours correspond very well to those for sewer system design.

This shows that design storms for short storm durations and high return periods are

mainly based on summer storms (thunderstorms). This was already shown in

figure 1.5. For long storm durations, the influence of the rainfall in other seasons gains

importance. For very high return periods the differences between the summer storms

and the composite storms for sewer system design become larger, because the

uncertainty increases strongly for these extreme value estimations.

2.25

intensity (mm/h)

24

22

20

18

16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

0

10

11

12

13 14 15

time (day)

for a return period of 10 years.

intensity (mm/h)

10

8

6

4

2

0

0

10

11

12

13 14 15

time (day)

for a return period of 10 years.

2.26

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

An important additional reason to separate summer and winter storms is that the initial

and boundary conditions for rainfall runoff from pervious areas can differ significantly

in the different seasons. The storms have to be used with the proper corresponding

parameters for the state of the catchment. Because these state parameters are very

important for pervious areas and for long concentration times, the intrinsic variability

of the rainfall becomes more important. Therefore, these composite storms (with only

mean rainfall included) can only provide a rough estimation of the relationships

between return period and flow or water level.

The effect of source control (i.e. limiting the rainfall input) on the design of combined

sewer systems can in most cases only be correctly assessed using the full variability of

the rainfall in time, because long antecedent periods can have an important influence.

This is for example true for rain water tanks and infiltration trenches. For rain water

tanks the antecedent rainfall up to one month before may have an effect.

To incorporate the effect of rain water tanks on the sewer system design, a model was

built to assess the effect of a rain water tank on the historical rainfall series and to

incorporate this effect into a modified composite storm. For this, a simple reservoir

model is used with a constant outflow equal to the mean rain water use.

In figure 2.17 the overview of the implemented methodology is shown [Vaes

& Berlamont, 1998b].

The outflow of the rain water tank model is converted to equivalent rainfall.

A reduction coefficient is determined as the ratio of the IDF-relationship for this

equivalent flattened rainfall over the corresponding IDF-relationship for the original

rainfall series. The original composite storms are corrected with this reduction

coefficient which is (approximately) a linear function of the storm duration.

As the rainfall data have a large intrinsic variability, certainly for high return periods,

a specific regression is needed, corresponding to the extreme values estimations for the

original IDF-relationships. However, the rain water tank model appears to change the

type of the extreme value distribution. The very extreme rainfall events are rarely

affected by the rain water tanks and thus still fit to the original exponential distribution.

The more frequent rainfall events are affected more by the smoothing caused by the

rain water tank and evolve to another exponential distribution. The resulting

distribution thus contains two exponential distributions which gradually fade into each

other. This compound distribution can be approximated by a Pareto distribution, at

least for interpolation as in this case. This Pareto distribution leads to a linear

relationship between rainfall intensity i and return period T in a double logarithmic

coordinate system :

(2.33)

2.27

The influence of this smoothing is more pronounced for small storm durations and for

rain water tanks with a large retention function. Depending on which regression will

give the best correlation, the exponential distribution will be kept or the Pareto

distribution will be used. The application of a simple regression will be sufficient in

this case, because no extrapolation will be made for return periods higher than the total

length of the original rainfall series. In the end a linear regression will be used on the

reduction coefficients as a function of the storm duration, to obtain a monotonous

modified composite storm.

the effect of rain water tanks in modified composite storms.

As many parameters are involved, this methodology has been implemented in

a software program, which was called Rewaput [Vaes & Berlamont, 1998b].

The same methodology can be used to incorporate the effect of rainfall runoff models

or infiltration trenches into the design storms. As more and more source control is

applied, this approach will certainly lead to better rainfall input for design calculations

in the future.

2.28

The influence of rainfall and model simplification on combined sewer system design

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