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# Precipitation and its estimation

## Dr. Mohsin Siddique

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Civil & Env. Engg
1
Outcome of Lecture
 After completing this lecture
 The students should be able to:
 Understand types of precipitation and its measurement in field
 Understand the concept of temporal and spatial averaging of
precipitation
 Apply several methods to spatially average precipitation
 Understand data preparation for any water resource projects
 Apply appropriate corrections to data in case of missing
records, errors or inconsistency is present

2
Precipitation
 When the water/moisture in the clouds/atmosphere gets too heavy, the
water/moisture falls back to the earth. This is called precipitation.

 Types of Precipitation:
 Drizzle
 Rain
 Freezing rain
 Sleet
 Snow
 Hail

## Rainfall being the predominant form of precipitation causing

stream flow, especially the flood flow in majority of rivers.Thus, in
this context, rainfall is used synonymously with precipitation.
3
Precipitation: Rainfall
 Rain: It is precipitation in the form of water drops of size between 0.5
mm to 7mm

##  The rainfall is classified into

 Light rain if intensity is trace to 2.5 mm/h
 Moderate rain if intensity is 2.5 mm/hr to 7.5 mm/hr
 Heavy rain above 7.5 mm/hr

 Measurement Units:
 Amount of precipitation/rain (mm or inch)
 It is measure as total depth of rainfall over an area in one day.
 Intensity of precipitation/rain (mm/hr or inch/hr)
 It is the amount of precipitation at a place per unit time (rain rate). It
is expressed as mm/hr or inch/hr
4
Measurement of Precipitation
 Why do we need to measure rainfall?

when to harvest

##  Engineers - to design structures for runoff control i.e. storm-water

drains, bridges etc.

##  Scientists - hydrological modelling of catchments

5
Measurement of Precipitation
 Method of measuring rainfall:

##  Instruments for measuring precipitation include rain gauges and

snow gauges, and various types are manufactured according to the
purpose at hand.

##  Rain gauges are classified into

 Non-recording (Manual) and
 recording types (Automatic)

Instrument used to collect and measure the precipitation is called rain gauge and the location
at which raingage is located is called gauging station.

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Measurement of Precipitation
 Non-recording (Manual) types:

##  Often have a funnel opening into a

cylinder gauge.
 Come in a variety of shapes and sizes
 Calculate the rainfall (in mm) by
dividing the volume of water collected
by the area of the opening of the cup.
(The gauge marking often accounts for
this).

7
Measurement of Precipitation
 Non-recording (Manual) types:

8
Measurement of Precipitation
 Recording (Automatic) types:
 Tipping bucket gauges
 Weighing type gauges
 Float recording gauges
 Tipping bucket rain gauge -The bucket tips when precipitation of 0.2 mm,
0.5 mm, 1.0 mm has been collected. Each tip is recorded by a data logger.

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Measurement of Precipitation
 Recording (Automatic) types:

##  Weather Station - Records rainfall, but also evaporation, air

pressure, air temperature, wind speed and wind direction (so can be
used to estimate evapo-transpiration)

##  Radar - Ground-based radar equipment can be used to determine

how much rain is falling and where it is the heaviest.

10
Measurement of Precipitation
 Recording (Automatic) types:
 Weather Station -

11
Measurement of Precipitation
 Recording (Automatic) types:

12
Measurement of Precipitation
Raingauge Network

##  Since the catching area of the raingauge is very small as compared to

the areal extent of the storm, to get representative picture of a
storm over a catchment the number of raingauges should be as
large as possible, i.e. the catchment area per gauge should be small.

##  There are several factors to be considered to restrict the number of

gauges:
 Like economic considerations to a large extent
 Topographic & accessibility to some extent.

Catchment area: An extent of land where water from precipitation drains into a
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body of water
Measurement of Precipitation
Raingauge Network
 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommendation:

##  In flat regions of temperate, Mediterranean and tropical zones

 Ideal  1 station for 600 900 km2
 Acceptable 1 station for 900 3000 km2
 In mountainous regions of temperate , Mediterranean and tropical zones
 Ideal  1 station for 100 250 km2
 Acceptable  1 station for 250 1000 km2
 In arid and polar zone
 1 station for 1500 10,000 km2

##  10 % of the raingauges should be self recording to know the intensity of

the rainfall !!

14
Measurement of Precipitation
Raingauge Network
 Placement of rainguages
 Gauges are affected by wind pattern, eddies, trees and the
gauge itself, therefore it is important to have the gauge located
and positioned properly.

 Raingauges should be
 1m above ground level is standard -
 All gauges in a catchment should be the same height
 2 to 4 times the distance away from an isolated object (such as a
tree or building) or in a forest a clearing with the radius at least the
tree height or place the gauge at canopy level
 shielded to protect gauge in windy sites or if obstructions are
numerous they will reduce the wind-speed, turbulence and eddies.

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Measurement of Precipitation
Raingauge Network

## Rainguage with wind shield

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Measurement of Precipitation
Raingauge Network
For sloping ground the gauge should be placed with the opening
parallel to the ground
The rainfall catch volume (mm3) is then divided by the opening area
that the rain can enter

17
Measurement of Precipitation
Sources of Errors

 Instrument error
 Observer error
 Errors due to different observation times
 Error due to occult precipitation
 Errors due to low-intensity rains

 Any-other ?
 _________________________________

## Occult precipitation: Precipitation arriving at a location by processes that would

normally go unrecorded by a standard rain gauge, e.g. the condensation of mist and
fog on foliage.
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Preparation of Data
 Before using rainfall data for any analysis, it is necessary to check the
record for
 Missing data and/or
 Consistency of data

##  Inconsistency in rainfall data my root from

 Change of gauge location
 Change of gauge type
 Change of gauge environment
 Change of gauge observer
 Change of gauge climate

19
Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Methods

##  The following methods can be used to estimate the

missing precipitation data

 Station-average method
 Normal-ratio method
 Inverse-distance weighting
 Regression

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Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Station Average Method

1 n
PX = Pi
n i=1

## PX is the missing precipitation value for station X

P1, P2, , Pn are precipitation values at the adjacent
stations for the same period
n is the number of nearby stations

## This method is used when 10% variation in annual precipitation at

station X lies within annual precipitation of surrounding/adjacent
stations.

21
Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Example
 Find out the missing storm precipitation data of station X given in following
table using station averaging method

Station 1 2 X 3 4

## Storm Precipitation (inches) 3.8 3.25 ? 4.6 3.15

Annual Precipitation (inches) 39.50 43.1 36.8 49.5 46.20

1 n 1
PX = Pi = (3.8 + 3.25 + 4.6 + 3.15) = 3.7in
n i =1 4

## What about 10% variation check from annual precipitation ??

22
Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Normal Ratio Method

PX 1 P1 P2 Pn 1 n Pi
= + + ..... + or PX = N X
N X n N1 N 2 Nn n i=1 Ni

 PX is the missing precipitation value for station X for a certain time period
 P1, P2, , Pn are precipitation values at adjacent stations for the same period
 NX is the long-term, annual average precipitation at station X
 N1, N2, , Nn is the long-term precipitation for neighboring stations
 n is the number of adjacent stations

23
Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Example
 Find out the missing storm precipitation data of station X given in following
table

Station 1 2 X 3 4

## Storm Precipitation (inches) 3.8 3.25 ? 4.6 3.15

Annual Precipitation (inches) 39.50 43.1 36.8 49.5 46.20

## Test the normal annual precipitation at station X

10% of 36.8 = 3.68in
3.68 + 36.8 = 40.48in and 33.12in
Since annual precipitation of adjacent station does not lie with 10% so station
averaging method cannot be used and instead normal ratio method will be used for
better accuracy

24
Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Example
 Find out the missing storm precipitation data of station X given in following
table
Station 1 2 X 3 4

## Storm Precipitation (inches) 3.8 3.25 ? 4.6 3.15

Annual Precipitation (inches) 39.50 43.1 36.8 49.5 46.20

## P1 = 3.8" , P2 = 3.25" , P3 = 4.6" , P4 = 3.15"

N1 = 39.5" , N 2 = 43.1" , N 3 = 49.5" , N 4 = 46.2"
Px = ?, N x = 36.8"
PX 1 P P P
= 1 + 2 + ..... + n =
N X n N1 N 2 Nn
PX 1 3.8 3.25 4.6 3.15
= + + + PX = 3.06"
36.8 4 39.5 43.1 49.5 46.2
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Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Station Average Method

 Example

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Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Inverse Distance Weighing

## 1. di = (xi2 + yi2)0.5 Distance from gage with missing data to

the neighboring gages
n
b
2. W= di Weight of distances where b is a
i=1 proportionality factor (b = 1, 2 )

1 n
b
3. P =
X di Pi
W i= 1
 PX is the missing precipitation value for station X for a certain time
period
 Pi are precipitation values at adjacent stations for the same period
 n is the number of neighboring stations

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Preparation of Data: Missing Data
Regression

##  PX is the missing precipitation value for station X for certain time

period
 P1, P2, , Pn are precipitation values at the neighboring stations for the
same period
 b0, , bn are coefficients calculated by least-squares methods
 n is the number of nearby gages

##  This method is suitable when there is a large number of days when

observations are available for all gages

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Preparation of Data: Consistency of Data
Double Mass Curve Technique
Lets take a group of 5 to 10 base stations in the neighbourhood of the
problem station X is selected
Arrange the data of stn X rainfall and the average of the neighbouring
stations in reverse chronological order (from recent to old record)
Accumulate the precipitation of station X ( Px ) and the average values of
the group base stations ( Pavg ) starting from the latest record.
Plot the ( Px ) against ( Pavg ) as shown on the next figure
A decided break in the slope of the resulting plot is observed that
indicates a change in precipitation regime of station X, i.e., inconsistency.
Therefore, data at stn X should be corrected/adjusted as
Pcx=(Mc/Ma)*Px
Mc is slope of data before breakpoint
Ma is slope of line after breakpoint
Pcx is corrected precipitation at StationX
Px is original precipitation at StationX
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Double Mass Curve Analysis

5
accumulated annual rainfall of X stn in 10^3 cm

4.5

4
Ma
3.5
Break Point
a Mc c
3
c
=
2.5 Ma a
2

1.5

0.5 Mc
0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Accumulated annual rainfall of neigbouring stns in 10^3 cm

## Pcx corrected precipitation at any time period t1 at stationX

M c P Original recorded precp. at time period t at station X
Pcx = Px x 1

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M a
Mc corrected slope of the double mass curve
Ma original slope of the mass curve after break
Preparation of Data: Consistency of Data
Double Mass Curve Technique

## (i). Check whether the data of

station X is consistent
(ii). In which year change
indicated?
(iii). Compute the mean
annual rainfall for station X at
its present site for the given
36 year period first without
change in regime.
annual rainfall at station X for
the affected period.

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Preparation of Data: Consistency of Data
Double Mass Curve Technique

32
Preparation of Data: Consistency of Data
Double Mass Curve Technique

33
Preparation of Data: Consistency of Data
Double Mass Curve Technique

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Part II

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Temporal and Spatial Variation of Rainfall

##  Rainfall varies greatly both in time and space

 With respect to time Temporal variation
 With space Spatial variation
 The temporal variation may be defined as hourly, daily, monthly, seasonal
variations and annual variation (long-term variation of precipitation)
Temporal Variation of rainfall at a particular site

## Total Rainfall amount = 6.17 cm

14
Rainfall Intensity, cm/hr

12
10
8
6
4
2
0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
Time, min

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Temporal and Spatial Variation of Rainfall

## Long term Precipitation variation at Arba Minch

45
40
A n n u a l ra i n f a l l , m m

35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006
Years
Annual Precipitation
average precipitation

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Temporal and Spatial Variation of Rainfall

 Source: Gary R Fuelner, Rainfall and climate records from Sharjah Airport: Historical data for
38 the study of recent climatic periodicity in the U.A.E.
Temporal Averaging of Precipitation
 Storm rainfall/precipitation: It is the precipitation of a particular
storm/rainfall event.

##  Daily Rainfall: The amount of rainfall accumulated in one day at a place,

Mathematically; 24
Pday = Pi
i =1
 Where Pday is daily rainfall and Pi is hourly storm rainfall during a given
day.

##  Monthly Rainfall: The amount of rainfall accumulated in one month at a

place, Mathematically;
30
Pmonth = P
i = day
day

##  Where Pmonth is monthly rainfall and Pday is daily precipitation during a

given month.
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Temporal Averaging of Precipitation
 Annual Rainfall: The amount of rainfall accumulated in one year at a place,
Mathematically; 365
Pann = P
i = day
day

##  Average rainfall for N years: It is the arithmetic average of annual

precipitation for N years over a rain gauging station. Mathematically;
N

P
i =1
i
Pavg =
N
 Where Pavg is average rainfall for N years and Pi is annual rainfall for ith
year

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Temporal Averaging of Precipitation
 Estimate average monthly and annual precipitation from given data

## Average Monthly Precipitation ?

N

Pi
Pavg = i =1
= (18.8 + 25 + 22.1 + 7.2 + 0.4 + 0 + 0.8 + 0 + 0 + 1.1 + 2.7 + 16.2 ) / 12 = 7.86mm
N

Annual Precipitation ?
365 12
Pann = Pi Pann = Pi
i =1 i =1

Pann = (18.8 + 25 + 22.1 + 7.2 + 0.4 + 0 + 0.8 + 0 + 0 + 1.1 + 2.7 + 16.2 ) = 94.3

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Climate data for Dubai
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high 31.6 37.5 41.3 43.5 47.0 46.7 49.0 48.7 45.1 42.0 41.0 35.5 49
C (F) (88.9) (99.5) (106.3) (110.3) (116.6) (116.1) (120.2) (119.7) (113.2) (107.6) (105.8) (95.9) (120.2)

Average 24.0 25.4 28.2 32.9 37.6 39.5 40.8 41.3 38.9 35.4 30.5 26.2 33.4
high C (F) (75.2) (77.7) (82.8) (91.2) (99.7) (103.1) (105.4) (106.3) (102) (95.7) (86.9) (79.2) (92.1)

## Daily mean 19 20 22.5 26 30.5 33 34.5 35.5 32.5 29 24.5 21 27.5

C (F) (66) (68) (72.5) (79) (86.9) (91) (94.1) (95.9) (90.5) (84) (76.1) (70) (81.5)

Average 14.3 15.4 17.6 20.8 24.6 27.2 29.9 30.2 27.5 23.9 19.9 16.3 22.3
low C (F) (57.7) (59.7) (63.7) (69.4) (76.3) (81) (85.8) (86.4) (81.5) (75) (67.8) (61.3) (72.1)

Record low 6.1 6.9 9.0 13.4 15.1 18.2 20.4 23.1 16.5 15.0 11.8 8.2 6.1
C (F) (43) (44.4) (48.2) (56.1) (59.2) (64.8) (68.7) (73.6) (61.7) (59) (53.2) (46.8) (43)

Precipitatio
18.8 25.0 22.1 7.2 0.4 0.0 0.8 0.0 0.0 1.1 2.7 16.2 94.3
n mm
(0.74) (0.984) (0.87) (0.283) (0.016) (0) (0.031) (0) (0) (0.043) (0.106) (0.638) (3.711)
(inches)

Avg. precipit
5.4 4.7 5.8 2.6 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.2 1.3 3.8 25.2
ation days

% humidity 65 65 63 55 53 58 56 57 60 60 61 64 59.8

Mean
monthly sun 254.2 229.6 254.5 294.0 344.1 342.0 322.4 316.2 309.0 303.8 285.0 256.6 3,511.4
shine hours

## Source #1: Dubai Meteorological Office[4]

42 Source #2: climatebase.ru (extremes, sun),[5], NOAA (humidity, 1974-1991)[6]
42
Spatial Averaging of Precipitation
 Average rainfall over an area: It is the amount of precipitation which
can be assumed as uniform over the given area.

##  It is estimated by using several approaches given below;

 Arithmetic method
 Theissen polygon method
 Isohyetal method

##  According to arithmetic method, arithmetic mean precipitation

over an area can be defined by
N

Pi
i =1
Pavg =
N
 Where, Pavg is the average precipitation, N is the total number of stations and
Pi is the average annual precipitation for ith station.
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Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
 Raingauges rainfall represent only point sampling of the areal
distribution of a storm

##  The important rainfall for hydrological analysis is a rainfall over

an area, such as over the catchment

##  To convert the point rainfall values at various stations in to

average value over a catchment, the following methods are
used:
 (i). arithmetic mean method
 (ii). the method of the Thiessen polygons
 (iii). the isohyetal method

44
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Arithmetic Mean Method
When the area is physically and climatically
homogenous and the required accuracy is small,
the average rainfall ( P ) for a basin can be
obtained as the arithmetic mean of the Pi values
recorded at various stations.
Applicable rarely for practical purpose

N
P1 + P2 + ..... + Pi + .....Pn 1
P =
N
=
N
P
i =1
i

45
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

## The method of Thiessen polygons consists of attributing to

each station an influence zone in which it is considered that
the rainfall is equivalent to that of the station.

## These polygons are obtained using the mediators of the

segments which link each station to the closest
neighbouring stations

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Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

47
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

P7
P6

A7
A6
P2

A2
A1
A8 A5
P1
P8 P5
A3 A4
P3

P4

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Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

P1 A1 + P2 A2 + ..... + Pm Am
P =
( A1 + A2 + ..... + Am )
Generally for M station

PA i i M
Ai
P = i =1
Atotal
=
i =1
Pi
A

Ai
The ratio is called the weightage factor of station i
A
49
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

50
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Thiessen Polygon Method

Ai Ai
Pi = Pi
A A

M
Ai
51
Mean precipitation =
i =1
Pi
A =121.84
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Isohyetal Method
An isohyet is a line joining points of equal rainfall
magnitude.
10.0
8

D
6 C A5
12
9.2
12
A4
7.0 A3
4 B
7.2
A
A2 E 10.0
9.1
4.0
F A1

8
52
6
4
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Isohyetal Method
P1, P2, P3, . , Pn the values of the isohytes
A1, A2, A3, ., A4 are the inter isohytes area respectively
Atotal the total catchment area
P - the mean precipitation over the catchment

P1 + P2 P2 + P3 Pn1 + Pn
A1 + A2 +...+ An1
P= 2 2 2
Atotal

## The isohyet method is superior to the other two methods

NOTE
especially when the stations are large in number.
53
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Isohyetal Method

54
Pi + Pi+1 Ai Ai
Pavg = Ai Pavg
2 Atotal Atotal

55
Methods of Spatial Averaging Rainfall Data
Isohyetal Method

##  Other mapping programs such as SURFER or GIS

program ARCVIEW can be used to map rainfall at
the different measurement locations.

56
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF) Relationship

Hyetograph
- is a plot of the precipitation against time

Hyetograph of a storm
Total depth = 10.6 cm
0.5
Duration = 48 hr
Intensity, cm /hr

0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
08 8 16 16 24 24 32 32 40 40 48
Time, hours
57
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF) Relationship

## Mass Curve of Rainfall

- is a plot of the accumulated precipitation against time
Mass curve of rainfall
accumulated precipitation, mm

60

50

40

30 1st storm,
16 mm
20 2nd storm,
34 mm
10

0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Time, hour

58
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF)
Relationship
 Example: The mass curve of rainfall in a storm of total duration 270
minutes is given below. Draw the hyetograph of the storm at 30 minute
time step.
Time since start (min) 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
Cumulative Rainfall (mm) 0 6 18 21 36 43 49 52 53 54
Incremental depth in
interval of 30 min (mm) 6 12 3 15 7 6 3 1 1
Rainfall intensity (mm/hr) 12 24 6 30 14 12 6 2 2
Hyetograph
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Rainfall intensity (mm/hr)

30

25

20

15

10

0
30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
59 Time (min)
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF)
Relationship

 Return Period (T) - The average length of time in years for an event (e.g.
flood or rainfall) of given magnitude to be equalled or exceeded.
 For example, if the rainfall with a 50 year return period at a given location
is 200mm, this is just another way of saying that a rainfall 200mm, or
greater, should occur at that location on the average only once every 50
years.

##  Probability of Occurrence (p) (of an event of specified magnitude) -

The probability that an event of the specified magnitude will be equalled or
exceeded during a one year period.

 Basic Relationships
T=1/P or P=1/T

60
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF)
Relationship
 Probability analysis may be made either by empirical or by analytical
methods.
 A simple empirical technique is to arrange the given annual extreme series
in descending order of magnitude and to assign an order number, m. Thus
for the first entry m=1 and for the second entry m=2 and so on, till the last
event for which m=N=number of years of record. The probablity, P, of an
event equalled to or exceeded is given by the Weibul formula.

M
P=
N +1
1 N +1
T= =
P m

## Above equation is empirical and there are several other empirical

equations available to calculate P.
61
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF)
Relationship
 The record of annual rainfall at station A covering a period of 22 years is
given below.
 (a). Estimate the annual rainfall with return periods of 10 years and 23 years
(b). What would be the probability of an annual rainfall of magnitude equal
to or exceeding 100cm.
Annual Rainfall Annual Rainfall
Year (cm) Year (cm)
1960 130 1971 90
1961 84 1972 102
1962 76 1973 108
1963 89 1974 60
1964 112 1975 75
1965 96 1976 120
1966 80 1977 160
1967 125 1978 85
1968 143 1979 106
1969 89 1980 83
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1970 78 1981 95
Return (a).
Annual Probability Period
Annual rainfall for 10 years
m Rainfall (cm) P=m/(N+1) T (years)
1 160 0.043 23.00
return period.
2 140 0.087 11.50
By interpolation, P=137.5cm
3 130 0.130 7.67 Annual rainfall for 23 years
4 125 0.174 5.75 return period.
5 120 0.217 4.60 P=160cm
6 112 0.261 3.83 Annual rainfall for 50 years
7 108 0.304 3.29 return period.
8 106 0.348 2.88 By extrapolation, P= ??cm
9 102 0.391 2.56
10 96 0.435 2.30
11 95 0.478 2.09
(b). Return period of P=100cm
12 90 0.522 1.92
is 2.4 (by interpolation between
13 89 0.565 1.77
102 and 96)
14 89 0.609 1.64
15 85 0.652 1.53
16 84 0.696 1.44
17 83 0.739 1.35
18 80 0.783 1.28
19 78 0.826 1.21
20 76 0.870 1.15
21 75 0.913 1.10
22(=N) 60 0.957 1.05
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF) Relationship

IDF Curve

##  In many design problems related to watershed such as runoff

disposal, erosion control, highway construction, culvert design, it
is necessary to know the rainfall intensities of different durations
and different return periods.
 The curve that shows the inter-dependency between i (cm/hr), D
(hour) and T (year) is called IDF curve.
 The relation can be expressed in general form as:

x i Intensity (cm/hr)
kT
i = n
D Duration (hours)
(D + a ) K, x, a, n are constant for a given
catchment
64
Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF) Relationship

## Typical IDF Curve

14
T = 25 years
12
In tesity, cm /h r

T = 50 years
10 T = 100 years
8
6 k = 6.93
4 x = 0.189
2 a = 0.5
n = 0.878
0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Duration, hr

65
Thank you
 Questions.

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