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Geographically heterogeneous temporal trends of extreme precipitation in Wisconsin, USA during 1950–2006

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ABSTRACT

Large flood events in recent years in the state of Wisconsin, USA raised a question of whether high precipitation events are on the rise. The objective of the research was to examine temporal and spatial patterns of extreme precipitation in Wisconsin during 1950–2006. The daily precipitation data used in the study were created by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison using spatial interpolation of weather stations data across the state to a grid mesh with a spatial resolution of 8 km. For extreme precipitation indices, we calculated 99th, 95th, 90th, 85th, and 80th percentiles of daily total precipitation (>1 mm) in a year and the number of days per year with daily precipitation exceeding 10 mm, 20 mm, and 50 mm. We also conducted the Mann–Kendall test for trend, examined how geographical heterogeneity varied over time, and built quantile regression models for annual summer precipitation. Main findings include the following: the temporal trend of extreme precipitation varied widely across the state; the highest percentile index showed an increasing trend over the largest area, whereas indices of less extreme precipitation tended to generally decrease; extreme precipitation tended to show more dispersed and skewed spatial patterns than annual total precipitation. Overall, indices related to frequency showed more similar spatial and temporal trends to total precipitation than magnitude indices.

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