Frequency Distributions of Precipitation

  1. Helmut Weickmann
  1. Oskar Essenwanger

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM005p0271

Physics of Precipitation: Proceedings of the Cloud Physics Conference, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, June 3-5, 1959

Physics of Precipitation: Proceedings of the Cloud Physics Conference, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, June 3-5, 1959

How to Cite

Essenwanger, O. (1960) Frequency Distributions of Precipitation, in Physics of Precipitation: Proceedings of the Cloud Physics Conference, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, June 3-5, 1959 (ed H. Weickmann), American Geophysical Union, Washington D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM005p0271

Author Information

  1. National Weather Record Center, Asheville, N.C.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1960

Book Series:

  1. Geophysical Monograph Series

Book Series Editors:

  1. Waldo E. Smith

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900056

Online ISBN: 9781118668931

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Keywords:

  • Data in linear scale;
  • Frequency distributions of precipitation;
  • Logarithmic scale;
  • Rainfall, parameters;
  • Transformation of scales

Summary

Considerable difficulty is involved in the physical interpretation of the frequency distribution of precipitation. Such distributions usually do not follow the law of a gaussian distribution in a linear scale. This brings up the question for transformation to normality. The problem is rendered more difficult as the usually observed data have to be considered as truncated on the dry side.

The author suggests the use of a logarithmic scale. A frequency distribution of annual precipitation generally consists of one collective, while in monthly values and shorter amounts the mixture of the rainfall processes becomes obvious. A sample for the frequency distribution of daily amounts at Asheville, N.C., is discussed. The collective of excessive daily rain in autumn could be explained in connection with hurricanes on the east coast of the United States and the movement of extratropical cyclones through North Carolina. A two-dimensional analysis of intensity and duration for single rainfalls in Braunlage (Germany) is also discussed. The sample demonstrates that it is necessary in order to read more details from the precipitation amount either to split the rainfall data into intensity groups (such as convective and advective types) or to keep the observational interval as short as possible. Hourly data may be sufficient.