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Rainfall intensity duration frequencies, Hydrology -- Research, Hydrology -- Data processing


The intensity of precipitation is expected to increase in response to climate change, but the regions where this may occur are unclear. The lack of certainty from climate models warrants an examination of trends in observational records. However, the temporal resolution of records may affect the success of trend detection. Daily observations are often used, but may be too coarse to detect changes. Sub-daily records may improve detection, but their value is not yet quantified. Using daily and hourly records from 24 rain gages in Portland, Oregon (OR), trends in precipitation intensity and volume are examined for the period of 1999–2015. Daily intensity is measured using the Simple Daily Intensity Index, and this method is adapted to measure hourly scale intensity. Kendall’s tau, a non-parametric correlation coefficient, is used for monotonic trend detection. Field significance and tests for spatial autocorrelation using Moran’s Index are used to determine the significance of group hypothesis tests. Results indicate that the hourly data is superior in trend detection when compared with daily data; more trends are detected with hourly scale data at both the 5% and 10% significance levels. Hourly records showed a significant increase in 6 of 12 months, while daily records showed a significant increase in 4 of 12 months at the 10% significance level. At both scales increasing trends were concentrated in spring and summer months, while no winter trends were detected. Volume was shown to be increasing in most months experiencing increased intensity, and is a probable driver of the intensity trends observed.


© 2017 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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