Rainfall Temporal Patterns for Design Floods

by David H. Pilgrim, Assoc. Prof.; School of Civ. Engrg. Univ. of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia,
Ian Cordery, Lect.; School of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 1, Pg. 81-95

Document Type: Journal Paper


The rainfalls used in the practical estimation of design floods are generally based on frequency-duration relationships derived from recorded intense burst of rainfall of various durations rather than from complete storms. These recorded intense bursts are therefore used in the derivation of the temporal patterns. The method produces patterns that incorporate average variability of intense rainfall and also the most likely sequence of intensities. Use of these patterns should minimize the introduction of joint probabilities into the design flood model and aid in estimation of a flood with the same frequency as the design rainfall. The method provides patterns with average or typical variations in intensity, in contrast to simple averaging which is shown to be generally unlikely yield satisfactory patterns. Frequency distributions of rainfall during various periods immediately antecedent to the recorded intense bursts are also derived, and these antecedent rainfalls in flood estimation are considered.

Subject Headings: Flood frequency | Rainfall frequency | Rainfall intensity | Rainfall duration | Rainfall | Hydraulic design | Floods | Frequency distribution

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