Hourly Precipitation Climatology of the Southeastern U.S

Authors: Vincent Brown*, Louisiana State University, Alan W Black, Louisiana State University, Barry D Keim, Louisiana State University
Topics: Physical Geography, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Precipitation,climatology, Southeast
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Grand Couteau, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


An enormous amount of research exists on rainfall trends at differing spatial (local, regional, hemispheric) and temporal (daily, monthly, annual) scales. A majority of observational precipitation research emphasizes the daily scale, often averaging or summing daily (or two-day) rainfall into one data point. Clearly, it rarely rains all day; however, most in situ data are measured daily, ignoring the characteristics of the rainfall event itself. While these data are valuable for determining monthly, seasonal, and annual characteristics, it lacks the resolution to determine the duration and intensity of the precipitation. Moreover, recent research has suggested a possible change in the precipitation distribution, potentially a side effect of a changing climate. This analysis expands upon previous research on trends in precipitation by examining hourly precipitation data at 56 first order weather stations across 11 states in the Southeast United States from 1950–2016. This study introduces a climatology of hourly precipitation and investigates possible changes in the distribution of hourly rainfall by examining trends in the frequency of both percentile-defined (unique to each station) and fixed thresholds of hourly precipitation. This study will also examine rainfall rates, duration of dry spells, and diurnal rainfall patterns. This study advocates for further use of sub-daily precipitation data.

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