Spatial extreme model for rainfall intensity: application to the estimation of IDF curves in the Basque Country

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Intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves are commonly used in engineering practice for the hydraulic design of flood protection infrastructures and flood risk management. IDF curves are simple functions between the rainfall intensity, the timescale at which the rainfall process is studied, and the return period. This work proposes and tests a new methodological framework for the spatial analysis of extreme rainfall intensities at different time scales, taking advantage of two different precipitation datasets: local observational and gridded products. On the one hand, the proposed method overcomes or reduces known issues related to observational datasets (missing data and short temporal coverage, outliers, systematic biases and inhomogeneities, etc.). On the other hand, it allows incorporating appropriately terrain dependencies on the spatial distribution of the extreme precipitation regime. Finally, it allows to estimate the IDF curves at regional level in contrast with the local approach only based on rain gauges commonly used in practice. The method has been tested to compute IDF curves all over the Basque Country, contrasting results with respect to local analyses. Results show the method robustness against outliers, missing data, systematic biases and short length time series. Moreover, since GEV-parameters from daily gridded dataset are used as covariates, the proposed approach allows coherent spatial interpolation/extrapolation of IDF curves properly accounting for the influence of orographic factors. In addition, due to the current coexistence of local observations and gridded datasets at regional (e.g. The Alps), national (e.g. Spain, France, etc.) or international scale (e.g. E-OBS for Europe or Daymet for the United States of America), the proposed methodology has a wide range of applicability in order to fulfill the known gaps of the observational datasets and reduce the uncertainty related with analysis and characterization of the extreme precipitation regime.
Precipitation Extremes, Return Values, Idf Curves
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