Articles | Volume 17, issue 7
Research article
05 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 05 Jul 2013

Circulation pattern based parameterization of a multiplicative random cascade for disaggregation of observed and projected daily rainfall time series

D. Lisniak, J. Franke, and C. Bernhofer

Abstract. The use of multiplicative random cascades (MRCs) for temporal rainfall disaggregation has been extensively studied in the past. MRCs are appealing for rainfall disaggregation due to their formal simplicity and the possibility to extract the model parameters directly from observed high resolution rainfall data. These parameters, however, represent the rainfall characteristics of the observation period. Since rainfall characteristics of different time slices are changing due to climate variability, we propose a parameterization approach for MRCs to adjust the parameters according to past (observed) or future (projected) time series. This is done on the basis of circulation patterns (CPs) by extracting a distinct MRC parameterization from high resolution rainfall data, as observed on days governed by each individual CP. The parameterization approach is tested by comparing the statistical properties of disaggregated rainfall time series of two time slices, 1969–1979 and 1989–1999, to the results obtained by two other disaggregation methods (a conceptually similar MRC without CP-based parameterization and a recombination approach) and to the statistical properties of observed hourly rainfall data. In this context, all three approaches use rainfall data of the time slice 1989–1999 for parameterization. We found that the inclusion of CPs into the parameterization of a MRC yields hourly time series that better reproduce the properties of observed rainfall in time slice 1989–1999, as compared to the simple MRC. Despite similar results of both MRCs in the validation period of 1969–1979, we can conclude that the CP-based parameterization approach is applicable for temporal rainfall disaggregation in time slices distinct from the parameterization period. This approach accounts for changes in rainfall characteristics due to changes in the frequency of occurrence of the CPs and allows generating hourly rainfall from daily data, as often provided by a statistical downscaling of global climate change.