Reanalysis Product-Based Nonstationary Frequency Analysis for Estimating Extreme Design Rainfall

Dong-IK Kim, Dawei Han, Taesam Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Nonstationarity is one major issue in hydrological models, especially in design rainfall analysis. Design rainfalls are typically estimated by annual maximum rainfalls (AMRs) of observations below 50 years in many parts of the world, including South Korea. However, due to the lack of data, the time-dependent nature may not be sufficiently identified by this classic approach. Here, this study aims to explore design rainfall with nonstationary condition using century-long reanalysis products that help one to go back to the early 20th century. Despite its useful representation of the past climate, the reanalysis products via observational data assimilation schemes and models have never been tested in representing the nonstationary behavior in extreme rainfall events. We used daily precipitations of two century-long reanalysis datasets as the ERA-20c by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the 20th century reanalysis (20CR) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The AMRs from 1900 to 2010 were derived from the grids over South Korea. The systematic errors were downgraded through quantile delta mapping (QDM), as well as conventional stationary quantile mapping (SQM). The evaluation result of the bias-corrected AMRs indicated the significant reduction of the errors. Furthermore, the AMRs present obvious increasing trends from 1900 to 2010. With the bias-corrected values, we carried out nonstationary frequency analysis based on the time-varying location parameters of generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution. Design rainfalls with certain return periods were estimated based on the expected number of exceedance (ENE) interpretation. Although there is a significant range of uncertainty, the design quantiles by the median parameters showed the significant relative difference, from −30.8% to 42.8% for QDM, compared with the quantiles by the multi-decadal observations. Even though the AMRs from the reanalysis products are challenged by various errors such as quantile mapping (QM) and systematic errors, the results from the current study imply that the proposed scheme with employing the reanalysis product might be beneficial to predict the future evolution of extreme precipitation and to estimate the design rainfall accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Article number191
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


  • Bayesian approach
  • nonstationarity
  • reanalysis products
  • quantile delta mapping


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