Assessing the performance of techniques for disaggregating daily rainfall in South Africa
Keywords:rainfall, disaggregation, intensity, data, methods
Design flood estimation (DFE) methods are used to limit the risk of failure and ensure the safe design of hydrological and related infrastructure, and to inform water resources management. In order to improve DFE methods which are based on event or continuous simulation rainfall–runoff models, it is generally necessary to use sub-daily rainfall data. However, sub-daily rainfall gauges are relatively sparse and have shorter record lengths than daily rainfall gauges in South Africa. Rainfall temporal disaggregation (RTD) techniques can be used to produce finer resolution data from coarser resolution daily rainfall data. Several RTD approaches have been developed and are used in South Africa. However, there is a need to review and assess the performance of the available RTD methods. This paper contains an overview of selected RTD approaches and the performance of the methods at selected sites in South Africa, for disaggregating daily rainfall into 15-min intervals. Temporal distributions of rainfall were represented by dimensionless Huff curves, which served as the basis for comparison of observed and disaggregated rainfall. In a pilot study it was found that the SCS-SA (Soil Conservation Service model South Africa) distributions and the Knoesen model approaches performed considerably better than the other approaches. The RTD approaches were further assessed using data from 14 additional rainfall stations. For the additional stations, the Knoesen model and SCS-SA disaggregated rainfall generally provided the most realistic temporal distributions.
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Copyright (c) 2023 R Ramlall, JC Smithers
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