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PRECIPITATION

Introduction
Precipitation variability
Rainfall measurements techniques
Design of precipitation gauging network
Filling up of missing record
Consistency of rain record
Estimation of mean areal rainfall
IDF and DAD analysis
Snow measurement and determination of snow melt

1.0 INTRODUCTION
Precipitation denotes all forms of water that reach the earth from the
atmosphere. The usual forms are rainfall, snowfall, hail, frost and dew.

The essential requirements for precipitation to occur are


The atmosphere must have moisture,
Presence of nucleii around which condensation of vapor takes place
Weather conditions must be good for condensation of water vapour to
take place, and
The products of condensation must reach the earth.

Condensation
Condensation is the change of water from its gaseous form (water vapor)
into liquid water. Condensation generally occurs in the atmosphere when
warm air rises, cools and looses its capacity to hold water vapor. As a
result, excess water vapor condenses to form cloud droplets.

Forms of Precipitation
RAIN

Drop size - 0.5 mm to 6 mm. Rain is considered as


light rain
intensity < 2.5 mm/h
moderate
intensity caries from 2.5 to 7.5 mm/h
heavy
intensity > 7.5 mm/h

SNOW in the form of ice crystals, hexagonal in shape;


density of snow = 0.1 g/cm3
DRIZZLE

droplets of size < 0.5 mm; Intensity < 1 mm/hr

GLAZE it is the drizzle, which freezes immediately in contact with cold objects of the
earths surface
SLEET where rain falls through the air of subfreezing temperature, the drops
freezes to form grains of ice, called sleet.
HAIL
It is the precipitating rain in the form of any irregular form of ice with size >
6 mm
DEW

During nights the moisture present in atmosphere condenses on the


surface of the objects forming water droplets called dew.

Types of Precipitation
Precipitation classified according
to the factors responsible for lifting
the air mass
1.0 CONVECTION
Convection refers to atmospheric
motions in the vertical direction.
As the earth is heated by the sun,
different surfaces absorb different
amounts
of
energy
and
convection may occur where the
surface heats up very rapidly. As
the surface warms, it heats the
overlying air, which gradually
becomes less dense than the
surrounding air and begins to rise.

2.0 OROGRAPHIC
Air is lifted by the earth itself. When air encounters a mountain range, for
example, air is forced to rise up and over the mountains and if enough
lifting occurs, water vapor condenses to produce orographic clouds.

FRONT -

is the interface between two distinct air masses. Under certain


favourable conditions when a warm air mass and cold air mass meet, the warmer
air mass is lifted over the colder one with the formation of front. The ascending
warmer air cools adiabatically with the consequently formation of clouds and
precipitation.

3.0 CYCLONE
It is a large low pressure region with circular wind motion. Two types of
cyclones are r Tropical cyclones and Extratropical cyclones.

Tropical cyclone: A tropical cyclone, also called cyclone is a wind system


with an intensely strong depression with MSL pressures sometimes below
915 mbars. Areal extent of a cyclone is about 100-200 km in diameter.
Winds are antilock wise in the northern hemisphere. The centre of storm
called the eye, extend to about 10-50 km in diameter.

Extratropical Cyclone
These are cyclones formed in locations outside the tropical zone. Associated with a
frontal system, they possess a strong counter-clockwise wind circulation in the
northern hemisphere. The magnitude of precipitation and wind velocities are
relatively lower than those of a tropical cyclone. However, the duration of
precipitation is usually longer and the areal extent also is larger.

Anti Cyclones
These are regions of high pressure, usually of large areal extent. The weather is
usually calm at the centre. Anticyclones cause clockwise wind circulations in the
northern hemisphere. Winds are of moderate speed, and at the outer edges,
cloudy and precipitation conditions exist.

2. PRECIPITATION
VARIABILITY

GANGA BASIN

The annual hydrograph


characterised by low flows during post- and
pre-monsoon seasons and extremely high
flows during the monsoon season

The annual variability in maximum


flood discharge rates and volumes
of the Ganga River for 19 years

3. RAINFALL MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES


Non-recording Rain Gauge (Symons Gauge)

Measurement time : 8:30 AM

Tipping Bucket Type Rain Gauge

Size of each bucket = 0.25 mm rainfall

Demerits
1.When tipping of buckets take place, rainfall at that instant is not recorded.
2.Very high intensity rainfall gives close signal, which can make it difficult to record
the number of tips and
3.Calibration of tips may change due to rusting and dirt accumulation.

Weighing Bucket Type Rain Gauge

When very heavy precipitation occurs, there is good chance that the
bucket will overflow

Syphon Type Rain Gauge

Rainfall Mass Curve From a Syphon Gauge

ADAR MEASUREMENT OF RAINFALL

4. DESIGN OF PRECIPITATION GAUGING NETWORK


Type of regions

WMO
recommendations
(1969)
1. Flat regions of temperate
Mediterranean and tropical
zones
2. Mountainous regions of
temperate
Mediterranean
and tropical zones
3. Small mountainous regions
with irregular precipitation
4. Arid and polar zones
INDIAN
STANDARD
(IS:4987-1968)
1. Plain area
2.
Regions
of
average
elevation 1000 m
3 Predominantly hilly areas

Minimum area for one Area to be covered


station
under
ideal under
difficult
condition in sq. km.
condition
per
station in sq. km.

600-900

900-3000

100-250

250-1000

25
1500-10,000

520
260-390
130

The following considerations are important for setting


a rain gauge:
1.The site should be on a level ground, i.e., sloping ground, hill tops or hill
slopes are not suitable.
2.The site should be an open space.
3.Horizontal distance between the rain gauge and the nearest objects
should twice the height of the objects.
4.Site should be away from continuous wind forces.
5.The site should be easily accessible.
6.The gauge should be truly vertical
7.Ten percent of total number of rain gauge stations of any basin should
be self recording.
8.The observer must visit the site regularly to ensure its proper readiness
for measurement.

Adequacy Of Raingauge Stations


Optimal number of stations

C
N V

Coefficient of variation

1 M
P
Pi
M i 1

100 M 1
CV
P

M
2

Pi P

M 1

M 1

Distribution of additional rain gauge stations

5. FILLING UP MISSING RECORD


1. Arithmtatic mean method

1
P1 P2 P3 P4 ................. PM
Px
M
2. Normal Annual Precipitation method

Nx
Px
M

P1
P3
P2
P4
PM
N N N N ................. N
2
3
4
M
1

3. Inverse distance method


n

Px

Pi Wi

i 1
n

Wi

i 1

Wi 1 / Di2

6. CONSISTENCY OF RAIN RECORD


If the conditions relevant to the recording of a rain gauge station have
undergone a significant change during the period of record, inconsistency
would occur in the rainfall data of that station.
Common causes for inconsistency of record are:
1.Shifting of a rain gauge station to a new location
2.The neighborhood of the station undergoing a marked change
3.Change in the ecosystem due to calamities, such as forest fires, land
slides
4.Occurrence of observational error from a certain date.
The checking for inconsistency of a record is done by the double mass
curve technique.
Based on the principal that when each recorded data comes from the same
parent population, they are consistency.

Double Mass Curve

Pcx

Mc
Px
Ma

7. ESTIMATION OF MEAN AREAL RAINFALL

Arithmetic mean

1 N
P
Pi
N i 1
N

Thiessen polygons method

The isohyets method

The square grid method.

Pi Ai

i 1

P P3
P PN
P1 P2
.............. AN 1 N 1

A2 2
2
2
2

A1

MASS CURVE OF RAINFALL


The mass curve of rainfall is a plot of the accumulated precipitation
against time, plotted in chronological order.

HYETOGRAPH
A hyetograph is a plot of the intensity of rainfall against the time interval.

I-D-F curves
The calculation of maximum rainfall is necessary for the designing of
evacuation works of rainwater in cities, or on the premises of storm flow
correction, or constructions and hydrotechnic installations. For this purpose
one can use the intensity-duration-frequency lines (Figure 3.11). The
intensity of calculated rainfall is a function of the standardized frequency
and the duration of the calculated rainfall.

Figure 3.11 - The intensity-duration-frequency curves (Musy, 2001)

The standardized frequency is the annual number of rains of duration t,


whose intensity exceeds the computed intensity. The computed
frequency is calculated as a function of the class importance of the
analysed objective. Thus for populated centres and industrial units we
have the following values of standardized frequencies (table 3.1).
Table 3.2 Standardized frequencies
Class of the
importance of
the objective

Industrial units and


production units of a
different nature

Populated centres

1/5

1/2...1/1

II

1/3...1/2

1/1...2/1

III

1/2...1/1

2/1

IV

1/1...2/1

2/1

In expressing frequency the numerator represents the numbers of rains


and the denominator represents the number of years. The values in the
table represent frequencies, not probabilities.