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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-430
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-430
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 25 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 25 Sep 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

A Universal Multifractal Approach to Assessment of Spatiotemporal Extreme Precipitation over the Loess Plateau of China

Jianjun Zhang1,3,5, Hoshin V. Gupta2, Guangyao Gao3, Bojie Fu3, Xiaoping Zhang4, and Rui Li4 Jianjun Zhang et al.
  • 1School of Land Science and Technology, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yang ling, Shaanxi, 712100, China
  • 5Key Laboratory of Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation, Ministry of Land and Resources, Beijing 100035, China

Abstract. Extreme precipitation (EP) is a major external agent driving various natural hazards in the Loess Plateau (LP), China. Yet, the characteristics of spatiotemporal EP responsible for such hazardous situations remain poorly understood. We integrate universal multifractals with a segmentation algorithm to characterize a physically meaningful threshold for EP (EPT). Using daily data from 1961 to 2015, we investigate the spatiotemporal variation of EP over the LP. Our results indicate that EPTs range from 17.3 to 50.3 mm/d while the mean annual EP increases from 35 to 138 mm from northwest to southeast LP. Further, EP frequency (EPF) has historically spatially varied from 54–116 days, with the highest EPF occurring in the mid-southern and southeastern LP where precipitation is much more abundant. However, EP intensities tend to be strongest in the central LP where precipitation also tends to be scare, and get progressively weaker as we move towards the margins (similarly with EP severity). An examination of atmosphere circulation patterns indicates that the central LP is the boundary where tropical cyclones reach furthest into inland China, resulting in the highest EP intensities and EP severities being in this area. Under the control of the East Asian monsoon, precipitation from June to September accounts for 72 % of the total amount, while 91 % of the total EP events are concentrated in June to August. Further, EP events occur, on average, 11 days earlier than the wettest part of the season. These phenomena are responsible for the most serious natural hazards in the LP, especially in the Central region. Spatiotemporally, 91.4 % of the LP has experienced a downward trend of precipitation, while 62.1 % of the area has experienced upward trends of the EP indices, indicating the potential risk of more serious hazardous situations.

Jianjun Zhang et al.
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Short summary
We proposed an approach integrating universal multifractals and a segmentation algorithm to precisely identify extreme precipitation and assess spatiotemporal EP variation over the Loess Plateau, using daily data. Our results well explain the reason of extreme precipitation contributed to the severely distributed natural hazards. These findings are of great significance for ecological management in the Loess Plateau. Our approach is much helpful for spatiotemporal EP assessment at regional scale.
We proposed an approach integrating universal multifractals and a segmentation algorithm to...
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