Development of Monsoonal Rainfall Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) Relationship and Empirical Model for Data-Scarce Situations: The Case of the Central-Western Hills (Panchase Region) of Nepal

Sanjay Devkota (Corresponding Author), Narendra Man Shakya, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux, Michel Jaboyedoff, C.J. van Westen, Brian Mcadoo, Anu Adhikari

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Intense monsoonal rain is one of the major triggering factors of floods and mass movements in Nepal that needs to be better understood in order to reduce human and economic losses and improve infrastructure planning and design. This phenomena is better understood through intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) relationships, which is a statistical method derived from historical rainfall data. In Nepal, the use of IDF for disaster management and project design is very limited. This study explored the rainfall variability and possibility to establish IDF relationships in data-scarce situations, such as in the Central-Western hills of Nepal, one of the highest rainfall zones of the country (~4500 mm annually), which was chosen for this study. Homogeneous daily rainfall series of 8 stations, available from the government's meteorological department, were analyzed by grouping them into hydrological years. The monsoonal daily rainfall was disaggregated to hourly synthetic series in a stochastic environment. Utilizing the historical statistical characteristics of rainfall, a disaggregation model was parameterized and implemented in HyetosMinute, software that disaggregates daily rainfall to finer time resolution. With the help of recorded daily and disaggregated hourly rainfall, reference IDF scenarios were developed adopting the Gumbel frequency factor. A mathematical model [i = a(T)/b(d)] was parameterized to model the station-specific IDF utilizing the best-fitted probability distribution function (PDF) and evaluated utilizing the reference IDF. The test statistics revealed optimal adjustment of empirical IDF parameters, required for a better statistical fit of the data. The model was calibrated, adjusting the parameters by minimizing standard error of prediction; accordingly a station-specific empirical IDF model was developed. To regionalize the IDF for ungauged locations, regional frequency analysis (RFA) based on L-moments was implemented. The heterogeneous region was divided into two homogeneous sub-regions; accordingly, regional L-moment ratios and growth curves were evaluated. Utilizing the reasonably acceptable distribution function, the regional growth curve was developed. Together with the hourly mean (extreme) precipitation and other dynamic parameters, regional empirical IDF models were developed. The adopted approach to derive station-specific and regional empirical IDF models was statistically significant and useful for obtaining extreme rainfall intensities at the given station and ungauged locations. The analysis revealed that the region contains two distinct meteorological sub-regions highly variable in rain volume and intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages27
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2018


  • Nepal
  • Monsoonal rain
  • data scarcity
  • intensity-duration-frequency
  • L-moment


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