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CR 44:17-25 (2010)  -  DOI:

A universal multifractal description applied to precipitation patterns of the Ebro River Basin, Spain

J. L. Valencia1,*, A. Saa Requejo2,3, J. M. Gascó3, A. M. Tarquis2,4

1Universidad Complutense, Escuela de Estadística, Dpto. de Estadística e Investigación Operativa III, Madrid, Spain
2CEIGRAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain
3Dpto. de Edafologia, ETSI Agrónomos, UPM, Spain
4Dpto. de Matemática Aplicada en Ingeniería Agronómica, ETSI Agrónomos, UPM, Spain

ABSTRACT: Water supplies in the Ebro River Basin are increasingly stressed, especially during the summer season. The year-to-year fluctuations in rainfall over this area exert vital influence on the regional hydrology, agriculture and several related industries in the region. Repeated anomalous rainfall in recent decades has had a devastating impact on this region, both socially and economically. We characterised the change in the rainfall variability pattern in the Ebro River Basin using universal multifractal (UM) analysis, which estimates the concentration of the data around the precipitation average (C1, codimension average), the degree of multiscaling behaviour in time (α index) and the maximum probable singularity in the rainfall distribution (γs). Fourteen meteorological stations were selected based on the length of rainfall series and the climatic classification to obtain a representative untreated data set from the river basin. Daily rainfall series from 1957 to 2002 were obtained from each meteorological station and subdivided (1957–1980 and 1981–2002) to analyse the difference between the 2 periods. The general scenario observed in this study, through the UM parameters, can be summarised as follows: the range of variation of precipitation amounts was spatially more homogenous in 1980–2002 than in 1957–1979; at the same time, there is higher frequency of dry periods at different scales in 1980–2002; and in almost all of the stations, the range of precipitation over the years has been decreasing at a lower rate than the rainfall average. We then analysed the evolution of the UM parameters from 1957 to 2002. Continuous variations in C1 and α were found for 2 of the stations, indicating that a precipitation regime change has begun in the last few decades and should be considered in the agricultural development of the region.

KEY WORDS: Multifractal · Climate change · Intermittence · Rainfall · Time series

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Cite this article as: Valencia JL, Saa Requejo A, Gascó JM, Tarquis AM (2010) A universal multifractal description applied to precipitation patterns of the Ebro River Basin, Spain. Clim Res 44:17-25.

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