Modulation of homogeneous space-time rainfall cascades to account for orographic influences
Abstract. The development of efficient space-time rainfall downscaling procedures is highly important for the implementation of a meteo-hydrological forecasting chain operating over small watersheds. Multifractal models based on homogeneous cascade have been successfully applied in literature to reproduce space-time rainfall events retrieved over ocean, where the hypothesis of spatial homogeneity can be reasonably accepted. The feasibility to apply this kind of models to rainfall fields occurring over a mountainous region, where spatial homogeneity may not hold, is herein investigated. This issue is examined through the analysis of rainfall data retrieved by the high temporal resolution rain gage network of the Sardinian Hydrological Survey. The proposed procedure involves the introduction of a modulating function which is superimposed to homogeneous and isotropic synthetic fields to take into account the spatial heterogeneity detected in observed precipitation events. Specifically the modulating function, which reproduces the differences in local mean values of the precipitation intensity probability distribution, has been linearly related to the terrain elevation of the analysed spatial domain. Comparisons performed between observed and synthetic data show how the proposed procedure preserves the observed rainfall fields features and how the introduction of the modulating function improves the reproduction of spatial heterogeneity in rainfall probability distributions.