Spatial-temporal rainfall modelling for flood risk estimation

  • H. S. WheaterEmail author
  • R. E. Chandler
  • C. J. Onof
  • V. S. Isham
  • E. Bellone
  • C. Yang
  • D. Lekkas
  • G. Lourmas
  • M.-L. Segond
Original Paper


Some recent developments in the stochastic modelling of single site and spatial rainfall are summarised. Alternative single site models based on Poisson cluster processes are introduced, fitting methods are discussed, and performance is compared for representative UK hourly data. The representation of sub-hourly rainfall is discussed, and results from a temporal disaggregation scheme are presented. Extension of the Poisson process methods to spatial-temporal rainfall, using radar data, is reported. Current methods assume spatial and temporal stationarity; work in progress seeks to relax these restrictions. Unlike radar data, long sequences of daily raingauge data are commonly available, and the use of generalized linear models (GLMs) (which can represent both temporal and spatial non-stationarity) to represent the spatial structure of daily rainfall based on raingauge data is illustrated for a network in the North of England. For flood simulation, disaggregation of daily rainfall is required. A relatively simple methodology is described, in which a single site Poisson process model provides hourly sequences, conditioned on the observed or GLM-simulated daily data. As a first step, complete spatial dependence is assumed. Results from the River Lee catchment, near London, are promising. A relatively comprehensive set of methodologies is thus provided for hydrological application.


Rainfall simulation Poisson cluster processes Generalized linear models Spatial-temporal disaggregation 



Much of the recent research reported here has been supported by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under contract FD2105. Georgios Lourmas acknowledges the financial support provided through the European Community’s Human Potential Programme under contract HPRN-CT-2000-00100, DYNSTOCH.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. S. Wheater
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. E. Chandler
    • 2
  • C. J. Onof
    • 1
  • V. S. Isham
    • 2
  • E. Bellone
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Yang
    • 2
  • D. Lekkas
    • 1
  • G. Lourmas
    • 2
  • M.-L. Segond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Statistical ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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