Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 126, Issue 1–2, pp 113–129 | Cite as

Analysis of spatial and temporal rainfall trends in Sicily during the 1921–2012 period

  • Lorena LiuzzoEmail author
  • Enrico Bono
  • Vincenzo Sammartano
  • Gabriele FreniEmail author
Original Paper


Precipitation patterns worldwide are changing under the effects of global warming. The impacts of these changes could dramatically affect the hydrological cycle and, consequently, the availability of water resources. In order to improve the quality and reliability of forecasting models, it is important to analyse historical precipitation data to account for possible future changes. For these reasons, a large number of studies have recently been carried out with the aim of investigating the existence of statistically significant trends in precipitation at different spatial and temporal scales. In this paper, the existence of statistically significant trends in rainfall from observational datasets, which were measured by 245 rain gauges over Sicily (Italy) during the 1921–2012 period, was investigated. Annual, seasonal and monthly time series were examined using the Mann–Kendall non-parametric statistical test to detect statistically significant trends at local and regional scales, and their significance levels were assessed. Prior to the application of the Mann–Kendall test, the historical dataset was completed using a geostatistical spatial interpolation technique, the residual ordinary kriging, and then processed to remove the influence of serial correlation on the test results, applying the procedure of trend-free pre-whitening. Once the trends at each site were identified, the spatial patterns of the detected trends were examined using spatial interpolation techniques. Furthermore, focusing on the 30 years from 1981 to 2012, the trend analysis was repeated with the aim of detecting short-term trends or possible changes in the direction of the trends. Finally, the effect of climate change on the seasonal distribution of rainfall during the year was investigated by analysing the trend in the precipitation concentration index. The application of the Mann–Kendall test to the rainfall data provided evidence of a general decrease in precipitation in Sicily during the 1921–2012 period. Downward trends frequently occurred during the autumn and winter months. However, an increase in total annual precipitation was detected during the period from 1981 to 2012.


Trend Analysis Positive Trend Serial Correlation Negative Trend Rain Gauge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facoltà di Ingegneria ed ArchitetturaUniversità degli Studi di Enna KoreEnnaItaly
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherTrapaniItaly
  3. 3.DICEAM, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, dell’Energia, dell’Ambiente e dei MaterialiUniversità degli Studi Mediterranea Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly

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