pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 213–220 | Cite as

Precipitation episodes in the upper Colorado River basin

  • Herbert Riehl
  • Russell L. Elsberry


We wish to learn whether annual precipitation over the Colorado watershed is determined by occurrence or non-occurrence of a few large storms; or by other controls such as variations in frequency of minor disturbances. It is found that there is a semi-constant ‘noise’ level of about six inches precipitation per year, composed of small rains. Occasional very large storms do contribute to rank order of annual precipitation over the available data sample which covers the period 1930–1960. However, most contribution to the rank order is derived from medium-sized storms yielding 0.3–1.2 inches of precipitation over the basin. Since storm yield depends mainly on duration rather than on precipitation intensity per day, a good correlation exists between annual precipitation and the number of days with precipitation above a certain threshold.


Precipitation River Basin Annual Precipitation Rank Order Precipitation Intensity 
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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    W. E. Marlatt andH. Riehl,Precipitation Regimes Over the Upper Colorado River, J. Geoph. Res. (1963).Google Scholar
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    R. A. Schleusener andL. W. Crow,Analysis of Precipitation Data in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Colorado State University, Eng. Rept.61–52 (1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Riehl
  • Russell L. Elsberry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric ScienceColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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