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PLUVIOMETRIC ZONES AND THE CRITERIA TO DEFINE THEIR BOUNDARIES F O R REGIONS WITH SCARCE DATA

by Garca-Agreda R., Rasulo G., Viparelli R.

ABSTRACT

A zone is defined "pluviometric zone" if the parameters of the rainfall distribution function assume the same value in all o f its points, or vary with continuity from one point to another according to their location.
Consequently, if it is necessary to estimate the rainfall distribution at a point, only the information derived from pluviometers of the same pluviometric zone is useful.

By refering particularly to regions in which there is a scarcity of data, the authors point out that, in order to define the boundaries of the pluviometric zone pertaining to a given point, it is necessary preliminarly to formulate a working hypothesis based on climatic maps in which also the geomorphology, soils and vegetation are considered.

RESUME Une zone est dfine "zone pluviomtrique" si les paramtres de la loi de probabilit des pluies ont la mme valeur dans toute la rgion ou ils varient d'une faon continue d'un point l'autre.
Par consquence, s'il faut estimer la rpartition statistique des pluies en un point, on peut utiliser seulement les informations tires des pluviomtres disposs dans la mme zone pluviomtrique.

En particulier, en se rapportant aux rgions pour lesquelles on a peu de donnes, les auteurs soulignent que, dans le but de dfinir l e s lignes de contour de la zone pluviomtrique qui comprend 1 e point considr, il fau-t d'abord formuler une . hypothse de travail qui se base s u r des cartes climatologiques dans lesquelles on considre aussi la gomorphologie, les sols et la vgtation.

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Symbols
1: Let us indicate by:

h : the annual rainfall depth at any point; y : the log of h ; O{h} and {y} MChl; 0th) and y{h}
: the distribution functions o f h and y ; = aih} respectively the mean, the

of y.

m:

standard deviation and the coefficient of variation of the probability distribution o f h ;

M {y}, o i y } and 02{y):

respectively the mean, the stan-

dard deviation and the variance of the probability distribution

Let us also indicate by:

o{h}

hi with 1 c i y i with 1

<

n: the n values of h registered during

the observation period;


<

i c n: the n values taken by y

log h ;

h,

s{h}

and gCh}: and s{y):

respectively the estimates of MIh}, respectively the estimates of MCy}, respectively the confidence

and yth};

- 7, sty}
aiy} and 02{y};

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limits of

and 7 2 , Sf{y} and s;{y): and s{y]

with a tollerance level of 95%;

Assume h is distributed with a good approximation according to the log-normal law 113
[2].

Consequently, y is distributed according to the normal law the parameters M{y} and o{y} which characterize its distribution and y{h} by the equation: are connected to M{h}

and

By estimating the parameters equations:

and s2{h} by means of

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t
n and n

I -

Yi
(3)

n - 1 the confidence limits of of ecuations:

and s2{hl could be expressed by means

in which t0,025 and ~ 0 , 0 2 5 ,to,g75 and ~ 0 , 9 7 5are respectively the percentiles o f t and and 0,975.

corresponding to the probability 0,025

In t roduc ti on
2: From direct measurements taken at each single point A ,

... o f

a region, it is possible to deduce only estimates o f and y{h) assume at the said points.

the values that M{h}

Takin into account the fact the said estimates could deviate from the real value due to sampling errors and that in technical problems the average rainfall depth distribution on given surface must be known, it is necessary: a) to improve the said estimates by decreasing the uncertainty with which they were determined; b) to estimate M{h) and y{h} and consequently the annual

rainfall depth that occurs with a given probability, even at points where n o pluviometers had been installed. The two problems become greater in regions where only a few measuring stations are available and for most o f them with a few years o f observation.

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Hydrological Similitude Criteria and Pluviometric Zones


3: The rainfall depth registered, at a generic point A , for

a given event occurs due to the evolution of meteorological conditions that have their repercussions also on the rainfall depths that occur in the same event in a more or less extended zone around A. As it is known, for different environmental conditions, such as those connected with the morphology of the zone, the rainfall depth that occurs during the same event in different points, could be highly different; however, in passing from one event to another, at least normally, the said environmental conditions excercise a differential action that acts always in the same direction. Finally, the rainfall depths h registered at a point A , are affected both by meteorological factors common to the entire zone and acting with a variable intensity from one rainfall event to another; and by the environmental factors that are invariables in time, but, normally, variable from one point to another,. The deviations that are observed among the values that h assumes in A, year after year, depend upon the variability in time of the meteorological factors; while the deviations that are noticed among the values that h assumes, with the same probability, respectively in A and in each of the other points of the zone around A , depend upon the variability of environmental conditions. Consequently, if in a zone characterized by common meteorological factors k pluviometers are installed, in agreement with what has been said by other authors [l), it is safe to suppose that in passing from one pluviometer to another, the variation coefficient y{h} remains constant.

Therefore, ify{h} is constant, it derives, from equation


( 1 1 , that even 02{y} remains constant.

At this point, we will say that a greater number of pluviom eters belong to the same pluviometric zone if the variance assumes a common value u Cy}.
As it is known, the definition of a pluviometric zone and

its connected hypothesis are to be considered in a statistical way.

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Precisely, it cannot be excluded that at each single point the variance 02iy} could differ from the value assumed as the value to characterize the zone; however, due to the fact that for each single point only an estirnate s2{y] o f 02{y) could be had it is evident that:

1 ) the deviation s2{y}

~''{y),

that is observed for single

point between s2{yl

and o''{yI,

could be caused partly, s*{yI and partly, 02{y]

02{y),

by a sampling error (a non-significant part of the

deviation between s2{y} and o"{y) part 1 ;

ot2{y), by

the real difference between 02{y} and or2{y) (the significant

2) that, however, the deviation significant part is always

modest and such that s { ] 'y

a"{y}

s2{y}

02{yl t o } 'y

C I ~ ~ would I ~ ]

range around values that s{) 'y

0 2 { y } would

assume.
4: To determine the pluviometric zo'nes that lie a given

region, the methodology to follow could be divided in theree phases. An attemp to formulate a working hypothesis delimiting the single zones is made during the first phase.

By deducing the best estimate of s'2{y} of the value that


the variance o'2{y) assumes in all the points of the zone during the second phase, the working hypothesis is formulated. In doing this, the different significance that the series of data, obtained in each pluviometer of the zone, have, must be taken into account depending on the number o f a data that appears in each one of them. Particularly, if k pluviometers lie in the zone, having indicated by s{} :y, with r being variable from 1 to k , the could be obtained variance estimated for each single pluviometer from the nr data registered in it, the best estimate of s'y '{} by means o f equation:

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I n t h e t h i r d phase, f i n a l l y , by a s s u m i n g that o t 2 { y } =

s'2(y)

w e p r o c e e d on t o t h e p r o o f o f t h e w o r k i n g h y p o t h e s i s

thus formulated, checking by means o f equation (6) that the s i n g l e e s t i m a t e s d i f f e r from t h e s i n g l e v a l u e w i t h d i f f e r e n c e s that could be a t t r i b u t e d s o l e l y t o s a m p l i n g errors. N a t u r a l l y , in t h i s p r o c e s s w e h a v e s u p p o s e d that d a t a c o l l e c t e d in e a c h p l u v i o m e t e r o f t h e z o n e are n o t c o r r e l a t e d a m o n g t h e m s e l v e s [3].
5: As an e x a m p l e , let us r e f e r t o M o r o c c o

I n fig. 1, t h e a s s u m e d w o r k i n g h y p o t h e s i s of t h e d i v i s i o n
of t h e r e g i o n in p l u v i o m e t r i c z o n e s i s r e p o r t e d

I n fig. 2, s h o w s f o r s o m e z o n e s a s t a t i s t i c a l c o n t r o l test o f the v a l i d i t y o f t h e w o r k i n g hypothesis.

As it can b e o b s e r v e d , t h e p r o o f h a s b e e n c a r r i e d out b y
r e p o r t i n g o n a diagram, w h o s e o r d i n a t e s r e p r e s e n t t h e v a l u e s o f s2{y} and w h o s e a b s c i s s a s r e p r e s e n t t h e n u m b e r n o f o b s e r v a t i o n years : a) the estimate st2{y} that characterizes the zone; b) the range o f confidence delimited by the two curves

s :

( n ) and s, '

( n ) c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o t h e s a i d v a l u e o f s'2{y}

or,

b r i e f l y , t h e c o n f i d e n c e band o f s2{y); c ) t h e point ( n , s2{y}) of the zone. corresponding to each pluviometer

A s it can b e o b s e r v e d f r o m t h e d i a g r a m s , a s a p r o o f o f t h e
assumed working hypothesis, the points lie within the confidence bands.

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Adaptability of the Climatic Charts for the delimitations of Pluviometric Zones.


6: In fig. 3 are reported, with different simbols, the

division of Morocco in pluviometric zones, as indicated previously, and the division in climatic zones as it deducted from the Meigs Chart [4].
As it can be observed, if the arid zones corresponding to

the Massif of Atlas, labeled by the indez .(1), and the semiarid zone between Anti Atlas and Hamada du Dra, labeled by the index
( 2 1 , are excluded, a noticeable correspondence exist between the

pluviometric zones and

the climatic zones reported by Meigs.

On the other hand, the disagreements mentioned previously could be easily explained if we consider that climatic charts are deduced by taking also into account geomorphology, the soil and the vegetation.

In fact, for the zone ( 1 1 , the lack of vegetation that has


induced Meigs to define it arid, could be attributed not to fewer precipitations but to the presence of a calcareous massif that prevents the formation of a vegetative soil. On the other hand, for the zone ( 2 ) constituted by a large

depression delimited by the Chain of the Massif of Atlas on one side and by Hamada du Dra on the other side, the presence of vegetation that has induced Meigs to define it as smiarid, could be attributed not to waters caused by rain that falls directly on the zone, but to waters that rush there from nearby zones.

Pluviometric zones of Bolivia and Saudi Arabia I : As it has been said in the previous paragraph 6 , to formulate working hypothesis regarding the delimitations of pluviometric zones for regions where only few pluviometers are functioning and, moreover , in most cases, functioning solely for a short observation period, it could be useful to use climatic charts.

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Thus, to define the pluviometry of Bolivia and sone zones of Saudi Arabia, we assumed the working hypothesis that the pluviometric zones coincide with the climatic zones (figs. 4 and 5). Particularly, for Bolivia we used the chart published by UNESCO for the arid and semiarid zones [4], and the Trewartha and Robinson chart for the humid and sub-humid zones [5]. For Saudi Arabia only the chart published by UNESCO was considered
*

As is shown in the above mentioned figures, in the first

phase : Only pluviometers functioning for a long period of observation have been considered; the estimates s2{y} have been deduced from the data collected in each zone; the estimates have been divided in groups and the location of each pluviometer has been labeled with a different symbol according to where s2{y} lies.

From the figures we observe:


1) in passing from one to the other climatic zone, the

values of s2{y} lie in different groups;


2) i f in a zone more pluviometers are functioning, the

'y corresponding values of s { ]

lie, either in the same or conti-

guous groups. Consequently, by taking into account the definition given of the zones, it is safe to assume the hypothesis that the climatic zones coincide with the pluviometric zones even for the said regions. Consequently, in the second phase of elaborations, still taking into account the data relative to pluviometers functioning for a long period of observation, the working hypothesis for each

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single zone has been formulated, by assuming as estimate s t 2 { y l o f the variation o t 2 { y } that characterizes the zone, the value deduced by means o f equation (7). Finally, inthe third phase, by using also the data furnished by the pluviometers functioning f o r a shorter observation period, to verify the working hypothesis, it was checked that the deviations between, st2{y} and the value s2{y} deduced for each pluviometer could be attributed so,lely to sampling errors. In both cases, from the few data available, the hypothesis that the pluviometric zones coincide with the climatic zones is sufficiently ascerIained.

Pluviometric Sub-zones
8: As it has been stated by other authors [l] whenever the

estimates

of M{h}

deduced for each pluviometer from the data

registered during the observation period, it has been possible to distinguish, in each zone, one or more sub-zones. In each of the said sub-zones, when passing from one point to another, the values of the estimates fi either show that: a) they scatter around a single value M{h}, or that b) they scatter around values o f M(h3 that vary in function

of either one of the parameters which represent the morphology


of the sub-zone (particularly, in the cases considered, the land

elevation

(2)).

In the first case, each single pluviometric sub-zone has been characterized by indicating the value

fit

taken by arithmetic

average o f fi corresponding to the single pluviometers. I n the second case, each individual sub-zone has been characterized by specifying the variation law of M{h} indicating the values as function o f z and by that according to the

6'( 1 ) and

(2)

mentioned variation law correspond to the highest and lowest elevation of the sub-zone pluviometers.

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In the fig. 6 are reported on a diagram on logarithmic paper: a) the points

(6, g'{h})

which represent the pluviometric

sub-zones, for the first case;


b ) the intervals delimited by the points g'{h]) for the second case.

(hl ( 1 ) Y

g'(h1)

and

(E1(*),

As it hast been found by other authors (61, when passing


from one region to another, and for each region from one p l u v i o ~
etric zone to another, the variability increases as the average annual rainfall decreases. Instead, as it has been said previously, in each single pluviometric zone the variability expressed by means of ylh} or u2{y} is completely independent from an eventual variability of the average rainfall.

99

RE FE RCN C ES

[] l

VIPARELLI C.

: "Idrologia applicata all'ingegneria". Parte II Fondazione Politecnica del Mezzogiorno d'Italia, Napoli (1965).

[2]

MARKOVIC R.D. : "Probability Functions of best fit to Distributions of annual Precipitation and Runoff". Hydrology papers, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado (Aug. 1965). PENTA A., ROSSI F.: "Objective Criteria to declare a Series o f Data sufficient for technical Purposesff. Simposio sobre proyectos de recursos hidrulicos con datos insuficientes. Madrid (1973). CHOW W.T.: "Handbook of Applied Hydrology". Mc Gram-Hill Book Company. Pg. 24-3 e seg. (1964).

[3]

[] 4

[5]

TREWARTHA G.T.; ROBINSON A.H. , HAMMOND E.H.: "Elements of Ge o graph y It . Mc Gram-Hill. Book Company (1967). HAZEN, ALLEN,: "Variation in annual rainfall". Eng. News, vol. 75 n. 1 (1916).

[6]

The pluviometric data used in this paper have been taken from:

Institut Scientifique Chrifien du Maroc. Servicio Nacional de Meteorologa e Hidrologa de Bolivia. Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia. Ministery of Agriculture and Water of Saudi Arabian Kingdon.

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