Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

New hourly extreme precipitation regions and regional annual probability estimates for the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Motasem Darwish, Dr Mari Tye, Professor Hayley Fowler, Dr Stephen Blenkinsop



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Climatology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the Royal Meteorological Society. Recent flooding related to extreme precipitation in the UK has highlighted the importance of better understanding these events. Many studies have quantified annual exceedance probabilities (or return periods) for UK extreme daily precipitation using fixed regions (e.g., HadUKP) and region of interest (ROI) (e.g., Flood Estimation Handbook) approaches, although fewer have evaluated short-duration events, which are important for flash flooding. Existing UK extreme precipitation regions are based on daily datasets which have different characteristics compared to sub-daily extremes, and their application to quantify short-duration extremes may therefore be inappropriate. We use a recently available, quality-controlled hourly precipitation dataset for the UK from 1992 to 2014 to derive various extreme precipitation indices (e.g., annual maxima, 0.99 quantile) which are combined with additional climatological variables (e.g., temperature), geographical characteristics (e.g., latitude), and weather patterns (WPs) to characterize the UK hourly extreme precipitation climatology and to define five new hourly extreme regions. These regions fulfil regional homogeneity and discordancy statistical measures, and reflect the dynamical processes associated with the weather pattern categorisation defined over the UK and surrounding European area. Thereafter, we use regional frequency analysis (RFA) to fit generalized extreme value (GEV) and generalized Pareto (GP) distributions to 1 hr annual maxima (AMAX) and 0.99 quantile (Q99) precipitation, respectively, to calculate regional annual probability estimates (AEP) for 20%, 10%, and 2% (i.e., 5-, 10-, and 50-year return periods). The new regions capture the spatial variation of hourly precipitation across the UK. Furthermore, the AEP estimates using both distributions are similar for each region. Finally, the WPs associated with the frequency and intensity of the most extreme hourly precipitation accumulations are not identical to results reported by others for daily precipitation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Darwish MM, Tye MR, Prein AF, Fowler HJ, Blenkinsop S, Dale M, Faulkner D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Climatology

Year: 2021

Volume: 41

Issue: 1

Pages: 582-600

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 08/05/2020

Acceptance date: 29/04/2020

Date deposited: 09/07/2020

ISSN (print): 0899-8418

ISSN (electronic): 1097-0088

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/joc.6639


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric