The history of rainfall data time-resolution in a wide variety of geographical areas

Renato Morbidelli, Amanda Penelope García-Marín, Abdullah Al Mamun, Rahman Mohammad Atiqur, José Luís Ayuso-Muñoz, Mohamed Bachir Taouti, Piotr Baranowski, Gianni Bellocchi, Claudia Sangüesa-Pool, Brett Bennett, Byambaa Oyunmunkh, Brunella Bonaccorso, Luca Brocca, Tommaso Caloiero, Enrica Caporali, Domenico Caracciolo, M. Carmen Casas-Castillo, Carlos G.Catalini, Mohamed Chettih, A. F.M. Kamal ChowdhuryRezaul Chowdhury, Corrado Corradini, Jeffrey Custò, Jacopo Dari, Nazzareno Diodato, Nolan Doesken, Alexandru Dumitrescu, Javier Estévez, Alessia Flammini, Hayley J. Fowler, Gabriele Freni, Francesco Fusto, Leoncio García-Barrón, Ancuta Manea, Sven Goenster-Jordan, Stuart Hinson, Ewa Kanecka-Geszke, Kanak Kanti Kar, Wiesława Kasperska-Wołowicz, Miina Krabbi, Jaromir Krzyszczak, Alba Llabrés-Brustenga, José L.J. Ledesma, Tie Liu, Marco Lompi, Loredana Marsico, Giuseppe Mascaro, Tommaso Moramarco, Noah Newman, Alina Orzan, Matteo Pampaloni, Roberto Pizarro-Tapia, Antonio Puentes Torres, Md Mamunur Rashid, Raúl Rodríguez-Solà, Marcelo Sepulveda Manzor, Krzysztof Siwek, Arturo Sousa, P. V. Timbadiya, Tymvios Filippos, Marina Georgiana Vilcea, Francesca Viterbo, Chulsang Yoo, Marcelo Zeri, Georgios Zittis, Carla Saltalippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Collected rainfall records by gauges lead to key forcings in most hydrological studies. Depending on sensor type and recording systems, such data are characterized by different time-resolutions (or temporal aggregations), ta. We present an historical analysis of the time-evolution of ta based on a large database of rain gauge networks operative in many study areas. Globally, ta data were collected for 25,423 rain gauge stations across 32 geographic areas, with larger contributions from Australia, USA, Italy and Spain. For very old networks early recordings were manual with coarse time-resolution, typically daily or sometimes monthly. With a few exceptions, mechanical recordings on paper rolls began in the first half of the 20th century, typically with ta of 1 h or 30 min. Digital registrations started only during the last three decades of the 20th century. This short period limits investigations that require long time-series of sub-daily rainfall data, e.g, analyses of the effects of climate change on short-duration (sub-hourly) heavy rainfall. In addition, in the areas with rainfall data characterized for many years by coarse time-resolutions, annual maximum rainfall depths of short duration can be potentially underestimated and their use would produce errors in the results of successive applications. Currently, only 50% of the stations provide useful data at any time-resolution, that practically means ta = 1 min. However, a significant reduction of these issues can be obtained through the information content of the present database. Finally, we suggest an integration of the database by including additional rain gauge networks to enhance its usefulness particularly in a comparative analysis of the effects of climate change on extreme rainfalls of short duration available in different locations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125258
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Hydrology history
  • Rainfall data measurements
  • Rainfall time resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'The history of rainfall data time-resolution in a wide variety of geographical areas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this