Quantification of Uncertainties in Urban Precipitation Extremes
Urbanisation alters the hydrologic response of a catchment, resulting in increased runoff rates and volumes, and loss of infiltration and base flow. Quantification of uncertainties is important in hydrologic designs of urban infrastructure. Major sources of uncertainty in the Intensity Duration Frequency (IDF) relationships are due to insufficient quantity and quality of data leading to parameter uncertainty and, in the case of projections of future IDF relationships under climate change, uncertainty arising from use of multiple General Circulation Models (GCMs) and scenarios. The work presented in the thesis presents methodologies to quantify the uncertainties arising from parameters of the distribution fitted to data and the multiple GCMs using a Bayesian approach. High uncertainties in GEV parameters and return levels are observed at shorter durations for Bangalore City. Twenty six GCMs from the CMIP5 datasets, along with four RCP scenarios are considered for studying the effects of climate change. It is observed that the uncertainty in short duration rainfall return levels is high when compared to the longer durations. Further it is observed that parameter uncertainty is large compared to the model uncertainty. Disaggregation of precipitation extremes from larger time scales to smaller time scales when the extremes are modeled with the GPD is burdened with difficulties arising from varying thresholds for different durations. In this study, the scale invariance theory is used to develop a disaggregation model for precipitation extremes exceeding specified thresholds. A scaling relationship is developed for a range of thresholds obtained from a set of quantiles of non-zero precipitation of different durations. The disaggregation model is applied to precipitation datasets of Berlin City, Germany and Bangalore City, India. From both the applications, it is observed that the uncertainty in the scaling exponent has a considerable effect on uncertainty in scaled parameters and return levels of shorter durations. A Bayesian hierarchical model is used to obtain spatial distribution of return levels of precipitation extremes in urban areas and quantify the associated uncertainty. Applicability of the methodology is demonstrated with data from 19 telemetric rain gauge stations in Bangalore City, India. For this case study, it is inferred that the elevation and mean monsoon precipitation are the predominant covariates for annual maximum precipitation. For the monsoon maximum precipitation, it is observed that the geographic covariates dominate while for the summer maximum precipitation, elevation and mean summer precipitation are the predominant covariates. In this work, variation in the dependence structure of extreme precipitation within an urban area and its surrounding non-urban areas at various durations is studied. The Berlin City, Germany, with surrounding non-urban area is considered to demonstrate the methodology. For this case study, the hourly precipitation shows independence within the city even at small distances, whereas the daily precipitation shows a high degree of dependence. This dependence structure of the daily precipitation gets masked as more and more surrounding non-urban areas are included in the analysis. The geographical covariates are seen to be predominant within the city and the climatological covariates prevail when non-urban areas are added. These results suggest the importance of quantification of dependence structure of spatial precipitation at the sub-daily timescales, as well as the need to more precisely model spatial extremes within the urban areas. The work presented in this thesis thus contributes to quantification of uncertainty in precipitation extremes through developing methodologies for generating probabilistic future IDF relationships under climate change, spatial mapping of probabilistic return levels and modeling dependence structure of extreme precipitation in urban areas at fine resolutions.
- Civil Engineering (CiE)