NWC REU 2003
May 26 - August 2



Analyzing Statistical Models of Hourly Precipitation Events

Jennifer Esker and Harold Brooks



Understanding the national precipitation distribution can be useful in many fields of study, but finding those patterns is not easy. Overwhelming amounts of data create roadblocks for detailed analysis, but constructing statistical models can reduce the mount of data needed. This study applied gamma distributions to a year's worth of processed hourly precipitation data to examine the national precipitation. The set represents all precipitation events of the contiguous United States as elliptical objects and produced a precipitation regime classification based on the gamma parameters assigned to the precipitation within the object. Starting with a general model of the national precipitation the analysis continues to categorize the data by location, season and precipitation regime to produce detailed relationships. Examining plots of the gamma parameters also provides insights into the variability of these categories and additionally confirms that these models present an accurate representation of annual precipitation.

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