A chaotic approach to rainfall disaggregation

B. Sivakumar, S. Sorooshian, H. Vijai Gupta, X. Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The importance of high-resolution rainfall data to understanding the intricacies of the dynamics of hydrological processes and describing them in a sophisticated and accurate way has been increasingly realized. The last decade has witnessed a number of studies and numerous approaches to the possibility of transformation of rainfall data from one scale to another, nearly unanimously pointing to such a possibility. However, an important limitation of such approaches is that they treat the rainfall process as a realization of a stochastic process, and therefore there seems to be a lack of connection between the structure of the models and the underlying physics of the rainfall process. The present study introduces a new framework based on the notion of deterministic chaos to investigate the behavior of the dynamics of rainfall transformation between different temporal scales aimed toward establishing this connection. Rainfall data of successively doubled resolutions (i.e., 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, and 192 hours) observed at Leaf River basin, in the state of Mississippi, United States of America, are studied. The correlation dimension method is employed to investigate the presence of chaos in the rainfall transformation. The finite and low correlation dimensions obtained for the distributions of weights between rainfall data of different scales indicate the existence of chaos in the rainfall transformation, suggesting the applicability of a chaotic model. The formulation of a simple chaotic disaggregation model and its application to the Leaf River rainfall data provides encouraging results with practical potential. The disaggregation model results themselves indicate the presence of chaos in the dynamics of rainfall transformation, providing support for the results obtained using the correlation dimension method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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