Understanding Intensity–Duration–Frequency (IDF) Curves Using IMERG Sub-Hourly Precipitation against Dense Gauge Networks

Alcely Lau, Ali Behrangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The design storm derived from intensity–duration–frequency (IDF) curves is the main input for hydrologic analysis or hydraulic design for flood control. The regions with higher flood risks due to extreme precipitation are often deficient in precipitation gauges. This study presents a detailed evaluation of IDF curves derived using IMERG Final half-hourly precipitation (V06), fitted with the widely used CDFs: Gumbel and MLE, Gumbel and MM, Pearson 3, and GEV. As benchmarks and following the same method, we also derived IDF curves using areal average gridded precipitation constructed from two dense gauges networks over (1) the WegenerNET Feldbach region in the Alpine forelands of Austria and (2) the gauge network of the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, in a semiarid region of the United States. In both regions, the frequency analysis for return periods between 2 and 100 years was based on half-hourly rainfall and compared at a grid-scale with a spatial resolution of IMERG, 0.1° × 0.1° lat/lon. The impact of order in which the gridded gauge-based precipitation average is performed within an IMERG grid was evaluated by computing two different Annual Maximum Series (AMS). In one, the average was computed before obtaining the AMS (AB-AMS), and in the other, the average was computed after obtaining the AMS for each gauge grid (AA-AMS) within the IMERG grid. The evaluation revealed that IMERG AMS agrees better with AB-AMS than AA-AMS for the two study regions. Lastly, it was found that the use of Gumbel distribution in calculating IMERG IDF curves results in better agreement with the ground truth than the use of the other three distributions studied here. The outcomes should provide valuable knowledge for the application of IMERG precipitation over regions with sparse gauges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5032
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • IDF curves
  • Walnut Gulch
  • WegenerNET
  • annual maximum series
  • areal average
  • gridded precipitation
  • precipitation
  • probability distribution function
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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