A 131-year evidence of more extreme and higher total amount of hourly precipitation in Hong Kong

Yangchen Lai, Jianfeng Li*, Tsz Cheung Lee, Wai Po Tse, Faith Ka Shun Chan, Yongqin David Chen, Xihui Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

Based on the observations of hourly precipitation for 131 years from Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters, this study examined the long-term changes in the characteristics of hourly precipitation extremes in terms of intensity, total precipitation amount, duration, and frequency. Results show that the hourly precipitation extremes have significantly intensified by 29%-38% from 1885 to 2022. The 131-year observations evidence that the more extreme the hourly precipitation is (i.e. higher percentiles), the faster the increasing rate it has. Specifically, the magnitudes of hourly precipitation with the 95th, 97.5th, 99th, and 99.9th percentiles increased by rates of 0.03 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.07 mm, and 0.12 mm per year, respectively. Through the secular trend analysis, we found that only the maximum intensity of extreme precipitation events (i.e. events with maximum intensity exceeding the 95th percentiles) shows a significant increasing trend during 1885-2022, while the trends in the total precipitation amount, duration, and mean intensity are not significant. However, by comparing the percentile bin values between three sub-periods of the 131-year record, we found a significant rise over time in the total precipitation amount, mean intensity, and maximum intensity of extreme precipitation events with different intensities (i.e. 95th, 96th, 97th, 98th, and 99th percentiles), while the change in the duration is not significant. The analysis of the frequency of precipitation events shows significant increases in the proportion of extreme precipitation events during 1885-2022. The observations of 53 stations across Hong Kong from 1986 to 2022 show significant intensification and increasing frequency in the hourly precipitation extremes in most areas of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the precipitation duration shows a decreasing tendency, which may explain the insignificant changes in the total precipitation amount. These findings provide important insights into the longer-term variations in the characteristics of hourly precipitation extremes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034008
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume19
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

User-Defined Keywords

  • climate change
  • duration
  • hourly precipitation extremes
  • intensity
  • long-term observations
  • temporal changes

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