A Spectral Theory of Rainfall Intensity at the Meso Scale Academic Article uri icon


  • The available empirical descriptions of extratropical cyclonic storms are employed to formulate a physically realistic stochastic representation of the ground level rainfall intensity field in space and time. The stochastic representation is based on threecomponent stochastic point processes which possess the general features of the embedding of rain cells within small mesoscale areas within large mesoscale areas within synoptic storms. Certain scale idealizations, and assumptions on functional forms which qualitatively reflect the physical features, lead to a closed form expression for the covariance function, i.e., the real spacetime spectrum, of the rainfall intensity field. The theoretical spectrum explains the empirical spectral features observed by Zawadzki almost a decade ago. Of particular interest and importance in this connection is an explanation of the empirical observation that the Taylorian propogation of the fine scale structure, via a transformation of time to space through the storm velocity, holds only for a small time lag and not throughout. The results here indicate the extent of this lag in terms of the characteristic scales associated with cell durations, cellular birthrates and velocities, etc. Copyright 1984 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings

  • Water Resources Research

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Waymire, E. d., Gupta, V. K., & RodriguezIturbe, I.

citation count

  • 230

complete list of authors

  • Waymire, Ed||Gupta, Vijay K||Rodriguez‐Iturbe, Ignacio

publication date

  • October 1984