Chaos in rainfall Academic Article uri icon


  • The question is posed regarding possible chaotic dynamics in the temporal rainfall of storm events. Chaotic dynamics implies a nonlinear deterministic system very sensitive to initial conditions which yields outputs indistinguishable from a stochastic process by standard techniques. The trajectories of these systems in the phase space are characterized by being contained in a strange attractor of fractal dimension. A time series of 1990 points of 15s rainfall for the storm of October 25, 1980, in Boston is analyzed in detail toward this objective. It is found that both the characteristics of the correlation integral and the Lyapunov exponents of the historical data give preliminary support to the presence of chaotic dynamics with a strange attractor. The implications of these findings for the modeling of storm rainfall and for the limits of predictability of the process are discussed jointly with the research challenges lying ahead in this field. Copyright 1989 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings

  • Water Resources Research

author list (cited authors)

  • RodriguezIturbe, I., De Power, B. F., Sharifi, M. B., & Georgakakos, K. P.

citation count

  • 188

complete list of authors

  • Rodriguez‐Iturbe, Ignacio||De Power, Beatriz Febres||Sharifi, Mohammad B||Georgakakos, Konstantine P

publication date

  • July 1989