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Probability-based intensity-duration-frequency IDF curves are needed but currently lacking for Department of Defense DoD to construct and manage its infrastructure in changing climate. The objectives of this project were to 1 develop an innovative approach for considering rainfall non-stationarity in developing such IDF curves and 2 apply this approach to the state of Virginia. In this regard, the observed data on 15-min rainfall at 57 gauges and the precipitations projected by twelve pairs of Regional Climate Model RCM and Global Circulation Model GCM were used. For a given gauge or watershed, in terms of fitting the empirical exceedance probabilities, a best statistical distribution was chosen and then used to create the existing, projected historic, and projected future IDF curves. For a given return period, the projected historic IDF curves were compared with the existing ones to determine the lower and upper limits of the future IDF curve. The most-probable future IDF curve was determined as the average of the twelve curves responding to the GCM-RCM models. In addition, for a given duration and return period, the responding rainfall intensities were used to create a probability-based IDF curve. Further, the areal precipitations for each of the 53 watersheds were used to create the watershed-level future IDF curves. The project results are expected to be a useful and usable tool in guarding against over- or under committing resources.


Report sponsored by the Department of Defense's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Old Dominion University. SERDP Project RC18-1569.


0003-3455-3124 (Wang)

Original Publication Citation

Wang, X., Yang, X., & Cai, Z. (2019). Next-Generation rainfall IDF curves for the Virginian drainage area of Chesapeake Bay (Publication No. SERDP Project RC18-1569). U.S. Department of Defense and Old Dominion University.