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Statistical analysis of climatological data to characterize erosion potential : 2. precipitation in eastern Oregon/Washington Public Deposited

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Published October 1984. Facts and recommendations in this publication may no longer be valid. Please look for up-to-date information in the OSU Extension Catalog:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog

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  • Periods of precipitation with certain combinations of characteristics (e.g., high intensity rainfall on saturated soil) can lead to appreciable soil loss in the Pacific Northwest. In order to assign realistic probabilities to the occurrence of these periods for use in predicting long-term erosion rates, a soil erosion-specific definition of a precipitation event is applied to more than 31 years of hourly wet season precipitation data from Pendleton, Oregon, and Walla Walla, Washington. The values of nine characteristics (duration, magnitude, average intensity, maximum intensity, hours between events, and four measures of antecedent rainfall) that are associated with each event are examined. The statistical analysis of the precipitation event characteristics includes consideration of the marginal distributions and order and return statistics of the individual characteristics as well as joint and conditional distributions of several pairs of characteristics. The order and return statistics provide information about extreme values of individual characteristics, whereas the probabilities of occurrence of some combinations of characteristics are estimated by the joint distributions. Examination of the conditional distributions suggests the nature of the relationships that exist among the characteristics. The results of these analyses provide general information regarding the types of precipitation events that occur in eastern Oregon and eastern Washington as well as estimates of specific probabilities that are important in the modeling and forecasting of soil erosion in this region.
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