Spatial interpolation of precipitation data is an essential input for hydrological modelling. At present, the most frequently used spatial interpolation methods for precipitation are based on the assumption of stationary in spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity. As climate change is altering the precipitation, stationary in spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity should be first analysed before spatial interpolation methods are applied. This study aims to propose a framework to understand the spatial patterns of autocorrelation and heterogeneity embedded in precipitation using Moran's I, Getis–Ord test, and semivariogram. Variations in autocorrelation and heterogeneity are analysed by the Mann–Kendall test. The indexes and test methods are applied to the 7-day precipitation series which are corresponding to the annual maximum 7-day flood volume (P-AM7FV) upstream of the Changjiang river basin. The spatial autocorrelation of the P-AM7FV showed a statistically significant increasing trend over the whole study area. Spatial interpolation schemes for precipitation may lead to better estimation and lower error for the spatial distribution of the areal precipitation. However, owing to the changing summer monsoons, random variation in the spatial heterogeneity analysis shows a significant increasing trend, which reduces the reliability of the distributed hydrological model with the input of local or microscales.

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