Abstract

Monthly precipitation modeling is important in various applications, e.g. streamflow forecasts and water resources management. This paper develops an operational precipitation forecasting scheme, using Bayesian Non-homogeneous Hidden Markov Chain (NHMM) model and teleconnection index. Although the Hidden Markov Chain model has been investigated before in similar studies, the NHMM algorithm employed in this study allows modeling both non-stationary transition probabilities and emission matrix. Climatic teleconnection that affect precipitation is used to drive changes in transition probabilities of different states in the Markov model. The proposed framework is illustrated for multiple-station precipitation analysis in NingXiang County, a southern inland area in China with a high population density. A simulation model is constructed to examine the model's capacity in capturing variabilities and temporal-spatial characteristics exhibiting in monthly precipitation data during 1961–2013. Results indicate that the proposed NHMM model captures the precipitation characteristics at different stations well. Spearman correlation between conditional mean of simulated ensembles and observed data is 0.87–0.9, with few variations at distinct stations. The proposed framework has general applications and can be applied to simulate and generate stochastic monthly precipitation. Further application of the method is also described in the paper.

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