Assessing Rainfall Variability in Jamaica Using CHIRPS: Techniques and Measures for Persistence, Long and Short-Term Trends
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Assessing Rainfall Variability in Jamaica Using CHIRPS: Techniques and Measures for Persistence, Long and Short-Term Trends

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    Jamaica, as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), is highly vulnerable to weather extremes. As precipitation persistence is a critical factor in determining the susceptibility of an area to risks, this work assesses the spatial and temporal variations of rainfall persistence in Jamaica from 1981 to 2020, using satellite-based information. The Hurst exponent (H) and the serial correlation coefficient (SCC) are used to evaluate the long-term persistence of precipitation and the Persistence Threshold (PT) concept is introduced to provide a description of rainfall characteristics over short periods, specifically, the number of consecutive days with precipitation above or below a set threshold value. The PT method is a novel concept that expands upon the Consecutive Dry Days (CDD) and Consecutive Wet Days (CWD) methods that only consider a threshold of 1 mm. Results show notable temporal and spatial variations in persistence over the decades, with an overall increasing trend in high precipitation persistence and a decreasing trend in low precipitation persistence. Geographically, the northern mountainous area of Jamaica received the most persistent rainfall over the study period with an observed increase in extreme rainfall events. The excess rainfall of the 2001–2010 decade is remarkable in this study, coinciding with the global unprecedented climate extremes during this time. We conclude that the data used in this study is viable for understanding and modeling rainfall trends in SIDS like Jamaica, and the derived PT method is a useful tool for short-term rainfall trends, but it is just one step toward determining flood or drought risk. Further research will focus on developing drought and flood indices.
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    Geographies, 3(2), 375-397
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    CC BY
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