Nature of extreme precipitation over Ukraine in the 21st century

  • V. F. Martazinova
  • O. Shchehlov
Keywords: extreme precipitation, climate, climate change, precipitation rates, precipitation regime


The article examines the state of precipitation over the territory of Ukraine over recent decades. Through the example of central months of the seasons differences in monthly and average daily precipitation amounts for the period of 2000-2014 are shown. Within the most territory of Ukraine summer precipitation is almost twice as high as spring and autumn one. During all seasons the greatest amount of precipitation is observed in the Carpathian region. Distribution of average long-term precipitation values over the rest of the territory coincides in spring, summer and autumn: the highest precipitation values are observed in the western and north-western parts and decrease to the south-east.

The article studies a yearly precipitation rate at low-land and mountain meteorological stations. It proposes to separate criteria of precipitation extremality depending on the regions. All extreme daily precipitation can be divided into the following categories: > 20-30 mm / day, > 30-50 mm / day, > 50 mm / day. Each category of extreme precipitation has its a certain economic risk, but the third class can cause not only economic risks, but also risks associated with human life and activities. The distinct feature of the present-day precipitation consists in redistribution of precipitation in the middle of the months, when a daily precipitation rate increases together with intervals between heavy rains.

In order to analyze the changes of precipitation regime, the approach of dividing the rates of monthly precipitation amount by the rates of extreme and non-extreme precipitation is proposed. A comparative analysis of daily precipitation in different seasons and over different climatic periods was also carried out. The article studies the proportion of daily precipitation of up to 15 mm and the one exceeding 15 mm forming a part of monthly rates of precipitation over the territory of Ukraine. In January, rainfalls exceeding 15 mm make up from 5-10 % of the total amount of monthly precipitation, except the Carpathian region and the southwestern regions of Ukraine where those exceed 20-25 %. In spring, the amount of rainfalls increases and its percentage of the monthly precipitation amount is around 20 % over most of the regions. Until summer, the amount of rainfalls increases and in July its percentage is 50-70 %. Until autumn, the amount of those starts decreasing, however, the percentage of rainfalls is almost twice as high as in spring, and for most of the regions it is about 30-40 %. Such breakdown of the monthly precipitation rates into two components allows determination during a period in question of precipitation amounts we have each month.

The maximum daily precipitation amounts serve as an important indicator of the precipitation regime which shows the potential danger from extreme precipitation. For different regions the threshold values of the upper limit of rainfalls taken as a maximum daily value for the period of 2000-2014 differ. In winter and spring time, the limit of rainfalls amount per day usually hits 20-30 mm for the most territory of the country. At the same time there are certain areas where the limit values of the daily rainfalls rate reach 40-50 mm. The most significant rainfalls are observed in summer. Despite the fact that the territory of such rainfalls is quite patchy, nevertheless, those areas where precipitation rate over one day may reach 70 mm are the most vulnerable and have high risks for human life and activities. In autumn, the threshold values are 30-40 mm.

The breakdown of the rates of monthly precipitation amount into extreme and non-extreme ones allows determination in future of whether the precipitation regime changes because of extreme or non-extreme values. Also, in the long run, a comparative analysis of the rates of showers and weak rainfalls in the late 20th and early 21st centuries can be carried out and a tendency of precipitation regime seasonal change over the next decade can be obtained which will help us to identify vulnerable regions suffering from extreme precipitation rates.


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How to Cite
Martazinova, V. F., & Shchehlov, O. (2018). Nature of extreme precipitation over Ukraine in the 21st century. Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Journal, (22), 36-45.
Meteorology and Climatology