Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David S. Bowles


David S. Bowles


Robert W. Gunderson


Michael Minnotte


Gail E. Bingham


Traditional stochastic approaches for synthetic generation of weather variables often assume a prior functional form for the stochastic process, are often not capable of reproducing the probabilistic structure present in the data, and may not be uniformly applicable across sites. In an attempt to find a general framework for stochastic generation of weather variables, this study marks a unique departure from the traditional approaches, and ushers in the use of data-driven nonparametric techniques and demonstrates their utility.

Precipitation is one of the key variables that drive hydrologic systems and hence warrants more focus . In this regard, two major aspects of precipitation modeling were considered: (I) resampling traces under the assumption of stationarity in the process, or with some treatment of the seasonality, and (2) investigations into interannual and secular trends in precipitation and their likely implications.

A nonparametric seasonal wet/dry spell model was developed for the generation of daily precipitation. In this the probability density functions of interest are estimated using non parametric kernel density estimators. In the course of development of this model, various nonparametric density estimators for discrete and continuous data were reviewed, tested, and documented, which resulted in the development of a nonparametric estimator for discrete probability estimation.

Variations in seasonality of precipitation as a function of latitude and topographic factors were seen through the non parametric estimation of the time-varying occurrence frequency. Nonparametric spectral analysis, performed on monthly precipitation, revealed significant interannual frequencies and coherence with known atmospheric oscillations. Consequently, a non parametric, nonhomogeneous Markov chain for modeling daily precipitation was developed that obviated the need to divide the year into seasons.

Multivariate nonparametric resampling technique from the nonparametrically fitted probability density functions, which can be likened to a smoothed bootstrap approach, was developed for the simulation of other weather variables (solar radiation, maximum and minimum temperature, average dew point temperature, and average wind speed). In this technique the vector of variables on a day is generated by conditioning on the vector of these variables on the preceding day and the precipitation amount on the current day generated from the wet/dry spell model.