Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 299–311, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-299-2009

Special issue: Nonlinear and Scaling Processes in Hydrology and Soil...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 299–311, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-299-2009

  15 Apr 2009

15 Apr 2009

Investigating the multifractality of point precipitation in the Madeira archipelago

M. I. P. de Lima1,2 and J. L. M. P. de Lima2,3 M. I. P. de Lima and J. L. M. P. de Lima
  • 1Department of Forestry, ESAC/Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, 3040-316 Coimbra, Portugal
  • 2Institute of Marine Research – Coimbra Interdisciplinary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal
  • 3Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology – Campus 2, University of Coimbra, 3030-788 Coimbra, Portugal

Abstract. The purpose of this work is to contribute to a better understanding of the variability of precipitation in the Madeira archipelago. This archipelago is located in the Atlantic subtropical belt under the direct influence of the Azores high pressure system. It is formed by Madeira Island (728 km2) and Porto Santo Island (42 km2) and by two other groups of very small inhabited islands. The complex topography of the islands in the Madeira archipelago and their small size play a crucial role in the local precipitation regime, which is marked by high spatial variability.

This paper explores the invariance of properties manifested across scales and determines the fractal and multifractal behaviour observed in the temporal structure of precipitation using daily and 10-min time series from several locations scattered over the main islands. The period covered by the precipitation records is 34 years for the daily data and almost 4 months for the 10-min data. The results show that the temporal structure of precipitation in the Madeira Archipelago exhibits scale-invariant and multifractal properties. The empirical exponent functions describing the scaling statistical properties of the precipitation intensity were characterized using multifractal parameters; these parameters are increasing our awareness of the dynamics of this process in these islands.