Rain gauge is the oldest and most accurate instrument for rainfall measurement, able to provide long series of reliable data.
However, rain gauge records are often plagued by gaps, spatio-temporal discontinuities and inhomogeneities that could affect their suitability for a statistical assessment of the characteristics of extreme rainfall.
Furthermore, the need to discard the shorter series for obtaining robust estimates leads to ignore a significant amount of information which can be essential, especially when large return periods estimates are sought. This work describes a robust statistical framework for dealing with uneven and fragmented rainfall records on a regional spatial domain.
The proposed technique, named “patched kriging” allows one to exploit all the information available from the recorded series, independently of their length, to provide extreme rainfall estimates in ungauged areas. The methodology involves the sequential application of the ordinary kriging equations, producing a homogeneous dataset of synthetic series with uniform lengths. In this way, the errors inherent to any regional statistical estimation can be easily represented in the spatial domain and, possibly, corrected.
Furthermore, the homogeneity of the obtained series, provides robustness toward local artefacts during the parameter-estimation phase. The application to a case study in the north-western Italy demonstrates the potential of the methodology and provides a significant base for discussing its advantages over previous techniques.