Detection of trends for extreme events of precipitation in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte through statistical methods

ABSTRACT Extreme weather events have emerged as one of the main manifestations of climate change, being that the mitigation of the elapsed impacts demand studies of the magnitude and frequency of their occurrence. This study aims to identify the trends of extreme precipitation events in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, especially concerning their frequency. The trends of precipitation were studied with especial regard to the indices set by ETCCDMI (Expert Team on Climate Change Detection Monitoring and Indices), including time series of annual number of rainy days above a certain threshold recorded at fourteen rainfall gauging stations. One stage of this study consisted in surveying the flood occurrence in the area, besides analyzing the precipitation data corresponding to date of flood occurrences, in order to establish a threshold value beyond which an event would entail potential impacts. No regional index pattern could be set based on such results, although the rainfall station located in the city of Belo Horizonte reported a statistically significant increase in daily precipitation events above 10, 20, 30 and 40 mm, in maximum precipitation recorded over five consecutive days, in daily intensity, and in total annual precipitation. Abrupt changes in rainfall series were also recorded. The results have indicated that the city may be potentially impacted by extreme rainfall increase, probably associated to changes in temperatures on regional and local scales.