A non-homogeneous Poisson model was proposed to analyze the sequences of dry spells below prefixed thresholds as an upgrade of a stochastic procedure previously used to describe long periods of no rainfall. Its application concerned the daily precipitation series in a 60-year time span at four rain gauges (Calabria, southern Italy), aiming at testing the different behaviors of the dry spells below prefixed thresholds in two paired periods (1951–1980 and 1981–2010). A simulation analysis performed through a Monte Carlo approach assessed the statistical significance of the variation of the mean values of dry spells observed at an annual scale in the two 30-year periods. The results evidenced that the dry spells durations increased passing from the first 30-year period to the second one for all the thresholds analyzed. For instance, for the Cassano station, an increase of about 10% of the maximum dry spell duration was detected for a threshold of 5 mm. Moreover, the return periods evaluated for fixed long dry spells through the synthetic data of the period 1981–2010 were lower than the corresponding ones evaluated with the data generated for the previous 30-year period. Specifically, the difference between the two 30-year periods in terms of the return period of long dry spells occurrence increased with the growing thresholds. As an example, for the Cosenza rain gauge with a threshold of 1 mm, the return period for a dry spell length of 70 days decreased from 20 years (in 1951–1980) to about 10 years (in 1981–2010), while for a threshold of 5 mm, the return period for the dry spell lengths of 120 days decreases from 70 years to about 20 years. These results show a higher probability of the occurrence of long dry spells in the more recent period than in the past.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited