Improving the understanding of rainfall distribution and characterisation in the Cathedral Peak catchments using a geo-statistical technique

  • F Morris
  • M.L. Warburton Toucher
  • A Clulow
  • S Kusangaya
  • C Morris
  • H Bulcock
Keywords: Cathedral Peak, rainfall variability, regression-Kriging, mountainous areas


The characterisation of rainfall variability, spatially and temporally, is essential for hydrological and ecological analyses. Inherently, this variability is distinctly more obvious in mountainous areas compared to lowlands. The objective of this study was to ascertain if the use of the regression-Kriging technique would provide improved estimates and understanding of the rainfall distribution across the Cathedral Peak catchments in the Drakensberg escarpment region, South Africa. Findings showed longitude and altitude to be the overall best predictors of the distribution of rainfall for the annual period, wet season and dry season, with longitude explaining 72% and altitude explaining 26% of the rainfall variability for mean annual precipitation, 73% and 26% for the wet season and 50% and 22% for the dry season, respectively. The combination of both longitude and altitude showed a larger coefficient of determination, of 0.73, 0.74 and 0.51, for the annual, wet season and dry season, respectively. Long-term mean annual rainfall patterns showed an overall strong directional distribution from west to east with a distinct pattern observed during the dry season. It was concluded that regression-Kriging is a useful alternative method for characterising rainfall distribution as well as prediction errors for mountainous areas.

Keywords: Cathedral Peak, rainfall variability, regression-Kriging, mountainous areas


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0378-4738