Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 883–896 | Cite as

Statistical analysis of trends in monthly precipitation at the Limbang River Basin, Sarawak (NW Borneo), Malaysia

  • M. V. Ninu KrishnanEmail author
  • M. V. Prasanna
  • H. Vijith
Original Paper


Effect of climate change in a region can be characterised by the analysis of rainfall trends. In the present research, monthly rainfall trends at Limbang River Basin (LRB) in Sarawak, Malaysia for a period of 45 years (1970–2015) were characterised through the non-parametric Mann–Kendall and Spearman’s Rho tests and relative seasonality index. Statistically processed monthly rainfall of 12 well distributed rain gauging stations in LRB shows almost equal amount of rainfall in all months. Mann–Kendall and Spearman’s Rho tests revealed a specific pattern of rainfall trend with a definite boundary marked in the months of January and August with positive trends in all stations. Among the stations, Limbang DID, Long Napir and Ukong showed positive (increasing) trends in all months with a maximum increase of 4.06 mm/year (p = 0.01) in November. All other stations showed varying trends (both increasing and decreasing). Significant (p = 0.05) decreasing trend was noticed in Ulu Medalam and Setuan during September (− 1.67 and − 1.79 mm/year) and October (− 1.59 and − 1.68 mm/year) in Mann–Kendall and Spearman’s Rho tests. Spatial pattern of monthly rainfall trends showed two clusters of increasing rainfalls (maximas) in upper and lower part of the river basin separated with a dominant decreasing rainfall corridor. The results indicate a generally increasing trend of rainfall in Sarawak, Borneo.



The first author gratefully acknowledges the Curtin University Malaysia for providing financial support (CSPRS) and research facility during the study and Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), Sarawak, Malaysia for providing rainfall data. Authors are also thankful to the anonymous reviewer for the critical review, constructive comments and suggestions, which improved the quality of manuscript significantly.


  1. Abaje IB, Ishaya S, Usman SU (2010) Analysis of Rainfall Trends in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Nigeria. Res J Environ Earth Sci 2(2):89–96Google Scholar
  2. Abdulrahim MA, Ifabiyi IP, Ismaila A (2013) Time series analyses of mean monthly rainfall for drought management in Sokoto, Nigeria. Ethiopian J Environ Stud Manag 6(5):461–470Google Scholar
  3. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Bolvin DT, Curtis S, Nelkin EJ (2000) Tropical rainfall distributions determined using TRMM combined with other satellite and rain gauge information. J Appl Meteorol 39(12):2007–2023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Adnan NA, Ariffin SDS, Asmat A, Mansor S (2016) Rainfall trend analysis and geospatial mapping of the Kelantan River Basin. In: ISFRAM 2015. Springer, Singapore, pp 237–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aldrian E (2007) Decreasing trends in annual rainfalls over Indonesia: a threat for the national water resource. J Meteorologi dan Geofi sika 7(2):40–49Google Scholar
  6. Ambun D, Azali BT, Phuah EB, Atifah BMA, Alliscia AM, Siti FBMA, Farah SBO, Dayang NBAB, Delan L (2013) Statistical and trend analysis of rainfall data in Kuching, Sarawak from 1968–2010. Research Publication No. 6/2013, Malaysian Meteorological Department, KuchingGoogle Scholar
  7. Antonia L, Paolo V (2009) Trend analysis of annual and seasonal rainfall time series in the Mediterranean area. Int J Climatol 30(10):1538–1546Google Scholar
  8. CheRos F, Tosaka H, Sidek LM, Basri H (2016) Homogeneity and trends in long-term rainfall data, Kelantan River Basin, Malaysia. Int J River Basin Manag 14(2):151–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deni SM, Suhaila J, Wan Zin WZ, Jemain AA (2010) Spatial trends of dry spells over Peninsular Malaysia during monsoon seasons. Theor Appl Climatol 99(3–4):357–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duhan D, Pandey A (2013) Statistical analysis of long term spatial and temporal trends of precipitation during 1901–2002 at Madhya Pradesh, India. Atmos Res 122:136–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gabriele V, James AS, Mary LB, Timothy M, Gabriel AV (2011) Characterization of rainfall distribution and flooding associated with U.S. landfalling tropical cyclones: analyses of Hurricanes Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne (2004). J Geophys Res 116(23):1–19Google Scholar
  12. Girma E, Tino J, Wayessa G (2016) Rainfall trend and variability analysis in Setema-Gatira area of Jimma, Southwestern Ethiopia. Afr J Agric Res 11(32):3037–3045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gocic M, Trajkovic S (2013) Analysis of precipitation and drought data in Serbia over the period 1980–2010. J Hydrol 494:32–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hajani E, Ataur R, Khaled H (2014) Trend analysis for extreme rainfall events in New South Wales, Australia. Int J Environ Chem Ecol Geol Geophys Eng 8(12):834–839Google Scholar
  15. Hamed KH (2008) Trend detection in hydrologic data: the Mann-Kendall trend test under the scaling hypothesis. J Hydrol 349(3):350–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hua TM, Hui RCY, Husen R (2013) Trends of rainfall in Sarawak from 1999 to 2008. In: Proceedings of the international conference on social science researchGoogle Scholar
  17. Kanellopoulou EA (2002) Spatial distribution of rainfall seasonality in Greece. Weather 57:215–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kendall MG (1948) Rank correlation methods. Griffin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Kumar V, Sharad KJ, Yatveer S (2010) Analysis of long-term rainfall trends in India. Hydrol Sci J 55(4):484–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lehmann EL, D’Abrera HJ (2006) Nonparametrics: statistical methods based on ranks. Springer, New York, p 464Google Scholar
  21. Mann HB (1945) Nonparametric tests against trend. Econometrica 13:245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Manton MJ, Della-Marta PM, Haylock MR, Hennessy KJ, Nicholls N, Chambers LE, Collins DA, Daw G, Finet A, Gunawan D, Inape K, Isobe H, Kestin TS, Lefale P, Leyu CH, Lwin T, Maitrepierre L, Ouprasitwong N, Page CM, Pahalad J, Plummer N, Salinger MJ, Suppiah R, Tran VL, Trewin B, Tibig I, Yee D (2001) Trends in extreme daily rainfall and temperature in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific: 1961–1998. Int J Climatol 21(3):269–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Monica KK, Stephen KW, Chris AS (2013) Perceived and actual rainfall trends and variability in Eastern Uganda: implications for community preparedness and response. J Nat Sci Res 3(8):179–195Google Scholar
  24. Nur HS, Kamarudin MKA, Ahmad DM, Muhammad AA, Fasureen A, Ismail ZA, Norsyuhada H (2015) Trend analysis of Pahang river using non-parametric analysis: Mann Kendall’s trend test. Malays J Anal Sci 19(6):1327–1334Google Scholar
  25. Nyatuame M, Owusu-Gyimah V, Ampiaw F (2014) Statistical analysis of rainfall trend for Volta Region in Ghana. Int J Atmos Sci 2014:1–11Google Scholar
  26. Palizdan N, Falamarzi Y, Huang YF, Lee TS, Ghazali AH (2014) Regional precipitation trend analysis at the Langat River Basin, Selangor, Malaysia. Theor Appl Climatol 117(3–4):589–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Palizdan N, Falamarzi Y, Huang YF, Lee TS, Ghazali AH (2015) Temporal precipitation trend analysis at the Langat River Basin, Selangor, Malaysia. J Earth Syst Sci 124(8):1623–1638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palizdan N, Falamarzi Y, Huang YF, Lee TS (2017) Precipitation trend analysis using discrete wavelet transform at the Langat River Basin, Selangor, Malaysia. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 31(4):853–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutiko JP, Linden V, Hanson CE (2007) Technical summary. Climate Change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Technical report. UK, Cambridge University Press. pp 23–77Google Scholar
  30. Partal T, Kahya E (2006) Trend analysis in Turkish precipitation data. Hydrol Processes 20(9):2011–2026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Patil MK (2015) Change in seasonality index of rainfall in Sangli district. Indian Streams Res J 5(1):1–7Google Scholar
  32. Pulak G, Elizabeth S (2013) Detecting changes in rainfall pattern and seasonality index vis-`a-vis increasing water scarcity in Maharashtra. J Earth Syst Sci 122(3):639–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rahman MD, Begum M (2013) Application of non-parametric test for trend detection of rainfall in the largest Island of Bangladesh. ARPN J Earth Sci 2(2):40–44Google Scholar
  34. Rahman MA, Yunsheng L, Sultana N (2017) Analysis and prediction of rainfall trends over Bangladesh using Mann–Kendall, Spearman’s rho tests and ARIMA model. Meteorol Atmos Phys 129(4):409–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Reshuyadav, Tripathi SK, Pranuthi G, Dubey SK (2014) Trend analysis by Mann–Kendall test for precipitation and temperature for thirteen districts of Uttarakhand. J Agrometeorol 16(2):164–171Google Scholar
  36. Sathe BK, Khir MV, Sankhua RN (2012) Rainfall analysis and design flood estimation for Upper Krishna River Basin Catchment in India. Int J Sci Eng Res 3(8):1–20Google Scholar
  37. Shadmani M, Marofi S, Roknian M (2012) Trend analysis in reference evapotranspiration using Mann–Kendall and Spearman’s’s Rho tests in arid regions of Iran. Water Res Manag 26(1):211–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Siti NR, Niranjali J, Shalahuddin AM, Muhammed B (2016) Analysis of spatio-temporal trends using standardized precipitation index (SPI). ARPN J Eng Appl Sci 11(4):2387–2392Google Scholar
  39. Solomon A, Yihenew GS, Getachew F, Birhanu G (2015) Time series trend analysis of temperature and rainfall in lake Tana Sub-basin, Ethiopia. Environ Syst Res 4(25):1–12Google Scholar
  40. Suhaila J, Jemain AA (2012) Spatial analysis of daily rainfall intensity and concentration index in Peninsular Malaysia. Theor Appl Climatol 108(1–2):235–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Suhaila J, Deni SM, Jemain AA (2008) Detecting inhomogeneity of rainfall series in Peninsular Malaysia. Asia Pac J Atmos Sci 44:369–380Google Scholar
  42. Suhaila J, Deni SM, Zin WZW, Jemain AA (2010) Spatial patterns and trends of daily rainfall regime in Peninsular Malaysia during the southwest and northeast monsoons: 1975–2004. Meteorol Atmos Phys 110(1–2):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tommaso C, Beniamino S, Roberto C, Ennio F (2016) An analysis of the occurrence probabilities of wet and dry periods through a stochastic monthly rainfall model. Water 8(39):1–21Google Scholar
  44. Tuh MH, Robin CYH, Rafidah H (2013) Trends of rainfall in Sarawak from 1999 to 2008. In: Proceeding of the international conference on social science research, ICSSR 2013, Penang, Malaysia. Organized by WorldConferences.netGoogle Scholar
  45. Wang W, Yuanfang C, Stefan B, Bo L (2015) Linear trend detection in serially dependent hydrometeorological data based on a variance correction Spearman’s Rho Method. Water 7:7045–7065CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yue S, Hashino M (2003) Long term trends of annual and monthly precipitation in Japan. JAWRA J Am Water Res Assoc 39(3):587–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yue S, Wang C (2004) The Mann–Kendall test modified by effective sample size to detect trend in serially correlated hydrological series. Water Res Manag 18(3):201–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yue S, Paul P, George C (2002) Power of Mann Kendall and Spearman’s Rho test for detecting monotonic trends in hydrological series. J Hydrol 259(1–4):254–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhang XL, Wang SJ, Zhang JM, Wang G, Tang XY (2015) Temporal and spatial variability in precipitation trends in the Southeast Tibetan Plateau during 1961–2012. Clim Past Discuss 11(1):447–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhao W, Yu X, Ma H, Zhu Q, Zhang Y, Qin W, Ai N, Wang Y (2015) Analysis of precipitation characteristics during 1957–2012 in the Semi-Arid Loess Plateau, China. PLoS One 10(11):1–13Google Scholar
  51. Zin WZW, Jamaludin S, Deni SM, Jemain AA (2010) Recent changes in extreme rainfall events in Peninsular Malaysia: 1971–2005. Theor Appl Climatol 99(3–4):303CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Geology, Faculty of Engineering and ScienceCurtin University MalaysiaMiriMalaysia

Personalised recommendations