Ag Data Commons
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Semiarid grasslands and extreme precipitation events: Do experimental results scale to the landscape?

posted on 2024-02-16, 18:38 authored by David L. Hoover, Alison Post, Gary W. Frasier, David J. Augustine, Justin D. Derner

This dataset contains growing season precipitation data collected from an extensive rain gauge network with thirty catch cans distributed on the USDA-Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) in Nunn, Colorado from 1982-2013. The CPER is a site in the USDA Long-term Agroecosystem Research Network. These data provide records of long-term observations, which can be applied to assess responses to naturally occurring deluges across the 62.7 km2 CPER in NE Colorado, a SGS ecosystem with significant spatial variation in precipitation received during the growing season, soils and grazing management, and where several small-scale deluge experiments have been conducted.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: Raw Precipitation Data .

    File Name: PrecipitationData_1982_2013_Raw.csv

    Resource Description: Raw Precipitation Data from thirty catch can gauges on the Central Plains Experimental Range

  • Resource Title: Processed precipitation data to identify deluges.

    File Name: PrecipitationData_Processed.csv

    Resource Description: Processed precipitation data to identify deluges on the Central Plain Experimental Range

  • Resource Title: Data Dictionary for raw and processed data.

    File Name: DataDictionary_PrecipitationData_Raw_Processed_CPER.csv

    Resource Description: Data dictionary for processed precipitation data to identify deluges and for raw precipitation data from thirty catch can gauges on the Central Plains Experimental Range.


USDA-ARS: 3012-21610-001-00D


Data contact name

Hoover, David

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

Mean annual precipitation is 321 mm, and most rainfall (70%) occurs as patchy, often intense convective storms during the warm months (Lauenroth & Sala, 1992; Lauenroth & Burke, 2008). While most rain events are small (83% are ≤ 10 mm), these account for only 41% of total growing season rainfall; therefore, infrequent large rain events are important in this ecosystem and can be identified from long-term precipitation records such as this dataset. Precipitation amounts from 30 manual rain gauges distributed across the site from May thru September are usually recorded within 24 hours of a rain event. Data were verified with cross-validation of records contained in the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP, 1980-present). An additional processed dataset is included, for which the authors identified isolated summer (June-September) deluge events. They define a deluge as a statistically large event size that exceeds the 90th percentile based on the long-term precipitation record (Post & Knapp, 2021). For this analysis, they summed precipitation from rain events that co-occurred temporally (typically over 2-4 days) and considered these as single deluge events.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

Central Plains Experimental Range is a ~6400 ha Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network site in northeast Colorado, USA (40˚50’N, 104˚43’W, 1645 m above sea level))

ISO Topic Category

  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
  • environment

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research
  • Central Plains Experimental Range

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

Colorado; grasslands; landscapes; storms; data collection; growing season; rain gauges; cans; Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network; ecosystems; soil; grazing management; rain; atmospheric deposition; summer

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 215

Primary article PubAg Handle

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Hoover, David L.; Post, Alison; Frasier, Gary W.; Augustine, David J.; Derner, Justin D. (2021). Semiarid grasslands and extreme precipitation events: Do experimental results scale to the landscape?. Ag Data Commons.