Reading: Changes in Rainfall in Sri Lanka during 1966 – 2015


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Changes in Rainfall in Sri Lanka during 1966 – 2015


K. L. A. A. Karunathilaka ,

Sanken Construction (Pvt) Ltd., LK
About K. L. A. A.

Student Member of IESL

B.Sc. Eng. (Hons)

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H. K. V. Dabare,

Vonlan Construction (Pvt) Ltd, LK
About H. K. V.

Student Member of IESL

B.Sc. Eng. (Hons)

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K. D. W. Nandalal

University of Peradeniya, LK
About K. D. W.

Eng. (Prof.), Senior Professor, Department of Civil Engineering

Int.PEng. (SL), C.Eng., FIE (Sri Lanka), B.Sc. Eng. (Hons), MEng (AIT), Ph.D. (The Netherlands)

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The aim of this study was to analyse the annual and seasonal rainfall trends in Sri Lanka during the 50 year period from 1966 to 2015 using rainfall data collected at 32 rain gauging stations. The seasons considered were the two principal monsoon seasons and the two inter-monsoon seasons. Non-parametric Mann-Kendall trend test and Sen’s Slope estimator method were used to examine the rainfall trends and determine their magnitudes. According to the analysis which was based on annual rainfall data, 21 of the gauging stations were showing increasing trends. The balance 11 stations were showing decreasing trends. Four of the stations, namely those at Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Mapakadawewa and Pottuvil had significantly increasing trends. The three stations at Chilaw, Dandeniya Tank and Iranamadu Tank showed significantly decreasing trends. In general, the eastern region of the country has shown over the last half century an increasing rainfall trend and the western, northern and south western regions and the central hills of the country have shown a decreasing rainfall trend during the same period. The seasonal rainfall indicated increasing trends during the First-Inter Monsoon, Second-Inter Monsoon and Northwest Monsoon seasons at a majority of the stations. In contrast, during the Southwest Monsoon season, most of the gauging stations have shown downward rainfall trends.
How to Cite: Karunathilaka, K.L.A.A., Dabare, H.K.V. and Nandalal, K.D.W., 2017. Changes in Rainfall in Sri Lanka during 1966 – 2015. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 50(2), pp.39–48. DOI:
Published on 30 Apr 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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