Consequences to flood management of using different probability distributions to estimate extreme rainfall.

Esteves, L.S., 2013. Consequences to flood management of using different probability distributions to estimate extreme rainfall. Journal of Environmental Management, 115, 98 - 105 .

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.11.013

Abstract

The design of flood defences, such as pumping stations, takes into consideration the predicted return periods of extreme precipitation depths. Most commonly these are estimated by fitting the Generalised Extreme Value (GEV) or the Generalised Pareto (GP) probability distributions to the annual maxima series or to the partial duration series. In this paper, annual maxima series of precipitation depths obtained from daily rainfall data measured at three selected stations in southeast UK are analysed using a range of probability distributions. These analyses demonstrate that GEV or GP distributions do not always provide the best fit to the data, and that extreme rainfall estimates for long return periods (e.g. 1 in 100 years) can differ by more than 40% depending on the distribution model used. Since a large number of properties in the UK and elsewhere currently benefit from flood defences designed using the GEV or GP probability distributions, the results from this study question whether the level of protection they offer are appropriate in locations where data demonstrate clearly that alternative probability distributions may have a better fit to the local rainfall data. This work: (a) raises awareness of the limitations of common practices in extreme rainfall analysis; (b) suggests a simple way forward to incorporate uncertainties that is easily applicable to local rainfall data worldwide; and thus (c) contributes to improve flood risk management. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0301-4797
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
Group:Faculty of Science and Technology
ID Code:20931
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:14 Oct 2013 10:06
Last Modified:10 Sep 2014 14:57

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