Power-law extreme flood frequency


Kidson, R., Richards, K.S. and Carling, P.A., Cello, G. and Malamud, B.D. (eds.) (2006) Power-law extreme flood frequency. Geological Society, 261, 141-153. (doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2006.261.01.11).

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Description/Abstract

Conventional Flood Frequency Analysis (FFA) has been criticized both for its questionable
theoretical basis, and for its failure in extreme event prediction. An important research
issue for FFA is the exploration of models that have theoretical/explanatory value as the first
step towards more accurate predictive attempts. Self-similar approaches offer one such alternative,
with a plausible theoretical basis in complexity theory that has demonstrable wide applicability
across the geophysical sciences. This paper explores a simple self-similar approach to the prediction
of extreme floods. Fifty river gauging records from the USA exhibiting an outlier event were
studied. Fitting a simple power law (PL) relation to events with return period of 10 years or greater
resulted in more accurate discharge and return period estimates for outlier events relative to the
Log-Pearson III model. Similar success in predicting record events is reported for 12 long-term
rainfall records from the UK. This empirical success is interpreted as evidence that self-similarity
may well represent the underlying physical processes generating hydrological variables. These
findings have important consequences for the prediction of extreme flood events; the PL model
produces return period estimates that are far more conservative than conventional distributions.

Item Type: Article
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 58184
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:40
Contact Email Address: P.A.Carling@soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/58184

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