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Gewählte Publikation:

Laaha, G.
(2023): A mixed distribution approach for low-flow frequency analysis - Part 2: Comparative assessment of a mixed probability vs. copula-based dependence framework
HYDROL EARTH SYST SC. 2023; 27(10): 2019-2034. FullText FullText_BOKU

In climates with a warm and a cold season, low flows are generated by different processes, which violates the homogeneity assumption of extreme value statistics. In this second part of a two-part series, we extend the mixed probability estimator of the companion paper to deal with dependency of seasonal events. We formulate a copula-based estimator for seasonal minima series and examine it in a hydrological context. The estimator is a valid generalization of the annual probability estimator and provides a consistent framework for estimating return periods of summer, winter, and annual events. Using archetypal examples we show that differences in the mixed estimator are always observed in the upper part of the distribution, which is less relevant for low-flow frequency analysis. The differences decrease as the return period increases so that both models coincide for the severest events. In a quantitative evaluation, we test the performance of the copula estimator on a pan-European data set. We find a large gain of both mixed distribution approaches over the annual estimator, making these approaches highly relevant for Europe as a whole. We then examine the relative performance gain of the mixed copula versus the mixed distribution approach in more detail. The analysis shows that the differences in the 100-year event are actually minimal. However, the differences in 2-year events are considerable in some of the catchments, with a relative deviation of -15 % to -25 % in the most affected regions. This points to a prediction bias of the mixed probability estimator that can be corrected using the copula approach. Using multiple regression models, we show that the performance gain can be well explained on hydrological grounds, with weak seasonality leading to a high potential for corrections and strong seasonal correlation reinforcing the need to take this potential into account. Accordingly, the greatest differences can be observed in mid-mountain regions in cold and temperate climates, where rivers have a strongly mixed low-flow regime. This finding is of particular relevance for event mapping, where regional severity can be misinterpreted when the seasonal correlation is neglected. We conclude that the two mixed probability estimators are quite similar, and both are conceptually more adequate than the annual minima approach for mixed summer and winter low-flow regimes. In regions with strong seasonal correlation the mixed copula estimator appears most appropriate and should be preferred over the mixed distribution approach.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Atif Muhammad
Laaha Gregor

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