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# Flood Frequency Analysis

## Reading: Applied Hydrology Sec 12.1

12.6
Goal: to determine design discharges
Flood economic studies require flood discharge
estimates for a range of return periods
2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 years
Flood mapping studies use a smaller number of
return periods
10, 50, 100, 500 years
100 year flood is that discharge which is equaled
or exceeded, on average, once per 100 years.
Base Map for
Sanderson, Texas

Prepared by
Laura Hurd and
David Maidment

3/17/2010

CRWR
Design discharges for flood mapping needed here

## USGS Gaging Station

08376300
USGS Annual Maximum Flood Data

http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/peak
1965 flood estimate

With dams
Hydrologic extremes
Extreme events
Floods
Droughts
Magnitude of extreme events is related to their
frequency of occurrence
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Magnitude
Frequency of occurence
The objective of frequency analysis is to relate the
magnitude of events to their frequency of
occurrence through probability distribution
It is assumed the events (data) are independent and
come from identical distribution

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Return Period
Random variable: X
Threshold level: xT

## Extreme event occurs if: X xT

Recurrence interval: Time between ocurrences of X x
T

Return Period: E ( )
Average recurrence interval between events equaling or
exceeding a threshold
If p is the probability of occurrence of an extreme
event, then E ( ) T 1
p

or 1
P ( X xT )
T
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More on return period
If p is probability of success, then (1-p) is the
probability of failure
Find probability that (X xT) at least once in N years.

p P( X xT )
P( X xT ) (1 p )
P( X xT at least once in N years) 1 P( X xT all N years)
N
1
P( X xT at least once in N years) 1 (1 p ) N 1 1
T
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Frequency Factors
Previous example only works if distribution is
invertible, many are not.
Once a distribution has been selected and its
parameters estimated, then how do we use it?
Chow proposed using: xT x KT s
xT Estimated event magnitude fX(x)

## where KT Frequency factor x

KT s

T Return period P ( X xT )
1
T
x Sample mean
s Sample standard deviation xT x
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Return period example
Dataset annual maximum discharge for 106
years on Colorado River near Austin
xT = 200,000 cfs
600

500
No. of occurrences = 3
Annual Max Flow (10 3 cfs)

400
2 recurrence intervals
in 106 years
300
T = 106/2 = 53 years
200

100

0
If xT = 100, 000 cfs
1905 1908 1918 1927 1938 1948 1958 1968 1978 1988 1998
7 recurrence intervals
Year

## T = 106/7 = 15.2 yrs

P( X 100,000 cfs at least once in the next 5 years) = 1- (1-1/15.2)5 = 0.29
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Data series
600

500
Annual Max Flow (10 3 cfs)

400

300

200

100

0
1905 1908 1918 1927 1938 1948 1958 1968 1978 1988 1998

Year

## Considering annual maximum series, T for 200,000 cfs = 53 years.

The annual maximum flow for 1935 is 481 cfs. The annual maximum data series
probably excluded some flows that are greater than 200 cfs and less than 481 cfs
Will the T change if we consider monthly maximum
12 series or weekly maximum series?
Hydrologic data series

## Complete duration series

All the data available
Partial duration series
Magnitude greater than base value
Annual exceedance series
Partial duration series with # of
values = # years
Extreme value series
Includes largest or smallest values in
equal intervals
Annual series: interval = 1 year
Annual maximum series: largest
values
Annual minimum series : smallest
values

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Probability distributions
Normal family
Normal, lognormal, lognormal-III
Generalized extreme value family
EV1 (Gumbel), GEV, and EVIII (Weibull)
Exponential/Pearson type family
Exponential, Pearson type III, Log-Pearson type
III

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Normal distribution
Central limit theorem if X is the sum of n
independent and identically distributed random variables
with finite variance, then with increasing n the distribution of
X becomes normal regardless of the distribution of random
variables
pdf for normal distribution
2
1 x
1
2
f X ( x) e
2
is the mean and is the standard
deviation

## Hydrologic variables such as annual precipitation, annual average streamflow, or

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Standard Normal distribution
A standard normal distribution is a normal
distribution with mean () = 0 and standard
deviation () = 1
Normal distribution is transformed to
standard normal distribution by using the
following formula:
X
z

z is called the standard normal variable
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Lognormal distribution
If the pdf of X is skewed, its not
normally distributed
If the pdf of Y = log (X) is
normally distributed, then X is
said to be lognormally
distributed.
1 ( y y )2
f ( x) exp x 0, and y log x
x 2 2 y
2

## Hydraulic conductivity, distribution of raindrop sizes in storm follow

lognormal distribution.

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Extreme value (EV) distributions
Extreme values maximum or minimum
values of sets of data
Annual maximum discharge, annual minimum
discharge
When the number of selected extreme values
is large, the distribution converges to one of
the three forms of EV distributions called Type
I, II and III

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EV type I distribution
If M1, M2, Mn be a set of daily rainfall or streamflow,
and let X = max(Mi) be the maximum for the year. If
Mi are independent and identically distributed, then
for large n, X has an extreme value type I or Gumbel
distribution.
1 x u x u
f ( x) exp exp

6sx
u x 0.5772

## Distribution of annual maximum streamflow follows an EV1 distribution

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EV type III distribution
If Wi are the minimum streamflows
in different days of the year, let X =
min(Wi) be the smallest. X can be
described by the EV type III or
Weibull distribution.

k x
k 1
x k
f ( x) exp x 0; , k 0

## Distribution of low flows (eg. 7-day min flow)

follows EV3 distribution.

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Exponential distribution
Poisson process a stochastic
process in which the number of
events occurring in two disjoint
subintervals are independent
random variables.
In hydrology, the interarrival time
(time between stochastic hydrologic
events) is described by exponential
distribution

x 1
f ( x ) e x 0;
x

## Interarrival times of polluted runoffs, rainfall intensities, etc are described by

exponential distribution.
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Gamma Distribution
The time taken for a number of
events (b) in a Poisson process is
described by the gamma distribution
Gamma distribution a distribution
of sum of b independent and
identical exponentially distributed
random variables.

b x b 1e x
f ( x) x 0; gamma function
( b )
Skewed distributions (eg. hydraulic
conductivity) can be represented using
gamma without log transformation.
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Pearson Type III
Named after the statistician Pearson, it is also
called three-parameter gamma distribution. A
lower bound is introduced through the third
parameter (e)
b ( x e ) b 1 e ( x e )
f ( x) x e ; gamma function
( b )

## It is also a skewed distribution first applied in hydrology for

describing the pdf of annual maximum flows.

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Log-Pearson Type III
If log X follows a Person Type III distribution,
then X is said to have a log-Pearson Type III
distribution
b ( y e ) b 1 e ( y e )
f ( x) y log x e
( b )

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Frequency analysis for extreme events
Q. Find a flow (or any other event) that has a return period of T years

x u x u
f ( x)
1
exp exp x u EV1 pdf and cdf
F ( x) exp exp
6sx
u x 0.5772

x u
Define a reduced variable y y

F ( x) exp exp( y )
y ln lnF ( x) ln ln(1 p) where p P(x xT )
1
yT ln ln1
T
If you know T, you can find yT, and once yT is know, xT can be computed by

xT u yT 25
Example 12.2.1
Given annual maxima for 10-minute storms
Find 5- & 50-year return period 10-minute
storms
x 0.649 in
s 0.177 in
6s 6 * 0.177 u x 0.5772 0.649 0.5772 * 0.138 0.569
0.138

T 5
y5 ln ln ln ln 1.5
T 1 5 1
x5 u y5 0.569 0.138 *1.5 0.78 in

x50 1.11in

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Normal Distribution
2
1 x
Normal distribution 1
2
f X ( x) e
2
xT x
KT zT
s
So the frequency factor for the Normal
Distribution is the standard normal variate

xT x KT s x zT s

## Example: 50 year return period

1
T 50; p 0.02; K 50 z50 2.054 Look in Table 11.2.1 or use NORMSINV (.) in
EXCEL or see page 390 in the text book
50
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EV-I (Gumbel) Distribution
x u T
F ( x) exp exp
6s
u x 0.5772 yT ln ln
T 1

xT u yT
6 6 T
x 0.5772 s s ln ln
T 1
6 T
x 0.5772 ln ln s
T 1

xT x KT s

6 T
KT 0.5772 ln ln
T 1

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Example 12.3.2

## Given annual maximum rainfall, calculate 5-yr

storm using frequency factor
6 T
KT 0.5772 ln ln
T 1

6 5
KT 0 .5772 ln ln 0.719
5 1

xT x KT s
0.649 0.719 0.177
0.78 in

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Probability plots
Probability plot is a graphical tool to assess
whether or not the data fits a particular
distribution.
The data are fitted against a theoretical
distribution in such as way that the points should
form approximately a straight line (distribution
function is linearized)
Departures from a straight line indicate
departure from the theoretical distribution

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Normal probability plot
Steps
1. Rank the data from largest (m = 1) to smallest (m = n)
2. Assign plotting position to the data
1. Plotting position an estimate of exccedance probability
2. Use p = (m-3/8)/(n + 0.15)
3. Find the standard normal variable z corresponding to the
plotting position (use -NORMSINV (.) in Excel)
4. Plot the data against z
If the data falls on a straight line, the data comes from
a normal distributionI

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Normal Probability Plot
600

500
Data
Q (1000 cfs)

400 Normal

300
200

100

0
-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Standard normal variable (z)

## Annual maximum flows for Colorado River near Austin, TX

The pink line you see on the plot is xT for T = 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 derived
using the frequency factor technique for normal distribution.
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EV1 probability plot
Steps
1. Sort the data from largest to smallest
2. Assign plotting position using Gringorten
formula pi = (m 0.44)/(n + 0.12)
3. Calculate reduced variate yi = -ln(-ln(1-pi))
4. Plot sorted data against yi
If the data falls on a straight line, the data
comes from an EV1 distribution

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EV1 probability plot
600

500

Data
400 EV1
Q (1000 cfs)

300

200

100

0
-2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
EV1 reduced variate

## Annual maximum flows for Colorado River near Austin, TX

The pink line you see on the plot is xT for T = 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 derived
using the frequency factor technique for EV1 distribution.
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HW 10 will be posted online sometime this
week. The due date is April 25
Next class Exam 2

Questions??

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