Parameter uncertainty and nonstationarity in regional extreme rainfall frequency analysis in Qu River Basin, East China

Friday, 19 December 2014
Qian Zhu, Yue-ping Xu and Haiting Gu, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Traditionally, regional frequency analysis methods were developed for stationary environmental conditions. Nevertheless, recent studies have identified significant changes in hydrological records, leading to the ‘death’ of stationarity. Besides, uncertainty in hydrological frequency analysis is persistent. This study aims to investigate the impact of one of the most important uncertainty sources, parameter uncertainty, together with nonstationarity, on design rainfall depth in Qu River Basin, East China. A spatial bootstrap is first proposed to analyze the uncertainty of design rainfall depth estimated by regional frequency analysis based on L-moments and estimated on at-site scale. Meanwhile, a method combining the generalized additive models with 30-year moving window is employed to analyze non-stationarity existed in the extreme rainfall regime. The results show that the uncertainties of design rainfall depth with 100-year return period under stationary conditions estimated by regional spatial bootstrap can reach 15.07% and 12.22% with GEV and PE3 respectively. On at-site scale, the uncertainties can reach 17.18% and 15.44% with GEV and PE3 respectively. In non-stationary conditions, the uncertainties of maximum rainfall depth (corresponding to design rainfall depth) with 0.01 annual exceedance probability (corresponding to 100-year return period) are 23.09% and 13.83% with GEV and PE3 respectively. Comparing the 90% confidence interval, the uncertainty of design rainfall depth resulted from parameter uncertainty is less than that from non-stationarity frequency analysis with GEV, however, slightly larger with PE3. This study indicates that the spatial bootstrap can be successfully applied to analyze the uncertainty of design rainfall depth on both regional and at-site scales. And the non-stationary analysis shows that the differences between non-stationary quantiles and their stationary equivalents are important for decision makes of water resources management and risk management.