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Water 2018, 10(2), 179; doi:10.3390/w10020179

Return Level Estimation of Extreme Rainfall over the Iberian Peninsula: Comparison of Methods

Dpto. Física, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. de Elvas s/n, 06006 Badajoz, Spain
Instituto Universitario de Investigación del Agua, Cambio Climático y Sostenibilidad (IACYS), Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. de Elvas s/n, 06006 Badajoz, Spain
Électricité de France/Recherche et Développement EDF/R&D, 6 Quai Watier, 78401 Chatou CEDEX, France
Laboratoire de Mathématiques, Université Paris 11, 91405 Orsay, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4598 KB, uploaded 9 February 2018]   |  


Different ways to estimate future return levels (RLs) for extreme rainfall, based on extreme value theory (EVT), are described and applied to the Iberian Peninsula (IP). The study was done for an ensemble of high quality rainfall time series observed in the IP during the period 1961–2010. Two approaches, peaks-over-threshold (POT) and block maxima (BM) with the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution, were compared in order to identify which is the more appropriate for the estimation of RLs. For the first approach, which identifies trends in the parameters of the asymptotic distributions of extremes, both all-days and rainy-days-only datasets were considered because a major fraction of values of daily rainfall over the IP is zero. For the second approach, rainy-days-only data were considered showing how the mean, variance and number of rainy days evolve. The 20-year RLs expected for 2020 were estimated using these methods for three seasons: autumn, spring and winter. The GEV is less reliable than the POT because fixed blocks lead to the selection of non-extreme values. Future RLs obtained with the POT are greater than those estimated with the GEV, mainly because some gauges show significant positive trends for the number of rainy days. Autumn, rather than winter, is currently the season with the heaviest rainfall for some regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: extreme value theory; return levels; extreme rainfall extreme value theory; return levels; extreme rainfall

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Acero, F.J.; Parey, S.; García, J.A.; Dacunha-Castelle, D. Return Level Estimation of Extreme Rainfall over the Iberian Peninsula: Comparison of Methods. Water 2018, 10, 179.

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