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Water 2017, 9(5), 320; doi:10.3390/w9050320

Comparative Study on the Selection Criteria for Fitting Flood Frequency Distribution Models with Emphasis on Upper-Tail Behavior

1
Center for Water Resources and Environment, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
2
Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Water Security, Southern China of Guangdong High Education Institute, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
3
CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics, Private Bag No 5, Wembley 6913, Australia
4
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology–Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
5
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo N-0316, Norway
6
Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marco Franchini
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
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Abstract

The upper tail of a flood frequency distribution is always specifically concerned with flood control. However, different model selection criteria often give different optimal distributions when the focus is on the upper tail of distribution. With emphasis on the upper-tail behavior, five distribution selection criteria including two hypothesis tests and three information-based criteria are evaluated in selecting the best fitted distribution from eight widely used distributions by using datasets from Thames River, Wabash River, Beijiang River and Huai River. The performance of the five selection criteria is verified by using a composite criterion with focus on upper tail events. This paper demonstrated an approach for optimally selecting suitable flood frequency distributions. Results illustrate that (1) there are different selections of frequency distributions in the four rivers by using hypothesis tests and information-based criteria approaches. Hypothesis tests are more likely to choose complex, parametric models, and information-based criteria prefer to choose simple, effective models. Different selection criteria have no particular tendency toward the tail of the distribution; (2) The information-based criteria perform better than hypothesis tests in most cases when the focus is on the goodness of predictions of the extreme upper tail events. The distributions selected by information-based criteria are more likely to be close to true values than the distributions selected by hypothesis test methods in the upper tail of the frequency curve; (3) The proposed composite criterion not only can select the optimal distribution, but also can evaluate the error of estimated value, which often plays an important role in the risk assessment and engineering design. In order to decide on a particular distribution to fit the high flow, it would be better to use the composite criterion. View Full-Text
Keywords: flood frequency analysis; probability distributions; hypothesis testing; information-based criteria; upper-tail behavior flood frequency analysis; probability distributions; hypothesis testing; information-based criteria; upper-tail behavior
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Chen, X.; Shao, Q.; Xu, C.-Y.; Zhang, J.; Zhang, L.; Ye, C. Comparative Study on the Selection Criteria for Fitting Flood Frequency Distribution Models with Emphasis on Upper-Tail Behavior. Water 2017, 9, 320.

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