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Historical and pooled flood frequency analysis for the River Tay at Perth, Scotland

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Improved estimates of UK flood risk during a period of increased climatic variability place challenges on existing methods that rely on short instrumental records. This paper examines the value of using historical data (both documentary and epigraphic) to augment existing gauged records for the River Tay at Perth as part of a multi-method approach to assessing flood risk. Single station and pooled methods are compared with flood risk estimates based on an augmented historical series (1815–2000) using the Generalized Logistic and Generalized Pareto distributions. The value of using an even longer, but less reliable, extended historical series (1210–2000) is also examined. It is recommended that modelling flood risk for return periods >100 years should incorporate historical data, where available, and that a multi-method approach using a high threshold Generalized Pareto distribution can also add confidence in flood risk estimates for return periods <100 years based on standard methods.

Keywords: Generalized Pareto distribution; Perth; River Tay; flood risk estimates; historical data; pooling method

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: River Basin Dynamics and Hydrology Research Group, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales SY23 3DB, Email: 2: Department of Geography, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN 3: School of Environment, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ

Publication date: March 1, 2006


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