25 Sep 2020

25 Sep 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal HESS.

Estimating the Probability of Compound Floods in Estuarine Regions

Wenyan Wu1,2, Seth Westra2, and Michael Leonard2 Wenyan Wu et al.
  • 1The Department of Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne, 3010, Australia
  • 2The School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Adelaide, 5005, Australia

Abstract. The quantification of flood risk in estuarine regions relies on accurate estimation of flood probability, which is often challenging due to the rareness of flood events and their multi-causal (or compound) nature. Failure to consider the compounding nature of estuarine floods can lead to significant underestimation of flood risk in these regions. This study provides a comparative review of alternative approaches for estuarine flood estimation; namely, traditional univariate flood frequency analysis applied to both observed historical data and simulated data, and multivariate frequency analysis applied to flood events. Three specific implementations of the above approaches are evaluated on a case study – the estuarine portion of Swan River in Western Australia, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. The theoretical understanding of the three approaches, combined with findings from the case study, enable generation of guidance on method selection for estuarine flood probability estimation, recognising issues such as data availability, complexity of the application/analysis process, location of interest within the estuarine region, computational demands and whether or not future conditions need to be assessed.

Wenyan Wu et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Wenyan Wu et al.


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Short summary
Flood probability estimation is important for applications such as land use planning, reservoir operation, infrastructure design and safety assessments. However, it is a challenging task, especially in estuarine areas where floods are caused by both intense rainfall and storm surge. This study provides a review of approaches to flood probability estimation in these areas. Based analysis of a real-world river system, guidance on method selection is provided.