2015 – Improved Rare Design Rainfalls for Australia

J.H. Green; C. Beesley; C. The and S. Podger

Rare design rainfalls for probabilities less frequent than 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) are an essential part of spillway adequacy assessment as they enable more accurate definition of the design rainfall and flood frequency curves between the 1% AEP and Probable Maximum events.

Estimates for rare design rainfalls were previously derived using the CRC-FORGE method which was developed in the 1990s. However, as the method was applied on a state-by-state basis, there are variations in the approach adopted for each region. Differences in the cut-off period for data, the amount of quality controlling of the data undertaken, the base used for the 2% AEP estimates, gridding settings and smoothing processes have created inconsistencies which are particularly apparent in overlapping state border areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology has derived new rare design rainfalls for the whole of Australia using the extensive, quality-controlled rainfall database established for the new Intensity-Frequency-Duration (IFD) design rainfalls. These data have been analysed using a regional LH-moments approach which is more consistent with the method used to derive the new IFDs and which overcomes the limitations of the spatial dependence model in the CRC-FORGE method. In particular, the selection and verification of homogenous regions and the identification of the most appropriate regional probability distribution to adopt relied heavily on the outcomes of the testing of methods undertaken for the new IFDs. However, to focus the analysis on the rarer rainfall events, only the largest events have been used to define the LH-moments.

Keywords: Rare design rainfalls; Intensity-Frequency-Duration (IFD); Annual Exceedance Probability

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