Improving statistical models of large scale flood events

We are working with Lancaster University to develop improved statistical models for extreme river flow events that can cause both localised and widespread flooding.

Post-doctoral researcher Ross Towe is working with JBA and Professor Jon Tawn at Lancaster to improve methods developed in previous research based on extreme value theory.

The new work is helping us to use measurements of river levels from over a thousand gauging stations in the UK to build mathematical models for the joint probability of plausible, extreme flood events occurring anywhere on the river network. The models are inherently calibrated to match historical observations and to incorporate information in those observations about how different places may be more or less likely to be affected by flooding during the same events.

The important advances in this research include a more general and flexible approach to deal with missing values in observed data sets, efficiency gains in the algorithms applied to compute flood event probabilities and the incorporation of information from rainfall records to improve the spatial estimation of extreme river flows.

All the interim research outputs and resources are available on our ‘Publications and Resources’ pages and include:

  • a poster explaining more about the project, likely outputs and challenges
  • a presentation about how multivariate statistical models are used to aid flood risk assessment
  • a workshop slide pack and exercises that use a coastal flooding case study to explore extreme event analysis

Ross has also written about his experience of carrying out the research.

The work is supported by Innovate UK through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which builds on strong existing research links between Lancaster University and JBA.

Who we are working with

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP) to employ Ross Towe.  KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Innovate UK along with the other government funding organisations.

JBA Trust resources