DOI: 10.3390/w15152741 ISSN: 2073-4441

Copula-Based Severity–Duration–Frequency (SDF) Analysis of Streamflow Drought in the Source Area of the Yellow River, China

Mingwei Ma, Hongfei Zang, Wenchuan Wang, Huijuan Cui, Yanwei Sun, Yujia Cheng
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

In classical severity–duration–frequency (SDF) analysis, the dependence between drought characteristics is not effectively considered. The present study aims to propose the SDF relationships of streamflow drought in the source area of the Yellow River (SAYR) using a copula-based approach. Comparison of multiple time-varying threshold levels and the integration and elimination of drought events were considered. Selection of marginal probability distribution and copula-based joint probability distribution was properly conducted with multiple means. Copula-based joint and conditional probabilities were computed. The findings support carrying out integration and elimination processing on the preliminarily identified streamflow droughts through a run analysis with a time-varying threshold level of the 80% quantile of daily streamflow. The Gaussian copula was selected as the optimal model for constructing bivariate joint probability distribution, with generalized extreme value and log-normal as the suitable marginal probability distributions of streamflow drought duration and severity. The proposed copula-based SDF relationships of streamflow drought events can provide more critical information in addition to univariate frequency analysis, benefitting from the joint and conditional probabilities. The multivariate probabilistic analyses can effectively consider the connection and interaction between drought characteristics, while conditional probability distribution allows analyzing the impact of one drought characteristic on another. The results also indicate a relatively high risk of streamflow drought with short duration and low severity in the region, requiring effective drought-mitigation strategies and measures.

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