Stationary vs. Non-Stationary Modelling of Flood Frequency Distribution across North-West England

Sina Hesarkazzazi, Rezgar Arabzadeh, Mohsen Hajibabaei, Wolfgang Rauch, Thomas R. Kjeldsen, Ilaria Prosdocimi, Attilio Castellarin, Robert Sitzenfrei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Extraordinary flood events occurred recently in northwest England, with several severe floods in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Manchester area in 2004, 2009 and 2015. These clustered extraordinary events have raised the question of whether any changes in the magnitude and frequency of river flows in the region can be detected. For this purpose, the annual maximum series of 39 river gauging stations in the study area are analysed. In particular, non-stationary models that include time, annual rainfall and annual temperature as predictors are investigated. Most records demonstrate a marked non-stationary behaviour and an increase of up to 75% in flood quantile estimates during the study period. Annual rainfall explains the largest proportion of variability in the peak flow series relative to other predictors considered in our study, providing practitioners with a useful framework for updating flood quantile estimates based on the dynamics of this highly accessible and informative climate indicator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-744
Number of pages16
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number4
Early online date18 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the UK National River Flow Archive (NRFA) and National Weather Service (Met Office) for providing the river flow and climate data, respectively.


  • annual maxima (AM)
  • Cumbria
  • flood hazard assessment
  • generalized logistic (GLO) model
  • hydrological extremes
  • non-stationary flood frequency analysis
  • statistical hydrology
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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