Nonparametric Monte Carlo simulation for flood frequency curve derivation: An application to a Korean watershed

Hyun Han Kwon, Young Il Moon, Abedalrazq F. Khalil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A mix of causative mechanisms may be responsible for flood at a site. Floods may be caused because of extreme rainfall or rain on other rainfall events. The statistical attributes of these events differ according to the watershed characteristics and the causes. Traditional methods of flood frequency analysis are only adequate for specific situations. Also, to address the uncertainty of flood frequency estimates for hydraulic structures, a series of probabilistic analyses of rainfall-runoff and flow routing models, and their associated inputs, are used. This is a complex problem in that the probability distributions of multiple independent and derived random variables need to be estimated to evaluate the probability of floods. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to develop a flood frequency curve derivation method driven by multiple random variables and to develop a tool that can consider the uncertainties of design floods. This study focuses on developing a flood frequency curve based on nonparametric statistical methods for the estimation of probabilities of rare floods that are more appropriate in Korea. To derive the frequency curve, rainfall generation using the nonparametric kernel density estimation approach is proposed. Many flood events are simulated by nonparametric Monte Carlo simulations coupled with the center Latin hypercube sampling method to estimate the associated uncertainty. This study applies the methods described to a Korean watershed. The results provide higher physical appropriateness and reasonable estimates of design flood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1316-1328
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Center Latin hypercube sampling
  • Flood frequency curve
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Nonparametric kernel density estimation
  • Uncertainty analysis


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