Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Research article
29 Feb 2012
Research article |  | 29 Feb 2012

Assessing the hydrodynamic boundary conditions for risk analyses in coastal areas: a multivariate statistical approach based on Copula functions

T. Wahl, C. Mudersbach, and J. Jensen

Abstract. This paper presents an advanced approach to statistically analyse storm surge events. In former studies the highest water level during a storm surge event usually was the only parameter that was used for the statistical assessment. This is not always sufficient, especially when statistically analysing storm surge scenarios for event-based risk analyses. Here, Archimedean Copula functions are applied and allow for the consideration of further important parameters in addition to the highest storm surge water levels. First, a bivariate model is presented and used to estimate exceedance probabilities of storm surges (for two tide gauges in the German Bight) by jointly analysing the important storm surge parameters "highest turning point" and "intensity". Second, another dimension is added and a trivariate fully nested Archimedean Copula model is applied to additionally incorporate the significant wave height as an important wave parameter. With the presented methodology, reliable and realistic exceedance probabilities are derived and can be considered (among others) for integrated flood risk analyses contributing to improve the overall results. It is highlighted that the concept of Copulas represents a promising alternative for facing multivariate problems in coastal engineering.