Historical and paleoflood information can substantially improve flood frequency estimates if appropriate statistical procedures are properly applied. However, the Federal guidelines for flood frequency analysis, set forth in Bulletin 17B, rely on an inefficient "weighting" procedure that fails to take advantage of historical and paleoflood information. This has led researchers to propose several more efficient alternatives including the Expected Moments Algorithm (EMA), which is attractive because it retains Bulletin 17B's statistical structure (method of moments with the Log Pearson Type 3 distribution) and thus can be easily integrated into flood analyses employing the rest of the Bulletin 17B approach. The practical utility of EMA, however, has been limited because no closed-form method has been available for quantifying the uncertainty of EMA-based flood quantile estimates. This paper addresses that concern by providing analytical expressions for the asymptotic variance of EMA flood-quantile estimators and confidence intervals for flood quantile estimates. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate the properties of such confidence intervals for sites where a 25- to 100-year streamgage record is augmented by 50 to 150 years of historical information. The experiments show that the confidence intervals, though not exact, should be acceptable for most purposes.
Additional publication details
Confidence intervals for expected moments algorithm flood quantile estimates