Reassessment of flood frequency using historical information for the River Ouse at York, UK (1200-2000)

Neil Macdonald, Andrew R. Black

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    49 Citations (Scopus)


    The reassessment of flood risk at York, UK, is pertinent in light of major flooding in November 2000, and heightened concerns of a perceived increase in flooding nationally. Systematic flood level readings from 1877 and a wealth of documentary records dating back as far as 1263 AD give the City of York a long and rich history of flood records. This extended flood record provides an opportunity to reassess estimates of flood frequency over a time scale not normally possible within flood frequency analysis. This paper re-evaluates flood frequency at York, considering the strengths and weaknesses in estimates resulting from four contrasting methods of analysis and their corresponding data: (a) single-site analysis of gauged annual maxima; (b) pooled analysis of multi-site gauged annual maxima; (c) combined analysis of systematic annual maxima augmented with historical peaks, and (d) analysis of only the very largest peaks using a Generalized Pareto Distribution. Use of the historical information was found to yield risk estimates which were lower and considered to be more credible than those achieved using gauged records alone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1152-1162
    Number of pages11
    JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • floods
    • flood frequency
    • historical augmentation
    • pooled analysis
    • Generalized Pareto Distribution
    • River Ouse
    • Yorkshire
    • MODEL
    • RISK


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