Bivariate Rainfall and Runoff Analysis Using Entropy and Copula Theories
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Multivariate hydrologic frequency analysis has been widely studied using: (1) commonly known joint distributions or copula functions with the assumption of univariate variables being independently identically distributed (I.I.D.) random variables; or (2) directly applying the entropy theory-based framework. However, for the I.I.D. univariate random variable assumption, the univariate variable may be considered as independently distributed, but it may not be identically distributed; and secondly, the commonly applied Pearson’s coefficient of correlation (y) is not able to capture the nonlinear dependence structure that usually exists. Thus, this study attempts to combine the copula theory with the entropy theory for bivariate rainfall and runoff analysis. The entropy theory is applied to derive the univariate rainfall and runoff distributions. It permits the incorporation of given or known information, codified in the form of constraints and results in a universal solution of univariate probability distributions. The copula theory is applied to determine the joint rainfall-runoff distribution. Application of the copula theory results in: (i) the detection of the nonlinear dependence between the correlated random variables-rainfall and runoff, and (ii) capturing the tail dependence for risk analysis through joint return period and conditional return period of rainfall and runoff. The methodology is validated using annual daily maximum rainfall and the corresponding daily runoff (discharge) data collected from watersheds near Riesel, Texas (small agricultural experimental watersheds) and Cuyahoga River watershed, Ohio.
Principle of maximum entropy
Univariate probability distribution
DepartmentBiological and Agricultural Engineering (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
- Faculty Publications 
Singh, Vijay P.; Zhang, Lan (2012). Bivariate Rainfall and Runoff Analysis Using Entropy and Copula Theories. Available electronically from