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Inference for new environmental contours using extreme value analysis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/03/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date18/03/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Environmental contours are often used in engineering applications to describe risky combinations of variables according to some definition of an exceedance probability. These contours can be used to both understand multivariate extreme events in environmental processes and mitigate against their effects, e.g., in the design of structures. Such ideas are also useful in other disciplines, with the types of extreme events of interest depending on the context. Despite clear connections with extreme value modelling, much of this methodology has so far not been exploited in the estimation of environmental contours; in this work, we provide a way to unify these areas. We focus on the bivariate case, introducing two new definitions of environmental contours. We develop techniques for their inference which exploit a non-standard radial and angular decomposition of the variables, building on previous work for estimating limit sets. Specifically, we model the upper tails of the radial distribution using a generalised Pareto distribution, with adaptable smoothing of the parameters of this distribution. Our methods work equally well for asymptotically independent and asymptotically dependent variables, so do not require us to distinguish between different joint tail forms. Simulations demonstrate reasonable success of the estimation procedure, and we apply our approach to an air pollution data set, which is of interest in the context of environmental impacts on health.