Alternation of droughts and ﬂoods (ADFEs); standardized streamﬂow index (SSI); regional frequency analysis; multivariate L-moments; copula functions; Huai River Basin (HRB).
Under the current condition of climate change, droughts and floods occur more frequently, and events in which flooding occurs after a prolonged drought or a drought occurs after an extreme flood may have a more severe impact on natural systems and human lives. This challenges the traditional approach wherein droughts and floods are considered separately, which may largely underestimate the risk of the disasters. In our study, the sudden alternation of droughts and flood events (ADFEs) between adjacent seasons is studied using the multivariate L-moments theory and the bivariate copula functions in the Huai River Basin (HRB) of China with monthly streamflow data at 32 hydrological stations from 1956 to 2012. The dry and wet conditions are characterized by the standardized streamflow index (SSI) at a 3-month time scale. The results show that: (1) The summer streamflow makes the largest contribution to the annual streamflow, followed by the autumn streamflow and spring streamflow. (2) The entire study area can be divided into five homogeneous sub-regions using the multivariate regional homogeneity test. The generalized logistic distribution (GLO) and log-normal distribution (LN3) are acceptable to be the optimal marginal distributions under most conditions, and the Frank copula is more appropriate for spring-summer and summer-autumn SSI series. Continuous flood events dominate at most sites both in spring-summer and summer-autumn (with an average frequency of 13.78% and 17.06%, respectively), while continuous drought events come second (with an average frequency of 11.27% and 13.79%, respectively). Moreover, seasonal ADFEs most probably occurred near the mainstream of HRB, and drought and flood events are more likely to occur in summer-autumn than in spring-summer.