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Title: The incidence of extreme climatic rainfall in Thailand
Author: Gale, E. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 8369
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Extreme climatic rainfall, defined as extreme rainfall over monthly to annual timescales with a return period of 10 years or more, is common in Thailand due to its location and climate. Flooding from persistent heavy rainfall causes much of the insured and economic losses from natural hazards in the country. Despite this, there is little detailed historical information regarding the incidence of extreme climatic rainfall in Thailand. In this study I aimed to quantify the incidence of extreme climatic rainfall in Thailand, primarily through return period analysis. I used gridded (1901-2012) rainfall data to produce distribution-fitted return period curves with uncertainties, and then derived a catalogue of return period maps for Thailand. Extreme climatic precipitation events were identified for further study, including the 2011 flood, which caused the highest ever insured loss (US$12 billion) from a freshwater flood disaster worldwide. For each event, I examined the nature, impacts, rainfall totals and anomalies, and climate causes. Return period analysis assessed the likelihood of re-occurrence of each event. The extreme climatic rainfall return periods varied depending on length of dataset and the fitted distribution used. Various estimates suggest a precipitation return period of 79 (August), 385 (June-August) and 164 years (annual) for 1942, 1995 and 2011 respectively. Analysis found that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was the primary driver of interannual rainfall variability in Thailand. Rainfall during a La Niña phase was, on average, 8.7% higher than during an El Niño phase. This difference increased when the ENSO event persisted in the same phase for multiple years; rainfall was 14.4% higher during multi-year La Niña events than during multi-year El Niño events. These findings are of particular importance to the insurance and risk management industry, and the methodology is easily transferable for use in other Southeast Asian countries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available