This paper investigates the effect of urbanization on the three key statistics used to establish flood frequency curves when combining the index flood method with the method of L-moments for estimating distribution parameters, i.e. the median annual maximum peak flow (the index flood), and the high-order L-moment ratios L-CV and L-SKEW. An existing procedure employing catchment descriptors was used to estimate the three statistics at ungauged sites in the UK. As-rural estimates of the three statistics were obtained in 200 urban catchments and compared to the corresponding values obtained from observed data. The (log) differences of these estimates were related to catchment descriptors relevant to the urbanization process using linear regression. The results show that urbanization leads to a reduction in L-CV but an increase in L-SKEW. A jack-knife leave-one-out experiment showed that the adjustment factors developed were generally better at predicting the effect of urbanization on the flood frequency curve than the existing adjustment factor currently used in the UK.
Keywords: FEH, flood frequency estimation, index flood, L-moments, urbanization