American Society of Civil Engineers

Regional Flood Frequency Analysis Using Two-Level Clustering Approach

by V. V. Srinivas, (Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India E-mail:, A. Ramachandra Rao, (School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907), Shivam Tripathi, (School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907), and Rao S. Govindaraju, (School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 E-mail:
Section: Regional Rainfall Frequency Analyses, pp. 1-10, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2007: Restoring Our Natural Habitat
Abstract: Clustering techniques are used in regional flood frequency analysis (RFFA) to partition watersheds into natural groups or regions with similar hydrologic responses. The linear Kohonen’s self-organizing feature map (SOFM) has been applied as a clustering technique for RFFA in several recent studies. However, it is seldom possible to interpret clusters from the output of an SOFM, irrespective of its size and dimensionality. In this study, we demonstrate that SOFMs may, however, serve as a useful precursor to clustering algorithms. We present a two-level. SOFM-based clustering approach to form regions for FFA. In the first level, the SOFM is used to form a two-dimensional feature map. In the second level, the output nodes of SOFM are clustered using Fuzzy c-means algorithm to form regions. The optimal number of regions is based on fuzzy cluster validation measures. Effectiveness of the proposed approach in forming homogeneous regions for FFA is illustrated through application to data from watersheds in Indiana, USA. Results show that the performance of the proposed approach to form regions is better than that based on classical SOFM.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Flood frequency