Concept

Return period

Summary
A return period, also known as a recurrence interval or repeat interval, is an average time or an estimated average time between events such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, or river discharge flows to occur. It is a statistical measurement typically based on historic data over an extended period, and is used usually for risk analysis. Examples include deciding whether a project should be allowed to go forward in a zone of a certain risk or designing structures to withstand events with a certain return period. The following analysis assumes that the probability of the event occurring does not vary over time and is independent of past events. Estimating a return period Recurrence interval = {n+1\over m} :n number of years on record; :m is the rank of observed occurrences when arranged in descending order For floods, the event may be measured in terms of m3/s or height; for storm surges, in terms of the height of the surge, and similarly for other events.
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