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Publication# High-dimensional peaks-over-threshold inference

Abstract

Max-stable processes are increasingly widely used for modelling complex extreme events, but existing fitting methods are computationally demanding, limiting applications to a few dozen variables. r-Pareto processes are mathematically simpler and have the potential advantage of incorporating all relevant extreme events, by generalizing the notion of a univariate exceedance. In this paper we investigate the use of proper scoring rules for high-dimensional peaks-overthreshold inference, focusing on extreme-value processes associated with log-Gaussian random functions, and compare gradient score estimators with the spectral and censored likelihood estimators for regularly varying distributions with normalized marginals, using data with several hundred locations. When simulating from the true model, the spectral estimator performs best, closely followed by the gradient score estimator, but censored likelihood estimation performs better with simulations from the domain of attraction, though it is outperformed by the gradient score in cases of weak extremal dependence. We illustrate the potential and flexibility of our ideas by modelling extreme rainfall on a grid with 3600 locations, based on exceedances for locally intense and for spatially accumulated rainfall, and discuss diagnostics of model fit. The differences between the two fitted models highlight how the definition of rare events affects the estimated dependence structure.

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In statistics, the informant (or score) is the gradient of the log-likelihood function with respect to the parameter vector. Evaluated at a particular point of the parameter vector, the score indicates the steepness of the log-likelihood function and thereby the sensitivity to infinitesimal changes to the parameter values. If the log-likelihood function is continuous over the parameter space, the score will vanish at a local maximum or minimum; this fact is used in maximum likelihood estimation to find the parameter values that maximize the likelihood function.

Maximum likelihood estimation

In statistics, maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) is a method of estimating the parameters of an assumed probability distribution, given some observed data. This is achieved by maximizing a likelihood function so that, under the assumed statistical model, the observed data is most probable. The point in the parameter space that maximizes the likelihood function is called the maximum likelihood estimate. The logic of maximum likelihood is both intuitive and flexible, and as such the method has become a dominant means of statistical inference.

Score test

In statistics, the score test assesses constraints on statistical parameters based on the gradient of the likelihood function—known as the score—evaluated at the hypothesized parameter value under the null hypothesis. Intuitively, if the restricted estimator is near the maximum of the likelihood function, the score should not differ from zero by more than sampling error. While the finite sample distributions of score tests are generally unknown, they have an asymptotic χ2-distribution under the null hypothesis as first proved by C.

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