Likelihood estimation of the extremal index
The article develops the approach of Ferro and Segers (2003) to the estimation of the extremal index, and proposes the use of a new variable decreasing the bias of the likelihood based on the point process character of the exceedances. Two estimators are discussed: a maximum likelihood estimator and an iterative least squares estimator based on the normalized gaps between clusters. The first provides a flexible tool for use with smoothing methods. A diagnostic is given for the condition under which maximum likelihood is valid. The performance of the new estimators were tested by extensive simulations. An application to the Central England temperature series demonstrates the use of the maximum likelihood estimator together with smoothing methods.