Semiparametric Bayesian Risk Estimation for Complex Extremes

Extreme events are responsible for huge material damage and are costly in terms of their human and economic impacts. They strike all facets of modern society, such as physical infrastructure and insurance companies through environmental hazards, banking and finance through stock market crises, and the internet and communication systems through network and server overloads. It is thus of increasing importance to accurately assess the risk of extreme events in order to mitigate them. Extreme value theory is a statistical approach to extrapolation of probabilities beyond the range of the data, which provides a robust framework to learn from an often small number of recorded extreme events. In this thesis, we consider a conditional approach to modelling extreme values that is more flexible than standard models for simultaneously extreme events. We explore the subasymptotic properties of this conditional approach and prove that in specific situations its finite-sample behaviour can differ significantly from its limit characterisation. For modelling extremes in time series with short-range dependence, the standard peaks-over-threshold method relies on a pre-processing step that retains only a subset of observations exceeding a high threshold and can result in badly-biased estimates. This method focuses on the marginal distribution of the extremes and does not estimate temporal extremal dependence. We propose a new methodology to model time series extremes using Bayesian semiparametrics and allowing estimation of functionals of clusters of extremes. We apply our methodology to model river flow data in England and improve flood risk assessment by explicitly describing extremal dependence in time, using information from all exceedances of a high threshold. We develop two new bivariate models which are based on the conditional tail approach, and use all observations having at least one extreme component in our inference procedure, thus extracting more information from the data than existing approaches. We compare the efficiency of these models in a simulation study and discuss generalisations to higher-dimensional setups. Existing models for extremes of Markov chains generally rely on a strong assumption of asymptotic dependence at all lags and separately consider marginal and joint features. We introduce a more flexible model and show how Bayesian semiparametrics can provide a suitable framework allowing simultaneous inference for the margins and the extremal dependence structure, yielding efficient risk estimates and a reliable assessment of uncertainty.

Davison, Anthony C.
Tawn, Jonathan A.
Lausanne, EPFL

 Record created 2018-04-25, last modified 2019-10-04

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