Title: Causal mechanism of extreme river discharges in the upper Danube basin network
Authors: Linda Mhalla - HEC Montreal (Canada) [presenting]
Valerie Chavez-Demoulin - University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
Debbie Dupuis - HEC Montreal (Canada)
Abstract: Extreme hydrological events in the Danube river basin have tragic consequences for human populations, living aquatic organisms, and the economic activity. One often characterizes the joint structure of the extreme events using the theory of multivariate and spatial extremes and its asymptotically justified models. There is interest however in cascading extreme events and whether one event causes another. We argue that an improved understanding of the mechanism underlying severe events is achieved by combining extreme value modelling and causal discovery. We construct a causal inference method relying on the notion of Kolmogorov complexity of extreme conditional quantiles. Tail quantities are derived using multivariate extreme value models and causal-induced asymmetries in the data are explored through the minimum description length principle. Owing to the developed methodology, we uncover causal relations between summer extreme river discharges in the upper Danube basin and find significant causal links between the Danube and its Alpine tributary Lech.