Nevin Manimala Statistics

Assessing dependence between frequency and severity through shared random effects

PLoS One. 2022 Aug 19;17(8):e0271904. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271904. eCollection 2022.


Research on the occurrence and the final size of wildland fires typically models these two events as two separate processes. In this work, we develop and apply a compound process framework for jointly modelling the frequency and the severity of wildland fires. Separate modelling structures for the frequency and the size of fires are linked through a shared random effect. This allows us to fit an appropriate model for frequency and an appropriate model for size of fires while still having a method to estimate the direction and strength of the relationship (e.g., whether days with more fires are associated with days with large fires). The joint estimation of this random effect shares information between the models without assuming a causal structure. We explore spatial and temporal autocorrelation of the random effects to identify additional variation not explained by the inclusion of weather related covariates. The dependence between frequency and size of lightning-caused fires is found to be negative, indicating that an increase in the number of expected fires is associated with a decrease in the expected size of those fires, possibly due to the rainy conditions necessary for an increase in lightning. Person-caused fires were found to be positively dependent, possibly due to dry weather increasing human activity as well as the amount of dry few. For a test for independence, we perform a power study and find that simply checking whether zero is in the credible interval of the posterior of the linking parameter is as powerful as more complicated tests.

PMID:35984856 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0271904

By Nevin Manimala

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