What is Return Period

Your recent vocabulary may include “100-year event” (happening more often), (drainage system designed for) “10-year storm,” and so on, courtesy mainstream media and news outlets.

Does a 10-year return period event occur diligently every ten years? Can a 100-year event occur three times in a row?

If we define T as a random variable that measures the time between the events (wait time or time to the next event or time to the first event since the previous event), the return period of the event is the expected value of T, i.e., E[T], its average measured over a large number of such occurrences.

In lesson 34, we learn about return period through Bob and his reappearance. Bob’s time of occurrence also relates to Geometric distribution.

Lesson 34 – I’ll be back: The language of Return Period

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