In probability theory and statistics, the Gumbel distribution (Generalized Extreme Value distribution Type-I) is used to model the distribution of the maximum (or the minimum) of a number of samples of various distributions. This distribution might be used to represent the distribution of the maximum level of a river in a particular year if there was a list of maximum values for the past ten years. It is useful in predicting the chance that an extreme earthquake, flood or other natural disaster will occur. The potential applicability of the Gumbel distribution to represent the distribution of maxima relates to extreme value theory, which indicates that it is likely to be useful if the distribution of the underlying sample data is of the normal or exponential type. The rest of this article refers to the Gumbel distribution to model the distribution of the maximum value. To model the minimum value, use the negative of the original values.
Probability density function
Cumulative distribution function
where is the Euler–Mascheroni constant
The Gumbel distribution is a particular case of the generalized extreme value distribution (also known as the Fisher-Tippett distribution). It is also known as the log-Weibull distribution and the double exponential distribution (a term that is alternatively sometimes used to refer to the Laplace distribution). It is related to the Gompertz distribution: when its density is first reflected about the origin and then restricted to the positive half line, a Gompertz function is obtained.
In the latent variable formulation of the multinomial logit model — common in discrete choice theory — the errors of the latent variables follow a Gumbel distribution. This is useful because the difference of two Gumbel-distributed random variables has a logistic distribution.
The cumulative distribution function of the Gumbel distribution is
The mode is μ, while the median is and the mean is given by
where is the Euler–Mascheroni constant.
The standard deviation is hence 
At the mode, where , the value of becomes whatever the value of
Standard Gumbel distributionEdit
The standard Gumbel distribution is the case where and with cumulative distribution function
and probability density function
In this case the mode is 0, the median is , the mean is , and the standard deviation is
The cumulants, for n>1, are given by
Quantile function and generating Gumbel variatesEdit
Since the quantile function(inverse cumulative distribution function), , of a Gumbel distribution is given by
the variate has a Gumbel distribution with parameters and when the random variate is drawn from the uniform distribution on the interval .
- If has a Gumbel distribution, then the conditional distribution of Y=-X given that Y is positive, or equivalently given that X is negative, has a Gompertz distribution. The cdf G of Y is related to F, the cdf of X, by the formula for y>0. Consequently, the densities are related by : the Gompertz density is proportional to a reflected Gumbel density, restricted to the positive half-line.
- If is an exponential with mean 1, then -log(X) has a standard Gumbel-Distribution.
- If and then (see Logistic_distribution).
- If and then . Note that .
Theory related to the generalized multivariate log-gamma distribution provides a multivariate version of the Gumbel distribution.
In pre-software times probability paper was used to picture the Gumbel distribution (see illustration). The paper is based on linearization of the cumulative distribution function :
In the paper the horizontal axis is constructed at a double log scale. The vertical axis is linear. By plotting on the horizontal axis of the paper and the -variable on the vertical axis, the distribution is represented by a straight line with a slope 1 . When distribution fitting software like CumFreq became available, the task of plotting the distribution was made easier, as is demonstrated in the section below.
Gumbel has shown that the maximum value (or last order statistic) in a sample of a random variable following an exponential distribution approaches the Gumbel distribution closer with increasing sample size.
In hydrology, therefore, the Gumbel distribution is used to analyze such variables as monthly and annual maximum values of daily rainfall and river discharge volumes, and also to describe droughts.
Gumbel has also shown that the estimator r/(n+1) for the probability of an event — where r is the rank number of the observed value in the data series and n is the total number of observations — is an unbiased estimator of the cumulative probability around the mode of the distribution. Therefore, this estimator is often used as a plotting position.
The blue picture, made with CumFreq, illustrates an example of fitting the Gumbel distribution to ranked maximum one-day October rainfalls showing also the 90% confidence band based on the binomial distribution. The rainfall data are represented by the plotting position r/(n+1) as part of the cumulative frequency analysis.
In number theory, the Gumbel distribution approximates the number of terms in a random partition of an integer as well as the trend-adjusted sizes of maximal prime gaps and maximal gaps between prime constellations.
- Gumbel, E.J. (1935), "Les valeurs extrêmes des distributions statistiques" (PDF), Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré, 5 (2): 115–158
- Gumbel E.J. (1941). "The return period of ﬂood ﬂows". The Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 12, 163–190.
- Oosterbaan, R.J. (1994). "Chapter 6 Frequency and Regression Analysis". In Ritzema, H.P. Drainage Principles and Applications, Publication 16 (PDF). Wageningen, The Netherlands: International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI). pp. 175–224. ISBN 90-70754-33-9.
- Willemse, W.J.; Kaas, R. (2007). "Rational reconstruction of frailty-based mortality models by a generalisation of Gompertz' law of mortality". Insurance: Mathematics and Economics. 40 (3): 468. doi:10.1016/j.insmatheco.2006.07.003.
- CumFreq, software for probability distribution fitting. 
- Gumbel, E.J. (1954). Statistical theory of extreme values and some practical applications. Applied Mathematics Series. 33 (1st ed.). U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards. ASIN B0007DSHG4.
- Burke, Eleanor J.; Perry, Richard H.J.; Brown, Simon J. (2010). "An extreme value analysis of UK drought and projections of change in the future". Journal of Hydrology. 388: 131. Bibcode:2010JHyd..388..131B. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.04.035.
- Erdös, Paul; Lehner, Joseph (1941). "The distribution of the number of summands in the partitions of a positive integer". Duke Mathematical Journal. 8 (2): 335. doi:10.1215/S0012-7094-41-00826-8.
- Kourbatov, A. (2013). "Maximal gaps between prime k-tuples: a statistical approach". Journal of Integer Sequences. 16. arXiv:1301.2242. Bibcode:2013arXiv1301.2242K. Article 13.5.2.
- Adams, Ryan. "The Gumbel-Max Trick for Discrete Distributions".