Return periods of losses associated with European windstorm series in a changing climate
Karremann, M. K., Pinto, J. G., Reyers, M. and Klawa, M. (2014) Return periods of losses associated with European windstorm series in a changing climate. Environmental Research Letters, 9 (12). 124016. ISSN 1748-9326
To link to this article DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/12/124016
Possible future changes of clustering and return periods (RPs) of European storm series with high potential losses are quantified. Historical storm series are identified using 40 winters of reanalysis. Time series of top events (1, 2 or 5 year return levels (RLs)) are used to assess RPs of storm series both empirically and theoretically. Additionally, 800 winters of general circulation model simulations for present (1960–2000) and future (2060–2100) climate conditions are investigated. Clustering is identified for most countries, and estimated RPs are similar for reanalysis and present day simulations. Future changes of RPs are estimated for fixed RLs and fixed loss index thresholds. For the former, shorter RPs are found for Western Europe, but changes are small and spatially heterogeneous. For the latter, which combines the effects of clustering and event ranking shifts, shorter RPs are found everywhere except for Mediterranean countries. These changes are generally not statistically significant between recent and future climate. However, the RPs for the fixed loss index approach are mostly beyond the range of pre-industrial natural climate variability. This is not true for fixed RLs. The quantification of losses associated with storm series permits a more adequate windstorm risk assessment in a changing climate.