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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 4 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 981-993, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-14-981-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 24 Apr 2014

Research article | 24 Apr 2014

Three variables are better than one: detection of european winter windstorms causing important damages

M.-S. Deroche1,2,3, M. Choux3, F. Codron2, and P. Yiou1 M.-S. Deroche et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, CE Saclay l'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, UMR CNRS-UPMC-ENS-X, Place Jussieu, Paris, France
  • 3AXA Group Risk Management Department, Paris, France

Abstract. In this paper, we present a new approach for detecting potentially damaging European winter windstorms from a multi-variable perspective. European winter windstorms being usually associated with extra-tropical cyclones (ETCs), there is a coupling between the intensity of the surface wind speeds and other meso-scale and large-scale features characteristic of ETCs. Here we focus on the relative vorticity at 850 hPa and the sea level pressure anomaly, which are also used in ETC detection studies, along with the ratio of the 10 m wind speed to its 98th percentile. When analysing 10 events known by the insurance industry to have caused extreme damages, we find that they share an intense signature in each of the 3 fields. This shows that the relative vorticity and the mean sea level pressure have a predictive value of the intensity of the generated windstorms. The 10 major events are not the most intense in any of the 3 variables considered separately, but we show that the combination of the 3 variables is an efficient way of extracting these events from a reanalysis data set.

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