Articles | Volume 11, issue 10
26 Oct 2011
 | 26 Oct 2011

European extra-tropical storm damage risk from a multi-model ensemble of dynamically-downscaled global climate models

M. R. Haylock

Abstract. Uncertainty in the return levels of insured loss from European wind storms was quantified using storms derived from twenty-two 25 km regional climate model runs driven by either the ERA40 reanalyses or one of four coupled atmosphere-ocean global climate models. Storms were identified using a model-dependent storm severity index based on daily maximum 10 m wind speed. The wind speed from each model was calibrated to a set of 7 km historical storm wind fields using the 70 storms with the highest severity index in the period 1961–2000, employing a two stage calibration methodology. First, the 25 km daily maximum wind speed was downscaled to the 7 km historical model grid using the 7 km surface roughness length and orography, also adopting an empirical gust parameterisation. Secondly, downscaled wind gusts were statistically scaled to the historical storms to match the geographically-dependent cumulative distribution function of wind gust speed.

The calibrated wind fields were run through an operational catastrophe reinsurance risk model to determine the return level of loss to a European population density-derived property portfolio. The risk model produced a 50-yr return level of loss of between 0.025% and 0.056% of the total insured value of the portfolio.