Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
08 Feb 2007
08 Feb 2007

Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM

J. G. Pinto, E. L. Fröhlich, G. C. Leckebusch, and U. Ulbrich

Abstract. A simple storm loss model is applied to an ensemble of ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM simulations in order to estimate changes of insured loss potentials over Europe in the 21st century. Losses are computed based on the daily maximum wind speed for each grid point. The calibration of the loss model is performed using wind data from the ERA40-Reanalysis and German loss data. The obtained annual losses for the present climate conditions (20C, three realisations) reproduce the statistical features of the historical insurance loss data for Germany.

The climate change experiments correspond to the SRES-Scenarios A1B and A2, and for each of them three realisations are considered. On average, insured loss potentials increase for all analysed European regions at the end of the 21st century. Changes are largest for Germany and France, and lowest for Portugal/Spain. Additionally, the spread between the single realisations is large, ranging e.g. for Germany from −4% to +43% in terms of mean annual loss. Moreover, almost all simulations show an increasing interannual variability of storm damage. This assessment is even more pronounced if no adaptation of building structure to climate change is considered. The increased loss potentials are linked with enhanced values for the high percentiles of surface wind maxima over Western and Central Europe, which in turn are associated with an enhanced number and increased intensity of extreme cyclones over the British Isles and the North Sea.