Articles | Volume 7, issue 5
12 Sep 2007
12 Sep 2007

Extreme value modelling of storm damage in Swedish forests

A. Bengtsson and C. Nilsson

Abstract. Forests cover about 56% of the land area in Sweden and forest damage due to strong winds has been a recurring problem. In this paper we analyse recorded storm damage in Swedish forests for the years 1965–2007. During the period 48 individual storm events with a total damage of 164 Mm³ have been reported with the severe storm on 8 to 9 January 2005, as the worst with 70 Mm³ damaged forest. For the analysis, storm damage data has been normalised to account for the increase in total forest volume over the period.

We show that, within the framework of statistical extreme value theory, a Poisson point process model can be used to describe these storm damage events. Damage data supports a heavy-tailed distribution with great variability in damage for the worst storm events. According to the model, and in view of available data, the return period for a storm with damage in size of the severe storm of January 2005 is approximately 80 years, i.e. a storm with damage of this magnitude will happen, on average, once every eighty years.

To investigate a possible temporal trend, models with time-dependent parameters have been analysed but give no conclusive evidence of an increasing trend in the normalised storm damage data for the period. Using a non-parametric approach with a kernel based local-likelihood method gives the same result.

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