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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jun 2020

03 Jun 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Radar-based assessment of hail frequency in Europe

Elody Fluck1,a, Michael Kunz1,2, Peter Geissbuehler3, and Stefan P. Ritz3 Elody Fluck et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 3RenaissanceRe Europe AG, Zurich, Switzerland
  • anow at: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Abstract. In this study we present a unique 10-year climatology of severe convective storm tracks for a larger European area covering Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg. For the period 2005–2014, a high-resolution hail potential composite of 1 by 1 km2 is produced from two-dimensional reflectivity radar data and lightning data. Individual hailstorm tracks as well as their physical properties, such as radar reflectivity along the tracks were reconstructed for the entire time period using the Convective Cell Tracking Algorithm (CCTA2D).

A sea-to-continent gradient in the number of hail days is present over the whole domain. In addition, the highest number of severe storms is found on the leeward side of low mountain ranges such as near the Massif Central in France and the Swabian Jura in southwest Germany. A latitude shift in the hail peak month is observed between the northern part of Germany where hail occurs most frequently in August, and southern France where the maximum of hail occurs two months earlier. The spatially most extended footprints with high reflectivity values occurred on 9 June 2014 and on 28 July 2013 with lengths reaching several hundreds of kilometers. Both events implied hailstones measuring up to 10 cm which caused damage in excess of 2 Billions Euros.

Elody Fluck et al.

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Elody Fluck et al.

Elody Fluck et al.


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Latest update: 02 Dec 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Severe convective storms (SCS) and related hail constitute a major atmospheric hazard in various parts of Europe. In our study we identified the regions the most affected by hail over a 10-year period (2005 to 2014) covering France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. A cell-tracking algorithm was computed on remote-sensing data to enable the reconstruction of several thousands of SCS tracks. The location of hail hotspots will help to understand hail formation and improve hail forecasting.
Severe convective storms (SCS) and related hail constitute a major atmospheric hazard in various...