Réf. Barredo 2010 - A

Référence bibliographique complète

BARREDO, J.I. 2010. No upward trend in normalised windstorm losses in Europe: 1970–2008. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 10, 97–104. [Etude en ligne]

Abstract: On 18 January 2007, windstorm Kyrill battered Europe with hurricane-force winds killing 47 people and causing 10 billion US$ in damage. Kyrill poses several questions: is Kyrill an isolated or exceptional case? Have there been events costing as much in the past? This paper attempts to put Kyrill into an historical context by examining large historical windstorm event losses in Europe for the period 1970–2008 across 29 European countries. It asks the question what economic losses would these historical events cause if they were to recur under 2008 societal conditions? Loss data were sourced from reinsurance firms and augmented with historical reports, peer-reviewed articles and other ancillary sources. Following the same conceptual approach outlined in previous studies, the data were then adjusted for changes in population, wealth, and inflation at the country level and for inter-country price differences using purchasing power parity. The analyses reveal no trend in the normalised windstorm losses and confirm increasing disaster losses are driven by societal factors and increasing exposure.

Mots-clés

 

 

Organismes / Contact

Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy (jose.barredo@jrc.ec.europa.eu)

 

(1) - Paramètre(s) atmosphérique(s) modifié(s)

(2) - Elément(s) du milieu impacté(s)

(3) - Type(s) d'aléa impacté(s)

(3) - Sous-type(s) d'aléa

Vent

 

 Tempêtes

 

 

Pays / Zone

Massif / Secteur

Site(s) d'étude

Exposition

Altitude

Période(s) d'observation

 

 

 Europe

 

 

 1970–2008

 

(1) - Modifications des paramètres atmosphériques

Reconstitutions

[Review]: A number of recent studies suggest that storm activity over Europe has changed over the second half of the twentieth century (Ulbrich et al., 2009). Results of McCabe et al. (2001) and Wang et al. (2006) suggest a poleward shift of the storm track, with an increased storm activity over the North Atlantic. Other studies using reanalysis data (Weisse et al., 2005; Trigo, 2006; Leckebusch et al., 2008) have documented significant increases in the number or strength of severe storms in the Northeast Atlantic European region for the second part of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, results of Weisse et al. (2005) also suggest that between about 1990 and 1995 the increase has weakened over areas of the North Sea and has been replaced by a decrease in severe storm frequency. Besides a northward shift of the storm track and an increase in storminess in the second half of the twentieth century, station pressure data over the Atlantic-European sector show a modest increase in severe storms in recent decades. Additionally, decadal-scale fluctuations of similar magnitude have been observed earlier in the ninetieth and twentieth centuries (Alexandersson et al., 2000; Bärring and von Storch, 2004; Trenberth et al., 2007). Recently Matulla et al. (2008) reached similar conclusions over Northern and Central Europe using a dataset for 1880–2005. They found an increase in storminess from 1960s to the 1990s that ends at levels of storminess comparable to those of the beginning of the twentieth century. In line with these findings Alexander et al. (2005) showed an increase in the number and intensity of severe storms over the southern UK since the 1950s. Wang et al. (2009) corroborates the findings of Alexandersson et al. (1998, 2000) in the annual metrics. However notable differences between winter and summer trends and an unprecedented storminess maximum in the early 1990s in winter in the North Sea area have been identified. To conclude, despite the changes on European storminess the evidence for an anthropogenic contribution to storm trends remains uncertain (Hegerl et al., 2007) and there is no evidence of an impact of anthropogenic climate change on the normalised windstorm losses.

Observations

 

Modélisations

 

Hypothèses

 

 

Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)

 

 

(2) - Effets du changement climatique sur le milieu naturel

Reconstitutions

 

Observations

 

Modélisations

 

Hypothèses

 

 

Sensibilité du milieu à des paramètres climatiques

Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)

 

 

 

(3) - Effets du changement climatique sur l'aléa

Reconstitutions

 

Observations

[Review]: Although there is robust evidence of anthropogenic changes in the European climate (Alcamo et al., 2007; Rosenzweig et al., 2007; Trenberth et al., 2007), the question of whether there is an anthropogenic contribution to storm trends remains open. Several studies found no evidence of anthropogenic influence in Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean European storm activity (Alexandersson et al., 1998, 2000; Bärring and von Storch, 2004; Alexander et al., 2005; Hegerl et al., 2007; Trenberth et al., 2007; Matulla et al., 2008; Bartholy et al., 2009). Other studies have identified changes in the storminess of the Northeast Atlantic region (McCabe et al., 2001; Weisse et al., 2005; Trigo, 2006;Wang et al., 2006, 2009; Leckebusch et al., 2008; Ulbrich et al., 2009). Evidence regarding small-scale wind weather phenomena, such as tornadoes, in Europe is mostly local and too scattered to draw general conclusions. In many European countries the number of reported tornado has increased considerably over the last decade, but the evidence point to this being a consequence of an increase in the reporting of weak tornadoes (Trenberth et al., 2007). The absence of a definitive answer to the anthropogenic contribution to storm trends suggests that a positive trend in the increase of windstorm losses may be attributed either to socio-economic changes or anthropogenic climate change and this is the focus of the present study.

This paper addresses direct economic losses from windstorms.

The most salient result is the absence of any positive trend in normalised windstorm losses in Europe. It appears that increasing standard of living, real per capita wealth and population in Europe are responsible for ever growing losses from windstorms. In other words, even without any anticipated impacts of anthropogenic climate change, windstorms losses will very likely continue to escalate purely as a consequence of the increase of societal and economic factors.

Modélisations

 

Hypothèses

 

 

Paramètre de l'aléa

Sensibilité des paramètres de l'aléa à des paramètres climatiques

Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)

 

 

Raw data on windstorm losses were obtained from the NATHAN database of Munich Re. NATHAN is a publicly accessible global database on natural disasters containing a global catalogue of significant natural-disaster losses and includes thematic information on major windstorm events such as casualties and direct economic losses. [see details in the study]

 

(4) - Remarques générales

At the moment it seems clear that increasing disaster losses are overwhelmingly a consequence of changing societal factors. However questions concerning the linkage between weather-driven disaster losses and the future role of anthropogenic climate change will remain an important area of research and policy makers should not expect any unequivocal answer soon to such questions.

 

(5) - Syntèses et préconisations

 

Références citées :

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Alexander, L. V., Tett, S. F. B., and Jonsson, T.: Recent observed changes in severe storms over the United Kingdom and Iceland, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L13704, doi:10.1029/2005GL022371, 2005.

Alexandersson, H., Schmith, T., Iden, K., and Tuomenvirta, H.: Long-term variations of the storm climate over NW Europe, The Global atmosphere and ocean system, 6, 97–120, 1998.

Alexandersson, H., Tuomenvirta, H., Schmith, T., and Iden, K.: Trends of storms in NW Europe derived from an updated pressure data set, Climate Res., 14, 71–73, 2000.

Bärring, L., and von Storch, H.: Scandinavian storminess since about 1800, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L20202, doi:10.1029/2004GL020441, 2004.

Bartholy, J., Pongrácz, R., and Pattantyús-Ábrahám, M.: Analyzing the genesis, intensity, and tracks of western Mediterranean cyclones, Theor. Appl. Climatol., 96, 133–144, 2009.

Hegerl, G. C., Zwiers, F. W., Braconnot, P., Gillett, N. P., Luo, Y., Marengo Orsini, J. A., Nicholls, J., Penner, J. E., and Stott, P. A.: Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, in: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by: Solomon, S.,  Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K. B., Tignor, M., andMiller, H. L., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 663–745, 2007.

Leckebusch, G. C., Renggli, D., and Ulbrich, U.: Development and application of an objective storm severity measure for the Northeast Atlantic region, Meteorol.e Z., 17, 575–587, 2008.

Matulla, C., Schöner, W., Alexandersson, H., von Storch, H., and Wang, X.: European storminess: late nineteenth century to present, Clim. Dynam., 31, 125–130, 2008.

McCabe, G. J., Clark, M. P., and Serreze, M. C.: Trends in Northern Hemisphere Surface Cyclone Frequency and Intensity, J. Climate, 14, 2763–2768, 2001.

Rosenzweig, C., Casassa, G., Karoly, D. J., Imeson, A., Liu, C., Menzel, A., Rawlins, S., Root, T. L., Seguin, B., and Tryjanowski, P.: Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems, in: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability in: Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by: Parry, M. L., Canziani, O. F., Palutikof, J. P., van der Linden, P. J., and Hanson, C. E., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 79–131, 2007.

Trenberth, K. E., Jones, P. D., Ambenje, P., Bojariu, R., Easterling, D., Klein Tank, A., Parker, D., Rahimzadeh, F., Renwick, J. A., Rusticucci, M., Soden, B., and Zhai, P.: Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change, in: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by: Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K. B., Tignor, M., and Miller, H. L., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 235–336, 2007.

Trigo, I.: Climatology and interannual variability of storm-tracks in the Euro-Atlantic sector: a comparison between ERA-40 and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses, Clim. Dynam., 26, 127–143, 2006.

Ulbrich, U., Leckebusch, G., and Pinto, J.: Extra-tropical cyclonesin the present and future climate: a review, Theor. Appl. Climatol., 96, 117–131, 2009.

Wang, X., Zwiers, F., Swail, V., and Feng, Y.: Trends and variability of storminess in the Northeast Atlantic region, 1874–2007, Clim. Dynam., 33(7–8), 1179–1195, 2009.

Wang, X. L., Swail, V. R., and Zwiers, F. W.: Climatology and Changes of Extratropical Cyclone Activity: Comparison of ERA-40 with NCEP-NCAR Reanalysis for 1958–2001, J. Climate, 19, 3145–3166, 2006.

Weisse, R., von Storch, H., and Feser, F.: Northeast Atlantic and North Sea Storminess as Simulated by a Regional Climate Model during 1958–2001 and Comparison with Observations, J. Climate, 18, 465–479, 2005.