EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

High-resolution loss modeling for European Windstorms

Dhirendra Kumar1, Len Shaffrey1, Richard Dixon2, Hannah Bloomfield3, Paul Bates3, and John Hillier4
Dhirendra Kumar et al.
  • 1National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom (
  • 2CatInsight, United Kingdom
  • 3School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 4Geography and Environment, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom

European windstorms are a frequent and damaging natural hazard that can cause loss of human life and damage to property and infrastructure. As there is a high degree of uncertainty in climate projections, it is crucial to understand the physical risks and economic losses at regional and local scales associated with European Windstorms. In this study, we develop a simple model to estimate historical windstorm losses over the European region. The model uses winds from the ERA5 reanalysis and different exposure datasets based on countrywide total insured property values, gross domestic product, and historical population density.

We find that the estimated losses associated with major historical storms in North-western Europe and estimated average EU-wide losses are comparable to the reported estimates and those from propriety vendor models. However, estimated losses from windstorms in France and Germany are lower than reported. Differences in the estimated losses are attributed to the contrasts in the regional-level exposure within and between different exposure datasets. We also tested the sensitivity of regional-level vulnerabilities and find that accounting for regional-level vulnerability differences slightly improves the biases in countrywide losses. Further, we also find that the major contribution to the estimated losses comes from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany for most of the storm seasons, and thus it is important to correctly represent the exposure and vulnerabilities over these countries. The ability of the model to estimate reported losses is also limited by the representation of the winds in ERA5, which has limited skill in representing the hazard footprint, especially for specific storms such as the Great October Storm of 1987.

Keywords: Losses, Windstorms, Climate Change, Natural Hazards

How to cite: Kumar, D., Shaffrey, L., Dixon, R., Bloomfield, H., Bates, P., and Hillier, J.: High-resolution loss modeling for European Windstorms, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-12391,, 2023.