EGU24-1418, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Windstorm losses in Europe - What to gain from damage datasets

Julia Moemken1, Gabriele Messori2,3,4, and Joaquim G. Pinto1
Julia Moemken et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3Swedish Centre for Impacts of Climate Extremes (CLIMES), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Windstorms are among the most impacting natural hazards affecting Western and Central Europe. Information on the associated impacts and losses are essential for risk assessment and the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies. In this study, we compare reported and estimated windstorm losses from five datasets belonging to three categories: Indices combining meteorological and insurance aspects, natural hazard databases, and loss reports from insurance companies. We analyse the similarities and differences between the datasets in terms of reported events, the number of storms per dataset and the ranking of specific storm events for the period October 1999 to March 2022 across 21 European countries.

A total of 94 individual windstorms were documented. Only 11 of them were reported in all five datasets, while the large majority (roughly 60%) was solely recorded in single datasets. Results show that the total number of storms is different in the various datasets, although for the meteorological indices such number is fixed a priori. Additionally, the datasets often disagree on the storm frequency per winter season. Moreover, the ranking of storms based on reported/estimated losses varies in the datasets. However, these differences are reduced when the ranking is calculated relative to storm events that are common in the various datasets. The results generally hold for losses aggregated at European and at country level.

Overall, the datasets provide different views on windstorm impacts. Thus, to avoid misleading conclusions, we use no dataset as “ground truth” but treat all of them as equal. We suggest that these different views can be used to test which features are relevant for calibrating windstorm models in specific regions. Furthermore, it could enable users to assign an uncertainty range to windstorm losses. We conclude that a combination of different datasets is crucial to obtain a representative picture of windstorm associated impacts.

How to cite: Moemken, J., Messori, G., and Pinto, J. G.: Windstorm losses in Europe - What to gain from damage datasets, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1418,, 2024.