5th Workshop on European Storms

Impacts and Predictability

31 August – 2 September 2015
University of Bern, Switzerland

Conference board

  • Christoph Raible, Physics Insititute and Oeschger Centre (OCCR), U. Bern, Switzerland
  • Olivia Martius-Romppainen, Institute of Geography and Oeschger Centre (OCCR), U. Bern, Switzerland
  • Heini Wernli, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • David Stephenson, Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) Research Centre, U. Exeter, UK
  • Giovanni Leoncini, AspenRe, Switzerland


A major source of natural hazards, mid-latitude storms have devastating socio-economic impacts. Yet the processes involved in their intensification and generation of disastrous impacts such as flooding are not fully understood. Also, the behaviour of mid-latitude storms and extreme events under changing climate conditions is highly debated. Thus, predictability of such events is a key research topic.

Scope of the conference

Over the past 15 years, severe storms hit Europe with substantial economic damage. Lothar and Martin (1999), Kyrill (2007), and Xynthia (2010) are the unforgotten names of storms that caused extensive and expensive damage.

Therefore, the aim of the workshop is to bring together scientists from dynamical meteorology and climatology as well as stakeholders from the insurance and engineering industries so that they can share recent research ideas.

The workshop is a continuation of a series of European storm workshops which started in 2011. It is a unique opportunity to combine the strong Swiss research in this field with international research activity and the experience of insurance experts and engineering consultants, both strong pillars of the Swiss economy.

The workshop further facilitates the cooperation between science and industry and will help in the design of end-to-end projects, i.e., from scientific understanding to implementation in practice.

Format and sessions

The conference will cover the following topics:

  • Climate variability and change of storms
  • Synoptic- and meso-scale dynamics
  • Impacts of mid-latitude storms
  • Insurance applications: risk assessment and quantification
  • Predictability of extreme events

We plan to have about 20 invited speakers covering the key themes listed above. In addition, there will be ample time for contributed talks and poster sessions. Moreover, to stimulate discussion there will be time for breakout group work.

Conference Homepage

5th Workshop on European Storms


group of participants


Session 1 – Climate Variability and Change of Storms (convener: J. Pinto)
13:20 Serial clustering of extratropical cyclones in a multi-model ensemble of historical and future simulations (PDF 4.4 MB) D. Stephenson
13:50 An example of extra-tropically transitioning storms – Hurricane Gonzalo (PDF 2.4 MB) F. Feser
14:05 Future projections of North Atlantic explosive cyclones simulated by the EC-Earth model M. Liberato
14:30 Understanding the climate change response of the Northern Hemisphere wintertime storm tracks (PDF 1.7 MB) L. Shaffrey
14:45 A Probabilistic View on Winter Storm Damages (PDF 1.2 MB) U. Ulbrich
15:00 Was the extreme storm season 2013-14 over the North Atlantic and the UK triggered by changes in the West-Pacific Warm Pool? (PDF 2.4 MB) S. Wild
15:15 On separating the forced response from variability in circulation changes over Europe (PDF 1.6 MB) T. Shepherd
Session 2 – Synoptic- and Meso-scale Dynamics (convener: S. Gray)
16:00 Climatology of dry air intrusions and their relation to strong surface winds in extratropical cyclones (PDF 5.5 MB) S. Raveh-Rubin
16:30 Joint occurrence of precipitation and wind extremes (PDF 2.4 MB) O. Martius
16:45 The downstream impact of extratropical transition from an eddy kinetic energy perspective (PDF 3.2 MB) J. Keller
17:00 The pivotal nature of merger and splitting in the cyclone life cycle (PDF 3.0 MB) S. Kew
17:25 The importance of Atmospheric Rivers in the development of explosive cyclogenesis in the North Atlantic basin A. Ramos
17:40 What factors govern the magnitude and variability of moisture transport to Antarctica? (PDF 1.6 MB) H. Dacre
17:55 Frontal-wave cyclogenesis in the North Atlantic - A climatological characterization (PDF 4.4 MB) S. Schemm
Session 3 – Insurance applications: risk assessment and quantification (convener: D. Stephenson)
8:45 A simple benchmark model for European Windstorm Losses (PDF 0.8 MB) G. Leoncini
9:15 Representation of storm clustering in the Impact Forecasting European windstorm model (PDF 0.8 MB) A. Georgiadis
9:30 Met Office European Windstorm Event Response Services (PDF 2.9 MB) B. Becker
9:55 Developing a winter storm model for Europe: Challenges, potential solutions, and open issues (PDF 0.5 MB) D. Renggli
10:10 A millennium simulation based NAO+ loss scenario incorporated in an insurance loss model (PDF 2.6 MB) I. Kuehnel
10:25 How extreme can storms get in space and time? (PDF 2.4 MB) T. Economou
10:40 20th Century extratropical cyclone climatology and risk assessment (PDF 4.4 MB) F. Varino
11:25 Breakout groups  
  1. Enhancements in understanding the dynamics of storm development H. Wernli
  2. Climate Variability and Change of storms? D. Stephenson
  3. Potential of predicting extreme events? C. Raible
  4. From storms to impacts – what is missing? S. Dierer
  5. Bridging the gap between cutting edge research and (re)insurance applications: Wish list for a better EU windstorm model? G. Leoncini
Session 4 – Impacts of mid-latitude storms (convener: C. Raible)
14:00 High resolution weather models for storm simulations: uncertainty of results and impact on loss simulations (PDF 2.1 MB) S. Dierer
14:30 Return periods of losses associated with European windstorm series in a changing climate (PDF 2.4 MB) J. Pinto
16:30 Past, present and future impact of Vb-cyclones on extreme precipitation over Central Europe (PDF 13.6 MB) M. Messmer
16:45 To Warn or not to Warn: That is the risky question! Perspectives on uncertainty in weather warnings. (PDF 1.5 MB) M. Goeber
17:00 Exploring nearly one millennium scenarios of extreme rainfall through dynamically downscaling paleo-climatic simulations (PDF 12.2 MB) J. Gomez-Navarro
17:15 Analysis of synoptic conditions leading to positive and negative sea level extremes along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (PDF 4.4 MB) P. Lionello
17:30 Modelling dependency in extremal windstorm footprints (PDF 37.5 MB) L. Dawkins
Session 5 – Predictability of extreme events (convener: O. Martius)
8:45 Return times, Dispersion and Memory in Extremes of Mid-latitude Vorticity (PDF 4.2 MB) R. Blender
9:15 Vortex-vortex interaction between Hurricane Nadine (2012) and an Atlantic cutoff dropping the predictability over the Mediterranean (PDF 1.8 MB) F. Pantillon
9:30 Predictability of Extratropical Cyclones and Windstorms on Seasonal Timescales (PDF 3.3 MB) G. Leckebusch
9:55 Cyclonic Windstorms Morphology, Model Representation and Predictability (PDF 3.1 MB) T. Hewson
10:10 Statistical simulation of extreme European windstorms and other natural hazard events (PDF 4.2 MB) B. Youngman
10:25 A novel metric to assess the “extremeness” of cyclones (PDF 2.6 MB) C. Grams
10:40 Predictability and variability of sting jets in extreme windstorms (PDF 3.1 MB) S. Gray