Co-Occurring Wintertime Flooding and Extreme Wind Over Europe, from Daily to Seasonal Timescales
54 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2022
Date Written: July 25, 2022
The joint risk posed by heavy rain and strong wind is now suspected to be exacerbated by the way they co-occur, yet this remains insufficiently understood to effectively plan and mitigate. This study systematically investigates the correlations between wintertime (Oct-Mar) extremes relating to wind and flooding at all timescales from daily to seasonal. Meteorological reanalysis and river flow datasets are used to explore the historical period (1980-present), and climate projections at 12km resolution to understand the possible effects of future climate change (2061-2080, RCP 8.5). A new flood severity index (FSI) is also developed to complement the existing storm severity index (SSI). Initially, Great Britain (GB) is taken as a comparatively simple yet informative study area, then analysis is extended to the full European domain.
Aggregated across GB, wind gusts and precipitation correlate strongly (rs ∼0.6-0.8) at timescales of daily to seasonal, but peak around 10 days. A later peak is seen when considering correlations between wind gusts and river flows (40-60 days). This time is likely needed for catchments’ soils to saturate. A conceptual multi-temporal, multi-process model of GB winter time flood-wind co-occurrence is proposed as a basis for future investigation.
When historical analysis is extended across Europe we find the timescale of maximum correlation varies strongly between nations, which have different driving processes. Impact focused correlation (FSI-SSI) is lower (rs ∼0.2) but increases notably with climate change at timescales of ∼40 days (rs ∼0.4). Tentatively, very severe episodes (i.e., both >99th percentile) appear heavily influenced, increasing roughly threefold by 2061-2080 (p < 0.05). The return period of such an event is 16 years historically (compared to 56 years if the two hazards were independent), reduced to 5 years in future. Such metrics provide actionable information for insurers and other stakeholders.
Keywords: compound event, wind gusts, flooding, extreme event, insurance sector, compound risk,
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