Three variables are better than one: detection of european winter windstorms causing important damages
In this paper, we present a new approach for detecting potentially damaging European winter windstorms from a multi-variable perspective. European winter windstorms being usually associated with extra-tropical cyclones (ETCs), there is a coupling between the intensity of the surface wind speeds and other meso-scale and large-scale features characteristic of ETCs. Here we focus on the relative vorticity at 850 hPa and the sea level pressure anomaly, which are also used in ETC detection studies, along with the ratio of the 10 m wind speed to its 98th percentile. When analysing 10 events known by the insurance industry to have caused extreme damages, we find that they share an intense signature in each of the 3 fields. This shows that the relative vorticity and the mean sea level pressure have a predictive value of the intensity of the generated windstorms. The 10 major events are not the most intense in any of the 3 variables considered separately, but we show that the combination of the 3 variables is an efficient way of extracting these events from a reanalysis data set.