Quantifying the extremity of windstorms for regions featuring infrequent events

Michael Walz, Tim Kruschke, Henning W. Rust, Uwe Ulbrich, Gregor Leckebusch

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This paper introduces the Distribution–Independent Storm Severity Index (DI-SSI). The DI-SSI represents an approach to quantify the severity of exceptional surface wind speeds of large scale windstorms that is complementary to the Storm Severity Index (SSI) introduced by Leckebusch et al. (2008). While the SSI approaches the extremeness of a storm from a meteorological and potential loss (impact) perspective, the DI-SSI defines the severity in a more climatological perspective. The idea is to assign equal index values to wind speeds of
the same singularity (e.g. the 99th percentile) under consideration of the shape of the tail of the local wind speed climatology. Especially in regions at the edge of the classical storm track the DI-SSI shows more equitable severity estimates, e.g. for the extra-tropical cyclone Klaus. In order to compare the indices, their relation with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is studied, which is one of the main large scale drivers for the intensity of European windstorms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-322
JournalAtmospheric Science Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2017


  • Windstorms
  • Quantification of extremity
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • Extra tropical cyclones
  • Generalised Pareto Distribution


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