, Volume 31, Issue 2-3, pp 125-130

European storminess: late nineteenth century to present

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Abstract

Annual and seasonal statistics of local air pressure characteristics have already been used as proxies for storminess across Northern Europe. We present an update of such proxies for Northern Europe and an unprecedented analysis for Central Europe which together considerably extends the current knowledge of European storminess. Calculations are completed for three sets of stations, located in North-Western, Northern and Central Europe. Results derived from spatial differences (geostrophic winds) and single station pressure changes per 24 h support each other. Geostrophic winds’ high percentiles (95th, 99th) were relatively high during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century; after that they leveled off somewhat, to get larger again in the late twentieth century. The decrease happens suddenly in Central Europe and over several decades in Northern Europe. The subsequent rise is most pronounced in North-Western Europe, while slow and steady in Central Europe. Europe’s storm climate has undergone significant changes throughout the past 130 years and comprises significant variations on a quasi-decadal timescale. Most recent years feature average or calm conditions, supporting claims raised in earlier studies with new evidence. Aside from some dissimilarity, a general agreement between the investigated regions appears to be the most prominent feature. The capability of the NAO index to explain storminess across Europe varies in space and with the considered period.