Climate Dynamics

, Volume 31, Issue 2–3, pp 125–130 | Cite as

European storminess: late nineteenth century to present

  • C. MatullaEmail author
  • W. Schöner
  • H. Alexandersson
  • H. von Storch
  • X. L. Wang


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.


Twentieth Century Geostrophic Wind Time Coefficient Calm Condition Daily Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We want to express our gratitude to V. Kveton for providing us with data from Prague–Klementinum and Prague–Karlov and to R. Brazdil for beneficial discussions. This study was conducted during a Visiting Fellowship to Canadian Government Laboratories awarded to C. Matulla through the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We are thankful to H. Kuhn who has enabled us to a trouble free processing of our calculations, to C. Fuhringer for giving us a hand with the editing and to B. Gardeike for preparing Fig. 2.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Matulla
    • 1
    Email author
  • W. Schöner
    • 2
  • H. Alexandersson
    • 3
  • H. von Storch
    • 4
  • X. L. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Climate Research DivisionEnvironment CanadaTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Central Institute for Meteorology and GeodynamicsViennaAustria
  3. 3.Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological InstituteNorrköpingSweden
  4. 4.Institute for Coastal Research, GKSSGeesthachtGermany

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