A 101 year record of windstorms in the Netherlands
A 101 year time-series of storm losses in the Netherlands is developed from the near-surface wind speed records at five Dutch stations. Station metadata combined with results from statistical tests were used to homogenise the data and retain the temporal variability driven solely by changes in climate processes. The wind speed data were transformed into storm damage using a model measuring loss impacts upon society.
The resulting windstorm loss time-series for the Netherlands contains some interesting features. Annual losses are stable over the whole period and have a dominant cycle with a period of about 50 years. The Netherlands is currently experiencing the minimum aggregate storm damage of the past 100 years, though only slightly lower than a quiet period of 50 years ago. Both of these minima are driven primarily by lowered rates of occurrence of damaging storms. However, further analysis reveals the present-day minimum has different characteristics from the previous lull: currently, the frequency of stronger storms is slightly above the previous minimum whereas the frequency of weaker storms is uniquely low. A seasonal analysis provides more information: there is a dearth of damaging storms in the earlier half of the storm season in the present day; since this period contains generally weaker storms, this seasonality is also manifested as a lack of weaker storms. These results suggest a different mix of climate forcing mechanisms in modern times compared to 50 years ago, in the earlier half of the storm season.