WIND and wave Scenarios, Uncertainty and climate Risk assessments for Forestry, Energy and Reinsurance

Lead PI Shaffrey Len, UREAD, UK



Research Performing agencies  UREAD, UC-IHC, FMI, NCSRD, Met Éireann, Fondazione CMCC, Met Norway, KNMI


Extreme winds pose major risks to life, property and forestry while extreme oceans waves can impact on offshore infrastructures and coastal communities. For example, the three windstorms (Anatol, Lothar, Martin) that struck in Dec 1999 inflicted €18 billion of insured losses to property and infrastructure across Europe. In Jan 2005 Windstorm Gudrun inflicted substantial damage to forestry. Gudrun felled approximately 75 million m3 of trees in Sweden alone, which is equivalent to the annual Swedish forestry harvest. Extreme waves driven by strong winds can also have substantial impacts on the energy sector and offshore infrastructures. For example, a windstorm in March 1980 generated 12m high waves in the North Sea, which resulted in the collapse of the Alexander L. Kielland oil and gas platform and the loss of 123 lives. Planning for and mitigating these impacts requires detailed knowledge of the severity, location and frequency of European Windstorms. Furthermore, understanding how European Windstorms may change in the future is critical for assessing future weather risk. However, there are major gaps in our understanding concerning current and future windstorm risk, and the impact that windstorms have on key socioeconomic sectors such as insurance, forestry and energy. To address these knowledge gaps and to better inform strategies for mitigating current risks and for climate change adaptation, WINDSURFER will bring together eight leading research institutions across Europe to:1. Develop new methods and tools to better quantify current extreme wind and wave risk and understand how it might change in the future;2. Develop impacts studies and new impact models for European windstorms and associated extreme wind and wave damage;3. Provide localised climate information for current and future wind and wave risk, with a particular focus on the Insurance, Forestry, and Offshore Energy sectors.