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The London Market and the science of storms – Episode one

The science of storms

As Europe and the Atlantic were bombarded by a record number of named storms last year, at times it felt like they were appearing out of nowhere.

But this isn’t the case. In fact, it takes just a few simple ingredients to form a major storm, but less simple is the predictability of these natural catastrophes. And as the frequency and severity of named storms increases, leading to larger and more complex losses for the (re)insurance industry, the focus turns to the models and the science available to cast a brighter light on what we can expect.

Adam Scaife, Professor at the University of Exeter and Head of Long Range Prediction at the Met Office, kicks things off for us, discussing the ways in which European windstorms are sensitive to changes in atmospheric circulation and why this is significant.

In this presentation, Scaife discusses:

  • How leading science is getting better at predicting climate, with a focus on patterns in the North Atlantic and Europe
  • The effect of La Niña on winter sea level pressure and how it affects the winter season
  • How historical North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) data enables winter forecasts
  • Decadal predictions as an emerging capability
  • Nearly all data points to an increase in “storminess”
  • How increasing windshear in the troposphere will lead to increased storminess in northwest Europe and a decrease in the Mediterranean region
Presented by
  • Adam Scaife, Professor, Exeter University