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Title: Evaluation of downscaled wind speeds and parameterised gusts for recent and historical windstorms in Switzerland

Abstract

Assessments of local-scale windstorm hazard require highly resolved spatial information on wind speeds and gusts. In this study, maximum (peak) sustained wind speeds on a 3-km horizontal grid over Switzerland are obtained by dynamical downscaling from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) employing the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Subsequently, simulated peak gusts are derived using four wind gust parameterizations (WGPs). Evaluations against observations at 63 locations in complex terrain include four high-impact windstorms (occurring in 1919, 1935, 1990, and 1999) and 14 recent windstorms (occurring between 1993 and 2011). Peak sustained wind speeds and directions are generally well simulated, although wind speeds are mostly overestimated. In general, performance and skill measures are best for locations on the Swiss Plateau and inferior for Alpine mountain and valley locations. An independent ERA-Interim WRF downscaling configuration produces overall comparable results, implying that the 20CR ensemble mean is a reliable data set in dynamical downscaling exercises. The four evaluated WGPs largely reproduce the observed gustiness, although the timing and magnitude of the peak gusts are not regularly captured. None of the WGPs stands out as single best for the complex topography of Switzerland. Differences among the WGPs are small compared to the biasesmore » inherited from the sustained-wind part in the WGP formulations. All WGPs transform overestimated peak sustained winds into underestimated peak gusts, which points to an underrepresentation of the turbulent part in the WGP formulations. The range of simulated peak gusts from downscaling all 20CR ensemble members does not reliably include the observed peak gust, indicating limited benefit in applying an ensemble approach. Despite the limitations, we infer that with spatial optimisations of the simulation (e.g. by bias correction or adaptation of the WGP schemes), downscaling of 20CR input is an efficient option for high-resolution assessments of windstorm hazard and risk in Switzerland.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [5];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and Inst. of Geography
  2. Meteotest, Bern (Switzerland)
  3. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and Inst. of Geography; Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks, Bern (Switzerland); GVZ Gebaüdeversicherung Kanton Zürich (Switzerland)
  4. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research; Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Physics Inst., Climate and Environmental Physics
  5. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and Inst. of Geography; Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks, Bern (Switzerland)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) Program; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1565530
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Tellus. Series A, Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 68; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1600-0870
Publisher:
International Meteorological Inst.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; meteorology & atmospheric sciences; oceanography; dynamical downscaling; 20CR; ERA-Interim; wind speed; wind gust estimation; extreme event; hazard maps; Alps; gust factor; risk; WRF wind evaluation

Citation Formats

Stucki, Peter, Dierer, Silke, Welker, Christoph, Gómez-Navarro, Juan José, Raible, Christoph C., Martius, Olivia, and Brönnimann, Stefan. Evaluation of downscaled wind speeds and parameterised gusts for recent and historical windstorms in Switzerland. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3402/tellusa.v68.31820.
Stucki, Peter, Dierer, Silke, Welker, Christoph, Gómez-Navarro, Juan José, Raible, Christoph C., Martius, Olivia, & Brönnimann, Stefan. Evaluation of downscaled wind speeds and parameterised gusts for recent and historical windstorms in Switzerland. United States. doi:10.3402/tellusa.v68.31820.
Stucki, Peter, Dierer, Silke, Welker, Christoph, Gómez-Navarro, Juan José, Raible, Christoph C., Martius, Olivia, and Brönnimann, Stefan. Fri . "Evaluation of downscaled wind speeds and parameterised gusts for recent and historical windstorms in Switzerland". United States. doi:10.3402/tellusa.v68.31820. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1565530.
@article{osti_1565530,
title = {Evaluation of downscaled wind speeds and parameterised gusts for recent and historical windstorms in Switzerland},
author = {Stucki, Peter and Dierer, Silke and Welker, Christoph and Gómez-Navarro, Juan José and Raible, Christoph C. and Martius, Olivia and Brönnimann, Stefan},
abstractNote = {Assessments of local-scale windstorm hazard require highly resolved spatial information on wind speeds and gusts. In this study, maximum (peak) sustained wind speeds on a 3-km horizontal grid over Switzerland are obtained by dynamical downscaling from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) employing the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Subsequently, simulated peak gusts are derived using four wind gust parameterizations (WGPs). Evaluations against observations at 63 locations in complex terrain include four high-impact windstorms (occurring in 1919, 1935, 1990, and 1999) and 14 recent windstorms (occurring between 1993 and 2011). Peak sustained wind speeds and directions are generally well simulated, although wind speeds are mostly overestimated. In general, performance and skill measures are best for locations on the Swiss Plateau and inferior for Alpine mountain and valley locations. An independent ERA-Interim WRF downscaling configuration produces overall comparable results, implying that the 20CR ensemble mean is a reliable data set in dynamical downscaling exercises. The four evaluated WGPs largely reproduce the observed gustiness, although the timing and magnitude of the peak gusts are not regularly captured. None of the WGPs stands out as single best for the complex topography of Switzerland. Differences among the WGPs are small compared to the biases inherited from the sustained-wind part in the WGP formulations. All WGPs transform overestimated peak sustained winds into underestimated peak gusts, which points to an underrepresentation of the turbulent part in the WGP formulations. The range of simulated peak gusts from downscaling all 20CR ensemble members does not reliably include the observed peak gust, indicating limited benefit in applying an ensemble approach. Despite the limitations, we infer that with spatial optimisations of the simulation (e.g. by bias correction or adaptation of the WGP schemes), downscaling of 20CR input is an efficient option for high-resolution assessments of windstorm hazard and risk in Switzerland.},
doi = {10.3402/tellusa.v68.31820},
journal = {Tellus. Series A, Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography},
number = 1,
volume = 68,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {8}
}

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