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Storm "Christian"

Christian, a violent storm in October 2013

In late October 2013, the strong winter storm “Christian” moved quickly across northern Europe, causing massive damages particularly in coastal areas.

A climatological assessment of the storm and of a possible relation between its intensity and climate change was carried out by the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht in cooperation with the German Weather Service DWD and the Danish Meteorological Institute (von Storch et al., 2014). The work was published within the international report Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective. For the project, the cyclone was first simulated with the regional climate model COSMO-CLM (Geyer, 2014) and then further analyzed. NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data was used as forcing for the model boundaries as well as for the model area by applying a spectral nudging method. The simulation was carried out on a regular grid in a rotated coordinate system with a rotated pole at (170.0°W, 35.0°N), a resolution of 0.22°, a time stepping of 150 s, and hourly output. 

 

The visualization above shows the development of the simulated weather for October 27 through 31, 2013.  At the beginning of the animation, the storm is located on the left, west off Ireland. The 10m wind speed is represented by colors. White isolines (interval 1 mm/h) indicate the precipitation while black isolines are used to display the mean sea level pressure (interval 0.5 hPa). Furthermore, vertically integrated clouds are shown at three height levels.

The storm moved quite quickly across the very southern part of the U.K., the North Sea, Denmark and Sweden. With a forward speed of 1200 km within 12 hours, Christian was a rapid moving low (Haeseler et al., 2013). The strongest gust in Germany was recorded in St. Peter-Ording with about 172 km/h. At the Danish station Kegnaes Fyr, gusts of up to 193 km/h could be observed.
The results of this project confirmed assessments of the last 130 years which show that winter storms in the North Atlantic and North West Europe area underlie a strong, multidecadal variability, while a long-term trend could not be detected (Feser et al., 2014).

References:

  • von Storch, H., F. Feser, S. Haeseler, C. Lefebvre and M. Stendel, 2014: A violent mid-latitude storm in Northern Germany and Denmark, 28 October 2013. [in "Explaining Extremes of 2013 from a Climate Perspective"]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95(9), S76-S78.
  • Haeseler, S., C. Lefebvre et al., 2013: Heavy storm CHRISTIAN on 28 October 2013. Deutscher Wetterdienst, 20 pp. [Available online as pdf].
  • Geyer, B.: High-resolution atmospheric reconstruction for Europe 1948–2012: coastDat2, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 6, 147-164, doi:10.5194/essd-6-147-2014, 2014. 

 

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