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El Nino’s Impact on Winter Storm Losses

October 12, 2023

With the ongoing El Nino causing so much discussion around how it might impact this summer’s hurricane season (more about that here) – we can also turn our thoughts to this winter. Does an ongoing El Nino have a marked impact on the European Windstorm season? We’re headed towards winter and latest forecasts of El Nino are suggestive of it continuing to strength.

The chart below shows – for 6000 years of global climate simulations – the comparison of the El Nino phase that winter with the modelled European Windstorm losses using directly the wind output from the model.

The dynamical forecasts of ENSO are headed for around a 2.00 value this winter. But, looking at the data above, you can try and find a trend here but there doesn’t seem to be a strong indication that the presence of an El Nino will necessarily strongly impact the coming winter. If anything, the ENSO-“neutral” years – neither El Nino or La Nina seem to be slightly more loss-causing. Have this sort of globally-connected data however really helps us to understand teleconnections between different peril seasons.

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