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The winter storm 2005 as an example of an extreme event


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Title: The winter storm 2005 as an example of an extreme event

The winter storm 2005 as an example of an extreme
event a case study for ASTRA
  • Lasse Peltonen
  • Centre for urban and regional studies
  • Helsinki University of Technology
  • ASTRA Meeting,
  • 17-20 May 2006
  • Klaipeda, Lithuania

  1. The background of the winter storm study
  2. The storm event in January 2005
  3. Impacts sectoral examples
  4. Responses
  5. Lessons

Purpose of the winter storm case study
  • To make climate change concrete
  • Look at climate change adaptation from
    present-day climate variability perspective
    (instead of future climate according to models)
  • To engage ASTRA project partners in a shared task
  • Demonstrate both shared and specific challenges
    of CC adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region one
    storm leads to different outcomes in different
    regional contexts
  • Use the case study for learning what lessons can
    we draw from the event?

  • A questionnaire to the ASTRA network on country-
    and region-specific impacts of the storm
  • Questionnaire complemened by other existing
    sources (reports, inquiries to experts and
  • Valuable input and in-depth studies by ASTRA
    project partners - Thank you!
  • Web-based demonstration will be developed based
    on the results

Gudrun a.k.a. Erwin
  • The winter storm in January 2005 was an extreme
    weather event that affected almost all of the
    participating countries around the Baltic sea.
  • The storm was exceptional (extent, damages) for
    the Baltic Sea Region fiercest event since 1969
  • Still, it was less damaging than the 1999 storms
    Lothar Martin in western Europe

Gudrun (Erwin) storm path 8.-11.1.2005
Major storms track and land cover 1998-2002
LähdeSaurí ym. 2003
Storm risk
  • Storm risk patterns in Europe mapped by the ESPON
    1.3.1 Hazards project
  • Exposure Storm paths
  • Damage potential Population density assets at

Was the winter storm caused by climate change?
  • It would certainly be exaggerating to develop
    horror scenarios for Europe as a result of
    climate change However, there is no doubt
    that in a warmer climate it will be necessary to
    expect much more frequent and more intensive
    windstorm and severe storm events
  • Münich Re Winter Storms in Europe (II) Analysis
    of 1999 losses and loss potentials

Changing storm frequency
  • Lithuania has met with ten major storms in the
    last 50 years
  • ? each of these storms have been considered a
    once in a hundred years event
  • Expectation 1/100 yrs return period (1 yearly
  • Recent reality 1/5 yrs return period (20 yearly
  • (Source Eurosion project 2000)

Impacts of the storm
  • 17 people died
  • hundreds of thousands people affected
  • Damages estimated at EUR 2.5 billion
  • Wide range of impacts in the BSR countries
  • Sectors most affected
  • Natural resources (esp. forestry)
  • Energy production and distribution
  • Transport and Communications
  • Spatial development infrastructure

Turku, Finland
Pärnu, Estonia
Forest damages in Sweden
  • Sweden heavily affected
  • 75 Million cubic metres of forest damaged
  • Equal to the normal annual timber harvest
  • Are monoculture forests resilient?

Forestry loss categories
  • Additional cost of harvesting the fallen trees
  • Revenues lost as the price for timber falls as
    markets are overloaded
  • Reforestation of totally damaged areas
  • Costs of restoring the infrastructure related to
    forest management
  • Costs of aero surveilance and inventory
  • Source Estonian WSS study (Kont et al. 2006)

Energy power cuts
  • Estonia Interruption of electricity supplies to
    5,500 electricity stations which make up 30 of
    the country's network
  • Latvia the storm affected 60 of the countrys
    territory, cutting 40 population from power
    23-day emergency
  • Lithuania network came close to collapse 1,4
    million people affected
  • Sweden some 730 000 people affected. total
    number of power-cut days were counted to add up
    to 2,3 million
  • Finland Loviisa nuclear power plant closure
  • Denmark wind power turbines closed down

Restoring power (e.g. Latvia)
Coastal erosion
  • Shoreline affected throughout the southern coasts
    of the study area
  • Different sensitivities of different locations
  • Effects most severe in Latvia
  • Increased water level and wave action together
    affected the coastlines of Germany, Poland and
    Lithuania, too.

Tulvariskien huomioiminen maankäytön
suunnittelussa jää kauaksi Suurtulvatyöryhmän
esittämästä tasosta.
The costs
  • Total costs estimated at 2,42 billion euros
  • of which 1,6 billion euros was insured
  • the 40th costliest insurance loss since 1970
  • (Source Swiss Re 2006)
  • Remember not everything is reflected in the

EUSF assistance
  • European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is a
    special fund created in 2002 to assist EU Member
    states recover form major disasters
  • EUSF provided ca. 93 M in assistance
  • Sweden received 82 M (total damages at 2 300 M)
  • Latvia received 9,5 M (damages 192 M)
  • Estonias share was 1,3 M (damages 48 M)
  • Lithuania received 400 000 (total damages 15

Responses to the storm
  • Early warning systems improvements
  • Improvements in communication systems initiated
    (e.g. Swedish forestry agency web pages for
    forest owners)
  • Technical preparedness (e.g. power generators for
    important sectors in Latvia)
  • Monitoring activities (e.g. Lithuanian coast)
  • Institutional initiatives (e.g. Espoo flood
    group,, Latvian Ministry of Interior)
  • regulatory initiatives (e.g. Stockholm county
    Electricity supply rules for entreprises)

Institutional response example from Latvia
  • Latvian Ministry of Interior initiative
  • Improve the coordination between state
    institutions and local municipalities, declare
    responsibilities of each institution
  • Budget planning to reserve funding to be
    available in the case of storms, flooding and
    similar hazards
  • Develop a system of public training and education
    in the area of civil defence
  • Increase applied research to develop the optimal
    system of hazard mitigation have been underlined.
  • Improve work in hazard identification within the
    Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology

Conclusion Before the next storm, lets
  • Engage in planned adaptation increase adaptive
    capacity, not only emergency rescue operations
  • Improve early warning systems and immediate
    response capacity (rescue services)
  • Improve communication channels between officials
    and towards the public
  • Co-operate on sectoral strategies both public
    private sectors
  • Improve documentation of storm effects more
    uniform, publicly available data would enhance
    analysis and learning
  • Initiate institutional measures to address
    resources and responsibilities of institution
    (state vs. municipality vs. private sector)
  • Raise awareness on changing return periods for
  • Study International EU-level responses in the

Thank you for your attention!
  • Helsinki University of Technology (TKK)
  • Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (YTK)
  • ASTRA team
  • Lasse Peltonen, Simo Haanpää, Samuli Lehtonen
  • Contact