The benefits of emergency rescue and reanalysis data in decadal storm damage assessment studies
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Studying changes in storm-induced forest damage in Finland has not been possible previously due to the lack of continuous, long series of impact data. We overcome this by combining emergency rescue data from the Finnish rescue services "PRONTO" (2011-) with ERA-Interim reanalysis data of wind gusts and soil temperatures to define exceedance thresholds for potential forest damage days. These thresholds were applied as a proxy for the period 1979–2013 in order to study the spatial and decadal characteristics of forest damage in Finland due to windstorms.
The results indicated that the area most impacted by potential forest damage was the south-western part of Finland along the coast, with 1–10 damaging storm cases per year. A decadal examination highlighted a lull period in the number of potential forest damage days during the 1990s compared to the 1980s and 2000s, albeit no trend was evident.
The inclusion of emergency rescue data allowed us for the first time to estimate the spatial distribution and decadal variations of potential forest damage days due to windstorms in Finland. The results achieved will encourage further development of thresholds for potential forest damage by including additional data sources and applying them to future climate scenarios.