BR.20.005 – Will tropical cyclones become a major hazard to the Netherlands?

Route: The blue route: water as a pathway to innovation and sustainable growth

Cluster question: 008 How is the climate changing, including extreme weather, and what impact will those changes have?

Komen er orkanen in Nederland?’ was one of the questions children asked about climate change on (article 2282027). In fact, tropical cyclones do sometimes reach Europe after changing into less intense but larger storms. These ‘post-tropical cyclones’ bring large amounts of moisture with them, and can cause heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds. At present, they do not pose a major threat, while midlatitude storms currently dominate our storm climate. However, recent modelling studies have indicated that more post-tropical storms will reach Europe as the ocean warms.

In this project, we study whether in Europe, these post-tropical storms may become a greater hazard and what their impacts would be with a focus on flood risk. Results from this study can help citizens, government and businesses anticipate and prepare for the hazards of the future such as building and infrastructure, insurance, flood safety, and spatial planning.

We shall analyze statistics of extreme wind and rainfall related to post-tropical cyclones, such as their frequency, their spatial footprints, and their main impacts. Relevant data can be collected from simulations produced by the latest generation of high-resolution climate models. Our goal is to compare the extreme events associated with post-tropical storms to that associated with ‘ordinary’ storms.

A major challenge is to identify are extreme events associated with post-tropical storms and obtain reliable statistical estimates for such events and their consequences such as flooding. It requires knowledge from different disciplines: climate modelling, flood risk and statistics. This consortium consists of researchers from all mentioned disciplines. As a further deliverable, advanced statistical tools will be built and made available for analyzing other weather extremes and their impacts in a changing climate.


climage change, extreme weather, flood risk, statistics of extremes, Tropical cyclones

Other organisations

Deltares, Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI)


Organisation Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)
Name Prof. dr. C. (Chen) Zhou