September 29, 2019

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post wondering how easy it might be to propel a hurricane into Europe, based on extremes of sea surface temperature and tropical cyclone forward speeds. Not long after this, Hurricane Ophelia came within 12 hours of landfall from Ireland as a tropical system.

Two years on, there is the potential of another system - Lorenzo - anomalous in its intensity and location for this time...

January 8, 2019

I am taking a real long-shot here: Could we use the ever-improving world of seasonal forecasting to help re-jig the timings of our reinsurance contracts? I am probably howling at the moon, but at least allow me to explain.

Please follow the link here to the Simplitium Blog to find out more.

October 2, 2018

Confession corner: I am a frustrated weather forecaster. It was my career aim that led me into studying meteorology at University before I moved into the world of research and then into the research and building of catastrophe models. Working in catastrophe modelling for a while now has made me realise how similar, despite different time horizons, weather forecasting and catastrophe modelling can be. Let me try to...

May 19, 2018

I finally got round to reading Roger Pielke Jnr's book The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change. It's an illuminating read on climate change and its relationship to the perceived increase of extreme events - and also, disappointingly, how Pielke has been treated by fellow scientists for thinking differently from the crowd. I think there is a tendency to align climate change with “every hazard is...

January 6, 2018

For the more "mature" perils where models are 15,20,25 years old there is plenty that we have learnt from academia that, iteratively, has fed into the models and improved them. Add to this the growth of better reporting and recording of loss data to help improve these models and more and more academics moving into the growing world of catastrophe modelling, our models are better than ever: but what can we do to in...

December 15, 2017

As the 2017 hurricane season comes to a close we can obviously look back at landfalling droughts ended and records broken. But what can we take from this year's Atlantic Hurricane season and its associated systems forward into how we think about hurricane risk and how we might improve on modelling it? Here are a few points that have sprung to mind this season. It's purely a point of view, but hopefully something t...

October 12, 2017

Thirty years ago, a large mass of cloud moved north-east towards the shores of NW France and SE England: the infamous, poorly-forecast, October Storm. Thirty years on, Hurricane Ophelia sits close to the Azores ready to move north-east possibly towards the NW Europe. Two very different storms, but both are connected by the low risk but considerable potential that exists in the overlapping of the tropical and...

September 7, 2017

Irma is breaking records all over the place and leaving near-total damage in its wake: but I will leave that for others to discuss. As Irma heads towards the US Coastline, I wanted to post a short note on the uncertainty that seems to have dragged on in last 2-3 days around just what might be in store plus another couple of aspects of the storm that give maybe some context to the bigger picture of hurricane activi...

August 26, 2017

Finally a major hurricane has made landfall, ending the much talked about (although somewhat arbitrarily-defined) hurricane drought, that not only provides us with plenty to talk about, but valuable data not just for meteorologists but those of us in the catastrophe modelling community. Here's five things that sprung to mind over the past couple of days:

Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures and landfalls

It is wo...

August 21, 2017

Since 1990, the UK hasn't experienced a really severe windstorm. You can point the finger at Kyrill in 2007 or Christian in 2013, but neither of these really hold a candle to the October Storm of 1987 or Daria in 1990. Meanwhile France, with Lothar, Martin, Xynthia and Klaus since 1999 have had more than their fair share. Is this a trend or is it just down to sheer bad luck for France?

The above question is just on...

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