Lisa Degenhardt

University of Birmingham


Seasonal to sub-decadal variability of extreme wind storms over Europe


  • Prof. Dr. G.C. Leckebusch (University of Birmingham)
  • Prof. Dr. Adam Scaife (UK MetOffice)

PhD Summary

In this study I will investigate severe storms over Europe. Because of their social and economic impact, severe winter wind storms are in mind of scientists for a while now. But due to the rareness of these events, seasonal forecast for them is still difficult. So with this project, the predictability skill in new data sets shall be analysed (forecast and reanalysis), drivers/factors that influence the development of severe storms shall be found, the impact of the storm shall be calculated and a better understanding of the so-called ‘signal-to-noise’ paradox shall be gained. In cooperation with the UK MetOffice, this project will lead to a better understanding of storm development and prediction. A better forecast for the upcoming storm season is important e.g., for insurances or transport companies.

Previous activity

I studied meteorology in Berlin, Germany. This was separated in a 3-year Bachelor and 2-year Master and in between, I did a voluntary research internship in Reykjavik, Iceland, for 6 months. Besides my Master’s degree, I was a student representative and worked as a student assistant and tutor in the ‘Extreme Meteorology’ working group.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

In my Bachelor’s program, one of my favourite courses were statistics and programming. In my Master’s degree, I had to do a lot of small research projects in different lectures. As a student assistant, I helped in projects as well. All of these showed me that I like to analyse data sets and interpret the results. The weather forecast is an important part of Meteorology as well, but I like to investigate new patterns or structures in data sets to improve the weather forecast (models).

Why did you choose CENTA?

The variety of projects is one of the main points why I like it to be part of CENTA. There are completely different projects funded but they all have one in common, the Earth. I’m looking forward to exchange ideas and technics with scientists from different field. As well, this includes some training sessions where I can adopt new methods and knowledge from new scientific fields.

Future plans

I think the opportunity to study abroad and especially in the United Kingdom is something very special in a scientific career. For my specific topic, my supervisor is a well-known scientist in storm research. The NERC CENTA funding affords me to participate at big international conferences and my supervisor support me to do posters and presentations. All this is a great start for a future career as a scientific researcher.