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Seems like it no longer matters that the equinox brings about unsettled weather, but this year down under in New Zealand the equinox (20-23 March 2022) coincided with severe weather that affected part of the North Island. First up the Auckland and Northland region experienced wild weather including thunderstorms (4000 lightning strikes with more than 700 in the space of 5 minutes); rainfall of 103 mm in 1 hour near Whangarei set a new national hourly rainfall record for a low elevation station (breaking a record of 100.6 mm set in 1966) and extensive flash flooding in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city). This was then followed with flooding, landslides, road and infrastructure damage on the East Coast of North Island a day or so later. Parts of the region received 450 mm of rain in 48 hours and the region became isolated as the main highways were cut because of bridge collapses and landslides.

It was reported as another 1 in 100 year event in the media. However, for those that live in this region, they have seen several of these in the last few years and are now wondering when the next one will happen and what will the long-term future hold.

Photo credit: Andrew Shelton

Due to exceptional rainfall intensities and quantities (150 - 270 mm in 48 hrs) between 13 and 15 July 2021, the area between Liège (eastern part of Belgium), Maastricht (southern part of the Netherlands) and Köln (mid western part of Germany) had to deal with an unprecented flooding disaster. In total, more than 220 persons lost their lives and estimates of the insured losses mount up to €2.55 billion, with the total damage costs being much higher. The return-period of the observed precipation scenarios is estimated between 30 to 100 years.

Photo: Parochie Valkenburg

Due to climate change it is expected that the occurence frequency of such extreme precipitation events increases. In addition, the older series of precipitation measurements cover about 300 years, meaning that we did not yet observe many of those extreme events. Therefore, although robust climate change signals are detected for future seasonal and multi-day extremes, uncertainty in our current extreme value statistics still need to be taken into account wenn preparing our natural hazard management strategy for the future. Thinking the unthinkable will have to be one part of it, meaning that we also will have to simulate and assess the impacts of events which we did not observe until now.

© dpa-Bildfunk/Rhein-Erft-Kreis (erosion gullies in Erftstadt, DE)

There's no love song finer, but how strange the change from major to minor, 
Everytime we say goodbye (Ella Fitzgerald).


We, the ecorisQ board, mourn the loss of our co-board member, colleague and friend Karl (Charly) Kleemayr, who passed away last friday. We remember Karl as a highly motivated and cheerful person, a natural hazard enthusiast, always coming up with new ideas for research and collaborations. But surely not only that, he will remain in our memory as jazz lover and everything that goes with it, as well as a virtuous saxophonist and helpful friend. He could always be relied upon to bring a sense of happiness, fun, and a little mischief in our gatherings. The official obituary of the BFW, the organisation where he worked, can be found here. He will be sorely missed by us and the wider community. Our thoughts and condolences go particularly to his wife and son as well as to the wider family.