Hail, a growing problem

Hail, a growing problem

A report on the increase in hailstorms in Europe as a result of climate change

Milan | Started on 01/04/2023 – Concluded on 22/05/2023

2021 and 2022 were black years for hailstorms in Europe: there were 8,244 hail reports in 2022, 51% more than in 2021 which was already a record year. France, Italy and Germany are the most affected countries, with billions of euros in damages. Why does this happen?

To find an answer the latest reports published in the scientific literature were reviewed, and interviews were conducted with the experts of the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL) and the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Cnr of Bologna. The research results leave no doubts: in the last decade (2010-2021) heavy hailstorms in the Mediterranean basin have increased by 30% compared to the previous decade (1999-2010). And climate simulations for the next few decades confirm this increasing trend. The number one suspect is global warming, which favors the formation of extreme weather phenomena because it increases the evaporation of moisture-laden air from the sea or from the earthly surface. The Mediterranean basin is warming 20% faster than the global average, and this heat puts a lot of energy into the formation of storm clouds.

So, what to do? First, we can defend ourselves thanks to an early warning system: stormforecast.eu, a website recently opened by ESSL. It is able to predict the probability of hailstorms in Europe 2 days in advance. Furthermore, cultivated fields can be protected with anti-hail nets, and those who live in areas at risk of heavy hailstorms will have to invest in more robust structures, i.e. tempered glass for greenhouses and solar panels.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.