My introduction to researching and modelling natural disasters occurred during my master thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute for Frost, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) when I investigated the possibility to Reconstruct Severe Hailstorm Occurrence in Tree Rings using wood anatomical methods and weather radar data. I was surprised that hail injuries can be dated within weeks and related well to Doppler weather radar images that reveal the occurrence of severe thunderstorms.

Following the master thesis, I had the opportunity to be one of the last PhD students to be supervised by the experts of the radar meteorology group at the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science (IAC) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). During my PhD research, I investigated the relationship between weather radar measurements (hail kinetic energy) and lighting patterns on ground to contribute to the improvement of nowcasting severe thunderstorms in Switzerland. The research was extended to develop statistical relationships between radar-based hailfall intensity (hail kinetic energy) and damage extents on motor and property insurance portfolios in Switzerland. Results of the research were used to develop the first probabilistic hail loss model known as “HailCalc” for motor and property insurance portfolios in Europe, which was subsequently acquired by Risk Management Solutions (RMS).

The research of my PhD resulted in three publications in “Atmospheric Research” and include