Wintertime windstorms associated with low-pressure systems from the North Atlantic Ocean are the costliest natural hazard for Europe. These storms are associated with large pressure gradients and high background winds, but the most destructive gusts are often confined to relatively small areas within the low-pressure systems.

The climate of West Africa is characterized by a sensitive monsoon system that is associated with marked natural precipitation variability. This region has been and is projected to be subject to substantial global and regional-scale changes including greenhouse-gas-induced warming and sea-level rise, land-use and land-cover change, and substantial biomass burning.