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New peer-reviewed papers

01.06.14: New peer-reviewed papers from us are accepted this spring.

Kreibich, K., K. Schröter, P. Bubeck, M. Kunz, H. Mahlke, S. Parolai, B. Khazai, J. Daniell, and T. Lakes, 2014: A review of multiple natural hazards and risks in Germany . Nat. Hazards, doi: 10.1007/s11069-014-1265-6.


Although Germany is not among the most hazard-prone regions of the world, it does experience various natural hazards that have caused considerable economic and human losses in the past. Moreover, risk due to natural hazards is expected to increase in several regions of Germany if efficient risk management is not able to accommodate global changes. The most important natural hazards, in terms of past human and economic damage they caused, are storms, floods, extreme temperatures and earthquakes. They all show a pronounced spatial and temporal variability. In the present article, a review of these natural hazards, associated risks and their management in Germany is provided. This review reveals that event and risk analyses, as well as risk management, predominantly focus on one single hazard, generally not considering the cascading and conjoint effects in a full multi-hazard and risks approach. However, risk management would need integrated multi-risk analyses to identify, understand, quantify and compare different natural hazards and their impacts, as well as their interactions.


Merz, B., F. Elmer, M. Kunz, B. Mühr, K. Schröter, and S. Uhlemann, 2014: The extreme flood in June 2013 in Germany . La Houille Blanche, 1, 5-10.


The June 2013 flood was the most severe large-scale flood in Germany, at least for the last 6 decades for which a hydrological flood severity has been calculated. Many gauges along the Elbe and Danube rivers showed record water levels. The flood severity index, a measure which combines magnitude and spatial extension, is almost twice as large as the index of the August 2002 flood which has been the most expensive natural disaster for Germany to date. The enormous hydrological severity was caused by widespread and intense rainfall in combination with wet catchments due to exceptionally high rainfall in the month preceding the event. Preliminary damage estimates are in the order of 8.7 to 12 billion €. Hence, the losses seem to be lower compared to the 2002 flood (11.8 billion € for Germany). Although detailed analyses have not been performed to date, it can be assumed that the investments and improvements in flood risk management since 2002 have reduced the flood risk and prevented higher damage.


Punge, H.J., K. Bedka, M. Kunz, and A. Werner, 2014: A new physically based stochastic event catalog for hail in Europe . Nat. Hazards, doi: 10.1007/s11069-014-1161-0.


Hailstorms represent one of the major sources of damage and insurance loss to residential, commercial, and agricultural assets in several parts of Central Europe. However, there is little knowledge of hail risk across Europe beyond local historical damage reports due to the relative rarity of severe hail events and the lack of uniform detection methods. Here we present a new stochastic catalog of hailstorms for Europe. It is based on satellite observations of overshooting cloud tops (OT) that indicate very strong convective updrafts and hail reports from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD). Historic hail events are defined based on OT detections from satellite infrared brightness temperatures between 2004 and 2011 for the warm seasons (April–September). The satellite-based historical event properties are complemented by hailstone observations from ESWD to stochastically simulate more than 1 million individual events with an event footprint resolution of 10 km. The final hail event catalog presented in this paper is the first one with a spatial event distribution that is based on a single homogeneous observation source over Europe. Areas of high hail probability or hail risk are found over Central and Southern Europe, including mountainous regions such as the Alps or the Pyrenees. Another region of relatively high hail risk is present over central Eastern Europe.