Natural Hazards

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 2279–2304 | Cite as

A review of multiple natural hazards and risks in Germany

  • Heidi KreibichEmail author
  • Philip Bubeck
  • Michael Kunz
  • Holger Mahlke
  • Stefano Parolai
  • Bijan Khazai
  • James Daniell
  • Tobia Lakes
  • Kai Schröter
Review Paper


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.


Past natural hazard events Risk analysis Risk management Multi-risk approaches Storms Floods Extreme temperatures Earthquakes Germany 



We thank Sergey Tyagunov for having provided an updated version of Fig. 5. This work has partly been undertaken under the framework of CEDIM—Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (, a joint venture between the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as well as partly been undertaken under the framework of the EU FP7 funded project MATRIX—New Multi-Hazard and Multi-Risk Assessment Methods for Europe.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Kreibich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philip Bubeck
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Kunz
    • 3
  • Holger Mahlke
    • 3
  • Stefano Parolai
    • 4
  • Bijan Khazai
    • 5
  • James Daniell
    • 5
  • Tobia Lakes
    • 6
  • Kai Schröter
    • 1
  1. 1.Section HydrologyGerman Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.adelphiBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  4. 4.Centre for Early WarningGerman Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)PotsdamGermany
  5. 5.Geophysikalisches InstitutKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  6. 6.Geoinformation Science Lab, Geography DepartmentHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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