Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology

Current CEDIM-Projects

Rapid Earthquake Impact Modeling

Earthquakes are felt every daily all around the globe. In some cases, damaging effects cannot be avoided and it is difficult, especially during bigger disasters, to estimate the actual impact. But first estimates of the earthquake intensity are important to estimate potential losses and the number of affected population. For this task, a system for disaster cartography has been developed to provide potential disaster impact maps within minutes after an event occurred. Such data can then be used e.g. for loss estimates or mitigation measures.

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 Effects of Extreme Events on EMI-Systems


Facing the increasing probability of extreme events and their tremendous possible impacts on societies, it is inevitable to investigate their impacts on current and future energy, mobility and information systems. This is also more than valid, facing the aspect that through the network character of those systems, extreme events lead to cascading effects along its system-parts. That is why, natural disasters can have also severe impacts far away from their place of origin. The current globalization and strong interconnectedness around the world is also increasing this aspect. To assess the indirect impacts of natural events, two subprojects were implemented, dealing with supply chain vulnerability under consideration of global interconnectedness and changed consumer mobility requests in the aftermath of a disaster.

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Energy risks toward 2025: Disaster risk and resilience assessment of renewable and traditional systems


Energy systems are key to the recovery of a location post-disaster. Connectivity to internet, telephone systems, heat, cool, cooking, and many other processes are energy-system driven. Evacuation, business downtime and direct losses are all associated with energy systems. A change to the system, whether from natural disaster, terrorism or other effects can cause major delays and follow-on consequences for social and economic systems as seen through Tohoku 2011. With the world becoming increasingly reliant on electricity through use of the internet, a potential major outage during a disaster is a risk that will become more and more important to countries in the future.

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Forensic Disaster Analysis

In late 2011, CEDIM embarked on a new style of disaster research known as Forensic Disaster Analysis. In the new research program CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis (CEDIM FDA), CEDIM researchers will analyse disasters and their impact in near real-time. The core of CEDIM’s new style of analysis is to examine disasters in an interdisciplinary manner with a focus on the complex interactions between
(1) the natural hazard,
(2) the technical installations, facilities, and infrastructures, and
(3) the societal structures, institutions and capacities.


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CEDIM - Dams and Seismicity – Technologies for the safe and efficient operation of water reservoirs (DAMAST)


New dams are being built worldwide as part of the creation of a climate-friendly energy supply. In many places, natural or induced earthquakes, especially in combination with other extreme events such as heavy precipitation or landslides, are jeopardising the safety of dams and thus local populations. In the DAMAST project, German, Georgian and Armenian partners are examining the underlying processes as well as safety-relevant parameters of water reservoirs using the example of the Enguri Dam in the Caucasus. The project will develop transferable monitoring concepts for dams in tectonically active regions.


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Capturing the effects of drought and heat waves on forests in Central Europe

As a result of climate change, the frequency of summer drought events is increasing worldwide. The combination of drought stress and high temperatures can cause damage to trees and may result in tree death. The dry summers of 2018 and 2019 have severely damaged forests in large parts of Central Europe. As a result of these exceptionally hot and long drought events, many millions of trees have died, leading to substantial financial losses for forest owners. The size of the potentially affected area in Germany - and ultimately worldwide - is large and challenges terrestrial-based forest observations. Therefore, we want to combine measurement techniques based on remote sensing tools to identify and quantify stress-induced forest damage.

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ZEBBRA: Event based identification and assessment of bridge conditions based on radar sensors in combination with intelligent algorithms

The increasing load on transport infrastructure by passenger cars and commercial vehicles as well as ageing of this infrastructure cause use restrictions and economic damages due to congestions and diverted traffic. The German highway network consists of about 40.000 bridges which are an important part of the critical transport infrastructure. Damage of the building structure is difficult to detect in an early stage, which is why the actual condition of a bridge often remains uncertain.

The objective of the ZEBBRA-project is to develop a non-invasive, mobile and innovative approach for measurement and procedures in order to record and assess the bridge condition under normal operation. This approach is based on high-precision ground based radar sensors which measure the bridge vibration caused by passing vehicles. These data are then analysed with intelligent algorithms, and an assessment of the condition is carried out.


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Global Tsunami Risk Modeling

Since the devastating events of Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011, tsunamis returned into the global memory and perception of natural disasters. Quantification of tsunami risk is difficult and many-faceted. During the last 20 years, various, mostly local models have been developed for the assessment of tsunami hazards and risk. But most of them show massive differences in terms of methodology, data assessment and interpretation. Thus, this project targets to develop a globally uniform and comparative tsunami risk assessment model.

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HI-CAM: Urban flash floods and sewerage

The sub-project “Urban flash floods and sewerage” of Helmholtz-Initiative Climate Adaptation and Mitigation: two Sides of the same Coin (HI-CAM) aims to simulate and assess the entire effect chain: from extreme rainfall scenarios including expected changes and temporal clustering through inundation and flooding to resulting infrastructure damage to the effect of rainwater overflow to the impacts on water quality and ecology. The frequency and intensity of extreme convective rainfall in an urban area is statistically evaluated based on station and radar data. Focus will be on quasi-stationary convective cells locally producing largest rainfall accumulations. Spatial shifting of extreme rainfall patterns to the region of interest allows to estimate upper bounds of the extremes. Probabilistic precipitation changes for future periods will be quantified from an ensemble of high-resolution RCM. To better understand the temporal variability of the local-scale extremes, we will also investigate their relation to large-scale dynamics in terms of atmospheric blocking or teleconnections influencing serial clustering over periods of days to weeks, and how these conditions will change in the future.

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Resilience of urban infrastructures in the course of time

The welfare of modern societies highly depends on the functioning of Critical Infrastructures (CIs) like power and water supply, transport and distribution systems. Thus it is desirable to gain a profound understanding on how disruptions of CIs for example caused by extreme weather events or terrorist attacks affect the vulnerability of a city - today and in the future. Detecting hidden or a priori underestimated interdependencies could help to identify enhanced strategies for crisis management and design patterns concerning robust future CI developments. For this purpose an Agent Based Modelling (ABM) approach, where CIs or CI components are modelled as agents, seems to be most promising. 

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Loss Assessment for Earthquakes

Based on the huge flow of information via internet (focussing on and building on the largest earthquake loss database available (CATDAT) and using indicator based evaluation methods, a structured picture of losses for earthquakes will emerge. They will be compared with other events based on tectonic, regional, and socio-economic characteristics such as Human Development Index (HDI) and other relevant parameters.

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Vulnerability and resilience of the critical infrastructure as exemplified by Chile


Natural hazards, such as earthquakes and floods, threaten road infrastructure and thus the society depending on them. On the one hand, the CEDIM-funded joint research project KRITIS investigates the evacuation behaviour of an affected society using qualitative and quantitative empirical social research. Therefore, specific local data of selected study areas in central Chile is collected using standardised questionnaires, expert interviews and focus group interviews. On the other hand, a generic, multi-scale concept is developed to analyse the vulnerability of critical road infrastructure. This concept follows a modular approach and evaluates the accessibility of emergency facilities by calculating an index as its basic module. The socio-scientific parameters gained in the field research are integrated with additional modules to the regional conditions in more detail.

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Wildfire risk in Southern Germany


The combination of prolonged drought events in the summer months and human negligence leads to an increasing wildfire risk, also in Germany. In the past two years, the number of wildfires and the size of the fire affected area were comparatively high. In 2019 alone, burned forest area amounted to 2711 ha. This is the second largest fire affected area since the beginning of the German wildfire statistics in 1977. Risk assessments show that this trend is set to continue in the next decades. As forest ecosystems have essential supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural functions in the field of ecosystem services, their protection and conservation are of increasing interest, especially in densely populated countries. In order to reduce the number of wildfires and fire affected forest area in the future, we want to develop suitable risk models or vulnerability functions to determine risks and forecasts that can help to derive measures for wildfire prevention.

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Early Warning of Hazardous Weather

Feasible and routinely available techniques will be used to give an advance or real-time estimation of possible damage (amount of loss) before and during a winter storm event over Europe. With accurate station data (wind gusts) at representative locations weighted or unweighted storm indices will be calculated for past storm events. All this calculations eventually lead into a kind of “storm-MOS” (Model Output Statistics) that describes a storm event with reasonable certainty and precision and that allows to evolve a storm damage function. Once the storm occurs, the wind measurements at representative locations on the one hand and the model predicted wind gusts on the other hand provide the storm indices and the appropriate damage index. The data of all past and future storm events will be fed into a database and the parameters are: name, date, regions affected, model data, measurement data and loss data.

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Willis Hail Hazard Assessment

A stochastic model for the frequency, extent and severity of hail events has been developed for Europe, and a version covering the Australian continent is currently under development. Research at KIT is focusing on the hazard component of the risk model. European METEOSAT Second Generation (MSG) and Japanese MT-SAT satellite data is used to identify major convective storms associated with hail. The method leads to unique, spatially homogeneous event data set covering entire continents for time periods of more than a decade. Stochastic modelling of the frequency, length, width, and severity of hail events then allows to generate a large event set for hailstorms expected to occur in several thousand years. This event set can in turn be combined with insurance portfolios in order to estimate loss events for certain return periods. The aim of the project is also to improve the understanding of the relationship between the strength of convection and the formation of hail, and more generally the prevailing atmospheric conditions at the formation of hail events. Several other data sources including climate model data are considered in this context.

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