Meteorological data for the Cologne test case (Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, KIT).
Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany with a population of over a million inhabitants. It is a major industrial, financial, and cultural centre as well as an important transport hub, including one of the largest inland ports in Europe and a critical segment in east-west transport across Europe. Hence, a natural disaster affecting Cologne has the potential to seriously disrupt a number of transport links (river, road, air and rail), making it a potentially interesting example for the estimation of indirect losses, although this issue was not covered in the following work. Likewise, the industry in the surrounding area leads to the potential for NaTech (Natural Technological) disasters, although again we have not dealt with these here. Cologne has also been, and is, the test case of several other hazard and risk projects, namely the German Research Network Natural Disasters (DFNK), and the Framework to integrate Space-based and in-situ sensing for dynamic vulnerability and recovery monitoring (SENSUM) projects.
Although Cologne is the least seriously exposed to natural hazards of the MATRIX test cases, it is still under threat from three major hazard types: earthquakes, windstorms and floods, which are the most important hazards in Germany. While the expected magnitudes of these hazards may not be as spectacular as in the other test cases, they still have the potential to exhibit interactions at various levels of the risk assessment chain, e.g., earthquakes affecting flood defences and hence increasing flood risk, while themselves inflicting serious direct and indirect (and tangible and intangible) losses.
Figure 1: The Inner Stadt (inner city) of Cologne as seen from the River Rhine. (photo source, Wikipedia)
Figure 2: A scene from the 1930 (photo source, Wikipedia)