This study was prompted by the occurrence of an extreme Damaging geo-Hydrological Event (DHE) which occurred on October 25th 2011 and which affected a wide area of the northern Mediterranean region. After analysing the storm by means of the precipitation time series, the study attempts to relate the October 25th 2011 DHE with a series of other DHEs that occurred in the period 1954–2012, assessed via the use of historical data and classified according to severity, with a Storm Erosivity Indicator (Ra). The annual mean of the Ra value (2582MJmmha−1 h−1 y−1) confirmed that the study area is one of the European regions with the highest rainfall erosivity level. A shift in storminess during 1991–2012 with respect to 1954–1990 was observed. A return period of 1000 years was calculated for the single storm erosivity of October 25th, which contributed to 84% of the total annual storm erosivity of 2011. A quite good agreement was found comparing DHE distribution and severity with Ra anomalies over time. As a matter of fact, most of the low severity DHEs (62.5%) occurred in years in which the Ra was below the average value. Moreover, almost all DHEs (93%) ranging from medium- to very high-severity occurred in years for which the Ra exceeded the average value. With regard to the occurrence of the most severe DHE classes, a threshold of the Ra and a recurrence time of approximately 3300 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 y−1 and 12 years, respectively, were identified. Finally, some evidences suggest that an increasing frequency of DHEs is expected in the forthcoming years. It is argued that understanding these issues is amajor priority for future research in order to improve land and urban planning strategies for preserving people and the environment, leading ultimately to an effective risk reduction.

Storminess and geo-hydrological events affecting small coastal basins in a terraced Mediterranean environment

CEVASCO, ANDREA;
2015

Abstract

This study was prompted by the occurrence of an extreme Damaging geo-Hydrological Event (DHE) which occurred on October 25th 2011 and which affected a wide area of the northern Mediterranean region. After analysing the storm by means of the precipitation time series, the study attempts to relate the October 25th 2011 DHE with a series of other DHEs that occurred in the period 1954–2012, assessed via the use of historical data and classified according to severity, with a Storm Erosivity Indicator (Ra). The annual mean of the Ra value (2582MJmmha−1 h−1 y−1) confirmed that the study area is one of the European regions with the highest rainfall erosivity level. A shift in storminess during 1991–2012 with respect to 1954–1990 was observed. A return period of 1000 years was calculated for the single storm erosivity of October 25th, which contributed to 84% of the total annual storm erosivity of 2011. A quite good agreement was found comparing DHE distribution and severity with Ra anomalies over time. As a matter of fact, most of the low severity DHEs (62.5%) occurred in years in which the Ra was below the average value. Moreover, almost all DHEs (93%) ranging from medium- to very high-severity occurred in years for which the Ra exceeded the average value. With regard to the occurrence of the most severe DHE classes, a threshold of the Ra and a recurrence time of approximately 3300 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 y−1 and 12 years, respectively, were identified. Finally, some evidences suggest that an increasing frequency of DHEs is expected in the forthcoming years. It is argued that understanding these issues is amajor priority for future research in order to improve land and urban planning strategies for preserving people and the environment, leading ultimately to an effective risk reduction.
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