EGU General Assembly 2020
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Characterization of extreme meteo-hydrological events in the Alpine Region: historical picture and future scenarios

Matteo Pesce1, Larisa Tarasova2, Ralf Merz2, Jost von Hardenberg1, and Alberto Viglione1
Matteo Pesce et al.
  • 1Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • 2Department Catchment Hydrology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Halle, Germany

In the European Alps, climate change has determined changes in extreme precipitation and river flood events, which impact the population living downstream with increasing frequency. The objectives of our work are:

To these aims, we will compile and analyze historical time series of precipitation and discharge in order to identify events in terms of intensity, duration, and spatial extent. We will use the ETCCDI indices as a measure of the precipitation distribution and hydrograph separation techniques for flow events, following the methodology of Tarasova et al. (2018). We will then characterize each event in terms of generation mechanisms. Furthermore, we will analyze the frequency and magnitude of the different event types in different locations and time of the year and determine whether clusters exist by applying automatic techniques (e.g. K-means clustering algorithm). Finally, we will correlate statistics of precipitation and flood event types with climate indices related to large scale atmospheric circulation, such as Atmospheric Blocking, NAO, etc. (Ciccarelli et al. 2008). Results will be then used for the projection of future storm and flood scenarios.

We will first apply the methodology in Piedmont by comparing the station-based time series with the NWIOI dataset (ARPA Piemonte) and reanalysis datasets by ECMWF (ERA5, ERA5-Land). We will use a rainfall-runoff model at the daily and sub-daily timescale, through calibration at the regional scale, useful for the simulation of soil saturation and snowpack. We expect to find a statistical correlation between the different datasets, but with changing statistical features over space and time within the single datasets. We aim to provide a detailed picture of the different types of events according to the spatial location and season. The results will be useful, from a scientific perspective, to better understand storm and flood regimes and their change in the Alpine Region, and, from a practical perspective, to better mitigate the risk associated with the occurrence of extreme events.      

Ciccarelli, N., Von Hardenberg, J., Provenzale, A., Ronchi, C., Vargiu, A., & Pelosini, R. (2008). Climate variability in north-western Italy during the second half of the 20th century. Global and Planetary Change, 63(2-3), 185-195.

Tarasova, L., Basso, S., Zink, M., & Merz, R. (2018). Exploring controls on rainfall-runoff events: 1. Time series-based event separation and temporal dynamics of event runoff response in Germany. Water Resources Research, 54, 7711–7732.

How to cite: Pesce, M., Tarasova, L., Merz, R., von Hardenberg, J., and Viglione, A.: Characterization of extreme meteo-hydrological events in the Alpine Region: historical picture and future scenarios, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-498,, 2020.

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