Informal Seminar: Forecasting severe precipitation events and their hydrological impact in the central Mediterranean: how to deal with a climate change hotspot

by Dr Alfonso Senatore (University of Calabria)

Council Chamber

Council Chamber


The Mediterranean Basin is a climate change hotspot because of its observed and projected enhanced warming and drying trends and the multiple hazards that threaten vulnerable human societies and ecosystems. In this presentation, I introduce the main activities developed at the University of Calabria Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Lab (CeSMMA Lab) concerning integrated meteo-hydrological forecasts in the central Mediterranean, specifically in the Calabrian peninsula (southern Italy), particularly prone to severe hydrometeorological events due to the intense atmosphere-sea interactions, further enhanced by local complex orography. Several research topics have been addressed related to spatial resolution, lead time (from short- to medium-range), forecasting approaches (deterministic vs ensemble forecasts) and modelling chains (one-way and fully coupled atmosphere-hydrology simulations) evaluating for every system tested the operational feasibility for civil protection purposes. Finally, given the role of sea surface conditions as relevant drivers of precipitation patterns and considering the faster warming compared to the global ocean of the relatively shallow Mediterranean Sea, the influence of the projected sea surface temperature (SST) on severe precipitation events has been assessed. The analysis suggested that if only SST changes are considered, the frequency of extreme inland events will increase due to the enhanced air-sea flux exchange, but the intensity will not.