Clim2FlEx - Mapping of climate to flood extremes
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As our climate system climbs through its current warming path, temperature and precipitation are greatly affected also in their extremes. Owing to their increasing societal impact, climate extremes have recently attracted large international programmes (IPCC, WCRP grand challenges) with an effort to standardize their detection (e.g. through climate extremes indices) and to allow attribution to climate change. There is a general concern that climate change may affect also the magnitude and frequency of river floods and, as a consequence, that existing and planned hydraulic structures and flood defences may become inadequate to provide the required protection level in the future. While a wide body of literature on the detection of flood changes is available, the identification of their underlying causes (i.e. flood change attribution) is still debated. In particular, in alpine areas, changes in heavy precipitation is only one of the drivers of flood change, being snow-rain partitioning and snowmelt other key processes in the formation of river floods of different type. The European Alps are therefore an ideal laboratory for analysing complex effects of climate on floods, also because they divide the Mediterranean and Continental Europe, with opposite projected changes in precipitation and different responses to climate oscillations. In the Clim2FlEx project we plan to better understand how floods of different kind and their impacts on the landscape are related to climate extremes (of precipitation and temperature) and how these extremes are related to large scale predictors (e.g. climate oscillations, teleconnections). Through a novel integrated modeling chain, we aim at identifying the climate extreme indices that better relate to river floods, the large-scale climate phenomena controlling their dynamics, their expected modifications due to climate change and the associated uncertainties. Three research questions will be at the core of Clim2FlEx: • What are the large scale predictors of climate extremes that are relevant to river floods and their change? • What is the role of spatio-temporal scales when mapping climate to flood extremes? • How are climate extremes and river floods of different types related to each other? Mapping climate to flood extremes is of interest from both theoretical and practical perspectives. From a theoretical point of view, a better understanding of the connection between climate extremes and floods will allow to better attribute flood changes to their underlying causes. From a practical point of view, the identification of climate indices relevant to flood extremes may allow to better incorporate climate projections in the assessment of flood hazard and risk, leading to a more informed selection of adaptation measures compared to what is now possible.
- Alberto Viglione. (Responsabile Scientifico)
Sustainable Development Goals
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