Articles | Volume 4, issue 3
28 May 2004
28 May 2004

Local models for rainstorm-induced hazard analysis on Mediterranean river-torrential geomorphological systems

N. Diodato

Abstract. Damaging hydrogeomorphological events are defined as one or more simultaneous phenomena (e.g. accelerated erosions, landslides, flash floods and river floods), occurring in a spatially and temporal random way and triggered by rainfall with different intensity and extent. The storm rainfall values are highly dependent on weather condition and relief. However, the impact of rainstorms in Mediterranean mountain environments depend mainly on climatic fluctuations in the short and long term, especially in rainfall quantity. An algorithm for the characterisation of this impact, called Rainfall Hazard Index (RHI), is developed with a less expensive methodology. In RHI modelling, we assume that the river-torrential system has adapted to the natural hydrological regime, and a sudden fluctuation in this regime, especially those exceeding thresholds for an acceptable range of flexibility, may have disastrous consequences for the mountain environment. RHI integrate two rainfall variables based upon storm depth current and historical data, both of a fixed duration, and a one-dimensionless parameter representative of the degree ecosystem flexibility. The approach was applied to a test site in the Benevento river-torrential landscape, Campania (Southern Italy). So, a database including data from 27 events which have occurred during an 77-year period (1926-2002) was compared with Benevento-station RHI(24h), for a qualitative validation. Trends in RHIx for annual maximum storms of duration 1, 3 and 24h were also examined. Little change is observed at the 3- and 24-h duration of a storm, but a significant increase results in hazard of a short and intense storm (RHIx(1h)), in agreement with a reduction in return period for extreme rainfall events.