The research is focused on understanding hydrological processes in basins through an intense experimental monitoring activity addressed to characterize the spatially varying rainfall and the soil moisture, the parameterization of the infiltration process and the identification of dominant processes in runoff production along with its propagation in natural channels. Our main target is to provide a contribution on hydrological modelling mainly if it is used to extrapolate knowledge in time and/or space beyond the available measurements. For this reason, the research is based on intensive geo-hydro-meteorological variables monitoring using ground and satellite observations. The research activity aims to answer the question: “which are the key variables characterizing the hydrological processes at the basis of natural hazards?”
The main objectives of the research are:
- Collect reliable hydrological measures by ground and satellite observations and data validation
- Shed light on emerging technologies for the monitoring of the surface hydrological processes at catchment scale
- Identify the key hydrological quantities for a fundamental understanding of the natural processes and observations of natural events
In this context, the research pursues important innovative measurements in experimental basins, instrument development, and experimental analysis leading to important improvements in monitoring and warning capability of natural hazards. The main scientific questions that the activity research tries to address are: i) which hydrological processes drive the onset of a extreme event, its duration and intensity; ii) does the spatial and temporal resolution of variables correctly represent phenomena at basis of natural hazards; and iii) how much the observations reflect the key variables of investigated processes. In order to answer the above questions, the activity uses ground and satellite observations taking advantage of emerging technologies by collecting detailed natural hazard-related data mainly in terms of: ground elevation, existing soil moisture conditions, more detailed meteorological and streamflow information. On this basis, the main results achieved concern: a) collection, quality control and development of hydro-meteorological data archives; climate characterization of hydrological quantities in basins; b) data validation of ground and satellite rainfall, soil moisture and discharge observations; c) development of robust protocols for river flow monitoring during high floods and accurate discharge estimate at river sites in absence of bathymetry as well.