Modelling of natural hazard mitigation

hydro_hydraThe aim of this research is to quantify flood, drought and landslide hazard for current and future climates and to better understand the underpinning processes by quantifying, and ultimately reducing the uncertainty associated to their predictions. Our ultimate aspiration is the answer to the following question: “Can the synergy between hydrological and hydraulic modelling along with the monitoring (from advanced in situ and remote sensing prod

ucts) provide the basis for natural hazards mitigation (e.g. floods, drought and landslides)?

In this research area, we focus on:

  • The understanding and modelling of hydrologic and hydraulic problems using advanced numerical methods, remote sensing, laboratory experiments and field measurements.
  • The integration of in situ and satellite data with hydrological and hydraulic models. We develop software to process remotely sensed and ground data to parameterize and validate our numerical models and to implement data assimilation techniques to achieve this integration.

This research is required to explore and demonstrate how, and to what extent, models and remote sensing and in situ data can be leveraged for the mitigation of the effects of floods, drought and landslides. This leads to three subsequent science questions: 1) What processes are key for simulating the impact of natural hazards? 2) Can our models improve their prediction skills with the integration of remote sensing and in situ information? 3) What is the optimal integration procedure for combining satellite data with in-situ and models, given the spatial, temporal and physical characteristics of the remote sensing, in-situ and modeled variables?

We develop in-house computer models and data assimilation techniques for prediction of key hydrological hazards including flood inundation, landslides, and flash floods and distribute these to large user communities as management tools. The computer models developed by the Hydrology group include hydrological (MISDc and SCRRM), hydraulic (STAFOM) and flood inundation (KSM) models, and landslides early warning systems (PRESSCA). Some of these tools are freely available in the download area.

In this research area, we hold research grants from a variety of government and industry sources and participate in major consortium projects such as the European LIFE Project FLIRE, the ESA project WACMOS-MED, the NASA Early Adopter Program for SMAP, the NASA Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT), and the Interreg Project FLOODMED. Recent clients include the National Italian Department of Civil Protection, the Umbria Region, and the “Ente Acque Umbre Toscane”.

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