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The effects of climate change are now under everyone's eyes and are undeniable. Italy is not excluded from these changes, which, with increasing frequency, is experiencing extreme weather events. Among these, the water bombs.
A recent study promoted by the Polytechnic of Turin has just recently raised the alarm on the intensity and numerical growth of this type of phenomena in our country.
What are water bombs
The term water bombs is a neologism used to indicate what is defined from a meteorological point of view storm. This is particularly heavy rainfall, during which the rainfall rate, or rain rate, is equal to or greater than 30 mm per hour.
Although short-lived, these weather events can generally cause floods and floods, especially in designated areas. This is due to their particular intensity, such as to cause serious repercussions on the territory concerned.
The Turin office
The Italian research on the phenomenon of water bombs was published in Geophysical Research Letters and made by three hydrology experts: Pierluigi Claps, Daniele Ganora and Andrea Libertino del Department of Engineering for the Environment, Territory and Infrastructure of the Polytechnic of Turin. From the survey, new evidence emerged on the climate risk in our Peninsula that derives from an in-depth database, based on historical events and on findings from regional monitoring networks.
The study focuses mainly on extreme Italian storms, evaluating "the presence of regional trends in the extent and frequency of annual rainfall maxima”In the country, for periods of less than 24 hours. Through the analysis of the data, we come to the conclusion that in certain areas of Italy, the intensity of these phenomena is actually increasing, putting a strain on the drainage systems of cities and causing an increasing number of victims.
In many cases, disasters occur in urban areas which increasingly show their vulnerability and inability to handle sudden and violent events.
Since 2000, the year of the great flood of the Po, the majority of the 208 victims recorded by the CNR-IRPI in the POLARIS project resulted from sudden floods caused by strong short-term storms. "These characteristics still make the task of the Civil Protection to ensure sufficient notice to the population very difficult”- explains Pierluigi Claps, professor of Hydrology and Civil Protection. A framework of this kind makes the task of the mayors so very burdensome - which, we recall, represent theMunicipal Civil Protection Authority - to indicate in a short time the emergency measures to be adopted.As the expert specifies, the preparation of the population with respect to flash floods, defined technically flash floods, you can build "preparing risk scenarios in which heavy rain events are simulated to predict the consequences when the protective works are not sufficient”.
Tropicalization of the climate
Not just water bombs. Our country is also increasingly subject to other meteorological phenomena of excessive intensity. Recently, Coldiretti recalled how this year in Italy "124 violent hailstorms equal to almost double those recorded in the same period last year (+ 88%)”.
As the Association explains, these are the results of "a tendency to tropicalization which manifests itself with a higher frequency of extreme events, larger hail, seasonal displacements and water bombs whose effects are becoming increasingly devastating”.
It is estimated that 91% of Italian municipalities are located in areas subject to landslide or hydraulic hazards. Given the fragility of our territory and in the perspective ofintensification of extreme weather conditions, the urgency for Italian cities to prepare effective as soon as possible is evident adaptation plans to climate change, to prevent or minimize the impacts deriving from them.