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Montesarchio V.,University Niccolo Cusano | Napolitano F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Rianna M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Rianna M.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Formazione Internazionale | And 4 more authors.
Natural Hazards | Year: 2014

A flood warning system based on rainfall thresholds makes it possible to issue alarms via an off-line approach. This technique is useful for mitigating the effects of flooding in small-to-medium-sized basins characterized by an extremely rapid response to rainfall. Rainfall threshold values specify the amount of precipitation that occurs over a given period of time and are dependent on both the amount of soil moisture and the spatiotemporal distribution of the rainfall. The precipitation generates a critical discharge in a particular river cross section. Exceeding these values can produce a critical situation in river sites that make them susceptible to flooding. In this work, we present a comparison of methodologies for estimating rainfall thresholds. Critical precipitation amounts are evaluated using empirical data, hydrological simulations and probabilistic methods. The study focuses on three small-to-medium-sized basins located in central Italy. For each catchment, historical data are first used to theoretically evaluate the empirical rainfall thresholds. Next, we calibrate a semi-distributed hydrological model that is validated using rain gauge and weather radar data. Critical rainfall depths over 30 min and 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h durations are then evaluated using the hydrological simulation. In the probabilistic approach, rainfall threshold values result from a minimization of two different functions, one following the Bayesian decision theory and the other following the informative entropy concept. In order to implement both functions, it is necessary to evaluate the joint probability function. The joint probability function is built up as a bivariate distribution of rainfall depth for a given duration with the corresponding flow peak value. Finally, in order to assess the performance of each methodology, we construct contingency tables to highlight the system performance. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Rianna M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Orlando D.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Montesarchio V.,Centro Interuniversitario Of Formazione Internazionale | Russo F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Napolitano F.,University of Rome La Sapienza
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012

The most commonly used method to evaluate rainfall excess, is the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) runoff curve number model. This method is based on the determination of the CN value that is linked with a hydrological soil group, cover type, treatment, hydrologic condition and antecedent runoff condition. To calculate the antecedent runoff condition the standard procedure needs to calculate the rainfall over the entire basin during the five days previous to the beginning of the event in order to simulate and then to use that volume of rainfall to calculate the antecedent moisture condition (AMC). This is necessary in order to obtain the correct curve number value. The value of the modified parameter is then kept constant throughout the whole event. The aim of this work is to evaluate the possibility of improving the curve number method. The various assumptions are focused on modifying those related to rainfall and the determination of an AMC condition and their role in the determination of the value of the curve number parameter. In order to consider the spatial variability we assumed that the rainfall which influences the AMC and the CN value does not account for the rainfall over the entire basin, but for the rainfall within a single cell where the basin domain is discretized. Furthermore, in order to consider the temporal variability of rainfall we assumed that the value of the CN of the single cell is not maintained constant during the whole event, but instead varies throughout it according to the time interval used to define the AMC conditions. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

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