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Report RSE 17001773

Changes in heavy precipitations events over the Mediterranean basin



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R. Bonanno (RSE SpA), P. Faggian (RSE SpA)

SCENARI 2016 - Analysis and electrical scenarios, energy, environmental

On the basis of Med-CORDEX models an analysis of the likely changes in the precipitationsregimes has been carried out with particular attention for extreme events because of theirsignificant impacts on electric-energy system

Extreme weather events represent serious risks for human activities and infrastructures. In particular hazards such as floods and droughts are one of the main challenges of the 21st century because of their significant societal and economic implications. In fact, the intensification of extreme weather events (strong winds, thunderstorms and snowstorms) put a strain on the continuity of service of the electrical grids.

The aim of this work is to assess potential changes in precipitation extremes that would have serious impacts over Mediterranean basin with focus over Italian peninsula.

Two future scenarios have been elaborated (one at medium-term 2021-2050 and the other at long-term 2071-2100) by analyzing Med-CORDEX simulations in two emission scenarios RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 at the horizontal resolution of 0.44° (about 50 km).

At first model values have been bias-corrected on the basis of data provided by EOBS (Haylock et al. 2008), a reference dataset of gridded daily observations with 25 km spatial resolution, by using a nonparametric transformation based on quantile-quantile mapping (Boé et al., 2007).

Then, to investigate the change of climatic signal, a subset of standard indices defined by the World Meteorological Organization Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) (WMO, 2009) was considered.

In spite of a certain degree of uncertainty in characterizing the regions more likely affected by extreme events, above all in the period 2021-2050, the results highlight a likely increase in intensity and frequency of extreme events and a consequent increase of the risk for electric failures. Moreover, the likely reduction of precipitations and the increase of dry spells length lead to a decrease of hydroelectric power generation and water stress in cooling thermoelectric power plants.

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