Friday, August 18, 2017

Some About the World Bank Actions related to Water Resources

One former University of Trento student who eventually moved to Cambridge, Anna Cestari, is since many years working for the World Bank. Having the occasion to have her Trento, I asked her to give a seminar on the activities and the projects of the World Bank. What she said for the general activities is actually what is also summarised in the World Bank Brochure
 However, she gave also talked a little about the Virtual Water problems, how much is water demand of Agricoluture, and some other details about what she finds in developing countries. Water availability has so large implications for any of us and our society. Certainly Global Hydrological Models, or regional ones, can help to sort out the numbers  that are required to build the statistics she presented, and to build infrastructures with informed data.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The four hours rule

I link here an article from the Guardian by Oliver Bukerman, in Italy reproduced by Internazionale dedicated to the quantity of creative work that can be done every day. He, in turn, take inspiration from the Alex Pang in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.
The original article can be found here. The Italian version here.

Maybe four ours is too low but, at the same time, pretending to be creative more than four ours a day is not a sin of pride ?
I would be clear, I am not suggesting to my Ph.D.  students to work lazily, but to be conscious that quality counts more than quantity and quality also depends on rational management of our own mental health which is the what we need to preserve. Then it is clear that some (short) periods of life require exceptional efforts. But this works only if these are the exception. Not the rule.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Projecting Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in Regions of Complex Topography: A Case Study of the Western United States and Southern California

This is the talk given by Jeremy Pal (GS) in Trento on July 26, 2017. He talked about the impact of climate change and  land use on California water resources. Actually the work he presented is part of the awarded Master Thesis of Brianna Pagàn (see last slides).
The talk presents in a plane way the issue related to water resources management of South California, Los Angeles area. It then uses an impressive set of modeling tools to pass from climate and land use changes to water availability. You can enjoy the video and get the slides too.
Here it is the abstract of the talk:
The Western United States and California have a greater potential vulnerability to climate change impacts on water resources due to a heavy reliance on snowmelt driven streamflow. California, the most agriculturally productive and populous region in the United States, depends on a complex and extensive water storage and conveyance system to supply water primarily for irrigation, municipal and industrial use and hydropower generation. This study provides an integrated approach to assess the impacts of climate change on the hydrologic cycle and extremes for all Southern Californian water supply basins:  Owens Valley, Mono Lake, Colorado River, Sacramento River, San-Joaquin River, and Tulare Lake basins. An 11-member ensemble of coupled atmosphere-ocean global climate models is first dynamically downscaled using a regional climate model and then statistically downscaled to force a hydrological model resulting in 4-km high-resolution output for the Contiguous United States. Greenhouse gas concentrations are prescribed according to historical values for the period 1976-2005 and to the IPCC Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 for the near term future period 2021-2050. Precipitation is projected to remain the same or slightly increase by mid-century; however, rising temperatures result in a repartitioning of precipitation type towards more rainfall and therefore a reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt. In addition to these hydrological changes, daily annual maximum runoff and precipitation events are projected to significantly increase in intensity and frequency such that future return periods change to become substantially more common. More specifically, the current daily annual maximum runoff 10-, 25-, and 50-, and 100-year events are projected to become approximately two to ten times more likely in the future. Furthermore, annual cumulative runoff volumes are projected to increase for high flow years and in contrast decrease for low flow years reducing the reliability of the system. While the escalating likelihood of drought reduces water supply availability, earlier snowmelt and significantly more intense winter precipitation events increases flood risk requiring winter releases from reservoirs for flood control purposes. All of these factors, coupled with projected increases in population, are likely to decrease supply during the higher demand drier months necessitating multiyear storage solutions for urban and agricultural regions as well as improved infrastructure and measures for flood control.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The post-contemporary flood forecasting systems

This is the presentation that has been held at University of Calabria in Cosenza, July 27, 2017. The presentation builds upon several other presentation present in this blog, and discusses the issue of designing a modern flood forecasting system. Actually I distinguish post-modern, contemporary and post-contemporary systems. Of the latter a short manifesto is given.
Clicking on the figure above the reader can access the first (Italian) version of the presentation. The English version can be seen and downloaded at this link. Once downloaded, the pdf contains links to publication and other relevant presentations. With respect to the Italian version, the English version contains a few small variations. One, in particular, was suggested by Daniela Biondi. She suggested that in my Manifesto for the post-contemporary flood forecasting systems, I should add the estimation of errors in forecasting. Suggestion that I fully endorse.

Friday, July 21, 2017


I found this nice paper on Jackknife, worth to read. Easy also to understand the differences between the jackknife technique and the leave-one-out one.
You can click on the knife to download it. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hydrological Extremes and Human Societies

This presentation is part of the summer school “Hydrometeorological extremes: processes, models and human impacts”  just held at Cagliari University this July 12-16. It is a school well organised by Roberto Deidda and became over the year a standard appointment fo my Ph.D. students. This year, among the lecturer there was Giuliano di Baldassarre (GS, RG) who covered the topic on Hydrological Extremes and Human Societies. Unfortunately I could not have been present at his lecture, but I've got his slides (and the permission to publish them).  You can find them below, by clicking on the figure. 
He also suggested some readings related to the talk:

Bianchizza, C., & Frigerio, S. (2013). Domination of or Adaptation to Nature ? A lesson we can still learn from the Vajont. Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 6, 523–530.

Delle Rose, M. (2012). Decision-making errors and socio-political disputes over the Vajont dam disaster. Disaster Advances, 5(3), 144–152.

Di Baldassarre, G., Martinez, F., Kalantari, Z., & Viglione, A. (2017). Drought and flood in the Anthropocene: feedback mechanisms in reservoir operation. Earth System Dynamics, 8(1), 225–233.

Di Baldassarre, G., Viglione, A., Carr, G., Kuil, L., Yan, K., Brandimarte, L., & Blöschl, G. (2015). Debates-Perspectives on socio-hydrology: Capturing feedbacks between physical and social processes. Water Resources Research, 51(6), 4770–4781.

Montanari, A., Young, G., Savenije, H. H. G., Hughes, D., Wagener, T., Ren, L. L., et al. (2013). “Panta Rhei—Everything Flows”: Change in hydrology and society—The IAHS Scientific Decade 2013–2022. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 58(6), 1256–1275.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Iowa and operational hydrology

Or operational hydrology in Iowa. I do not know if I like the name, because it usually distinguished, since Sacramento model, models that work but kind of far from the edge of research. Obviously this was due to the fact that having a model running every day faces issues that researchers of my type seldom love, like dealing with unreliable data sets, managing, in any case huge amount of data, calibration of parameters, and, more recently, data assimilation. This obviously has to be done routinely, with no loss of forecasting, when it is easy not to have data, and so on. So the focus of these systems was (is) operativity and having reliable results with unreliable tools (an not, like I do, improving the tools).
Among the various experience I saw around the world, The Iowa's one, is remarkable, because never forgot the most recent research, thanks to the effort of Ricardo Gutierrez Mantilla (GS), and Witold Krajesky (GS).
Ricardo, which whom I share a paper, was so kind to show me what he is doing with all the group of people in Iowa in the recent EGU meeting in Wien, and I was surprised by the quality of the results he has, and the quality of the overall system. One remarkable fact is also the this system is, certainly based on the knowledge of current literature but, originally developed and different from any other. He finally sent to me the couple of his presentation that I (under his permission) am sharing with who is interested. 

Click on the figures to access the presentations. 

A recent publication about the systema was published on BAMS: Witold F. Krajewski, Daniel Ceynar, Ibrahim Demir, Radoslaw Goska, Anton Kruger, Carmen Langel, Ricardo Mantilla, James Niemeier, Felipe Quintero, Bong-Chul Seo, Scott J. Small, Larry J. Weber, and Nathan C. Young, Real-Time Flood Forecasting and Information System for the State of Iowa, Real-time flood forecasting and information system for the State of Iowa, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00243.1, 2017.

Here you can find the  IFC official website.
Here a link to the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) which is the platform they use to disseminate flood related information