Monday, April 16, 2012

Hydro-geological hazard in Italy as Mapped by the local authorities

A friend gave pointed out to me this morning this map of hydrogeological hazards in Italy, as produced by the local authorities and collected by the Italian Ministry of Italy.  The full map at higher resolution (1.4 Mb) can be retrieved here (I think it is public and can be found somewhere in the Environmental Ministry of Italy). "Carta delle aree ad alta criticita' idrogeologica" means: maps of the area with the highest potential hazards. Red are landslides, blue are flooding, green snow avalanches hazards.

Well, some parts of Italy (as my Province of Trento) are very red and full of hazard. Some others (same hydrological and geological conditions, as the Province of Bolzano and Province of Belluno) are white: almost no hazard at all. (I tend to support the idea, since I was involved in part of its construction, that the hazard map of Trentino was produced with state of art techniques. But I also know that officiers of the other Provinces are also rigorous people. Then ?). The case of Emilia Romagna is also perfect example of this partition.  The Apennines in Emilia (under the Authority of River Po ?) are really red.  The Apennines in Romagna (under the river Authority of Reno River ?) are almost white.
Why these differences ? Different techniques of mapping ? Different "political choices" ?  Different stage of production of the maps (did all really made it) ?

Who knows can give me a clue ?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The microscopic^1 thermodynamics of snow

Listening to Michi Lehning talk, my curiosity was raised by a couple of passages. One of these was the use of mean field theories for describing the snow metamorphism.  Therefore I asked him for a little of literature on the subject. Here below his suggested readings:

I.M. Lifshitz and V.V. Slyozov. The kinetics of precipitation from supersaturated solid solutions. 
J. Phys. Chem. Solids, 19(1-2):35–50, 1961. 

[C. Wagner. Theorie der Alterung von Niederschlagen durch umlÅNosen (Ostwald-Reifung). Z. 
Elektrochem., 65(7-8):581–591, 1961. 

Probably easier in language and style: 

C.W.J. Beenakker and J. Ross. Theory of Ostwald ripening for open systems. J. Chem. Phys., 
83:4710–4714, 1985. 
L. Ratke and C. Beckermann. Concurrent growth and coarsening of spheres. Acta mater, 
49:4041–4054, 2001. 
S.P. Marsh and M.E. Glicksman. Kinetics of phase coarsening in dense systems. Acta Materialia, 
44(9):3761–3771, 1996. 

and with respect to snow: 
L. Legagneux and F. Domine. A mean field model of the decrease of the specific surface area of dry snow during isothermal metamorphism. J. Geophys. Res. Earth, 110(F4), NOV 18 2005.

Looking at the citations chain one can more or less recover most of the literature on the subject. You can also give a look to this more recent post.

^1 microscopic thermodynamics is, obviously, a sort of oxymoron. However, these thermodynamics work at a scale which is much smaller than what we want usually to treat (at field or catchment scale).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Modelling Environments for Biophysical Modelling in Hydrology and Agriculture

Modelling Environments for Biophysical Modelling in Hydrology and Agriculture: Object Modeling System 3 (OMS3) and Biophysical Model Applications (BioMA)

July 9-13, 2012

Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy

The need for integrated analysis, and the multiplicity of possible goals in analysis which require biophysical modelling, necessitates more than ever the capability of composing modelling solutions of known quality which are transparent to users and consist of reusable model components.

There is a variety of modelling platforms and the number of model components and tools is growing; however, there is little interaction among developers of modelling platforms and the potential community of researchers who may benefit from new techniques and technologies in their work. This workshop is meant to provide this opportunity by illustrating the concepts at the base of two modelling frameworks, and by having a hands-on approach to both. The two modelling environments which will be presented are the Object Modeling System (OMS3) and the Biophysical Model Application (BioMA), briefly described below. Both are operational and allow running complex analyses in the biophysical domains of hydrology and agricultural production. The closing session will include a critical discussion on the concepts and realizations experienced during the week.

More Information on the website of the course.  OMS3 as you can verify from many post:

is at the core of my modeling strategy. I believe is one of the best way to have a modern approach to do models. So the school will be the occasion to learn about it (for who is already a good programmer)