Climate Change Increases Hydrogeological Risk in Italy

Andrea Giuliacci: “Climate change increases the hydrogeological risk for Italy”

Hydrogeological instability is becoming a veritable emergency for Italy, as the events of recent years shows: the number of landslides and flooding is rapidly increasing and becoming more devastating, and a significant part Italy is at risk. The changed climate conditions are doubtless part of the problem: the Italian climate has changed considerably over the past few decades, and unfortunately not for the better. In particular, the rain pattern has changed appreciably: the total quantity of water that falls from the sky on a yearly basis has changed greatly. The number of rainy days is decreasing, and this means that rain arrives all at once in a smaller number of days of concentrated rain, with a significant increase in the likelihood of severe weather phenomena.

In particular, in the past few decades the number of floods has increased: on average Italy now sees three to four floods a year, and the most dangerous season from this point of view is autumn, when 51% of flooding occurs. The most at-risk area of the country is the north, where 61% of floods have been observed compared to 20% in Central Italy and 19% in the south and on the islands. Therefore, climate change has without a doubt worsened the problem, and the fact that in all probability the climate will become even more extreme in the near future creates a need for urgent and effective measures to address the emergency of hydrogeological instability.