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Climate scenarios for Mediterranean Basin toward 2030-2050 forecast higher temperatures
and an intensity modification of drought and rain episodes: in certain areas there would be a
strengthening of these phenomena, in others a weakening. Moreover a growth of sea level is
forecasted, due essentially to the earth poles ice melting.
Evaluations actually disposable concerning vulnerability of Italian territory to the climatic
change effects do not consider the speed with whom the changes could take places during
the next 50-100 years. If these changes will happen, as IPCC judge, with a very faster speed
than in the last 10.000 years of life of the Earth, there will be a further vulnerability factor that
actually is impossible to plan.
According to a CNR2 study (Duce P., 2005), as concerning the Italian coasts, the last century
tendency of sea level increase was comparable to the global average, that is equal to 1-2
mm/year. For the next 30-40 years the sea level increase, due to the temperature growth,
should be included between 50 and 290 mm. Sea level increase will have effects on coast
areas: lowlands and coastal marshes invasion, speed up of coastal erosion, saltiness
increase for estuaries and deltas due to migrations of underground salt front, increase of salt
water in the underground waters of coast areas. Lowlands will be more subjected to flooding
for meteorological events with very high sea waves, rivers flow to sea will be more difficult
with greater probability of overflow and flooding for intense atmospheric precipitation.
The impact on coast areas would be heavier if in the meantime atmospheric precipitation
would decrease: rivers flow rate would be reduced and the underground waters too, as
consequently. If the number and capacity of artificial basins will be incremented to build new
fresh water reserves, there will be more decrease of solid transport in the rivers, necessary
for beaches consolidation and the impact on the coast will be higher.
As concerning the inland territories, modifications have been forecasted for an increase of
rain on Northern Italy with consequently flooding risks and hydro-geological disasters. On
Central and especially on Southern Italy and in the Islands, due to a decrease of rain and an
increase of temperature, it seems that desertification processes will take place with high
probability.
Floods and heavier and longer summer droughts will give effects on soil productivity and
erosion, on slopes stability, on rivers capacity and on their solid transport, on underground
water table.
As concerning forest ecosystem, these are strictly linked to climate both for their distribution
as for their efficiency and productivity. An increase of yearly average temperature of only 2-4

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CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the National Research Council of Italy. CNR English website:
http://www.cnr.it/sitocnr/Englishversion/Englishversion.html
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