Predicting Extreme-Precipitation Effects on the Geomorphology of Small Mountain Catchments: Towards an Improved Understanding of the Consequences for Freshwater Biodiversity and Ecosystems.

                                                                                                                              Abstract: In 2015 an intense rainfall event hit the Valleys of the Trebbia, Nure, and Aveto watercourses in the Northern Apennines. In about 6 h a mesoscale convective system deployed a stunning amount of precipitation of 340 mm, with an extreme hourly rainfall intensity of >100 mm/h. It triggered debris flows along slopes and stream channels, landslides and floods, which caused serious damages. Through the optimal combination of rainfall data and radar volumes, in this work we present a detailed rainfall analysis, which will serve as a basis to create a quantitative correlation with debris flows over elementary hydrological units. We aim at providing an objective basis for future predictions, starting from the recognition of the forcing meteorological events, and then arriving at the prediction of triggering phenomena and to the debris-flow type. We further provide seven observations/case studies on the effects of extreme-precipitation events on freshwater environments in small mountain catchments. Extreme-precipitation events are becoming more frequent and widespread globally but their ecological effects are still insufficiently understood. In general, the effects of extreme events on inland-waters’ ecosystems are highly context-dependent, ranging from deleterious to beneficial. We therefore highlight the necessity of further studies to characterize these effects in more depth to be able to include appropriate mitigation measures in environmental planning and stewardship.

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