Articles | Volume 26, issue 7
04 Jul 2008
 | 04 Jul 2008

Contemporary ground-based and satellite precipitating system characterization for desertification studies in Southern Italy

M. Casazza, F. Prodi, F. Torricella, C. Caracciolo, E. Santi, and A. Piano

Abstract. During the research project RIADE (Ricerca Integrata per l'Applicazione di tecnologie e processi innovativi per la lotta alla DEsertificazione), devoted to the study on the potential risk of desertification in Southern Italy, a particular attention has been paid also to the analysis of precipitations from three surface stations (Licata, Sicily; Rotondella, Basilicata; Surigheddu, Sardinia) in order to improve the knowledge derived from the most modern climatological studies related to this subject. The point of view adopted is to better define the precipitation microphysical properties (in particular, the Drop Size Distribution, DSD, and its moments), which are deeply related to the cloud system that generates the precipitation events. In particular we have used a newly introduced Convective Stratiform discrimination technique, that allowed us to observe a prevalence of events, concentrated along Winter (Wi) season, of different microphysical nature. In fact the prevailing Stratiform nature is related to Licata station, while for Surigheddu and for Rotondella the nature is mainly Convective. This distinction is related to the presence of drops of bigger dimensions and more intense precipitations in the latter case, while, in the former case, a prevalence of smaller drops and a less intense precipitation is recorded. This confirms the distinctive belonging to three different climatic regions, as indicated in the study by Brunetti et al. (2006). Our findings are important in the framework of desertification studies, because the cause of desertification can be related either to fertile soils removal (in the case of Convective events) or to lack of precipitated water (in the case of Stratiform events). We have also analysed a sub-set of ten events, with contemporary presence of data from VIS/IR channels of METEOSAT-7, SSM/I data from F13 and MODIS data from Terra platform. This has been done both to confirm the findings of PLUDIX data analysis (which is, in fact, confirmed) and to show the capability of PLUDIX to detect the fast local variations related to the temporal evolution of more extended systems. The potentiality of PLUDIX as a real-time detector of precipitation events, together with the development of an adequate number of algorithms, that give a complete microphysical description of the observed events, finally, opens the way for developing a new Present Weather Sensor.