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Forest@  2005 

Climatic indicators of desertification in Basilicata, Italy

Keywords: desertification , climatic indicators , maps , drought

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Abstract:

Climate changes such as the increase, in intensity and frequency, of extreme phenomena - hurricanes, thunder storms, flooding, drought -, of temperature and of biodiversity loss can influence land morphogenetic processes and prime a severe decreasing of natural resources such as the desertification. Desertification, that is the progressive loss of large areas of globe removed from human activities, is one of the most urgent problems in the last decades and is a phenomenon occurring on the most part of Mediterranean countries, such as Italy and in particular its Southern area. The most interested areas and regions are: Sicily, Sardinia, Pelage island, Pantelleria, Egadi island, Ustica, Calabria and Basilicata. The National Action Plane against Desertification (in Italian PAN) calls for synergy between resources and expertises of Basilicata Regional Office, APAT, ARPAB and research organizations for monitoring the Desertification Status Indicators. ARPAB monitoring Section developed a project to monitor indices and indicators. In this project, we focused on climatology, that is the study of climate and its variability; in particular we characterized rainfalls regimes, homogeneous rainfall areas and extreme rainfall events. Until now, this study produced historical trends of temperature and rainfall, and maps of indicators of desertification, in particular annual maps of aridity, and monthly and quarterly maps of drought. The analysis of the thematic maps of precipitation, drought and aridity gave us the possibility of evaluating the Region Basilicata tendency to the desertification phenomenon and, in particular, by considering the climatic and morphological variability. Concerning the observation periods (80 years of precipitations, 10 years of aridity, last 3 years of drought data) the region susceptibility to drought and aridity is higher in the NW and SE areas as compared to the Apennine areas on the NE-SW direction.

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