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Open AccessArticle

Regional Climate Impacts of Irrigation in Northern Italy Using a High Resolution Model

1
School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, UCD Richview, Dublin D6, Ireland
2
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
3
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, 40120 Bologna, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Meteorology Section, Institute of Geosciences, University of Bonn/Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Group, Hans-Ertel-Centre for Weather Research, 53121 Bonn, Germany.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010072
Received: 28 October 2019 / Revised: 14 December 2019 / Accepted: 26 December 2019 / Published: 6 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Meteorology)
Irrigation is crucial for sustaining agriculture in certain regions; however, there are effects on the local climate. Previous studies discussed that the irrigation signal might depend on the geographical region as well as the synoptic and climatic conditions. The work presented here aims to investigate the mechanisms behind changes in the irrigation impact on the local conditions depending on synoptic changes. Different to previous works, this employs convection-permitting simulations. Irrigation processes are parameterized in three different ways depending on the evaporative loss. The region of focus is in northern Italy (Po Valley), which is of interest for both the soil-atmosphere coupling strength and widely used irrigation. The simulation period is Summer 2015 (May–July), which includes a heatwave month (July) and an average month (June). The results show how irrigation prevented the drying out of the soil layers during the heatwave. This influences the surface flux partition differently, by increasing moisture flux and decreasing the sensible heat flux. In general, the irrigation impact magnitude, with respect to the control simulation, is more than double in July compared to June. This study discusses climate implications for the region, such as the impact of widespread irrigation on the vegetation health, the heatwave feedback mechanism, atmospheric pollution, and human heat discomfort. View Full-Text
Keywords: regional high-resolution model; irrigation; climate impact regional high-resolution model; irrigation; climate impact
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Valmassoi, A.; Dudhia, J.; Di Sabatino, S.; Pilla, F. Regional Climate Impacts of Irrigation in Northern Italy Using a High Resolution Model. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 72.

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