The current climate change could lead to an intensification of extreme weather events, such as sudden floods and fast flowing debris flows. Accordingly, the availability of an early-warning device system, based on hydrological data and on both accurate and very fast running mathematical-numerical models, would be not only desirable, but also necessary in areas of particular hazard. To this purpose, the 2D Riemann–Godunov shallow-water approach, solved in parallel on a Graphical-Processing-Unit (GPU) (able to drastically reduce calculation time) and implemented with the RiverFlow2D code (version 2017), was selected as a possible tool to be applied within the Alpine contexts. Moreover, it was also necessary to identify a prototype of an actual rainfall monitoring network and an actual debris-flow event, beside the acquisition of an accurate numerical description of the topography. The Marderello’s basin (Alps, Turin, Italy), described by a 5 × 5 m Digital Terrain Model (DTM), equipped with five rain-gauges and one hydrometer and the muddy debris flow event that was monitored on 22 July 2016, were identified as a typical test case, well representative of mountain contexts and the phenomena under study. Several parametric analyses, also including selected infiltration modelling, were carried out in order to individuate the best numerical values fitting the measured data. Different rheological options, such as Coulomb-Turbulent-Yield and others, were tested. Moreover, some useful general suggestions, regarding the improvement of the adopted mathematical modelling, were acquired. The rapidity of the computational time due to the application of the GPU and the comparison between experimental data and numerical results, regarding both the arrival time and the height of the debris wave, clearly show that the selected approaches and methodology can be considered suitable and accurate tools to be included in an early-warning system, based at least on simple acoustic and/or light alarms that can allow rapid evacuation, for fast flowing debris flows.
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