After more than 350 mm of rainfall fell in a few hours on 22 November 2011, thousands of landslides and floods were induced in two main zones of Northeastern Sicily. The total rainfall has been reconstructed integrating available rain gauge data with Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite data from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration); the landslide distribution in the field has confirmed the pattern of rainfall accumulated on 22 November 2011. Precipitation maxima of 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 h was recognized as the hazardous events, which marks the evidence of a changing climate, with a shift toward more intense rainfalls in recent times. To investigate the sequence of the annual maxima, the historical time series have been transformed in the Standard normal distribution, from the cumulative probability of the GEV (Generalized Extreme Value) distribution. Following a similar definition of the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI), the transformation of the historical data in the standardized values allows the definition of categories of hourly maxima in term of extreme, severe, moderate, or mild. This transformation allows to eliminate the asymmetry of the time series, so that trends and fluctuations have been highlighted by the progressive accumulation of data (Rescaled Adjust Partial Sum). This statistical approach allows the improvement of the interpretability of the hydrological extreme events, and could also be used in other cases.
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